Jan. 14, 2020

#8 Paula Daniels: Living on the edge of your own invention

Paula Daniels is an award-winning social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow with a deep history in food and water policy. She's the founder of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, a nationwide program that uses the power of procurement at large public institutions to create a transparent and equitable food system that prioritizes the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment. They are currently partnered with 18 cities and 40 large public institutions, impacting more than 2.2 million meals a day and something on the order of a billion dollars of institutional food spending each year.

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Show notes

  • Paula's favorite movie that informs her work [0:02:41]
  • Paula's mentor: Dorothy Green [0:05:20]
  • How Paula originally got involved in environmental work [0:06:56]
  • What did Paula learn from Dorothy? [0:10:45]
  • Being against something vs being FOR something [0:13:35]
  • LAFPC's origin story & what was it like for Paula when the policy passed? [0:14:56]
  • Keeping the light alive & finding the others [0:20:35]
  • The moment that almost killed it all [0:24:49]
  • What did Paula feel when it suddenly became real? [0:26:38]
  • Where is the Center for Good Food Purchasing today? How'd it get here? [0:30:30]
  • How should someone think about working with many types of stakeholders? [0:33:35]
  • "I saw people yelling at a junior staffer, as if he didn't have feelings. So I stood up there and told the story of this human being...sometimes people in government are seen for their role and not for their person." [0:36:40]
  • How does Paula coach somebody to be effective working with people who are different than they are? [0:37:20]
  • Case study: How Paula got the city of LA to change their thinking on stormwater [0:39:00]
  • "Usually it's fear-based thinking. They don't want to mess up. So they're worried about something. If you can figure out what that something is, give them examples of how it's handled differently, then you can start making a difference." [0:40:25]
  • How do you redirect a culture or group of people? [0:41:39]
  • Why government & entrepreneurs is like baseball & surfing [0:42:13]
  • The circular economy: what's catching Paula's attention? [0:44:33]
  • Why is this the time to engage with the idea of the circular economy? [0:49:48]
  • How does Paula teach people to be a systems thinker? [0:53:08]
  • Paula's monthly whiteboard review exercise [0:54:04]
  • Polarity management [0:56:13]
  • How does Paula design an intervention? [1:02:52]
  • What lights Paula up? [1:10:28]
  • Quotes & mantras that inspire Paula [1:11:59]
  • "You're always on the edge of your own invention. And every moment has that opportunity." [1:13:56]

People, books, companies, resources etc mentioned in episode

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