People, Planet, and Profit: Why Your Company Needs to Care about Sustainability

JouleBug CEO Grant Williard is on a mission to make sustainability both fun and profitable. For starters, saving the planet is as simple as following your grandma’s advice.

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Donald Thompson: Welcome to The Donald Thompson Podcast. Today, I have with me a good friend of mine. Business mentor and a successful business owner and entrepreneur, Mr. Grant Williard. Grant, welcome to the show.

Grant Williard: Hey, DT. it’s great to be on the show with my mentor.

You know, I, I think we’ve gotten to the place where we are just learning a lot from each other. Everytime we talk, we learn something from each other. So, it’s wonderful.

Donald Thompson: Well amen to that. And I will – I won’t argue with you on that, but, but I think it’s, it’s weighted one way and I, and I’m, I’m the recipient, so I’m the winner.

So, one of the things that I enjoy doing with our guests is why don’t you just take a few minutes and talk about you a little bit? Where are you, where are you from, brothers and sisters, married kids, and let the audience just get to know you as an individual. And then, we’re going to dig into sustainability, we’re going to dig into our environment and how these things impact business, how they impact diversity equity, inclusion, but let’s just take a few minutes and get to know Grant Williard.

Grant Williard: Yeah, so I’m , I’m Grant Williard. I’m a North Carolina native, grew up in Winston Salem. My backyard was Wake Forest University.

My dad worked for Wake Forest University for 35 years. I learned ACC basketball from a very early age. Went to school down here in Raleigh, and married my high school sweetheart right as I was finishing school, have been married to Laura, my soulmate, for 44 years. We have two kids, both married, and we have two grandchildren.

Everything they say about being a grandparent is actually true. I had – got out of school, and I had three jobs in four years. It was proven to me pretty quickly that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to do it on my own. I just could not, I could not follow instructions very well.

I am not a very good employee. So then, went back to grad school at NC State, and then formed a company as I was in grad school, and then just really enjoyed doing that. Grew that company – well, no, I, I struggled with growing that company and found what became a VP of sales, that guy is Donald Thompson. Donald and I then created something of, of genuine significance. We sold that to Adobe, and then I moved to California and spent, spent 12 years in California. Then have moved back here about three or four years ago, and I’m now I’m, I’m here, here in Raleigh.

Donald Thompson: Oh, fantastic. Thanks for that insight. And I’ve had the opportunity to get to know your kids growing up and watching them become successful in their own right. I do want you to take a minute and talk about Maggie and John. They’re both doing great stuff also.

Grant Williard: Yeah, they, they really are.

Maggie is our oldest. Maggie also went to State. Then, she went to, went to Stanford, got her PhD in physics at Stanford, did a postdoc in the UCSF, and now has landed back and is an assistant professor in physics at, at NC State. So, we’re, we’re, we’re real proud to have her back in Wolfpack nation.

So, she has started a lab, a physics lab has half a dozen folks working for her, two or three PhD candidates. What I’ve learned is that being a physics professor running a lab is really, it’s all about entrepreneurship. Again, you’ve got to raise money to, to support your lab, you’ve got to recruit people to get their PhD, and you’ve gotta be really smart about something. So she’s, she’s just really doing really well. Son, John, was one of the founders of JouleBug. John worked with us for about four or five years. John also went to NC State in, in design and architecture.

So, John really put the brand, the JouleBug brand together – created the voice, created the visual aesthetic of the app. John then jumped from there to where he’s now at, at Autodesk, and John is leading a team of designers, creating some new product for them.

They’re, they’re going in, you know, heavily into the construction space. You know, they’ve always been in the design space, but he’s leading, leading the team of how do you get Autodesk products, AutoCAD into the palm of construction workers? How do they use that design information on the job site?

So he’s doing really well there.

Donald Thompson: That is, that is awesome. And, you know, the Wolfpack Nation has kind of adopted me based on your recommendation.

