Kyle McNicoll at the 2016 Bootcamp at Wheaton College
Gordon McNicoll, a Canadian WWII Bomber Pilot, walked away from his dream of med school, volunteering to go fight the Nazis, weeks before the start of school in 1939. After joining the war, his new dream was to be an airline pilot, he loved to fly. Unfortunately, once the war ended, injuries sustained during combat closed the skies to him permanently. He ended up immigrating to the United States and built a successful marketing career. Grandpa Gordon got to WOW! And that was an inspiring example for me.
My journey to WOW started in the first GCSEN Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp at Wheaton College SE-Launch (MA) Campus in 2016. During one of the Bootcamp days, I got a standing ovation from the staff for being the first student arriving at 7:00 am when class started at 8:15 am. Most of the students were expecting to sleep through the morning, but me! Through this experience, I was reminded of what “Learn and Grind” and “My Why is My Will. And My Will is My Way” really feel like.
Each day at the GCSEN Bootcamp, the staff and coaches empowered me to push through the lectures and to actually and practically build something new for myself and my society. While my list of “tried and failed business ventures” grew, so did my love for Social Entrepreneurship, and the way GCSEN taught it was so inspiring! I dreamed of creating a business concentrated on a 4P Impact- People, Planet, Place, and Profit. Social Entrepreneurship showed me that businesses could be built on a positive purpose and profit. To me, this knowledge seems to be the next-generation guide that all businesses should follow as the GCSEN 4P Impact gives purpose to their existence beyond a single-bottom line. The more I learned about what it means to be a GCSEN 4P Social Entrepreneur, the more my dirty views of business were scrubbed clean.
One specific activity at the GCSEN Bootcamp led by Professor and founder/CEO of GCSEN Mike Caslin (Prof. CAS), comes to mind. He had the students write out specific goals we had for five, ten, or fifteen years in the future. I did the same activity a second time under the suggestion of Shark Daymon John in his book The Power of Broke. In the book, the American investor would advise readers that “Putting the goals down on paper helps [so that] you chart a clear course.” My career since then has taken many twists and turns including working as an EMT, SEO Optimizer, and working on two startups, Bio Lids and Puppy Love. In 2020, I had a real get to WOW moment when working as the Deputy Data Director on the Democratic Georgia Coordinated Campaign, I saw how my intense efforts helped flip the state blue for Biden, securing the presidential election and two V.S. Senate seats.
Professor Cas often speaks of the Hero's Journey, “A Call to Action and Departing from the Comfortable and Enlightenment through struggle, then returning to teach what I’ve learned.” While I can say there was most certainly enlightenment and reward through struggle last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, I think I am getting to the point of having something valuable to teach, and doing so takes the 3rd and most important step.
As an employee, I believe that I have moved past the “Entry Level” stage and now work with an incredibly talented and highly motivated Fintech team as a junior executive with an
“Impacting CEO Mindset.”
If nothing else, the events of 2020 proved how individuals’ actions can have a huge impact on the world and the status quo. A Social Entrepreneurship lens can channel energies in any profession to direct this impact towards a better society. My current company, Alveo, is working to be on the front line of ESG Data “Environmental, Social, and Governmental.” The hope is that with this easily accessible knowledge, our financial systems will naturally shift the distribution of resources into companies that work towards more positive values. It is through this hope that I find meaning in my work.
My Grandpa Gordon had a saying, “I always tried to learn something new before 12 o’clock every day.” Now, years later, we should ALL be trying to find a new way to get to WOW every single day! We need each other to succeed, and one of GCSEN’s core values reflects it, “Together Help Each Other Succeed” (THEOS). S
o what can you do to help others succeed and help yourself “Get to WOW!” today?
Please, join me in making meaning, making money, and moving the world to a better place via a 4P Social Entrepreneurial Impact.
Connect with GCSEN Foundation so you can also become a Social Entrepreneur and get to WOW!
-Kyle McNicoll, GCSEN Alumni 2016