Episode 35

Episode 35- Bridging the Gap Between Intention, Action, and Community Inclusion

In this Quest Podcast episode, we chat with the Director of Marketing and Communications at Idealist.org, President for New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) and host of the NYWICI WomenHeard Changemakers podcast.  Georgia Galanoudis had devoted her career to deliver advice, inspire action, and make us feel closer together while sharing stories of resilience and positivity. She joins us to share her experiences, expertise, and advice.

Read the interview below or check out the podcast here.

Mindy Henderson: Welcome to the Quest Podcast, proudly presented by the Muscular Dystrophy Association as part of the Quest family of content. I’m your host, Mindy Henderson. Together, we are here to bring thoughtful conversation to the neuromuscular disease community and beyond about issues affecting those with neuromuscular disease and other disabilities and those who love them. We are here for you to educate and inform, to demystify, to inspire, and to entertain. We are here shining a light on all that makes you, you. Whether you are one of us, love someone who is or are on another journey altogether, thanks for joining. Now, let’s get started.

Today’s guest is Georgia Galanoudis. Throughout her career, Georgia’s been exploring content’s ability to educate, inspire and build community. As the director of marketing and communications at Idealist.org, Georgia and her team deliver the support and access needed to help individuals reach their full social impact potential. She uncovers authentic and compelling stories that deliver advice, inspire action, and make us feel closer together, which I love. During her career, Georgia has done a lot. She’s very impressive. She’s managed marketing solution agencies within large publishers like Time Inc. She ran the strategy practice for a full-service digital agency and led new business efforts for best-in-breed content agencies.

At the Healthcare Administration and Management Systems Society or HIMSS, as the head of media and then as Chief Experience Officer, Georgia helped ensure the HIMSS member community had access to the tools and connections necessary to realize the mission of reforming the global health ecosystem. As an experienced board director, Georgia currently serves as president for New York Women in Communications. She is host of their podcast, which is called the WomenHeard Changemakers Podcast, where you can hear communications industry leaders share personal stories of resilience and positivity in the face of challenging transition. Georgia, you have in a very short time… We met in, I think, May or June of this year, and you have very quickly become one of my favorite people. I’m so excited to have you here.

Georgia Galanoudis: Thank you, Mindy. Same. It was such a blessing to be able to be introduced to each other, and we’ve had the opportunity to find multiple ways to work together to get to know each other, and that is… I’m very grateful for that.

Mindy Henderson: It’s true, and I love your accent. So part of me just wants to say, I’m going to be over here. You just talk, and whatever you say will be charming and brilliant. So there are a few things I’d like to talk to you about. So the organization that you work for right now, Idealist.org, is fascinating to me, and I tend to be an optimist to a fault. And the idea of an entire organization of idealists is really what you all are… I think it makes my heart so happy.

And so I’m very excited to talk to you about your company and you just did a really interesting study about the gap between intention and action, which I think is fascinating. And then we want… I want to dive into some more tangible things that you found as part of the survey and some ways that people can potentially get more involved in their communities. So let’s just start at the 30,000-foot view. Would you tell me a little bit about your CEO’s vision for Idealist and why he started this company?

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, I’d love to talk about that. Ami Dar is a remarkable human, and it’s a beautiful story. He has had this fundamental desire to help people do more good in the world. And as the founder and he’s the executive director of Idealist.org, he started this back in 1994. He was looking at the web, and he became intrigued by the power of the internet to connect people.

And he saw the potential to connect people that wanted to do good with others that wanted to do good. And the potential of this technology to ultimately help people go from intention to action that’s really where he started. And so he built it on an absolute shoestring budget, sort of in the borrowed basement kind of room of somebody else. And Idealist launched in 1996, and that’s back when there were only about 10,000 websites on the whole of the internet.

Mindy Henderson: Sure.

Georgia Galanoudis: There’s like a billion plus today, right?

Mindy Henderson: Uh-huh.

