Impact Entrepreneurship with Christine Sanni
Your call to purpose wouldn’t be inside you if it wasn’t meant to come from you. In this episode, we discuss how to move forward in the midst of fear and turn your thoughts into things and strategies, by building a passionate team who can make it happen.
Christine Sanni has built an award-winning career in technology; expanded her commitment and efforts toward environmental conservation; and is focused on helping others understand what makes them great. She founded the #greatlymade community in 2019 to align with her belief that every human being deserves to know and understand their greatness. She goes live with her audience each week to provide life changing coaching across multiple platforms. Christine is an unapologetic voice in this new decade.
LinkedIn: Christine Sanni
Barnes & Noble: “Meet Me At The Table Where Greatness & Impact Collide”
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Read Along as Karla and Christine discuss Impact Entrepreneurship
Karla Nelson: Welcome to the People Catalyst podcast, Christine Sanni.
Christine Sanni: Hello. Very nice to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Karla Nelson: Well, you got it. It was really nice. We actually connected on LinkedIn, Christine, and I saw that you’ve got a really interesting coaching program, that you’ve just put an entire self learning program together. So, you have such an incredible career. What was the pathway to entrepreneurship for you?
Christine Sanni: Yeah, so the pathway to entrepreneurial ship for me was having the opportunity to meet with other entrepreneurs. So, I started off actually in sales, and I think when you think about the history of entrepreneurship and what it really means that own a business, a business is selling a product or service. So, at some point every entrepreneur has been a salesperson, so I’m definitely no different. But I did see, as I moved up in my career in sales, I saw the “decision makers” as really inspiring human beings. You would talk to them about how they got into the business, how scary it was for them, but the more they did it and the more that they brought on a team that could support them where they necessarily weren’t strong and learning how to develop and scale business. It was a natural progression for me. My husband, who’s also my partner in all of our ventures together, was an entrepreneur himself when I met him, and so we were just two peas in the pod.
Karla Nelson: Well, I love that inspiring and scary because it’s so true, especially when you’re first going out on your own. I think I was really young so I was too green to even know I should be scared, and it helped a little bit. But it’s true, especially after you’ve done something for quite some time, and sales is my background too in working with people. But what I really love, what you identified here, is building a team to support you because that’s what we teach. That’s the People Catalyst and the process we use with the Hoodoo method. So can you share a little bit about the strategies then that you saw that engaged you with these inspiring leaders that it seems like, was it that you said, Hey, I want to do that, I want to be that?
Christine Sanni: Yeah. You know what’s interesting? So for me, when I moved into entrepreneurial ship, it was a desire to write my own story and sit at the helm of what my family’s legacy would be. So, really with the book, Meet Me at the Table Where Greatness and Impact Collide, it really does go over the mindset shifts that I begin to embark upon where, man, it wasn’t just about entrepreneurial ship.
Karla Nelson: Oh no.
Christine Sanni: It’s was about-
Karla Nelson: The thing in between your two ears?
Christine Sanni: Yeah. It was about mindset and it wasn’t what success could bring to my family even, it was who can meet impact? So, my coming out was this keynote that I delivered back in, I believe, 2018, Chasing the Impact in a Competitive Market. It dawned on me that we could be more successful in our definition of success, which I’ll share that a little bit later, but we could be more successful if we gave. If my project moving forward as an entrepreneur were focused solely on impacting as many people as we could positively, because it’s important to note that you can have a positive or negative impact. So, where I was in life, and where my family collectively was, I think it’s important to have a support system around you. Anytime you’re doing the road less traveled, that you have like-mindedness around you to support you and keep you from getting distracted.
So, if you asked me, well, who are you today? I’m an impact entrepreneur. What that means to me is having the ability to focus on projects that will impact positively as many people as the organization can. So, I’m really, really focused on that, and in order to be successful, I believe, at going after all of these passions. I’m a firm believer as a coach, that this pursuit, this call that we have of purpose, it wouldn’t be inside of us if it weren’t meant to come from us.
Karla Nelson: Oh, I love that. That’s great. That’s great.
Christine Sanni: I don’t believe in being boxed in. You’ll understand my belief system around being boxed versus open. But I really do approach life with arms wide open that, if I feel called, I do it. I have this conversation because I’m a human being and I do feel fear, but I have a really defined and I have set boundaries around when I feel fear, what is the conversation, and how do I acknowledge it but move past it to take that leap and to also make sure that the projects that I’m working on are timely? So, I second guess, third guess. I don’t give myself an opportunity to even go there in conversation with self.