And so, we’ve located several companies on Centennial campus. And so, one of the reasons that I wanted you to highlight your kids is, you think about the success that you’ve had with a North Carolina State background, Maggie and John, and so that’s just a great testament for the Wolfpack Nation. And so, I just wanted to throw that plug in as we continue to go.

So now, let’s fast forward a little bit. You’ve created a company called JouleBug. It is based around creating sustainable behaviors within organizations and corporations, making saving the environment fun and how that can impact your business. Most people don’t know they’re supposed to care about the environment, so how do we start at a base level and educate our audience on what is sustainability and why it matters, why it impacts us?

Grant Williard: Yeah, so, so, it, it’s taken me a long time to, to really understand that it’s, like you say, it’s a, big word. It might be best to just kind of tell about the JouleBug journey.

Donald Thompson: Sure.

Grant Williard: You know, I left Adobe, wanted to do something – I’d been in the, I’ve been in the enterprise software business my entire career, and started wanting to do something with consumers and the app, you know, iPhone apps were just becoming the thing. So, I decided why don’t we, you know, just kind of as a side hustle, side gig, why don’t I see if I can create an app? And started out with making the app about “How do you use less electricity? How do you make that fun?” And we actually created an app. It was all about using less electricity at home, and it was easy to take a picture and it was easier to share, and we thought we were going to be Facebook for saving energy. And we quickly realized there is nothing social, there is nothing fun, about using less electricity.

Donald Thompson: Right.

Grant Williard: We learned that very quickly. Yeah. And so we, we said, okay, how do, how do we get it social? How do we make it fun? And we then broadened from saving, saving electricity to, to sustainability. And that was my introduction to sustainability is that it’s a way of using materials less, it’s a way of looking after the environment, and it really starts when you get up and it ends when you go to bed. And really the, kind of the founding principles of sustainability are people, planet and profit, you know, how do you make all of this work so that it can continue to work forever. I mean, if you just make it about saving the planet well, who wants to do that unless, unless there is some motivation and that would be profit. And how do you just look after people? If it’s just, I mean, it takes all three of those to really make sustainability work, and that’s where I started getting, getting educated. You know, we, we were kind of approaching it from, from the environmental perspective.

Donald Thompson: Got it.

Grant Williard: And, you know, there are a lot, and, and there’ve been environmentalist around since for, you know, forever. Since John Murer created the, the Sierra Club, there have been environmentalist’s around, but it’s, it’s always been kind of an elite group. It’s always been just, you know, people who, who had found their way to the top, had a lot of stuff, decided it was time to start saving, and they started trying to push that down.

Donald Thompson: Gotcha.

Grant Williard: And it just, you know, it struck me as there, you know, this is just a way of doing what, doing the things that grandma taught me. You know, grandma was really – you know, “Close the door,” right? “Turn off the lights. You don’t need to, you don’t need to use that. Don’t put that on your plate if you’re not gonna eat it.”

Donald Thompson: Why are you opening the refrigerator four times in 20 minutes?

Grant Williard: Exactly, exactly.

Donald Thompson: That was my granny.

Grant Williard: I mean, I think that that’s just like, and we all kind of rolled our eyes when my Maw, your Granny, said that. Like, you know, there’s like, what difference does it make?

And to anybody that came through the depression, or came through hard times, who, who was raised poor, it’s like that little bit was a lot, right? And so, it was like, “OK, how do we take Grandma’s lessons and give it to everybody?” Because it’s those little bits that have accumulated over the decades that has gotten the planet into trouble.

It’s that very little bit, we’ve just been, we’ve just been kind of lazy about it. And so, the idea became how do we take Grammy’s lessons, put them into an app, make it social and make it fun, and that that’s kinda the, the journey. And so, we’ve been learning all along the way about the inventory of things that you can do.

You know, Grammy’s lessons, everybodys’ Grammy’s lessons are different, but there’s an inventory of things that you can do of being more mindful of the planet, but also encouraging your neighbor to do the same, and also finding people that are willing. And what we’ve recently found is how do you get, how do you get brands to help people make it, make it fun in winning prizes and that sort of thing.