Georgia Galanoudis: And almost immediately, Idealist began connecting nonprofit-type organizations and individuals sort of in a variety of ways using the power of this new thing called the World Wide Web. And after us three years of sharing some job postings and volunteer opportunities, in 1999, Idealist became a business, and he began charging for job postings. And this self-funded nonprofit began to flourish, really in a nutshell, helping social impact organizations all over the world connect to individuals that want to find purpose-driven work. And that’s really how it all began.

Mindy Henderson: So incredible. And I will say that you all are based in New York, but this is a global company. And as we were doing research and getting ready for this interview, we spent a lot of time on the website, and you truly… we kept putting cities in. I wonder how many volunteer opportunities there are in Sydney, Australia, on this company’s website. And there were hundreds. It was really amazing to me the reach of this organization.

Georgia Galanoudis: I think one of the things that’s so lovely too, anecdotally, a lot of people at least get their first job in the nonprofit sector through Idealist.

Mindy Henderson: Mm-hmm.

Georgia Galanoudis: And I’ll tell you, you go around in the world and you bring Idealist up, and particularly in the States, of course, you bring it up, and someone says, “I got my first job or my sister or my aunt,” and it’s really remarkable and there’s a lot of love and support for the brand that’s really endearing.

Mindy Henderson: Nice. I love that. So Idealist is the world’s largest social impact job board. And as we’ve mentioned, you also post volunteer opportunities, events, and you provide educational resources to employees and individuals who are wanting to make an impact. Can you talk a little bit more about all of those different pieces of your platform and actually how you measure their impact on the community?

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, absolutely. We offer a number of opportunities within the platform for anybody, honestly, that’s looking to make a difference in the world. But first and foremost, the core of what we do, we really aim to address all the considerations that go into how one searches for a nonprofit job or how one is recruiting for a nonprofit job. That’s really the core of what the organization has been over the last 20-some years. That’s lots of practical support delivered both online and offline.

And even though we’re a tech company, we really do pride ourselves on the fact that we have real-life accessibility. So unlike, I would say, a lot of perhaps our competitive set, it’s really easy to get on the phone and have a human being actually help you. Someone ready to answer questions, offer tips, or very often, we’re working with nonprofit organizations that have individuals running their HR teams, and their recruitment teams and they’re overwhelmed.

Mindy Henderson: Right.

Georgia Galanoudis: They may be a one-person operation, and so we are there to hold their hand, help them craft a job description in the best possible way. A lot of people-

Mindy Henderson: Wow.

Georgia Galanoudis:… struggle with that, and we’re really there to help them out. So over the years of doing this, we’ve developed a lot of written tools, we’ve hosted webinars, things to aid both when you’re looking for a job or you’re recruiting a job, practical advice. But also, I think it’s the emotional support as well that’s really important. Searching for a job or sourcing multiple roles, as I said, when you’re the recruitment team of one, and that’s one of many things that you have on your plate-

Mindy Henderson:  Right.

Georgia Galanoudis:… to do every day, yeah, I can really take its toll. So we offer mental well-being advice for folks on the job hunt. We want to make people know what to expect in that journey and really just let them feel as though… make sure they don’t feel alone in it when sometimes it can take a long time to land a role. So that emotional and the practical support are really important. And then, together with the nonprofit job opportunities, we also offer CSR-type roles in the corporate sector.

That’s a little bit newer for us. We’ve been expanding in that area, and that’s been growing. We also offer something really special called the Action Incubator. This is for individuals, Mindy, that are looking to have a big impact in their community. They may want to start their own nonprofit, or they’ve got a really great idea of impact they want to have in their local space. And we offer a seven-week free course which offers some support. It gives them connections, guidance, and a foundation to get yourself up and started. We’ve been doing that for a while, and we’ve got-

Mindy Henderson: Oh my gosh.

Georgia Galanoudis: … a cohort running right now. Yeah.

Mindy Henderson: Wow.

Georgia Galanoudis: Terrific.

Mindy Henderson:  That’s incredible.

Georgia Galanoudis: It’s a lovely thing that we offer that people can sign up for, go to the website, you can find it if you’re really looking to have a big impact, but we also offer a lot of listings for volunteer opportunities, events that people might want to attend. And basically, it’s like a one-stop shop destination for anyone looking to reach their full social impact potential.