Karla Nelson: Well, I love that quote that courage isn’t not having fear. It’s having fear and still doing it anyway.
Christine Sanni: …and still doing it anyway. That really does … You asked the question about some of the strategy is around growing a team. I wrote an article on LinkedIn about scaling through trust and for me, you can get as deep into the strategy as you want. At the end of the day, you’ve got to give trust at the onset. So, as a leader and as an impact entrepreneur, I bring people onto the team that are passionate about the same things that I’m passionate about because there’s synergy and that I can give trust at the door. Sure, if someone breaks trust, we have that conversation. But number one, I come from very humble beginnings and I don’t think anyone needs to earn my trust. I want to give trust, I want to empower people.
I want to align and build a team that aligns with the overall mission because then we’re working towards the same goals. I’m also hiring to where I’m weak. So, I think when there is an appreciation for whoever you’re bringing on at the onset and that you’re unapologetic about letting them know their value and what role they can play and expound upon towards the big picture, then you build your teams. You implement, you pivot when you need to pivot. You have agility as a leader and you’re transparent. There’s more room for getting it right and getting it wrong.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. Well, and it’s so interesting you said that Christine, because I remember when I was sitting at a title company, I was 20 years old and I knew I wanted to have my own business. I was like, what am I going to do? I started seeing all these checks come across the table and I was like, okay, I want that. But when I launched my business, I realized just being passionate about giving and serving people in your team, it doesn’t really matter what that tool is that you’re using to put that dent on the universe, or as you said it, that call of purpose. I love that because I think as an entrepreneur sometimes we start out going, Hey, I want the nice car, the nice house. Especially, I came from very humble beginnings as well, and you start realizing this part of impact.
I’ve always said that I thought nonprofits should all often look more like for-profits and for-profits should look more like non-profits in this aspect of giving first. You don’t know where it comes back to you, but I think the leaders that you’re talking about that are so inspiring is that, and it reminds me of Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last. You’re constantly nurturing and paying that forward and you don’t exactly know the science of it, but I don’t know how gravity works either, but I know it works. If I drop my pen, it’s going to hit the ground every single time. It really is a call of purpose. The one thing people always say to me, amazing leaders, and I’ve met so many of them over the years, is that, at the end of the day, you boil it down, they want to help other people, they want to create that impact.
There is something that is put on our DNA, I think, of every person, and if you can get over that fear, then you can lead more into that impact. You still have days where fear trickles in and doubt trickles in. A lot of people are talking about the imposter syndrome these days. Like, am I good enough? It reminds me of the Saturday Night Live, I’m dating myself now, but “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” It’s like you’re just in it.
Christine Sanni: Absolutely.
Karla Nelson: We’re all like that. So, what are some of the strategies that you use for finding individuals and building that team? Because I think so many times we talk about the customer and the marketing and that’s critical. However, you can’t jump over building your team and just jump straight to the customer because your team is the person. Your job as the leader is to lead all of them. So, if you’ve got your head down the entire time working, you can’t help them be better at what they do, and that’s truly what your job is to do. So, what are some of the strategies you use to make sure that you’re building a great team? That they remain passionate and that you’re enabling that positive impact is on your DNA and your purpose?
Christine Sanni: Yes. We’ve been, as an organization, pretty resourceful. I think it’s one of our strengths as an organization where, because I come from humble beginning, as an entrepreneur, I’ve just learned how to do a lot with as little as possible.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. That pays off a lot. There is something to be said about that.
Christine Sanni: It does, but you also have so many platforms that you can find incredible talent. I will tell you what has helped with the strategy of, listen, we just need to hire the right people. We can teach anything, but we can’t teach heart. We can’t teach grit. We can’t teach purpose. That fire has to be within them. Sure, as a coach, when I am dealing with clients, I’m not giving them the answers.
Karla Nelson: They already have the answers. You just got to pull it out and set it on fire.
Christine Sanni: Exactly. So, it is really what we have found to be so helpful and spot on in terms of bringing on the right people and, sure, sometimes we get it wrong, but-
Karla Nelson: No, things don’t always go exactly as you planned, Christine? As a entrepreneur and business owner? Really?