Donald Thompson: You know, when you think about the environment – and I appreciate that background very much. How does it extend to the brands? Tell me some of the folks that have used the JouleBug application, some of the things that they’ve learned through the process because still, you know, when I think about sustainability and I think about people and profit and planet, I still sometimes struggle linking it to an actual thing that I can do as a leader of a company, but you’ve been successful in getting brands to adopt this outwardly.

Grant Williard: Yeah. I think that, that if, if we kind of just like, what’s the precedent brand that, that kind of represents sustainability. You know, there are several out there, but I think the one that comes to mind, my mind, first would be Patagonia.

Lot, lots of people, you know, you, you see the logo a lot. Yvon Chouinard, who started Patagonia, Chouinard was, was a mountain climber at Yosemite. But, but these, these things were, were paramount to him.

And as he’s, as he’s grown his company, he has made sustainability part of the brand. So, if you look at that and that – he was really, he was just a pioneer in that. And now, there are other companies that are saying “Why can’t, how do I do that?” Another one of those brands is Ikea. How do I do that?

They’ve, they’ve decided that, you know, they’re competing with some companies that are making it cheaper, they’re making things easier to buy, so how do you compete with that? They’re making sustainability part of their brand. So if you want to be buying home furnishings, and you want to figure out who to buy from, sustainability is part of Ikea’s brand.

Also, we’ve got, you know, some other companies like, like the, you know, the airlines are beginning to see that people are, people are looking at “Do I really want to fly because of the amount of carbon that it puts into the atmosphere?” So they’re, there are airlines that are wanting to help their, their people who were flying use less.

So Delta Airlines wants to use this to where people flying can learn how to be more sustainable, how to, how to use less energy, how to use less resources. We’ve got other companies like Pizza Hut who want to get their employees to turn everything off when they leave – when their crew leaves at the end of the day, how do we incentivize our crew to make certain that they turn off every single light, every single thing that they use during the day?

How did they turn it off before they leave? They use the app to incentivize their employees to turn things off.

Donald Thompson: Oh, it’s powerful. One of the things from a learning standpoint, I’ve been excited for us to talk in detail on some of these things. I hear the term a lot carbon footprint, and people that are in the sustainability space, environmental space, or really any space – if you’re a big, if you’re a big football person, right, and you talked about down in distance, right? And you talk about the red zone, you use all these acronyms that somebody that’s not into football can’t really follow the conversation.

Grant Williard: Right.

Donald Thompson: Right? And so can you, can you explain to me what carbon footprint means, and why that matters that it’s up or down, right, for an organization, a country or a corporation?

Grant Williard: Yeah. So, you know, a carbon footprint is really just how much carbon is an individual responsible for? So, you know, when, whenever we drive our car, you’ve got gas, you know, whatever size car you’ve got, you’ve got gas mileage, and that, that car is emitting carbon into the atmosphere.

We all have homes that have lights, have refrigeration, have heating depending on how many lights are LEDs versus how many are incandescents, depending on how – what you set your thermostat on, and depending on how many times you open that refrigerator door depends on how much electricity we use. That electricity is generated from burning coal, burning natural gas, or from wind turbines or solar farms.

So depending on what, who you buy from, how much you use, depends on how much carbon that you’re responsible for emitting. So how much you drive, how much electricity you use, how much, how much you fly, that then each of us has an amount of carbon that we’re responsible for. So, that’s what each individual’s carbon footprint is.

Now, why that, why that matters is that we’ve known for, for some time that the amount of carbon that is put into the atmosphere on an annual, on an annual basis contributes to climate change. Carbon is one of those things that keeps the Earth warming, it’s like a blanket on the Earth.

So, the more carbon we have, the thicker the blanket is on the Earth, and, overtime, the warmer the planet gets. Now, certainly it’s not like – it’s like the stock market. It doesn’t go up every single day. There are going to be down days, they’re going to be up days, but as time marches on the thicker the blanket, the thicker the carbon blanket, the warmer the Earth gets, and then that’s when we have climate change.

