Wine to Water: How pragmatism can change our world

I had the privilege of seeing CNN hero Doc Henley speak at the National Speakers Association Influence ’11 event on Monday. Not only was his cause and message incredibly important but I was struck by Doc’s authenticity and full-body commitment to the change he wants to see in the world.

A former bartender, Doc began his first fundraiser to help provide water to the people of Darfur after reading a statistic that moved him deeply: Nearly one billion people lack access to clean water.

What is unique is the way Doc went about making his project a reality and that story has informed the definition of the brand itself. It is also the alignment between values, purpose and branding that makes ‘Wine to water’ such a compelling story and lesson in purposeful marketing. Doc explains the genesis of the non-profit this way:

“When the idea came to me to start Wine To Water the only real world job experience I had was tending bar. I dreamed of building an organization that fought water related death and disease using completely different methods than anyone else. So I started raising money to fight this water epidemic the best way I knew how, by pouring wine and playing music.”

This same pragmatism is enabling Wine to Water to provide unique insights into addressing the water crisis by training locals in the field to repair their own wells, by empowering local tradesmen and women to make the necessary parts, and by engaging local ingenuity to transform broken tractors into drilling rigs.

One of the deepest inspirations for writing We First was the desire to bring the best of private sector thinking and behavior to bear on persistent social problems. Doc and his team is making this possible with his bare hands, local ingenuity and the inspiration he provides for others to do same.

I strongly believe that there is no social problem we cannot solve is we commit to working together to finding a sustainable solution. Doc and so many others like him are not just inspirations but are doing the work to find those solutions. Please support ‘Water to Wine’ by visit their site and challenge yourself as to how your skills sets can be used to accelerate or scale social change. Everything we need is within us.

You can follow ‘Wine to Water’ on twitter @wine_to_water and at their Facebook page.