Meet Beth Palm!
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Q: Who are you, what drives you, what are you working on, and why are you inspired to make the world a better place?
BP: I’m Beth Palm from St. Paul, Minnesota, and I provide business planning tools and resources to social entrepreneurs. I’m driven by empowering social entrepreneurs to use proven business tools to run their social enterprise, rather than relying on philanthropic donations. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on an upcoming webinar about sources of funding to start and grow a social enterprise, happening on Thursday, November 8. To me, social enterprise is the ONLY way to do business.
Q: What’s your favorite way to relax?
BP: It’s so important for social entrepreneurs to practice self-care, so I make time every week for my favorite activity: disc golf! My husband plays this sport competitively and is also a social entrepreneur. We play disc golf to escape into nature and reconnect with each other.
Q: What drew you to a career in the social sector?
BP: All of my academic experience is in business. I went to the top business school in Minnesota for undergrad and double-majored in marketing and entrepreneurship, then later attended a small college for my MBA. In undergrad, social enterprise was not mentioned, but by the time I was getting my MBA, you could major in social impact! Now there are net impact chapters at most schools and major cities, and there’s a huge movement toward business for a social purpose. I’m drawn to this work because everyone should think of their work – whether as an entrepreneur or employee – as contributing to societal or environmental improvements.
Q: Upswell is about breaking the mold. What’s one thing you’d like to see in the conversation that doesn’t get enough national attention?
BP: I’d like to see some real discussions about effectiveness of nonprofits and social enterprises. The conversation has always been about efficiency – how little nonprofits can pay their staff, not investing in needed technology, scarcity mentality. We need to be talking about which organizations are most effective in achieving real change, and how we as a sector can put aside our egos and replicate that success. Funders need to be asking these questions of their fundees as well. Just because someone has good intention does not make them effective at delivering the solution.