Donald Thompson: So, all right. I get it. That makes sense. That’s a very clear, basic example. So, let’s dig in a little bit. Why are people denying that climate change exists, right? Like, there’s people that are big proponents of reducing one’s carbon footprint, and then there’s people that seem to want to not acknowledge the existence of global warming.

Grant Williard: Donald we’re getting – now you’re asking some hard questions, right? You’re asking some hard questions. I think that there, there’s a couple things. I think that, let’s face it there, there are not many of us that really find this sort of thing.Interesting. You mentioned that, you know, football and red zone, there are a lot more people that find seeing their Alma mater in the red zone much more interesting than, than listening about carbon footprint. So, so there’s a lot of the population that’s just like, “This is just not interesting.” They got, they got, they’ve got, they’ve got exciting lives and they don’t, they want to, they want to do the fun stuff.

So there’s just a portion that just haven’t, it just, it’s just not important. I mean, it’s not that it’s not important, it’s just that they’ve got other things that are, that are much more – have their mind share much more than this does. There are also some, some entrenched players who are making a tremendous amount of money off of carbon.

I mean, that would, that would start with ExxonMobil and their competitors, closely followed by Duke Energy and all of the people that are supplying as electricity. And so, then also you have a, you have the situation where let’s face it, we like electricity.

We like our car. We like to be warm. We like to be clean. We like for the convenience of electricity. So the idea that it’s bad, most of us don’t have many things in our lives that we really, really like that are really bad. So there is this, “I don’t really want to learn about something I really like that’s bad.” And then you’ve got folks that are really entrenched in it, and they have paid to advertise online to make it, to make it complex. There are a lot of people that as we use less and less oil because we’re using more and more electric vehicles, there are going to be some losers in that, in that journey. And though, as it so happens, those people that are gonna lose the most have the most money right now. Let’s face it, Exxon Mobile has made a lot of people very rich. Exxon Mobile is a huge company that has been very successful, and they do not want to lose that quickly. They need time to transition, and they are buying time by making, by raising questions that we do not need to be asking any longer.

Donald Thompson: Yep. Oh, that makes sense. And I think that, you know, one of the things that is a responsibility for pushing through something new, right, is how do you educate people that have an intrinsic bias, right, against what you’re, what you’re learning.

So one of the things I would ask you is like, it seems pretty simple to talk about sustainability and the people, profit, planet with people that want to hear about it. How do you bring people, stair-step, what are some of the small examples you use when somebody’s not, if somebody is closed minded, you’re not going to be able to mess, right?

I’m really talking about the person that wants to know, but just doesn’t get it. Skeptical, but kind of optimistic. Like, what examples would you use to bring somebody into the fold, right, that sustainability is important. Thinking about your environment’s important, it’s good for your business, your employees want it.

What examples would you use to, to bring that person along or, or resources they could look to and read?

Grant Williard: One’s got to develop – I mean, let’s, let’s be clear that in order to understand this, it takes time, some of these concepts are not easy. In order to shed ourselves as some of the things that we like to be replaced by something that may not be quite as good, we have to figure out how to do that.

And in order for that to take place, a currency has to be developed to make that transaction, to make everybody whole. If I would like for you to learn something that’s interesting to me, important to me, and you’d rather watch football, I’ve got to create some way to make you feel like it’s a, it’s a better option than doing something more entertaining.

And that currency is something we, that has to be developed and that, and that’s what has to happen in order to, to pull people on board. And that’s really what we have focused on with JouleBug is creating a currency to encourage and reward people to be more sustainable. And really one, once you, once you kind of learn, “Oh, well, it really isn’t that hard to ask the waiter or waitress. ‘I don’t need a straw.'”  When they’re paid by the company that sells straws to put them on your table, and then as soon – whether you use it or not, they get thrown away. And we can, we do that all the time. And that’s what they’re paid to do. All you’ve got to do is say, “I’d like to, don’t like the straw,” which stays in their pocket, it’s never used, but how do we get – it’s not hard. It’s not hard if you stop doing your entertaining life and kind of listen to this for a second. And then it’s like, “Oh, that’s what grandma would have said if she gone to places that you gave out straws.”

