Image: Kenton Lee Small Thins that Make a Big Difference Ever Widening Circles PodcastI often say Thought Leaders provide out of the box solutions to everyday problems. Today’s thought leader, Kenton Lee, is a speaker and the Founder of Because International, an organization that provides growing shoes to children in need. After traveling to Nairobi, working at a small orphanage, he saw a child with ill-fitting shoes and cuts on her feet. He used his innovative mind to ask the question, what if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand its size? Thus, Because International was born with the mission to help those in need, and what started as a small business began a worldwide movement.

Let’s jump right into this episode and learn how Kenton did something small that made a huge difference, and how you can be one of these heroes too.

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[00:01 – 07:02] Opening Segment

  • Let’s welcome our guest for today, Kenton Lee
  • Kenton gives a bit of background
    • Because International
    • Located in Idaho
    • Using products as solutions to alleviate poverty
    • The Shoe that Grows
    • 10 years of service
  • I talk about how my book applies to Kenton’s work
    • Gratitude economy
  • Kenton’s story
    • Traveled the world after college
    • Saw the need in Kenya first-hand
    • Donations only offer one-time solutions
    • Started as a hobby for six years
    • Went viral in 2016
    • Distributed over 300,000 pairs of growing shoes to kids in 100 countries
    • Bringing jobs to the areas

[07:03 – 16:20] A Small Thing that Makes a Big Difference

  • Kenton talks about why shoes are so important
    • 300m kids in Africa alone without shoes
    • 1.5b people worldwide with soil-transmitted diseases
    • Shoes provide protection
    • Shoes as a requirement to attend school
    • Kids in orphanages are the same as our kids
    • Happiness and confidence
  • Potential being realized
    • Trying to create a solution to a clear problem
    • There’s power in small things
  • Kenton talks about problem-solving
    • It doesn’t have to be the perfect solution
    • This stops you from moving forward
    • All of us can do small things to make a big difference

[16:21 – 24:51] Seven Heroes to Save One Person

  • The conspiracy of goodness 
    • There is a wave of goodness that is not reaching the internet
    • The story from Le Chambon France
      • 7 rescuers to every 1 person saved
  • Kenton shares the story of people asking for his shoes
    • Gro-Five owned by the non-profit
    • Money from here goes back to the kids
  • Kenton talks about being part of the story
    • Being a small part of a big conspiracy of good

[24:52 – 36:03] The Gratitude Economy; Businesses Run with Good Hearts

  • Kenton talks about his work
    • Does the world need more non-profits?
    • We need more good businesses with good hearts
    • Believing in the small
  • What people can do
    • Making money while doing good things
    • It can be done, and you can be the one
    • You don’t need to be the next giant
    • See where the journey takes you
    • Work with what you’re passionate about
  • Figure out what makes you go
    • Being happy to wake up in the morning
  • How Covid has come into play
    • Forcing us to pause
    • Taking lemons and making lemonade
    • We have no control, so what will we do with what we have
    • Humans are good at adapting to their circumstances
  • How we can change the future
    • I talk about my book
      • Storm before the calm
      • We leap forward together

[36:04 – 47:17] Closing Segment

  • What keeps Kenton hopeful in the world
    • There’s power in small things
    • Everybody can do small things
    • The example of Kenton’s Mayor
    • People are encouraged by the small things
  • Your actions can be magnified
  • How people can reach out and support Kenton
    • Links below
  • What reminds you that it’s still an amazing world?
    • Kenton talks about his children and family
    • You can learn from the littlest ones among us
    • Seeing life through the eyes of a child
  • Final Words and Announcements

Tweetable Quotes:

“Shoes are small things that make a big difference. In Africa alone, there are 300M kids without shoes…” – Kenton Lee

“Kids in a small orphanage in a developing country in Africa, they are just the same as my kids… Kids anywhere, they have what they need, to be able to succeed.” – Kenton Lee

“I saw a problem so clearly, and I knew I just had to do something.” – Kenton Lee

Resources Mentioned:

Interview with Kenton Lee

You can reach out and support Kenton on InstagramTwitter, and Also, visit his website to learn more about how you can donate and get involved.

Ever Widening Circles Links:


Conspiracy of Goodness Summit Recordings:



Dr. Lynda’s Book:

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV