Category Archive for Expert Interview

Recent Interviews & Guest Articles

Rather Read Than Listen? Here’s an Excellent Interview in Forbes

Kare Anderson interviewed me at length on Learn…

  • How I got published repeatedly in a newspaper whose viewpoints wee the opposite of mine—as a teenager
  • The deeper backstory of the amazing Save the Mountain campaign that rescued an endangered mountain the “experts” had given up on—and did it fast!
  • How big companies from GE to Unilever have turned sustainability consciousness and social entrepreneurship into profit centers
  • How to save 99% of the wasted water in this everyday household process
  • What designers can learn by studying the natural world—and how that creates hope for the planet

Listen to the Two Best Interviews I’ve Ever Done

Kymm Nelsen, host of Conscious Leadership Weekly, conducts the best interview I’ve ever done. In just 51 minutes, we managed to cover:

  • My activist childhood beginning at age 3, including a 48-year boycott
  • The key mindset shift that I harnessed to build the movement that saved a mountain
  • Why problems like hunger, poverty war, and catastrophic climate change are actually solvable—and how to effectively motivate people to solve them
  • Three ways business can profit by solving those problems
  • How to avoid getting a stake pounded through the heart of your business after a customer service screw-up
  • How empowering your employees lowers your HR costs
  • Why lying about one thing can destroy all the hard-won goodwill you’ve built up in your business
  • The exciting new exponential-growth paradigm of “biological marketing”—and the engineering miracle of “biomimicry”
  • How to convince business people who think going green or running a conscious, social-change-focused business is “too hard”
  • A key mistake the green movement committed in the 1970s and 80s
  • The two simple changes I made that cut my paper use ~80 percent
  • The way one social enterprise addresses urban poverty, creates personal empowerment, and eliminates staffing shortages all at once
  • Why Ben & Jerry’s was able to carve out 40 percent market share in a market with hundreds of competitors
  • The surprising answer: what company sells more organic food than Whole Foods—and how you can use their marketing strategy to sell green and social change products to people who don’t even care about the issues
  • The almost net-zero-energy house built in the cold Colorado Rockies back in 1983—that doesn’t need a furnace, stays warm enough to grow bananas, and has a $5 monthly electric bill
  • How thinking about light bulbs differently could save some businesses up to $4 million
  • Finding and harnessing new product opportunities that never existed before: from a Frisbee-sized hydroelectric generator to small-space indoor apartment gardens

Almost as good—and covering some different ground was this interview with Jack Humphrey (and occasional help from Gina Gaudio-Graves) on Leverage Masters:

  • Why I am not daunted but INSPIRED by the “tough” challenges of getting business to meaningfully turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance
  • The surprising turnaround that graced the lives of people like John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates (I could have named Warren Buffett as well)—and what that meant to the world
  • How to create a “possibility mindset”—in Jack’s words, changing “the insurmountable skyscraper” into something doable; thousands of companies have begun doing this
  • The power of being shocked into action
  • The surprise you can find on a rooftop eight floors above a South Bronx street—and how that affects not only the future of food but skill building and job creation for inner-city youth
  • The flip side of ASAP—you need both sides
  • How Ben & Jerry’s went viral long before social media, and won the ice cream wars
  • How to sell green products to a Hummer-driving climate denier
  • Why green is a lever to create deeper social change

More Interviews

Interview with Brian Basilico on the Building Authentic Connections Online Networking podcast. Interestingly enough, Brian did not have the link to my media center ahead of time, so this was a freewheeling, off-the-cuff interview with neither of us knowing ahead where the conversation would flow. We managed to cover quite a bit of ground:

  • My journey from file clerk and park ranger to running a business that changes the world
  • The life-changing shock at age 12 that committed me to activism
  • A definition of cause marketing—and why it isn’t enough
  • Three ordinary people—a seamstress, a shipyard electrician, and a writer: two of them changed the world and the third is working on it
  • The big problems with the terms “global warming” and “sustainability”
  • How to find out if YOU’RE ready to start a profitable social entrepreneurship product
Interview on Blue Collar Proud with Taylor Hill and Carter Harkins (segment starts at 24:23)
  • How small-scale businesses in the trades can lower costs and boost revenues doing things to help the world
  • What if the climate change deniers are right—and what if they’re not?
  • The impact of going green on healthcare
  • Why making big, sweeping improvements in sustainability can be much more cost-effective than tiny changes
  • How switching to greener lighting can save certain types of businesses millions of dollars 
  • Does green make a real difference in customer loyalty?
  • The shocking fact that could end hunger in the US

Hear Shel on Game Changers with Lisa Faulkner,

  • The Biblical command that inspires Shel to be an agent of change
  • How to make huge goals manageable and solvable
  • How changing a community’s mindset led to a solution path for solving humanity’s biggest problems
  • How hiring “unemployables” created multiple benefits for the company and the community
  • How America’s most famous skyscraper got a 33% return on its clean energy investment

Stephanie Chandler interviewed me on Writing to Create Social Change:

  • Three books (among hundreds) from three centuries that changed the world
  • How I started writing for social change—as a 15-year-old high school student
  • How my passion for the environment—and a bizarre coincidence—led me to become a published author at age 23
  • Why I STOPPED freelancing for magazines and newspapers
  • How I get top-tier endorsers and co-authors for my books
  • What happened when a subsidy publisher DEMANDED to publish my book
  • How social change got me a gig as a TEDx speaker

The debut of my brand new talk, How Social Entrepreneurs Can Thrive in a Trumpian World, was a webinar put on by Green America (my fourth for them). Catch the replay at

Karina Crooks interviews me on the Business Code Podcast: :

  • What mangrove trees can teach engineers
  • Why “coopetition” works
  • What will social entrepreneurship look like 20 years from now
  • How a seamstress and an electrician separately changed the world, three decades apart
  • How to create a successful mass movement

Brief but powerful interview on JenningsWire—a great lesson in how to make the most of less than nine minutes.

