In Pursuit of Purpose

Sound waves in abstract art representing podcasting and the pursuit of a higher purpose.
Graphic design by the author via Canva

This is the story of two social entrepreneurs who set out to produce a new podcast series in 2020. The Track Two podcast is our response to two driving questions: What does it take for a society to thrive? Who and what contributes to this intricate and complex system needed for human flourishing? The first season of the series offers listeners stories highlighting entrepreneurial values and hope for a better future for people everywhere.

The early months of 2020 crystalized the world’s shared fate. The initial shock of the first shelter-in-place order sparked confusion and served as a reminder of our relative powerlessness over certain world events. We confronted the reality that we needed to reimagine our goals for the year.

We saw an urgent need for Americans to take part in revitalizing global partnerships and deepen our understanding of complex issues and diverse human experiences. We turned our attention to something we both enjoy — conversation and podcasts.

Podcasts, like radio, are a way to communicate and share ideas and values through the spoken word. Unlike radio, podcasts are not limited by the local geographic area — instead, episodes and entire series are available around the world made possible by smartphones and devices.

As social entrepreneurs and native Californians, we were indoctrinated in the pioneering lexicon inspired by the Golden State’s early frontier culture. We wanted to create a podcast true to our roots, one that could rise above the political static, break from the past, and shine the focus on the future.

We started with the core belief that conversations have the power to open our eyes to new worlds and new ways of understanding. A good conversation has the power to spark positive change. We value meaningful conversation, the kind that generates insights that can strike like lightning — revealing new inspiration and possibilities.

It seemed only natural to begin our podcast’s first season by exploring entrepreneurship as a source of innovation and economic power. The traditional representation of entrepreneurs as profit-obsessed, radical rule-breakers, stubbornly opposed to any form of government, felt restrictive and shallow. We listened closely and heard echoes of the past drowning out new voices. This signaled to us that the topic deserves a broader lens, one capable of seeing its value and capacity to solve social problems and carry change from the margins to the mainstream.

We set our sights on expanding entrepreneurship’s horizon by inviting people with unique experiences with entrepreneurship to share their stories with us. We approached each episode with curiosity and our natural passion for conversation, ending each interview with a reflection and openness to new perspectives.

We began the season by interviewing entrepreneurs as change agents and exploring their agendas. We examined the notion that societies that value and encourage civic and economic empowerment are more likely to be prosperous and peaceful. We found stories of people with a deep desire for social good, who created a place and livelihood for themselves by pursuing their higher purpose.

Initial interview recordings started in June, and we continued interviewing as COVID-19 caused widespread health and economic devastation globally, in developed and developing countries alike. We published nine episodes in all; the first debuted in August 2020. By December we had published nearly 500 minutes of interviews, and our ninth and final episode of the season.

We learned that moral courage, values, and a desire to improve others’ lives drive people to become partners and collaborators, achieving more together than they could alone — casting light on the glaring holes in the old boots of rugged individualism.

We collected new stories of breakthrough innovations and advances in digital health and human-centered design. We talked to women in Latin American countries who apply market-based approaches to empowerment and work flexibility, offering others a way to control the arc of their future. We heard from an expert in American labor organizing who applied a start-up mindset to a Presidential campaign, achieving a significant milestone in U.S. history. We heard about life-saving mental health innovation for first responders from a Canadian entrepreneur. The episodes composed a season of interviews with people from around the world whose stories and imagination led to breakthrough innovations and ways people leverage the promise of science, technology, and partnership.

By the end of the season, the true spirit of entrepreneurship emerged. Many faiths and believers share values that converge in stories that are not bound by borders. The journey to start a podcast in 2020 offered a form of creative salvation through dark times. It taught us more about ourselves and highlighted the dominant values we hold dear. We learned that conversation is our favorite form of innovation.

As creative thought partners, we recognized this year as a learning opportunity, a chance to expand relationships, and evolve our work in response to a changing environment for innovators and entrepreneurs worldwide. We will continue listening and learning from our interview guests, striving with a purpose to build our vision for a podcast that serves listeners interested in the people contributing to creating a thriving society.

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Social Entrepreneur. Advocate. Doer. Fan of all things neuroscience. Promoter of thoughtful reflection. Believer in synchronicity.

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Joanne Gouaux

Joanne Gouaux

Social Entrepreneur. Advocate. Doer. Fan of all things neuroscience. Promoter of thoughtful reflection. Believer in synchronicity.

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