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.

[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 kentonlee.com. Also, visit his website https://becauseinternational.org/ to learn more about how you can donate and get involved.

Ever Widening Circles Links:

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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