Donald Thompson: Yeah. What are some of the base behaviors that aren’t complicated if we just have them a little bit more top of mind?

Grant Williard: Correct.

Donald Thompson: And I think that, you know, it’s, it’s all about how you’re educated and the people that influence you. So, our partnership over the years has me thinking about environment, my behaviors, differently than I would have. It doesn’t mean like, I’m all the way there, it just means like I’m open to being educated.

I’m a little bit more thoughtful when I’m, when I’m making decisions and that’s a, that’s a good thing. Let’s broaden the conversation a little bit because JouleBug, now, started around sustainability, saving electricity as you alluded to, but you’ve ultimately built out a platform that is now driving employee engagement.

And I want to understand how you moved from that and pivoted forward to now creating a tool that can be explosive with remote workers, with employee engagement, with onboarding tools, as well as sustainability and wellness and fitness. Tell us a little bit about the evolution of JouleBug and the different offerings you have today.

Grant Williard: So we, we created a currency and that to, to reward sustainable behavior. So, JouleBug has always differentiated itself in the JouleBug wanted you to take action, not read about it and not look at it, but actually do something. So, we created a game to do that. And then, in order to get people to play and enjoy the game we, we gave out prizes, prizes slash rewards. And those come in many different factors. One is you could just, you could just be kind of a gamer, so to speak and you want it to be on the electronic podium. Some people that doesn’t turn them on, they want to actually have a prize so that you wanted to win. You wanted to win a multi thousand dollar Ikea makeover, home makeover, so that’s one of the things that Ikea does. They use literally thousands of dollars of prizes to get large numbers of people to participate in order to win a prize and play .  At the other end of the spectrum, if you, you know, another thing that Ikea’s doing, if you do a single action, they’ll give you, they’ll give you an ice cream cone. Literally , show them that you’ve done something. So, the other thing that people do is, is they take pictures. You would not believe how creative people can be in taking pictures of how I re, refused a straw or how I turned, how I took a shorter shower. There all kinds of everybody, or lots of people want to have an Instagram moment, and they want to center that around being sustainable.

All of these are ways that will, you know, encourage and reward people to take sustainable action.

Donald Thompson: That’s that’s really cool. I mean, I think that, you know, the ability to take the sustainable action and then what you’ve done is transitioned that same thought process to fitness and wellness contest within it.

Grant Williard: I think that it’s, you can only –  just take your favorite restaurant. If you went to your favorite restaurant every night, every week, it would not be your favorite after a while. You need variety. So we’ve, we’ve seen the, the joy that people get from having a sustainability challenge.

But if you do them too frequently, they get tired of it. So, this is where then we started adding new types of content. So we added nutrition, we added fitness, we added volunteering, we’ve added diversity and equity. So we, we feel like you can take desired behaviors, any organization, any community can take desired behaviors, what’s important to them, they can make it bite-sized. They can put points on it and then you can create a challenge you can take in and give people, give points for the best picture, give points for them, give awards for whoever gets the most points. So, that’s how we’ve taken the, the idea around sustainable behavior and use that as a platform and expanded it to, to many other, other activities that, that you mentioned.

Donald Thompson: Oh, that’s awesome. One of the things that I, you know, as I think about some of the clients that you mentioned when we were talking about JouleBug, right? Pizza Hut, Delta, Ikea, right, and this is a bootstrap startup firm, right, and then when I think about our experience together at, at iCubed and deals that, that you led with Adobe and Autodesk and Katea and IBM. So what I want to pivot to a little bit, because our audience will be interested in this, as a small company entrepreneur, you’ve served in your software experience in enterprise software, some of the largest companies in the world. How, what is it about you that is always big game hunting that your first big client for JouleBug is Ikea? The first big client for, um, gosh, what was the name of the product we sold to Adobe?


