Antonia “Toni” Chappell calls herself a startup girl. The social entrepreneur is co-founder ofSocial Good Network, a digital cause marketing platform, and has been on the senior executive teams at TiVo, ads.com, Novint and Inscape, a joint venture between HBO and Warner Music Group.
What’s the change you’re trying to make in the world?
To put technology to work for good – to raise awareness, funds, and support for people and things that make a difference.
Are you disrupting a market through innovative products or new ways of doing business?
I’m always trying. I’m always wondering if there’s a better mousetrap. It seems to be my gift and my curse to constantly be trying to re-imagining paradigms and products.
Where do you think Corporate Social Responsibility is headed?
It's one thing to talk the talk and another thing to truly integrate triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) practices into your corporate culture. That requires a true shift in how most companies do business.
Consumers have the power to drive change. That's one of the major reasons we're seeing behemoths like Wal-Mart focusing on sustainability - combined with the fact that it is smart business. So, I hope, ultimately, people will compel companies to be better. It's great to see Tom's, The Honest Company, Soma, and others adopt new paradigms and demonstrate how successful being a "good business" can be.
What’s the biggest change you’ve made in your personal life?
I’ve tried to find ways to exhale more often – to just pause and stop thinking or worrying about a million things. It is my form of meditation.
Change is hard—do you have any tricks you’d like to share for making it easier?
Talk to kids. My son, Ben, always inspires me to be and to do better. I think his generation is generally more socially and environmentally conscious. It’s part of his DNA so I always learn something when I talk to him.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
To quote Elvis, “A little less talk, a little more conversation.” I’m a technology girl, but I think nothing can replace good old-fashioned conversation. In my experience, great conversations always lead to more understanding, which is a wonderful cure for conflict.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d try to pause more often to appreciate the little moments. I want more shibumi.
I first learned about shibumi in a novel of the same name. It's a Japanese word that is difficult to define, but achieving shibumi entails the passage through knowledge to arrive at simplicity. Here’s an abbreviated version of how one of the book’s characters describes it: “…shibumi has to do with great refinement underlying commonplace appearances. It is a statement so correct that it does not have to be bold, so poignant it does not have to be pretty, so true it does not have to be real. Shibumi is understanding, rather than knowledge.”
Do you volunteer?
My son and I try and do “good deeds.” It isn’t typically through an organized event, but it always means a lot to us.
It varies and is typically spontaneous in response to need or events. The last time we were in Seattle, our daily walk to the market took us past a homeless woman and her dog. We took her a meal and brought her some food for Barney, the dog. She told us that the local shelters wouldn't let her keep him, so she chose to stay with him because he was her best friend. She was thankful for the food, but I think she appreciated the conversation even more.
What are you reading right now?
The Turning Point by Fritjof Capra (I’m a nerd at heart.)
An eclectic mix of things old and new, including Tom Waits, Passenger, Miles Davis, Phil Roy, Eddie Vedder, Sara Bareilles, Lyle Lovett, Barenaked Ladies. Plus, the Game of Thrones audiobook.
I just saw two great movies, The Lunchbox and Tim’s Vermeer. Fantastic!
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by creators, storytellers, innovators, inventors, thinkers and doers. I feel like I’m fortunate to know a lot of truly remarkable people. Most of them aren’t famous, but they should be.
Well, my wardrobe is probably 80% black, but I love the colors from nature, so it depends on the season and the place. Fall colors. Azure blue water. Green forest. You get the idea.
Rock, paper, or scissors?
Paper. I'm a big believer in the power of the written word, and paper is (at least for now) the instrument for that.
Who are you following online?
Honestly, I’m not a big follower. I do almost always read new posts by Elizabeth Gebhardt and Brian Solis.
Who’s the most progressive nonprofit or business leader you know?
charity:water is my nonprofit crush. I love the way they tell stories about the people their organization impacts. I’m a big believer in the power of storytelling.
What’s one question you’d like to ask yourself—and answer?