This is really part of the vision that Ami had from the very beginning, whether it’s your professional vocation, like it’s going to be your job, or whether it’s something you really want to do on the side. And we’ll talk a little bit more later. We’re looking to do more of that in the local community looking forward. But you asked me how do we measure our impact.

Mindy Henderson:  Uh-huh.

Georgia Galanoudis: I think the main way is by surveys and a lot of conversations with our users, right. As a tech-first company, we’re always looking to iterate what we have to offer, improve what we do or how we go about doing it. So we do a lot of listening. For example, in 2018 seekers, the job seeker audience was really striving to get more transparency on salaries, right. “What is my career trajectory going to look like if I get a job in this or that other role?”

So we’ve built this nonprofit salary explorer tool, and it’s an aggregation of first-party data, data that our audience has been giving us, and it enables a really realistic view of what they can expect to make in any non-profit role. And that’s based on their location, years of experience.

It’s a really nice way to see where you are, see what opportunity you can get, especially at this time of the year when people are looking… go into reviews, maybe negotiate salary, we’re giving them something to use as a marker. And we just wrapped up, actually just this week, our annual survey to the nonprofit organizational admins. Those are the folks that pay to list jobs on Idealist. We got over 800 responses, which is-

Mindy Henderson:  Wow.

Georgia Galanoudis: … fantastic, and we’re just going to head into analyzing the data. And I’m confident we’ll end up with some insights, things that we need to approve on.

Mindy Henderson: Uh-huh.

Georgia Galanoudis: Things where we’ll find opportunities to meet their needs even better.

Mindy Henderson: Okay.

Georgia Galanoudis: And this is the way we’re really just trying to keep our finger on the pulses of what our audiences need. How can we make sure that we’re delivering the best that we possibly can? Again, as a tech company, we’re always looking to iterate, fix something. How could this work a little bit better or that work a little bit better to facilitate that kind of interaction?

Mindy Henderson:  Incredible. And as an outsider looking in, like I said, just looking at your website and the sheer number of opportunities and things that you list on your website, I don’t know if you factor in just the way that this organization has scaled, but I would say just the sheer number of volunteer opportunities, job postings, all of those things that you’ve scaled up to you and are able to put in front of people is impressive and is probably indicative of the impact that you’re having.

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah. We’re not the only environment, but we truly pride ourselves on being an environment where, as a recruiter, you are going to find people who are ready, willing, able, incredibly well qualified, and appropriate for the roles that you’re looking for. So-

Mindy Henderson: Mm-hmm.

Georgia Galanoudis: … organizations want to work with us, right. We do not have a big sales team. We do not spend money on advertising, and we are really just organically grown by doing a good job, by making it as simple as possible to make a match that’s going to work. And so that’s really driven the majority of the growth. We also work with partners that give us data and information. We’ve got a lot of volunteer companies that we aggregate from partners. There’s a company called VolunteerMatch or DoSomething.org or-

Mindy Henderson:  Oh, interesting.

Georgia Galanoudis:  … Points of Light, AARP, and MoveOn.org. They come to us because they know they can leverage the access that we can give them. They’re just looking to have more access. We have over 94,000 volunteer listings on the site right now.

Mindy Henderson:  It’s incredible.

Georgia Galanoudis: And we don’t charge anyone to post them. So-

Mindy Henderson: Oh, okay.

Georgia Galanoudis: … we’re just really-

Mindy Henderson: Wow.

Georgia Galanoudis:  … trying to make sure that we can make the kind of connections that are going to allow people to fulfill their desires and meet the needs of organizations big, small, that need help support out in the world.

Mindy Henderson:  I love that. And the fact that you don’t charge people to post volunteer opportunities feels so in alignment to your mission. So I have to commend you on that. I mean, you just talked about this a little bit, but I couldn’t help but wonder, as I was looking at all of this, how do you and where do you source all of the volunteer opportunities and career opportunities that are on your site? I know that you said it had been sort of organic growth.