Grant Williard: FileLine

Donald Thompson: Was, was IBM, right? Like, like your, your, your first big clients are all multinational clients. How do you do that? How do you stay on the cutting edge of technology that these big companies will even take your call? How does that happen?

Grant Williard: I wish I had a good answer. I mean, I think that it sounds like it’s by design, it’s sounds like it’s something that, I mean, it has happened more than once so it, it does sound like it’s by design, but really it’s, it’s just stumbling, just stumbling into it. You know, what made your and my partnership really work is you really are a people person and you really are a great salesperson.

You’re really, you know, just a leader of people. My passion is, is product. You know, whether it’s, you know, I’m a, I’m a, trained engineer, but I really like  looking or hearing about something that I, that is a need and then kind of taking my engineering skills, my designs, engineering design skills and then applying them to software.

And then, along the way, I’ve kind of, you know, I’ve been working – I’ve worked around enterprises enough to where I kind of, I understand how, how they work and that. So, I have a, I have a high threshold for risk I’m, I’m comfortable with risk. Most, most large companies have a very low threshold for risk.

So, if you can kind of take that and present it to them and show them how they can scale it, they like it. So I can, I, I am pretty good at selling a quantity of one, but then turning the crank and working with people versus product, I really kind of tend toward the product. So that’s kind of where I’ve, where your and my skills have worked well over the years as you like the people side, I like the product side. We work together, and kind of take it into big companies.

Donald Thompson: Yeah. You know, as I reflect, ’cause I think about that a lot, right? I’ve talked to a lot of salespeople over the years and, and we’ve done a pretty good job at getting our products and services into some pretty large organizations. And I, I think one of the things is we’re naive enough to just think we can do it. Like, like there’s, there’s a certain amount of just like –

Grant Williard: Yeah, I mean, you hate to say on, on something like a podcast or something that’s going to live for a while that you’re just cocky enough to do it.

But, yeah. I think that I like to think of it that I’m just not afraid of anything versus I’m caught sure enough to think I’m good enough.

Donald Thompson: Yeah, there you go we’ll go with the latter.

Grant Williard: I mean, saying that I’m adverse to risk is just a nice way of saying that I’m, I’m cocky. Yeah.

Donald Thompson: Exactly. And I think to, to folks that are listening, that, that have a business and have a business idea and a concept, right?

One of the things that you taught me early on that I want to share with our audience is large companies are made up of individuals that have goals that they need to meet, a boss that they’re trying to please, families that are trying to grow. And if you can help that individual within an enterprise be successful, they’ll help you navigate through the enterprise.

Right? And I think that, you know, one of the things I’ve seen you do over the years by – multiple times – is when we found a partner in a big company, we made it our goal to make them successful also. Right? And we’ve seen a lot of folks that we worked with over the years grow within their company because we made picking us, make them look good and neat, and we worked really hard to make that true, right? When somebody bet on us. And I remember, you know, one of our walks around Centennial campus, we, we just talked about not letting the trust down of the person that selected us. Right? That led us in that, that door. And I’ll never forget that. Right? It’s, it’s something that, that really has helped me. Not just the confidence to go after big companies, but the humility that if somebody gives you a shot to not let that person down.

Grant Williard: Well, I think some of the, some of the best successes we’ve had is when we actually made a mistake with a customer where we had maybe over promised a little bit, maybe under delivered a little bit, and the customer was not happy with us, and that’s when we rolled up our sleeves and demonstrated that we’re gonna make it right. And then that’s when the, you know, it’s like you say, we’re looking after the person that bought us. We put somebody in a jam, a little bit of a jam, but then we rolled up our sleeves and made them successful.

