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Lauren Bush Lauren | Co-Founder of FEED Projects, Designer, Hunger Activist & Social Entrepreneur
Lauren Bush is the CEO, Creative Director, and Co-Founder of FEED Projects, as well as the Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of the FEED Foundation. Lauren started her work as an Honorary Spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2004, when she helped to launch their Universities Fighting Hunger initiative. In 2008, she was given the Marie Claire Prix De La Moda Humanitarian Award for her work with FEED. In 2009, she was honoured as a Fortune Most Powerful Woman Entrepreneur, and in 2010 she was included on Inc.’s “30 Under 30” List and given the Accessory Council’s Humanitarian Award.
My Definition Of Success | Since I started FEED, I’ve thought of success as one day closing the doors of FEED because we have solved world hunger. But over the years, I have come to define success by my favourite quote from Minor Myers Jr, which says “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
My Highlights | I think the highlights of my life and career (which are mostly one in the same) will always be tied to the meals we provide and the children we feed. That FEED has been able to provide over 84 million meals to date is something I am so proud of. We have been able to do that through the sale of bags and accessories with tangible expressions of meals given on each product. For example, the FEED 1 bag feeds one child in school for one year. And our artisan products not only feed children, but also employ artisans in the countries those meals are being given. Everyone on team FEED is proud of that!
A Key Talent | Being an entrepreneur is a difficult but exciting path to choose. I think to be successful, you have to be clear about your vision and your mission while also being open to evolving how you do things. It is this crucial balancing act that is something I am very conscious of the more years I work on FEED and something I constantly working on to improve and get better at.
Principles I Live By | If I had to choose one value to live by it would be kindness. There is a magnet on the refrigerator at FEED that says, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Along those lines, it is very important to me to treat everyone I meet with equal respect and dignity as a human being.
Lessons I Have Learnt | The most important lesson I have learned thus far in my life and strive to continue to learn is to be confident in myself and the vision and purpose of what I strive to create and in who I want to become.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who continually inspire me. My husband David is a huge source of encouragement, and I often go to him for business advice as well. I know that I am only as powerful as my team, so I’ve made a point to hire people at FEED who are smarter than me in various areas, and continue to bring creativity and innovation to the company. I learn a lot from them every day.
I also have learned the importance of taking time for myself to recharge. I am an avid reader and may or may not have a small addiction to Netflix.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | My dream as the leader of FEED is that we would close our doors because we will have solved the problem of hunger.
On Inspiring Others | As described in the book Good to Great, which I highly recommend for any entrepreneur, I am a big believer in getting the right people on the bus. Team FEED is a very tight unit. We are only 11 people, but I’m continually amazed at how much we have been able to accomplish. I think we’ve been so successful because of our size, because each person really feels ownership over a specific area of the company, and has freedom to challenge the system and offer creative solutions to problems.
I Am Inspired By | I have been fortunate to have several wonderful mentors along the way, both in the non-profit world and the retail space. Muhammad Yunus defined and put a framework around the idea of “social business,” which is what FEED is. Approaching business with the ultimate intention and outcome of giving back to those in need is a powerful one. Professor Yunus is the father of this model and a personal hero of mine.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I hope my legacy is one that encourages others to tackle big world problems through bite-size and innovative solutions. I also hope to have helped in the fight to end world hunger.
Useful Links |