“You can always stand up for what you believe in. Just believe in yourself.” – Nina Rauch
Nina Rauch is the co-founder of networking company 30|30, breast cancer awareness social enterprise Pink Week, and leads Social Impact at Lemonade, Inc – the insurance company powered by AI and driven by Social Good. 30|30 is a new approach to networking tailored to unique and unconventional groups of people usually unseen in traditional networking events. Their work emphasizes inclusivity and accessibility, making their professional networking events accessible to all, regardless of their social background. At Lemonade Inc, , she works on integrating a customer’s experience with either the company’s Giveback program, BCorp partners, or charity opportunities. In 2020, the Lemonade Giveback donated over $1M to 34 nonprofits, from the ACLU to 350.org, and Direct Relief, and became the second traded Public Benefit Corporation in history!
Penn Innovators is incredibly honored to have had the opportunity to talk with Nina regarding her path to her passion for social impact, what she is doing today to integrate philanthropy and the for profit at Lemonade, the importance of networking especially in the COVID-age, and what advice she has for undergraduates hoping to pursue their advocacies through education and activism.
How did you start your philanthropic and activist endeavors from such a young age?
“I started philanthropy and activism when I was 16. I founded an organization for breast cancer awareness called Pink Week. I was inspired by the passing of my mother when I was 13. She had breast cancer for a long time and was one of the best activists I know. She made sure breast cancer awareness was an open conversation in our home and not something to be scared of. But at school and at university, I felt like this dialogue was not happening. I wanted to make it okay to openly talk about checking up on yourself and being aware [of the condition] because that is the key to saving lives. I gladly found a ton of people who wanted to join my mission.”
What do you believe we should pay attention to be good activists?
“How to become good activists and what to focus on are intrinsically linked. This is because we often focus on what is popular and what is trending, but we are not actually passionate about it. The best thing you can do is to focus on what you really care about. Other people will recognize that sincerity and want to join you – this is something I really practice when choosing which nonprofits to work with at Lemonade We prioritize transparency in our product, and ergo, in our Giveback.
Also, whatever you feel passionate about is what you should advocate for. I think it is really important to be open minded and inclusive, especially to those who might not share your passion and your understanding. Nowadays people do feel isolated by activist movements because it’s not ‘inclusive’ — it’s like ‘if you’re not as passionate as we are, then you’re not welcome in this movement’. That is a real shame, because it deflects a lot of good and positive attention. Everybody is trying their best, so being kinder is a great way to be a good activist.”
What is the importance of networking, and where do you see it heading?
“Networking is important because 30|30 was kind of an anti-network network. What we were trying to say is that traditional networking is fundamentally flawed in that we exist in these bubbles, and therefore we only pass jobs around these people in our bubbles. Thus, really talented people who do not fall within this funnel end up missing out on amazing jobs.
However, networking is important if it’s done right. That means networking is based on talent, not based on privilege, or where you come from, or the school that you attended. There is an opportunity to expand the world of networking, which could work because with COVID-19 there are online events via Zoom, meaning a lot more people are able to access these events.”
What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?
“When I graduated [from university], I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector, and somebody told me to stick to this very clear path of work for non-profits. It did not feel right nor the path I wanted to be on. I think it was pretty bad advice. Instead, my dad gave me better advice to think outside of the box and move away from the nonprofit sector. That is how I found Lemonade and the perfect job for me. I think sometimes it makes more sense to stick to these conventional routes when you’re looking for the job that you want to do, but sometimes you also need to think outside the box.That’s where the perfect job could lie. If you had told me when I was a student that the most fulfilling – and impactful – role I would hold would be at an insurance company, I wouldn’t have believed you! ”
What advice do you have for youth aspiring to converge in the professional and the philanthropic world?
“Just believe that it is possible. I can only speak for myself, but I did not think that I would be able to hold a philanthropic role or fulfilling role in a for-profit company. I thought that only existed in the nonprofit world, but since working at Lemonade, I know that’s no longer true! Lemonade proves that. They are bridging the gap between the nonprofit and for profit world, and creating a new generation of millennial and Gen Z donors.
There are plenty of other companies that are doing social impact really well. My best advice is to carve a role out for yourself wherever you go. If you want to work [in] corporate and are moving away from the nonprofit sector, you might not have the title and social impact, but it does not mean that you can’t impact the good that your company does. You can always stand up for what you believe in. Just believe in yourself.”