Ajay Prasad and I chat on Founder’s Corner. He mentors me about pricing, ROI, and other MBA-type business concerns, while I educate him on green business and the green/social entrepreneurship market—including three different types of customers for green products and services and the surprising answers to questions like 1) what’s the largest segment of customers for green products? And 2) what company sells more organic products than Whole Foods?

Positive Phil Podcast. We start with a detailed example of the types of products that can create social betterment (reducing poverty, creating jobs), environmental/health/safety improvement (eliminating toxic fumes and a major fire hazard), and make a nice profit all at once. Then several examples of how we can improve our engineering and design by studying nature. We discuss the word “Transformpreneur” (which I use to describe myself)…how solar can be workable for renters and for people who live in cloudy areas…how to replace boring press releases with fascinating ones…a company that has thrived by employing “unemployables”—and what I love about the work I do and the life I lead.

Brand with Jenna—Brave Entrepreneur Podcast: (Episode 90):

  • How you can create a *profitable* business that can change the world
  • The teamwork involved in building a successful movement
  • Learning to think long-term—even through a 10-year campaign

Profits and Prana with Ysmay Walsh:

  • Ordinary people joining with others to change the world
  • How we saved our local mountain
  • Why Ben & Jerry’s is so successful (hint: it has a lot to do with their corporate social conscience)
  • Exploring the idea of an international force of yoga teacher serving as conflict mediators

Smart Hustle Podcast with Ramon Ray:

  • Why every business can benefit by introducing and marketing products and services that address threats like hunger, poverty, war and climate change
  • Why social entrepreneurship goes deeper than philanthropy
  • How even solopreneurs can make a difference

Five-minute interview on Jennings Wire: “How Ordinary People Can Do The Extraordinary” How ordinary people start and lead movements—and how Shel saved a mountain in his own town.

Mike Schwager: 
How I got started in social/environmental change at age 3 and returned to it (for life) at age 12. Dialog with Jack Nadel, 92-year-old entrepreneur with a green product line. The easiest ways a business can go green—and the real 7-figure savings that are possible when counting all the costs. Why market share doesn’t matter, and how to partner with competitors

Western Massachusetts Business Show with Ira Bryck Profiles of several companies that were founded to good in the world. Green companies as price leaders. How to get a copy of my $9.95 ebook, Painless Green: 111 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life—With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle at no cost.

Bill Newman—WHMP (segment starts at 28:28): A quick, intense 11-minute trip through the highlights of my work

Ask those Branding Guys (segment starts at 9:23)

Barry Moltz:  (segment starts at 15:12)

Todd Schinck, Intrepid Now, with a nice emphasis on the power of ordinary people to change the world  (segment starts at 2:28)

JV Crum, Conscious Millionaire, second interview: We cover my first activist moment at age 3, how I helped save a mountain, the next big environmental issue, and how a simple vow in my 20s changed my life  (segment starts at 3:25)

Jill Buck, Go Green Radio The difference between socially responsible and socially transformative businesses, impact of a social agenda on employees, urban farming, new energy technologies…and a cool case study of how a dog groomer could green up. (segment starts at 0:52)

Kristie Notto, Be Legendary: The perfect example of a business that addresses social issues, the hidden revenue model I showed a social entrepreneur, how a famous gourmet food company went head-to-head with a much larger competitor, what we can learn about engineering from nature, and why wars are solvable

Leon Jay, SocialpreneurTV  (you’ll get to see what I look like when I’m overdue for a haircut/beard trim—a rare glimpse at Shaggy Shel)

Two-part interview on Steve Sapowksy’s excellent EcoWarrior Radio podcast:  (Listen to Part 1 before Part 2, of course)

The first of two excellent shows on Conscious Millionaire 


Marcia Yudkin, Expert Interview

Marcia Yudkin, 20+-year marketing veteran and widely published author who proves you can be an introvert, be extremely ethical, and still be a major marketing guru.

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Jeff Brown, Expert Audio Interview, June 2010

Jeff Brown, founder of a web-based organization to promote and facilitate ridesharing/carpooling, thus reducing carbon footprint and use of fossil fuels, easing traffic congestion, and saving its users money. Jeff talks about how and why he started this organization in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, how it’s benefiting its users, and how others might replicate this idea elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

May Expert Interview: Alicia Polak, CEO of Khaya Cookies

Alicia Polak, CEO of Khaya Cookies in South Africa. Former Wall Streeter who gave it up to provide jobs making organic cookies in the townships. Focus on economic development and job creation for women in marginalized communities, how a global company looks at sustainability/how to be Green when you’re in an import business, keeping costs down with partnerships, and organic health benefits.

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April Expert Call: Mark Joyner on Social Change

Mark Joyner is well-known as an Internet marketing pioneer and multiple best-selling author of such books as The Great Formula (which includes an essay by me), Simpleology, and Integration Marketing. What’s less known is his strong commitment to making the world better. In this exclusive interview, Shel got him to open up and discuss that hidden but very important side of his marketing career.

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Expert Interview: Hazel Henderson

This month’s Expert Interview is with Hazel Henderson, an economist and citizen activist who has taken an active role in creating a Greener, more ethical business community. Her books range from the landmark Creating Alternative Futures in the 1970s through the more recent (and wonderful) Ethical Markets, which I reviewed about a year ago. You won’t want to miss this (originally recorded for my Principled Profit radio show). Read the rest of this entry »