May 25th, 2011

Part Two of Trailblazer Interview: Deborah Leipziger - CR Pioneer


This post continues my interview (read Part One) with Deborah Leipziger, a corporate responsibility trailblazer and game changer, who literally wrote the code, or rather the code book on corporate responsibility and, in doing so, has transformed lives all around the globe.

Today, I’m going to ask Deborah what it’s like to be a trailblazer, what’s she’s learned along the way, and the legacy she hopes to leave behind.  Let’s begin:

Betsey:  What is it about breaking new ground that you find most attractive?

Deborah:  To me, it’s fun to imagine a different future, to look at problems and find a different way of looking at challenges. I like the imaginative nature of trailblazing. I also love seeing tangible results and creating something completely new.

Betsey:  What do you struggle most with as you set out to trail blaze?

Deborah:  Finding resources – both time and money — can be challenging to support new projects.

Betsey:  What have you learned from those who’ve attempted to stop your pioneering efforts?

Deborah:  Sometimes I think I should thank the naysayers – because they make me even more determined.

Betsey:  What’s been the most “alone moment” of trailblazing for you?

Deborah:  I have spent a great deal of time traveling, giving speeches and testing out ideas and methodologies in the field. While I love traveling, it can be lonely waiting in airports.

Betsey:  What event made you realize you were a successful trailblazer?

Deborah:  Seeing my books translated into Chinese, Korean and other languages is very reassuring. Having The Corporate Responsibility Code Book come out as a second edition was also a milestone. So is the growing awareness, respect for and commitment to Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000), a standard I helped to draft and develop.

Betsey:  How do you get others to follow you out into uncharted territory?

Deborah:  Enthusiasm. I think it’s very contagious. I also motivate people by helping them to see WIFT (what’s in there for them).

Betsey:  What sort of legacy do you hope to leave behind?

Deborah:  I want companies to think strategically about the role they play in society and the role they could play. I want to inspire companies and organizations to work towards a better future. I want to be an interlocutor between different worlds, between words and action and between different visions of the role of business in society. 


Betsey:  Thank you, Deborah! That’s a great vision that will transform even more lives. And since you’ll probably need some help along the way… Tomorrow, I’ll be asking you how you go about cultivating trailblazers!  And, I’m looking forward to your answers.  So, to be continued… 


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Welcome to Fresh Tracks, Inc.™ Guide Posts – Our Founder/CEO, Betsey Dalbeck, created this blog to IGNITE trailblazing leadership in CEOs and their leadership teams. Purpose: 1) Keep clients and colleagues focused on innovation, 2) Offer actionable advice, 3) Build knowledge and confidence, and 4) Create a forum of idea exchange for Trailblazers. Bookmark and Share Check out my profile!