And it’s when you do that, when you actually do that, you have a customer for life. And you have you have you, not only do you have a customer for life, but I mean some, some of the, some of the folks that I’ve done that with, I actually have friends for life. People all over the country that I can call that that we’ve had a great business relationship that’s turned into a, to a lasting friendship.

Donald Thompson: Yeah, no, I would – I’m glad that we at least touched on that a little bit because that’s part of the – JouleBug is a platform, I’m a consumer of that. Many of the companies I work with use it, so I’m a big fan. So, but I think the, the effort behind the building out of that platform and having folks like Ikea and Delta  and Pizza Hut and the City of Austin select your team is a really powerful Testament, right, to being able to build enterprise software, even though individuals are using it right? Having that quality, that, that robustness, that, that is there. Let me ask you this final final question from me, and then I want to see if there’s anything you wanted to share. When we take a step back and we look at how do we change behavior within organizations? It’s not just the tool, right? Like JouleBug’s amazing, but JouleBug isn’t a magic wand, right? You’ve said like, JouleBug is not magic, but it is a facilitator, a catalyst for these things. What other things should companies be thinking about when they’re engaging their employees?

When they’re trying to make that engagement real and measurable, and in that powerful relationship with culture in their employment base?

Grant Williard: When I started my career way back when – and there was electricity – when I started my career, Milton Friedman, Friedman had just turned his Nobel, and, and his Nobel was around that the only thing that a organization is supposed to do is make a profit, and that everything is derived. Everything is derived from the bottom line, making a profit. Today, I think that that’s pretty far from the truth. I think people that are, people that are looking for a career, looking at careers today, absolutely want to work for somebody that cares about more than the bottom line, and every organization as you bring in young folks today, those folks are the ones that are going to save the world because they want to work for somebody that cares about more than the bottom line.

So as an organization, you need to, yeah, you, you know, table stakes are, you need to pay people a good wage. A good wage. Doesn’t have to be top dollar, but has to be a good wage. But in addition to that, you need to demonstrate that you care about their wellbeing. Their genuine wellbeing, their balance of life, and that you care about the community that you live in, that they live in, that you operate in, and that you demonstrate through your actions how to do that.

JouleBug is one way to do that. JouleBug is a way to enhance corporate initiatives. But it’s just that it’s just sort of way, I mean, we’re, we are not your corporate initiative program. We are a way to initiate, to enhance whatever your initiative is, and those initiatives better be about more than you making money.

And that, that’s, I think anybody that’s in the, that is responsible for hiring people needs to be thinking about, or is aware, that you need to demonstrate how you care about your community. And when you’re a multinational, you’re all – you’re in communities all over everywhere.

Donald Thompson: Yep.

Grant Williard: We are working – we’re, we’re beginning to work with KNN they’re the world’s largest, the second largest shipping company in the world.

They have 2,400 branches around the world. 2,400. And they wantt all of those folks to be thinking about sustainability, and we’re just a way to help them. So we didn’t, we didn’t start – it didn’t start withJouleBug, but it starts with their company, wants to, you know, which has, has a huge carbon footprint.

They want to get people thinking, knowing that they care and they, this is the way for them to communicate. But you need an initiative that gives people a mission broader than just “We ship stuff,” but “We, we are mindful of the environment when we ship stuff.” That’s what people – that’s who people want to work for.

Given the choice between working for a shipping company that doesn’t care versus a shipping company that does care, people are going to choose the does care all the time.

Donald Thompson: Yep.

That’s powerful. I don’t want to add to that. It was a great way to close in talking about  JouleBug, educating us on carbon footprint and sustainability, but then how your platform now is not morphed, but matured into a cultural engagement tool.

Right? For companies, and allowing them to meet their clients and companies where they are. Grant, it’s always good to talk to you. It always makes my day to do it, but this has been great.

I appreciate it.

Grant Williard: Thanks for the time.

Full Episode Transcript

The Donald Thompson Podcast is hosted by Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Donald Thompson.

Music for this episode provided by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

The Donald Thompson Podcast is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on how to engage your community or build your personal brand through podcasting, visit

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