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Kait
Community Manager
Community Manager

Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way. 

 

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Nivi Achanta

CEO, Soapbox Project

Seattle, WA, USA

 

What is your current role? Briefly describe in 1-2 sentences. 

 

I’m the self-proclaimed Party Sorceress at Soapbox Project. I’m the founder and only full-time employee, which means I do almost everything: write our newsletters, build community, host events, and make it easy for busy people to create environmental justice!

 

What’s the best part of your job? What do you enjoy the most?

 

The community building piece, hands-down. I LOVE talking to our members and bringing people closer, whether it’s through our weekly virtual events or monthly in-person Action Hours. Social change is a long game, and it requires us overcoming the deeply entrenched ideas that business should be cutthroat and competitive. Building community shows me every day that this business isn’t about myself; it’s about the health and well-being of our planet and its people.

 

One fun recent win: we had a virtual event where two participants met for the first time, and within an hour post-event, they met up IRL at a local bar! This is the greatest metric of success I could have hoped for.

 

We’ve all faced personal and professional challenges these past two years - what motivates you to keep going?

 

Community keeps me going. This includes the Soapbox Project membership community, my community of close friends in Seattle, spaces I attend online with other women entrepreneurs, and the knowledge that we really are in this together, whether we like it or not. Zooming out and realizing the absurdity of being humans on a tiny spinning planet keeps me grounded in a strange way — I realize that if I fail, it does not matter, and if I succeed, it’s going to be beautiful and human-powered, with my community beside me.



What does generosity mean to you? 

 

Generosity is actually one of my core values, so I think about the behaviors I demonstrate. At the heart of it, if it’s within my means to help someone in need, I must.

 

How do you feel businesses can play a larger role in solving today’s biggest challenges? Do you have any specific stories or examples from your work or colleagues you can share? 

 

Businesses can play a HUGE role in solving today’s biggest challenges, but only if we step out of the mindset of “business as usual”. We have to think creatively about the core of what we’re doing, and this means rejecting VC money that doesn’t align with our values, bootstrapping even when it’s hard, giving up control, and putting impacted people in leadership positions.

 

At Soapbox, we’ve raised over $80,000 for environmental and social justice since 2020. This is a LOT of money for an organization led by one tiny person!

 

Additionally, one impact I’m proud of is our quarterly letter-writing to incarcerated people events. Since 2021, we’ve written over 1,000 letters to people in prisons, and we’ve changed the lives of our pen-pals on both sides. Our incarcerated friends have written to us saying that they finally feel “more like a human and less like a prisoner”, and attendees on the Soapbox side have had their entire perspectives changed on the US prison system, what compassion means, and how we’re unintentionally doing harm. Soapbox facilitates these events with tech companies and large corporations, and the employees we work with are finally seeing how much more they can do as workers.

 

If everyone in the business world just did 1% better and sustained that effort over time, it could truly change the world, as long as that 1% of effort and resources is coming from a place of seeking true change, instead of PR or external validation.

 

If you could describe yourself in one word what would that be and why? 

 

Vibrant

 

If you could pick a song to guide you through 2022, which song would it be? 

 

Decide to be happy by misterwives