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah.

Mindy Henderson:  You didn’t have a huge sales team, all of that. Can you talk just a little bit more about how you make it all happen?

Georgia Galanoudis: Sure. Sure. I mean, it’s really relationship-driven, like so many other things, right. As I mentioned, it’s the companies like New York Cares or the National Park Service that are really looking… National Park Service is made up of a number of different government agencies that are all looking for volunteers.

It’s not just in the park’s environment. It’s all other things across the country. They can’t impact as well as we can, so they seek us out. We don’t have to go out there and work that hard, right. Not that it’s not hard work to build these partnerships and relationships. It is. But truly, we have an audience that we’ve aggregated, and these organizations know that they can come to us to find a match.

Mindy Henderson: That’s so great. And I want to pivot just a little bit and talk about this fascinating study that you all just did. And I have to preface it by saying that the Muscular Dystrophy Association sort of deemed 2023 the year of the volunteer. And so we’ve had a lot of activity over the course of this year, which I can’t believe is almost over. It’s November, for crying out loud. But we’ve had a lot of activity this year that really celebrated our volunteers, and we spotlighted our volunteers from a lot of different angles and things because you just can’t give volunteers enough accolades.

I mean, it’s thankless work, and people do volunteer work usually because it’s a cause or an organization or whatever, a mission that they feel passionately about and that they care about, and they want to go out and make a difference. So it was really timely to read the results from this survey. So the survey that you did delved into how individuals feel about the value of volunteering and connecting to community and, frankly, how well-equipped they feel like they are to do that. So what did you learn from the survey, and were there things that surprised you?

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, it was… Anytime you do research, right, it’s such an adventure.

Mindy Henderson:  Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis: You go in with some hypotheses, and you’re not sure what you’re going to walk away with. But oh, we learned that… This was just to clarify. This study was done in the US, statistically significant. We learned that the need is greater now than perhaps ever before.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis: We thought that would be the case, but it really… Two in three US adults or that’s 63%, reported that lending a helping hand in their local community is more important now than five years ago. That really didn’t surprise us. But what did surprise us is that 76% believe they can have at least some positive impact in their community. And honestly, Mindy, we were worried going into this that people would be more worn down to the potential positive impact that they could have. So this was a very positive surprise that people do still feel positive and that they can have an impact.

Mindy Henderson: That’s more optimism than I would’ve expected as well.

Georgia Galanoudis:  Yeah.

Mindy Henderson: Mm-hmm.

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, very much so. What was not a surprise, we’ve been studying at Idealist the barriers to action for some time, and we knew that there would be some very clearly perceived barriers to greater involvement and what the study uncovered in order of sort of mention time, probably no surprise, at 42%, money at 35%, energy at 31%, and 29% saying they just don’t know where to begin. So from our perspective, we’re aware of these. We know we can’t eliminate all of these barriers, but we know we can focus on some things that we can impact.

Mindy Henderson:  Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis: And then finally, maybe perhaps the best stat of all, 80% of people surveyed would love to be more involved in their local community if they had specific guidance about how to do it. And what I love about that is that’s actionable. That’s something we can focus on and something we can deliver to help close that gap between their intention of wanting to be involved and giving them some concrete steps to actually do something.

Mindy Henderson:  That’s amazing. And I love that you all exist to do that because it’s true. You hear people say that they have ideas. They want to do things to help the community. But just like you said, they don’t know how, or they don’t know where to start. And I think that people get overwhelmed by maybe the magnitude of what they… the need that they see. And so I think it’s really, really easy for people to get sort of paralyzed into non-action for that very reason. And so it’s fantastic that you all offer services to help people figure that out.

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, I mean, that’s what we’re really going to be focused on as we look ahead, and we’re not going to be so presumptuous to think we have it all figured out.

Mindy Henderson: Sure.

Georgia Galanoudis: But that’s where we’re headed. Yes.

Mindy Henderson:  That’s awesome. So the neuromuscular disease community, which, of course, is the community that MDA serves is particularly reliant on volunteer efforts and on things like fundraising efforts. MDA is a nonprofit organization, just like you talked about, and we’ve only got so many hands, and there’s so much that we want to do for our community.

