Skip to main content
B Tennessee

What Brings You Hope in the Midst of Crisis?

By September 30, 2020December 21st, 2020No Comments

Throughout April and May 2020, the CASE team had the incredible opportunity to speak with thirteen social enterprise leaders about how they are navigating impact and scale during the COVID19 pandemic –and how they are bringing to bear lessons from previous crises such as the Ebola outbreak and times of political upheaval. The interviews are shared in short and full-length video clips through the Scaling Pathways’ Scaling Through Mass Disruption series. We were lucky to end many of the interviews by asking these leaders what gives them hope; their responses give us tremendous hope for the future. Watch the video here.

Finding Hope in Opportunity

Gregory Rockson, Co-Founder & CEO, mPharma

I believe that every crisis is an opportunity to rebuild things that have been neglected.  Looking at all we are going through with COVID19, one of the things that I am very excited about is that for the first time, public health is getting global attention.  People are refreshing their dashboards to see new COVID19 cases, asking about testing; now the entire world is focused on public health.  And so what I’m very hopeful for is that out of COVID19 we can start rebuilding critical infrastructure, whether that is diagnostic capabilities, whether it is securing the future of pharmaceutical supplies–things we were not talking about because we did not expect them to happen, we will do them now, and we will safeguard our future.

See Gregory’s full interview here.

Kevin Trapani, Co-Founder & CEO, The Redwoods Group

There is no Easter without Good Friday; there’s no hope without sacrifice.  We are experiencing great difficulty at the moment, but in order for us to create what’s next in community and society, we have to recognize that what was before wasn’t all that great.  Too many people are hungry, too many people are homeless.  What gives me hope is that as much as we have been stripped of all that is familiar to us–going to the grocery store, commuting to work–I’m now hearing people start to say, “I don’t want to go back to the world as it was.  I want to go back to the world as I want it to be.”  And that’s up to us to create a different way.  And so what gives me hope is the energy I’m hearing around creating a new and more beautiful, perfect society. And that’s the group that I want to be a part of.

See Kevin’s full interview here.

Sharmi Surianarain, Chief Impact Officer, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

We have a lot of hope here as Harambee, in South Africa, in Rwanda, and as a continent.  There are several things.  One is the power of young people to help address this challenge; putting young people in the center has forced us to listen to what’s positive and can be done in the future.  The second thing is that, for us, the crisis is a portal to something that is possible.  Never before have we actually foregrounded issues of inclusion and equality as we are today.  We are hopeful that people will address issues of structural inequality, bias, and inclusion and actually make structural and sustainable changes that will allow us to build this more just and inclusive future.  We remain hopeful–both in the work that we do, and the fact that we’re feeling purposeful and engaged despite so many constraints and anxieties. See Sharmi’s full interview here.

Finding Hope in Resilience & Connection

Lucy Lake, CEO, CAMFED

Ironically, in a context of social isolation, it’s the human connection [that brings me hope in this crisis]. For us as a team, it’s the strength of the connection that’s come through and the power that that gives us as an organization.

See Lucy’s full interview here.

Leigh Morgan, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer, Nia Tero

The other side of the health crises and the economic impact is this incredible kindness, incredible empathy, and a heightened sensitivity to how interconnected we all are–not just as humans, but with our natural environment.  We’re literally finding in some areas a clearing of the air.  It’s not a straight line from COVID to kumbaya, but I think we’re going to emerge more connected with one another, kinder, and more empathetic –and i’m very buoyed by that on a daily basis.

See Leigh’s full interview here.

Noushin Ketabi, Co-Founder, Vega Coffee

The thing that always gives me hope and is at the heart of how we’ve navigated through these crises is our team members–the incredible teams in Nicaragua and Colombia, our farmers, our roasters, our head of operations. Seeing how resilient they all are in different ways has been incredibly inspiring to me.  We are all dealing with a significant amount of uncertainty, and there are all different types of stakes for folks, and seeing how resilient and hopeful our team members, farmers, and partners are gives me hope and resolve.  I know I’ve got to find a way through this; we can’t make an impact if our business folds up shop–that’s always my real guiding light to find a way through it.  Most days I wake up and it’s scary and there are things that bring me down, but I try to have the hat on of “OK, how are we going to get through to the other side and what do we need to do.” See Noushin’s full interview here.

Visit for more videos and insights in the Scaling Through Mass Disruption series.


Bruce Allen

Author Bruce Allen

More posts by Bruce Allen

Leave a Reply

Close Menu

Historic James Building
735 Broad Street, STE 1001
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Nashville Entrepreneur Center
41 Peabody St.
Nashville, TN 37210
(For client and partnership meetings only)

The Yale Club
50 Vanderbilt Ave.
New York, NY 10017
(For client and partnership meetings only)


RVL® is a business, intellectual property, and technology firm, building today’s companies for tomorrow’s economy.