Ladder is a publishing platform for various picture books and online programs whose mission is to empower over one million children to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews from our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship ecosystem builders, who advance the UN SDGs.
Happy to see you again! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting on planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working on UN SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure. Today I am very happy to speak with Anthony Shop, President of the National Roundtable on Digital. Anthony and his team are on a mission to educate and inform professionals across all industries about how new technologies are changing the way we interact with the world. Are you ready to be inspired?
Spicy: It’s wonderful to meet you, Anthony. I’m curious about the challenges that the National Digital Round Table is tackling. What can you tell me?
Antoine: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! We all know that digital technology allows us to do things that were previously unimaginable. At the same time, these innovations have introduced new challenges for society. The relationships between businesses and customers, policy makers and voters, employers and employees, the media and the public, even parents and their children, are forever changed. While the digital revolution has the power to uplift, it also creates mechanisms for the spread of disinformation and disinformation. This reality led me to seek out like-minded digital leaders and work with them to effect positive change.
Spicy: Digital reality is indeed a complex reality to navigate! What was your personal motivation for starting the business? Tell me a bit about what you do too.
Antoine: We launched the National Digital Roundtable to fill an unmet need. Our programming focuses on cross-cutting trends, with topics ranging from fighting fake news to augmented and virtual reality. We partner with a variety of industry groups and universities to spark conversations that span silos and discover solutions that we can all benefit from. Too often, foreign adversaries and conspiracy theorists have mastered these tools before us. Our work to connect and come together will fight the troublemakers and create a better future for us all. I am constantly inspired by the work of my colleagues and grateful for what they teach me.
Spicy: Could you explain how you and the National Digital Roundtable are working for a fairer world?
Antoine: We all know that this digital revolution we are experiencing is not confined by industry or sector. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we bring together people from different perspectives and backgrounds to discuss the evolution of our world: decision makers with practitioners, marketers with technologists, optimists with pessimists, etc. For example, we produced a program – Marketing for All: Diversity and Inclusion, It’s Not Beautiful, It’s Necessary – that featured amazing leaders who put what they wanted into practice. preach and integrate accessibility and inclusion into their work. Sharing these stories not only inspires others in the field, but also gives them examples and tactics they can implement immediately.
Spicy: Tell me about a recent initiative from you or your business and the impact it is having.
Antoine: During the pandemic, the National Digital Roundtable made a change that so many groups have experienced: all of our programs have gone virtual. This hurdle has opened up new opportunities for us, as our community has expanded dramatically across the country and the world. We have also established new partnerships with organizations such as The Communications Board and BIPAC, which has broadened our reach to new audiences. In addition, we have decided to have more very intimate events, so that people don’t just sit and listen, but instead can engage with their peers. when they need a human connection the most. These efforts have been successful in helping us deepen our relationships and achieve our mission.
Spicy: Can you tell me about a time when you faced failure and didn’t give up? What did you learn from this?
Antoine: Early in my career, I joined a local political campaign working for a candidate I admired and respected. We all put our hearts and souls into this race, but ultimately it failed. It was in 2008 when Barack Obama demonstrated the popular power of social media. I was inspired by his victory and how these lessons could be applied to organizations of all kinds working to make a difference. This belief that we can channel the energy that is already there rather than trying to make new energy got me started Social conductor, a digital creation agency, with my husband Thomas. As our business has grown and evolved over the past 11 years, we have been able to help hundreds of amazing organizations.
Spicy: It’s very inspiring Anthony! Now I believe you can learn from anyone – I love lessons from kids, peers, or even pets! What have you unexpectedly learned from someone recently?
Antoine: Have you ever been confused by an emoji, Spiffy?
Spicy: Every time I think I have learned them all, a new one appears !!
Antoine: Well, I recently had my own experience of humility. I asked a colleague for her address so that I could send her an article. I know, it’s a little old fashioned, so I joked to her that I was a grandmother at heart. His answer ? ☠️ No words, just a picture of a skull. To be honest, I was caught off guard. “Is she calling me old or my joke is over,” I wondered. So, like any confused old millennial, I turned to Google to decode this answer and was relieved to find that meaning possible: to die laughing or kill him with great skill. Apparently my joke wasn’t as hopeless as I thought it would be! A simple symbol reminded me that in today’s world, emotional intelligence also comes through emoji intelligence!
Spicy: Intelligence Emoji, I’ll use that term! Before signing, is there anything else you would like to tell our audience?
Antoine: Community is one of the most powerful forces in the world. In the beginning, as business owners, Thomas and I got involved in the National LGBT Chamber, which has grown into a large community of peers, mentors, friends and clients over the years. No matter who you are or where you are from, there are a variety of communities that you can choose to engage with. They will help you become more competitive in your profession, confident in yourself and connected to those around you. These lessons inspired me to help build the community that has become the National Digital Roundtable.
Spicy: You are absolutely right that community is one of the most powerful forces in the world, especially in these confusing, complex and exciting times! Thank you for everything you do, Anthony, and for taking the time to talk to me. It has been an honor.
Anthony Shop is president of the National Roundtable on Digital, the leading unifier of digital innovators, leaders and decision-makers. He is also co-founder of Social conductor, a leading digital services company he founded with her husband. Anthony has been recognized as an Outstanding LGBT Role Model by the Financial Times and 40 Under 40 by the Washington Business Journal. He received his MBA from the George Washington University School of Business, where he teaches. (First published on the Ladderworks website on October 29, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Illustration of Spiffy by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews with founders who are building a fairer world here.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.