Q&A with Christen Brandt, Author of AAE’s Book of the Month

In the AAE Book Club, we highlight a book each month written by one of our speakers that will inspire and empower its readers. These works shed light on topics like professional development, diversity and inclusion, working from home, leadership, and many more.

Christen Brandt is co-author of Impact: A Step-by-step Plan To Create The World You Want To Live In. She’s also the proud co-founder of She’s the First, a nonprofit that teams up with local organizations to ensure girls everywhere are educated, respected, and heard. As an organizational leader, Christen has spent the past decade conducting conferences, training, and workshops on centering girls’ voices and fighting for girls’ rights.

We recently had a conversation with Brandt about her book, which is all about “unlocking your potential,” as well as her career, what it means to “make an impact,” and how companies can apply the principles of her book to better support their employees.

AAE: What inspired you to write Impact?

Brandt: As co-founders of She’s the First, we’ve always had supporters and students ask us how they can make a difference. But the truth is that everyone has their own unique set of resources, skills, and networks at their disposal; it would take way too long to guide everyone through their individual impact journey. That’s why we wrote this book, so that anyone can map out their own Impact Plan and feel confident that they’re taking the right steps along the way.

AAE: What does Impact mean to you?

Brandt: The idea of impact can be really overwhelming. I get it! Any step you take with a positive outcome is impact, no matter how big or how small. The trick is to sustain your impact over time, so you can really move the needle forward on the issues that matter most to you.

AAE: What is one step people can take to create an impact?

Brandt: Start with your “North Star.” Your North Star is the vision you have for the world, and it helps guide all of the actions you put on your Impact Plan. Think about the issue you care most about — What drives you? What do you most want to change about the world? And then, imagine what the world would look like if that issue were no longer a problem.

You can fill in this blank: My North Star is a world where “blank.” You might fill in the blank with a statement like “everyone is safe,” “no one is judged by the color of their skin,” or “children in my community have access to nutritional foods every day.” The key is to make it personal to you. Once you have your North Star, you have your direction for all of your impact work.

AAE: How can businesses transform to support their employees’ desire to create impact?

Brandt: Creating impact and purpose in life is more important to employees than ever. Companies can foster their employees’ happiness by providing opportunities to volunteer and matching their donations to organizations. They can highlight employees purpose-driven efforts while working to improve the company’s sustainability practices at large. It does help to retain talent over time, as well as attracting new customers or clients interested in aligning their consumer habits to their own impact goals.

AAE: What’s next for you as an author?

Brandt: We’ll continue working on our own North Stars and improving the world for girls while advising individuals and companies on their own impact journeys. Follow along at planyourimpact.com and shesthefirst.org!

Enter to win a free copy of Christen Brandt’s book!

We have just a few copies left of Impact: A Step-by-step Plan To Create The World You Want To Live In. Visit the link below to register, and you could win your own free copy! Impact is also available on Amazon.