And so, like I said, it’s a community where volunteerism and fundraising is particularly important, and it’s clear, just like you just said from the study, that people want to do these things and use their time in impactful ways, but that’s not always happening.

So apart from working for Idealist and helping people figure those things out, what are some things that we can all do to move the needle on that, and what can we do to make it easier for people who see things like lack of time, lack of energy, lack of financial resources to overcome those things so that they can spend more time volunteering or creating impact in whatever way they see fit?

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah. Look, that’s such a great question, and I wish I had the magic solution answer. We don’t presume to have that or all the answers, but because a very complex issue and we can’t solve it alone, but we can and are building a framework and inviting folks in so that they can help make it their own and we can continue to learn from each other. So we can try to really stop picking off some of these things, lowering some of these barriers-

Mindy Henderson:  Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis:  … to action as best we can. We’ve been looking at this [inaudible 00:25:33] long time, and we believe we can focus on four things to help move the needle, Mindy. The first one is celebrating. And that’s really important because there is actually a lot of really good work happening, especially the small, seemingly insignificant actions, and folks need energy. So by applying recognition of the good work and spotlighting the people doing it, we know we can put some energy into the system.

So we know that’s important. We also know that today, in the world that we live in, people are craving a little more good news, and we want to really begin to do more of that in what we’re doing. The next thing. You mentioned it before. We really want to help people imagine what’s possible. Our research has informed us that, for some, it’s simply about having sort of permission to act. They might have an idea.

We want to help them imagine and make sure they see that it’s possible. And if they see others acting, having ideas for action, simple ones, easy everyday things, we think that’s critically important. We’re currently building a crowdsource database of proven recipes for action, like a cookbook of easy-to-execute ideas.

Mindy Henderson: Oh my gosh.

Georgia Galanoudis: And these are really everyday stuff. And we have sort of formal volunteering, but we also want to try to remove that word a little bit from what we’re talking about because it sounds sometimes so formal, and sometimes it comes with some negative connotations. We just… Again, remove all the barriers. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as doing one small thing for another human being. And the third pillar is connection. Sometimes, you just need a buddy to do something with, or you might need a little bit of expertise to fulfill on your good idea.

So with the 500,000 plus unique visitors we have coming into our site every day and the vibrant database of folks in our sphere, if you will, if we could simply help them find each other all over the world, we know that will have a positive impact. And finally, the fourth. So celebrate, right, imagine, connect, and then the final, perhaps most important, is the action itself, right. Encouraging action, encouraging the sharing of actions taken. And we activate this through Ami Dar, our founder’s, simple yet brilliant concept of idealist days. And that is monthly days of action that occur on the days of the week. And the numbers are the same, like 10, 10 or four, four or one, one, which works so well globally, and this concept resonates.

And so that’s a fantastic mechanism through which to use those days to collaborate, use those days to imagine, to connect, and to actually act. So this is the work that we’re really focused on right now and how we can do our part to really help close the gap between intention and action at some scale. So you’re going to see a lot more coming out of Idealist in the next six months, eight months, and beyond. And this work really, Mindy, going back to the very beginning, the best way to describe it’s the true actualization of Ami Dar’s vision that he had at the very, very beginning.

Mindy Henderson: Mm-hmm.

Georgia Galanoudis: So it’s expanding the vision of what Idealist can be, broadening our ecosystem, and providing more fuel to the world around us to really-

Mindy Henderson: So good.

Georgia Galanoudis: … encourage positive acts.

Mindy Henderson: Incredible. It’s absolutely just talking to you; I’m feeling myself getting more and more motivated [inaudible 00:29:56]. And I think that actually that’s kind of an important point, is you mentioned connection and talking about these things, sharing ideas, all of that. That alone creates momentum-

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah.

Mindy Henderson:… that you can then act on. And like I said, just talking with you today and listening to everything that Idealist is doing and all of what you’ve discovered is really kind of lighting a fire under me. So let me ask you this, Georgia. Some of the findings in this survey that discussed the barriers to taking action are very real to our community of people living with disabilities, living with neuromuscular disease.

