Moving the Needle

Moving the Needle

Highlighting innovators doing needle moving sh!t to create generational wealth and inclusive competitiveness. Communities worldwide are at an inflection point. In the devastating wake of COVID, there are unparalleled opportunities to move the needle on realizing truly inclusive prosperity, fueled by dynamic economic growth. In this moment, communities can make bold, strategic, and equitable investments. Needle moving investments not only generate catalytic and sustained community impact, but also provide meaningful financial returns for the impact investors behind them. Moving the Needle is a podcast series featuring conversations with a globally curated mix of policymakers, philanthropists, private investors, and social innovators who are driving break-through investments that move the needle. Hosted by Christopher Gergen and Johnathan Holifield, an uncommon pairing who arrived at the common need for “doing needle moving sh#t” from very different lived experiences. Through the podcast, Gergen and Holifield invite guests to share their own lived experiences and what led them to their transformative investment theses. Designed to be highly interactive, energetic, and personal, the conversation will leave listeners with a deeper understanding of how investment can be channeled for the greater good, inspired by the stories behind the innovation, and excited to learn more about each guest.


March 27, 2023 48 min

President Biden has appointed today's guest Alejandra Castillo to head the Economic Development Administration, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.

For Assistant Secretary Castillo, having grown up in New York City and then the Dominican Republic, and as the daughter of entrepreneurs, she know...

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Today's guest is Darrin Redus, CEO of the Cincinnati Minority Business Accelerator within the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Accelerator has recently launched a $100 million transformational equity capital fund to fuel the creation of larger scale minority owned businesses, and Darrin is here to give us all of the details of what that means and the impact it will have in addressing long-standing economic ...

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Bitwise Industries fuels the growth of tech economies in underestimated cities, powered by underestimated talent - through workforce development, enterprise tech services, and placemaking in under-invested areas.  Bitwise cofounders Irma Olguin Jr and Jake Soberal are truly moving the needle, and today we hear their reasons for starting the company, what they've accomplished so far, and what's on the horizon for the rapidl...

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Rodney Williams saw it firsthand. His mom would get paid on Monday, and the bill would be due on Thursday. With getting to the bank, having the check clear, and having access in her account, sometimes that meant the check would bounce. And the lights would turn off. And the food in the refrigerator would go bad. And there would be a shut off fee PLUS a turn on fee PLUS a bounced check fee.  So being late meant a perpetual ...

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Christopher Gergen and Johnathan Holifield come from completely different backgrounds. One was born into power and privilege in a political family in DC. One grew up in blue collar Detroit where you had to work hard to survive.  Through their careers and personal growth, they've ended up with the same goals - to raise awareness that we're not all on an equal playing field - and ultimately move the needle in closing the gen...

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Today we're sharing an episode of a podcast that shares our mission to move the needle - WorkforceRX with Futuro Health.

Johnathan Holifield spent many years deeply involved in neighborhood and community development work without really moving the needle until he discovered the game-changing nature of the innovation economy. “The stuff we were doing was good work, but we were focused on largely inelastic career opportunities...

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Today we're sharing an episode of a podcast that shares our mission to move the needle - Inside Impact with Alisa Herr.

Christopher Gergen's first entrepreneurial venture—a coffee shop bar in Santiago, Chile—was impactful, but more impactful was the man who walked in and introduced himself as a "cultural entrepreneur." In this episode, hear how that first project inspired him to support founders and transform entrepreneursh...

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When you’re running a small business, you’ll take all the resources you can get, especially access to capital. But many founders have no idea where to begin to look for funding and wouldn’t even think to look at the federal government. But America’s Seed Fund, the small business innovation research program, now distributes over $4 BILLION a year to over 4000 small businesses across the United States.

Jennifer Shieh is t...

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October 10, 2022 51 min

As we talk about the racial wealth gap it’s critical to highlight the importance of owning assets.  At the end of 2020, 44% of Black Americans owned their homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, compared with almost 75% of White Americans. That’s an unconscionable difference.  One of the ways to build generational wealth is through owning assets like land, a home, or even retail property. 

Today we talk to someone w...

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September 26, 2022 47 min

Tracy Palandjian is moving the needle. She's the CEO of Social Finance, a national impact finance and advisory nonprofit that has mobilized $350 million in new investments designed to help 45,000 people realize improved outcomes in education, economic mobility, health, and housing.

Earlier this year, Social Finance partnered with Google on $100M innovative investment program that will upskill and place 20,000 Americans ...

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September 26, 2022 41 min

Median Black wealth is 12 times less than median White wealth, and it is estimated that median Black wealth by 2053 will be zero.

Our guest today is Aaron Walker, CEO of Camelback Ventures based in New Orleans.  Camelback’s mission is to increase access to opportunity for entrepreneurs of color and women by investing in their ventures and leadership while advocating for fairness in their funding.

Moving the Needle is ho...

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September 26, 2022 54 min

On the first episode of Moving the Needle, we are thrilled to bring you Harold Martin, the esteemed Chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University.

One of the greatest opportunities to improve economic mobility and generate wealth is quality education.  Today, we talk about why Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in general - and NC A&T specifically - are national assets worthy of investment, pro...

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June 15, 2022 3 min

Welcome to Moving the Needle, a fresh new podcast that explores how innovators and problem solvers are doing transformative work in cities and rural communities to create new pathways for generational wealth creation. Our goal is to lift up solutions that are giving us hope and light the way for policy makers, community leaders, philanthropists, private investors, and engaged citizens who care about equity and economic imp...

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