EP013: Kat Calvin is Spreading the Vote

Episode Headshot - Dialogue Lab Podcast (3).png

SUBSCRIBE IN:    iTunes   |   Android   |   Stitcher   |   Google Play 

This week, I speak with Kat Calvin, the founder of Spread the Vote.

After the Supreme Court took the teeth out of the voting rights act in 2013, conservative lawmakers started passing Voter ID laws around the country. So now we have eligible voters in 34 states that are turned away from polling stations because they don’t have a state-issued ID.

So Kat founded Spread the Vote as a way to get people their IDs, so they know they can vote, and so that they won’t be turned away at polling stations on Election Day.

Kat was recognized in Fast Company's 2018 list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business, and was named one of Business Insider’s 30 Under 30. She was also featured in one of BET's Black History Month profiles.

We talked about:

  • What motivated her to build Spread the Vote from scratch

  • How leadership means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and then putting your ego aside when it’s time to let someone else’s strengths shine

  • The crucial difference between being a CEO/executive director, and being a founder

  • What life looks like as someone at the head of an ambitious organization working to secure people’s voting rights in the run up to a major election

Get this episode’s Antidote to Burnout Culture 

ANTIDOTE is an every-other-week email, inspired by my work with clients, and my conversations with social impact leaders and innovators on the Dialogue Lab podcast. 

For instance, one of the things Kat and I talked about was how successful social impact leaders don’t try to go it alone. They check their egos at the door, so they can prioritize what’ most important: their missions. And Kat talked about how you can usually tell when someone is letting their ego drive the bus -- driving away people who might help. And if you ask me, the fact that it’s easy to spot -- that’s good news.

Because spotting it is the first step to repairing and building the kind of strong partnerships you need to pull off your ambitious vision for change.

I’ll be sending out an email the Tuesday after this episode goes live with some of the key signs that tell you it might be time to take a look at who is driving your bus. Make sure you don’t miss it by subscribing below.

Interview Highlight:

[37:10]: “I think it comes from, how much you actually care about your mission. I actually really do just want to get as many people IDs as possible, so I know I need help to do that. Because I can’t do it alone. So if I actually really care about the damn turtles or whatever else. Then I’m going to do whatever it takes to fulfill my goal. Anyone who has been in this startup or nonprofit world knows plenty of people who only started something because it seemed glamorous, and they wanted to be on podcasts or in the press or whatever. And so they wanted to start things by themselves, and not have any partners or co-founders, because they wanted all of the credit, and never really actually cared about the product they were building or the mission or whatever. And they inevitably fail.”

A big thanks to our sponsors:

Equality Hive is a Manhattan based ghostwriting and copywriting service for thought-leaders in the social evolutionary sector. Visit equalityhive.com to find out more and join the community.

The Brotherhood Community is for self-identified men who want to be part of building a world where they are able to lead with strength, vulnerability, and an open heart. www.brotherhoodcommunity.com