And yet, there are so many people in this community with ideas and with the desire to create change and take action in certain areas. Can you talk a little bit more about maybe some of the less obvious ways that people can get involved? I saw things on your website about cleaning up city parks and painting buildings with graffiti on them maybe or things like that. But what are some other ways that you might not immediately think of that people can get involved?

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, I think that’s great because we know that there are some people that are going to be doers, right. They’re going to be the actors. They’re the ones that want to roll up their sleeves. They want to get out there. They want to do beach cleanup. They want to beautify their environment. But there are some people that just have ideas and want to contribute them.

Mindy Henderson: Yes.

Georgia Galanoudis: And that’s why we’re building out this Recipes for Action cookbook. We just want people’s ideas. So you can contribute by bringing an idea and then, honestly, Mindy, celebrating somebody else.

Mindy Henderson: Yes.

Georgia Galanoudis: Simply just giving someone a little kudos, a little love, whether that’s virtually with sort of a little like or a love or in person when you can just saying thank you giving kudos. That act in itself is contributing. And I think that’s what’s important. We really want to make sure that there’s space for the simplest of involvement so that, ultimately, we’re connecting like-hearted people in a way that makes them feel a part of something positive.

Mindy Henderson:  Right.

Georgia Galanoudis: And that’s really what we think is so important right now. And the last thing I want to say is, and we’ve seen this in the jobs board as well, there are a lot more remote jobs, and there are a lot more-

Mindy Henderson: Ah, yes.

Georgia Galanoudis: … remote volunteer opportunities as well that’s dramatically increased, and the demand for them is super high. So we are working with our organizations, encouraging them to really leverage remote workers as much as they can where it’s appropriate. And that applies to volunteering as well. So looking for those remote opportunities where you can contribute something from the safety of your home that is very, very real today, especially coming out of COVID and not going away.

Mindy Henderson: That’s interesting. There’s been a lot of talk about employment opportunities becoming much more prolific after the pandemic because remote working opened so much opportunity to the disability community, and it’s been one of those sort of mixed blessings that came out of the pandemic.

So what you just said about remote opportunities has been discussed a lot in the employment arena because it’s opened such doors for individuals living with disabilities to working remotely. But I hadn’t thought about it in terms of volunteer opportunities. And so, that’s a really interesting point that people could be looking for remote volunteer opportunities or even creating their own. Maybe calling an organization that they love the mission of and asking if there’s anything they could do remotely for them.

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah. And in fact, on our website, you can search volunteer opportunities, whether that’s onsite, remote, hybrid.

Mindy Henderson: Oh my gosh.

Georgia Galanoudis: It’s theirs. So it’s posted, and you can search for volunteer opportunities that are wholly remote, and we know everybody’s looking for it.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah, that’s incredible. And I think the other thing that I just want to throw out there, I think, so often, people think about volunteer work, and they think about rolling up their sleeves and doing things like beautification projects, like what we’ve talked about in the last few minutes.

But action can also look like creating a spreadsheet of volunteers. It can look like creating a business plan. It can look like writing your story and sharing it. There are a lot of different ways to act, I think, that people maybe don’t necessarily think about initially.

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, 100%.

Mindy Henderson: So tell me, I’ve got to ask, I’ve gotten to know you a little bit, and I think I maybe know a little bit of the answer to this question just based on who I know you are, but why are these missions important to you? Why did you get involved with a career that focuses on enabling and empowering people to make a positive impact on the world?

Georgia Galanoudis: I’ve always found myself wanting to help people progress in their life, and that may be little, tiny steps forward. So I’ve just always been focused on this, and it’s been the people that I meet. Can I help support them, make a step forward? It’s been teams I’ve been a part of or that I’ve led, even brands, right, good brands that I’ve done work for. How can I make that brand progress in a way that is positive? And I think to me, I guess, I have a fundamental belief that progress is good.

Mindy Henderson:  [inaudible 00:36:58].

