“It does help you biologically for those reasons because cortisol and oxytocin can’t coexist in our bodies. Which means the more stressed we are, the less likely we are to be generous, but the reverse is true. If we are feeling really authentically generous toward others, toward ourselves, then the cortisol doesn’t have a chance to grow because the oxytocin sort of blocks it out. Either way, generosity can affect us on the inside as well as it affects others on the outside.” – Wendy H. Steele
Wendy H. Steele is the founder and CEO of Impact100, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting and empowering women to create a transformational impact in their communities. Since launching Impact100 in 2001, Wendy has dedicated her life to encouraging women to see themselves as both activists and philanthropists, bringing them together in order to unite their efforts, support one another, and enrich their communities as a team. What began as a grassroots effort in Cincinnati has today collectively granted more than $123 million to worthy nonprofits across more than 65 local chapters and four countries. The importance of giving back with the intent to leave the world a little better than she found it was instilled in her from a young age, leading her to see that all of us have something important to give. Wendy believes that, in giving to others, we gain in incalculable ways, and we can encourage others to do the same.
Wendy’s debut book, Invitation to Impact: Lighting the Path to Community Transformation (MFF Publishing, 2023), shares her personal journey building one of today’s most powerful grassroots organizations and invites women to become part of the solution by impacting their very own communities. Part business book, part memoir, Invitation to Impact provides insights for catalyzing meaningful change by giving women a seat at the table and a chance to join the movement—or spark one within themselves.
In recognition of her work with Impact100, Wendy was selected by Forbes for the July 2021 50 over 50 Impact list recognizing women changing communities through social entrepreneurship, law, advocacy, and education. She was also featured as a guest speaker on TEDxBocaRaton in 2014 where she discussed what contagious generosity means and why we should all get involved. In 2020, Wendy was named a Distinguished Honoree of the Jones Prize in Philanthropy from the Institute of Private Investors, and she was also awarded the 2014 Jefferson Award for Public Service for her work with Impact100. She has been featured in several books, including The Transformative Power of Women’s Philanthropy; Women, Wealth and Giving; Women’s Giving Circles; and The Right Sisters – Modern Women Inventors.
Wendy lives by the motto “Not I, but we.” She believes that, in order to create a vibrant community, we must understand the community first. For Wendy, the most rewarding part of leading Impact100 is visiting local chapters to celebrate triumphs, big and small, and encouraging more than 30,000 women to make a difference. She resides in Tampa Bay, Florida, and enjoys reading, writing, traveling, walking the beach, and spending time with her husband, Rick, her five adult children, and as well as her dog, Gracie. For more information, please visit https://impact100global.org/.
R.O.G. Takeaway Tips:
- Be generous to yourself and invest in self-care
- Develop strategies for how to manage stress
- Gain oxytocin by engaging in generous acts of service
- Share your story
- Model generosity to young children
- Prepare items to give to those in need and keep them in your car
Where to find R.O.G. Podcast:
How diverse is your network?
N.D.I. Network Diversity Index
What is your Generosity Style?
Coming Next: Please join us next week, Episode 140 with Tonya Ladipo