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Tori Callahan

PODCAST: Advice From a For-Profit Entrepreneur Turned Nonprofit CEO

Brett Hagler is not your typical Silicon Valley CEO. While he is a CEO based in San Francisco, Brett is focused on growing a different type of business—his nonprofit, New Story. New Story uses crowdfunding to raise money to build homes for those who’ve lost theirs due to a natural disaster, first in Haiti and now El Salvador in Central America and Bolivia in South America.

Under Brett’s leadership, New Story is changing how traditional nonprofits do business. From their programs to their internal culture and core values, Brett approaches his organization with the same mentality of his startup, for-profit peers: with a laser focus on transparency, efficiency, and bottom line revenue. The only difference is that the revenue he generates goes to programs and impacting the families they serve.

Despite his young age, Brett’s experience in moving from the for-profit to the nonprofit world, growing a team, and raising capital make him a powerful mentor for other up-and-coming social entrepreneurs.

In this episode, Brett shares:

  • Advice for attracting a high-profile board of advisors—and why this is critical for your success
  • How he and his team nailed their 10-minute pitch to Y Combinator and beat out 300 other companies
  • Why Scott Harrison of charity: water is among his top three most influential mentors
  • How he remains a lifelong learner through podcasts and books
  • The Navy Seal who showed him the importance of a positive attitude at all times

Resources Brett mentioned in the episode:

  • Steal Like An Artist: a book written by Austin Kleon, who Brett saw speak
  • Crowdfunding: the type of fundraising that New Story uses to raise funds h
  • Webflow: the web design platform that Brett used to create the very first landing page for New Story
  • Y Combinator: the San Francisco-based accelerator that invested in New Story

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