Georgia Galanoudis: Even though, on the surface or in the moment, it may not look that way. And a transition is painful, and transition is needed for progress. And when I think about where we are in the world right now, we’re in a particularly difficult transitionary period.

Our capacity as human beings to keep up with the pace of what we’re going through evolutionary, and it’s kind of terrifying, and people are scared, and that, I think, is what’s causing a lot of the lack of fundamental empathy, understanding for each other, this polarization, this black and white, that comes from fear and fear comes from the unknown of what’s around the corner when we’re in transition.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis: So I want to use everything I’ve learned in my career and use techniques I guess, content, content experiences, and communication and partnership with others as the way to continue to kind of demystify the complex to help educate and inspire.

And my hope is that we can ultimately bring ourselves a little bit closer together with a little bit more kindness, with an appetite to actually communicate with each other without polarizing the discussion. I think people are ready for that, and that’s what I’ve come to Idealist to help apply the skills that I can bring as best I can to help just make a little bit of a distance. And I think the world is ready for it. I think we’re fed up with some of the discourse. Yeah.

Mindy Henderson: It’s so true, and I love your answer. I also think that you just have a really big heart for people and for the world and all of the things that you just said and the fear that’s part of our world right now and the uncertainty that we’re coming out of the pandemic with and so many other things that are going on in the world right now that are throwing people, I think that it’s a perfect environment for opportunity and to create the new, and we’re almost at a point where we get to decide what the new normal is. You know?

Georgia Galanoudis: Yeah, I love that. And we want to just bring the good people together.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis: And might sound corny to somebody, or someone’s going to get into, “Well, what’s your definition of good” and all that?

Mindy Henderson:  Right.

Georgia Galanoudis: It’s okay. It’s okay.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis: But it’s okay also to have an ambition like that and just want to make it normal, to want to be good and to want to be kind and to want to give each other mutual respect.

Mindy Henderson: Love it, love it. I could talk to you all day, but I’m almost out of time. But I want to ask you one more question. You’ve given us so many brilliant nuggets. But if there’s someone listening right now who wants to have an impact on the world around them but doesn’t know, what is one thing that everyone could do tomorrow that might get them a little closer or open the door to what they would like to see change in their community?

Georgia Galanoudis: I think it has to start very close in. Not even as ambitious as your community, perhaps. Start small.

Mindy Henderson: [inaudible 00:40:35].

Georgia Galanoudis: Is there a neighbor across the street that might need help taking their garbage out?

Mindy Henderson: Yeah.

Georgia Galanoudis: It’s as simple as that. Keep it so small. Is there a friend in need? I think sometimes we paralyze ourselves when we make it too big. So if you accomplish one small thing, you might actually surprise yourself, and then maybe you’ll tackle something a little bit more ambitious.

And then maybe before you know it, you’re inviting your friends or maybe even strangers to come and do something with you. And I think that’s how we start building a little bit more community, like one positive, very, very small action at a time.

Mindy Henderson: So good. So good. Georgia, you are wonderful, and I am a new fan of Idealist. And in fact, we actually partnered with someone on your staff to co-write a blog about interviewing and the interview process for people with disabilities last month, which was such a good experience.

So, like I said, I’m a fan, and you guys are out there changing the world and doing amazing things and enabling other people to change the world, which is just… I mean, it’s huge. So I can’t thank you enough for your time and for sharing your wisdom and all of this great information with us today.

Georgia Galanoudis: Mindy, thank you so much for having me. I can’t wait to come back, maybe I don’t know when, in maybe a year, and really share with you the impact that we’re having and invite more people in to contribute. It’ll be great.

Mindy Henderson: I’m going to schedule you in right now because I love it. I would love nothing more than to hear down the road how you guys are doing a year from now. Thank you.

Georgia Galanoudis: Thank you.

Mindy Henderson: Thank you for listening. For more information about the guests you heard from today, go check them out at mda.org/podcast. And to learn more about the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the services we provide, how you can get involved, and to subscribe to Quest Magazine or to Quest Newsletter, please go to mda.org/quest.

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