Christine Sanni: Right? But what’s helped is I take time, even though I sit at the helm of the organization, I take time to have a conversation with every single person we’re bringing on and I give them an opportunity to share their story, their background, why they got into, say, design or-
Karla Nelson: Yeah. There’s a great book, The One Minute Manager, and the first day that’s all they do is they have the person, that’s what the suggested individual. Actually my co founder, one of them, wrote two or three chapters in that book, and so I read it a long time ago and I thought, Oh my goodness, that’s so true. How many times do you onboard somebody, and then instantly it’s straight into training instead of just saying what sets you on fire? Who are you as an individual?
Christine Sanni: Yeah, and I think it’s important that leaders are comfortable with understanding who they’re hiring and what motivates them and how they learn and who they’re doing it for. They have their own desires to build their own legacy, and I think one of the things that I have appreciated in just seeing my husband lead in other ventures, and I have to tell you he’s my best friend, he’s also my coach. But just seeing how he was always okay to support an employee with whatever they were passionate about and take time as a leader to give them that safe place to say, “Hey, I’m wild about environmental science or Four X or even setting up my own brokerage. But I’m passionate about music.” So, I’ve learned as a leader and founder of organizations and investor, I want to unapologetically encourage human beings to realize that they have greatness in them and that they have something to give.
Karla Nelson: That is so true, Christine. I love that. You know what, because I’ve had the opportunity of meeting so many incredible leaders, team members, just people all around the world and doing the work that we do. It’s amazing how many people don’t, you have to dig that greatness out of it. They think, oh. I was just chatting with a gentleman earlier today and he was trying to figure out what his unique offering and his brand, because he sold his company and now is going into coaching. What was interesting is that the thing that you are brilliant at is most likely the thing that you don’t value as much because it’s easy for you.
Christine Sanni: You don’t value about yourself. Yeah. It’s so true. It’s so true. I think that was one of the things that used to hold me back and this why I’m so passionate about being a greatness coach. Then, also we would talk about scaling and being able to deliver and be in complete alignment with the mission that I have, which is I want to help as many people understand and know their greatness. So, I wrote this book, Meet Me at the Table Where greatness and Impact Collide, because I very candidly say there was one point I didn’t know who I was or what I could give and I was boxed in. I was victim to every negative label that I allowed to rule over my life. So, you remove those labels and you walk into a room and know who you are, how you can serve, and that you are in alignment with the two types of crowds that will draw nigh to you because of your fire, because you know who you are.
The first crowd, and I won’t give it away but read it in the book, but that first crowd are those that are meant to be touched by you. They acknowledge your authenticity, they’re drawn to you, they support you. It’s really easy to collaborate with that crowd. But I also challenge my readers to collaborate with those that may not understand your fire. It may seem that they’re “hating on you”, or there’s so many terms for it. But it makes you feel uncomfortable. You feel that sort of discord and rigidness in the room.
Karla Nelson: Well, but how beautiful that people are different. We all have something different. We all something different to give and we value different things in different ways because we all have a different purpose and DNA. You know what they say is, if everyone in the room agrees with you, there’s too many people in the room. So, if the other person is just like you basically, then you lose that diversity, you lose that diversity of thinking and of value. So, if you could just identify it, I love that. That just allows people, and we always say hold people in their magnificence, not their smallness, but when you go and you get a report card, what is the parent usually focused on? The one bad grade instead of the thing that you’re brilliant at.
It’s just human nature to focus on what we stink at and focus on our weaknesses versus what we’re brilliant at, and because other people can really see your brilliance, it’s like stop for a little bit to notice that and bring it out. I love it. Well, share with us how our listeners can get ahold of you, Christine, and I’m sure your book is probably there on your website as well, right?
Christine Sanni: It is. They can find the book, Meet Me at the Table Where Greatness and Impact Collide, on Amazon and in Barnes and Nobles, since both of those are online right now. You can get in touch with me via the website, which is www.christinesanni.com. I would love to have you in the community and that it’s been an honor to be here on your platform, Karla. Definitely appreciate that.
Karla Nelson: Oh, you bet. We love hearing your story. I love that. As far as the book, I will have to check it out. I got a chance to skim a little on your website, but we got you on the podcast pretty quickly after we met, but awesome. Well, Christine, thank you again so much. I appreciate you and I look forward to hearing more and reading your book.
Christine Sanni: Thank you so much. Bye-bye.