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The Power of Community to Catalyze Positive Social Change

By August 31, 2014May 24th, 20195 Comments

In case you missed it, and because it’s highly relevant to today’s show, let’s begin this week’s offering with a read (or re-read?) of a piece I posted a while back on  entitled,  Why You Should Stop Hacking Your Life & Invest in The Journey.

Before you pounce on me for going all Grandpa Roll on you, let me point out that I’m all for efficiencies. But I’m more about the 10,000 hours of hard work that goes into creating something amazing. The hustle, passion, focus, and grit required to birth a dream. The work ethic and commitment to not just be good, but great – not just for you – driven by ego or self-aggrandizement – but for the betterment of everyone.

Whether you get there or not, it’s the commitment I admire. It’s the action that matters. So stop resisting it by obsessing on shortcuts and instead just embrace the work. Because the inherent value in any undertaking is the road travelled to get there anyway. Do this, and you will be amazed by the places your life will take you.

Today’s guest embodies this ethos perfectly.

I love Amanda Slavin because she gets it. Someone who had a crazy vision, set aside her fear, took a leap of faith, followed her gut and worked her butt off — all because she believed in something big — the possibility to improve lives and make a positive difference in the world.

Looking back on her life, it all makes perfect sense. She was born to do what she does. It wasn’t always that way however. But things began to change for Amanda when she made a firm decision to just start surrounding herself with positive, inspiring people committed to advancing change. Over time, Amanda began to exude the wavelength of these new associations, providing her with the courage and self belief to then channel that positivity into her dream — the creation of a new community of paradigm-busting thought leaders leveraging technology and relationships to forge positive social, economic, educational and civic change in urban centers across the nation.

Disillusioned with traditional modalities of education in the wake of receiving her masters degree in curriculum, Amanda began her professional career as an event planner for various restaurants in New York City. Blessed with natural people skills and an innate talent for getting crowds of cool people to show up where she wanted them to show up, Amanda started to think about how she could channel this facility for good. Her first big dream was realized when she helped birth the first  Global Citizen Festival  — a now annual concert series in New York City’s Central Park that draws 60,000 attendees and this September will feature Jay-Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, fun., The Roots and Tiësto.

This experience ultimately led Amanda to some very interesting posts as both a brand and event consultant with incredible organizations like Life Is Beautiful  (Las Vegas’ version of the Global Citizen Festival) and  Summit Series  — a series of events and a growing community of inspiring thought leaders that catalyze entrepreneurship, achievement and positive global change (as someone who has spent time with the Summit community, I can attest to the power of this unique and incredible organization).

But her biggest accomplishments were yet to come.

I first met Amanda about a year ago when she invited me out to something called Catalyst Week, a monthly event she personally curates and hosts through her company Catalyst Creativ  that brings inspiring thought leaders to Downtown Las Vegas to share and contribute to the Downtown Project – a movement launched by Zappos CEO Tony Hseih to revitalize the downtown sector of Las Vegas into a vibrant community of entrepreneurship, artistry and commerce. The bigger vision? The creation of a scaleable model than can be replicated to revitalize underserved urban centers across the country.

Participating in Catalyst Week was an extraordinary and moving experience for me personally. And I was so impressed by Amanda’s passion, advocacy, spirit and results, I knew I had to have her on the show.

We live in this Kardashian-obsessed culture where mainstream media inclines towards the lowest denominator in women at the expense of the countless incredible female role models doing amazing things to make the world a better place. As a father of two young girls, it’s not just my pleasure and honor to celebrate Amanda, it’s my responsibility.

Amanda’s message is both powerful and inspirational. I’m proud to bring it to you today.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the conversation.

Peace + Plants,


P.S.: A big part of this week’s conversation is the lost importance of mentorship and apprenticeship. So this week’s assignment is to find a mentor. Someone you respect and admire. Someone who exudes the qualities you would like to possess. Someone who has what you want. Set aside your fears and apprehensions, approach that person and simply ask for guidance. Stop waiting for that person to call you or ask you. Do the footwork. Make it happen. Then watch your life begin to change.

P.P.S: If you dig the music on the show, it’s all courtesy of my talented son and producer Tyler — he wrote, produced, arranged, and performed every track you hear in the last several dozen episodes. Do me a solid and give him a high five in the comments sections below – he deserves it!


Connect With Amanda on Twitter  |  Instagram


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  • Jennifer Silverberg says:

    High ten to Tyler – serious talent there!!!

  • Dipesh says:

    High five a big one!

  • Stefan says:

    Hey Rich,
    I was looking for the burning man documentary you guys talk about.
    I’m only able to find a whole lot of other documentarys. Can you please give me the name?
    Thanks a lot!
    Greetings from Germany

  • richroll66 says:

    It’s called “Nothing Without You” by Ted Mattison — not sure if it can be viewed anywhere online – not that much online about it but here is the guy’s trailer for the doc.

  • Hi Rich, super exciting show, thanks heaps. Addicted to your Podcast these days. Makes me want to visit Vegas and feel that vibe in Downtown. I thought I heard something about a website that has inspiring content for kids. Where they can learn from other kids and see what’s possible when we follow our dreams. Maybe I am mistaken. Anyhow, do you know of a site that would have that for young kids, my son is almost 9 and I’d love for him to have access to that. Hugs – Frank

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