Geoff Livingston is our latest Huggable Person. From his bio: “He is an author, public speaker and marketing strategist who has dedicated his career to helping mindful companies and nonprofits achieve social change.” He’s also a husband, a dad and an all around good guy. I sat in on a talk of his at my first social media event in PodCamp Philly 2007, and he made a great impression then. He knows his stuff, and communicates it with ease. I heard him speak this fall at #PodCampEast and he’s still a dynamic speaker with a new book out, Marketing In the Round (co-authored with Gini Dietrich*), and new social change projects up his sleeve including Hunger to Hope this Tuesday, October 16, 2012.
- He’s working with Razoo and Yum Brands to feed children on World Hunger Day this October 16. The week afterwards, he’s hosting a Punish Geoff fundraiser and run a Tough Mudder to help stop child trafficking globally.
- Hunger to Hope, the URL is http://hungertohope.razoo.com/p/world-food-day-2012 -
- https://www.facebook.com/WorldHungerRelief; and on Twitter @WldHungerRelief #hungertohope
Q1 Cathy Larkin: What drives you to help people or to reach out to others? You’ve often been involved in cause marketing or “social good” projects in addition to your small business marketing & PR work. What motivates this part of who you are and what you do?
A1 Geoff Livingston: Well, I have had a troubled past, and I think a good part of what drives me is regret for that past and a desire to make amends.
Now, today I feel like I have done that, but I continue to move forward, become a better man, and invest in our society. In large part, I continue to act because I am grateful for what I consider to be a second chance, and the many good things in my life. Other people deserve second chances, too. We all do.
It’s also important to stay on the edge of life and remember that fortune and fate are not always generous, and that we, too, can suffer as those whom we are helping suffer. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. Working for social change keeps me humble and reminds me of this.
Q2 Cathy Larkin: How has having your daughter affected what you do…has it informed your work on projects that make a difference in the larger world? Please tell us about it briefly.
A2 Geoff Livingston: Well, I am much more inclined to work with children’s causes. Having a child helps you see how great life can be because everything to them is so amazing and new. Even pain is pure, falling down and scratching your knee is tragic when you are two years old!
So, this purity makes me feel that we have to fight for children and our youth to give them the very best opportunities possible. They may not rise to the occasion, but they certainly deserve to have the chance.
In today’s world fewer and fewer people have an equal chance to experience greatness, instead suffering from the moment they are born. That really upsets me.
Q3 Cathy Larkin: I understand you are involved in a social good project that culminates soon, October 16th, World Hunger Day (on Twitter: #WorldHungerDay). Tell us a bit about it, what is happening and why it is important? What actions you hope readers will take, and if there is anything that you, personally, have learned from this project that you feel the people really need to be aware of?
A3 Geoff Livingston: Some projects are better than others. Anytime I get a chance to engage in a little social good for work, I’m thrilled, and as a Dad even more so when it helps children. That’s why I am so pumped to work on the World Hunger Relief Project.
It’s a project to help Razoo and Yum! Brands support the World Food Programme’s World Hunger Day effort this October 16. Our goal is to get 10,000 people to raise $200,000 and impact tens of thousands of children’s lives globally. The money helps kids get fed so they can be attentive and succeed in school. Yum! has already contributed to the effort.
The philanthropic goal encourages people to participate in small acts like a social share or a $10 or $25 donation.
These small acts do make a big difference. To give you an idea of how that plays out here:
Just $10 feeds 40 children.
Just $25 feeds a child in need during school for a half year.
We are also looking for people to blog or donate tweets to the effort.
While more crass online pundits dismiss the value of expending social equity for a giving day, we know differently. Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication released a significant study earlier this year that demonstrates social sharing does impact charitable actions and giving.
If you like the idea, please check the sites above, and join me in this effort.
Q4 Cathy Larkin: Give our readers a link to a fav blog post of yours from the past that gets lost on your site, and why this link?
A4 Geoff Livingston: I really like this post “How a Child Changes You”
I think this really explains that profound change that happens when a child enters your life. It is that love, that primal switch that turns on when you become a parent. Almost every parent I know who read it, agreed, and said something to me privately or online.
Q5: A favorite quote of yours:
A5: “In the woods, we return to reason and faith.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Q6 Cathy Larkin: When you take break from work, where will we most likely find you, or what will you most likely be doing:
A6 Geoff Livingston: Either travelling to a cool city, spending time in some incredible wilderness, or breathing at a Zen retreat. The latter two tend to be more refreshing, and I just love taking photos in the wild, so to speak. My favorite vacation of all time was to Patagonia. It was just a surreal, meditative trip that I hope to retake again sometime in the future.
Q7 Cathy Larkin: If you could take 50 to 100 people, who you’ve met or interacted with via social media or your business, anyplace in the world for a long weekend (at no cost, and with no loss of business) – where would take them? and why?
A7 Geoff Livingston: Barcelona. Great spirit, good times, fantastic food, and beautiful sites. What better place to meet and be social?
Q8: Is there a site or person that you want to nominate for a feature/interview on HuggablePeople.com?
A8: Geoff Livingston: Yes, my co-author for Marketing in the Round Gini Dietrich* (spinsucks.com). Gini is one of the most likeable people you have ever met, and she is absolutely 100% committed to changing and reforming the public relations sector. She also helped me personally when my house was hit with a flood and when I was struggling with my blog. [Editor’s Note: I’ve met Gini & really respect her opinions, so we’ll queue her up for a feature in the future].