BSmart Guide
Rachel Goldstein is the founder of Agent of Change, a for-purpose company that uses event production and strategic marketing as vehicles to connect people who want to change the world with those who do.  In 2010, Rachel formed Agent of Change to inspire her generation and promote today’s most innovative organizations and social initiatives around the world.  Learn what inspires her to make a difference and how you can be an 'agent of change.'
 
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MY AIM IS TO PROVIDE PEOPLE WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONAL  EMPOWERMENT AND INSPIRATION.

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Passion and Purpose

Where does your passion come from for being an ‘Agent of Change?’

My passion for being an agent of change and for making a difference came when I was producing events in 2004 for MoveOn.org, a political action committee.  I produced an event that featured President Clinton as the primary speaker and showcased performances by the Black-Eyed Peas, John Mellencamp, and Odetta.  It inspired, and impressed me that everyone who was at the event, all fifteen hundred people at the Apollo Theatre, were going to walk away with their minds enriched.  The audience had an educational experience provided by the speakers and then entertainment dancing to the music of Wyclef Jean all in the same night.  That experience was a big shift for me.  I recognized that these were the types of events I wanted to host. 

Rachel shares why she created Agent of Change

  
Can you tell us about some of the success stories of how you’ve changed people’s lives from the events you’ve produced and projects you’ve managed? 
 

We've been fortunate to work with some of the most incredible and world-changing nonprofit organizations.  Eve Ensler's One Billion Rising hosted an event on February 14, 2013 where one billion people danced on Valentine’s Day to stop violence against women and girls.  My company coordinated over one hundred 'risings' in New York City.  There were dancers on the Brooklyn Bridge, flash mobs in Union Square, and a dance party at ABC Carpet & Home store.  There was an uplifting party at the Hammerstein Ballroom with Rosario Dawson and Glenn Close as speakers, a Morley performance, and a thriller themed flash mob.  It was an incredible experience comprised of people joining together for this cause.

Another equally rewarding experience was running the Equality Now 20th Anniversary celebration. I have tremendous respect for this organization. They provide legal representation for women who have been raped or are victims of sex trafficking.  We had Laura Linney and Natalie Merchant as performers, Sara Jones emceed and Joss Whedon directed the event.

When working on specific events we find the venue and plan every detail of what it takes to put on a spectacular event.  We're event producers, managing the event from idea to launch.  We start six to twelve months ahead of time and plan all aspects including the audio visual needs, budget, catering, décor, graphic design, talent booking, coordinating the volunteers, staff, and even the security.  The night of the show everything's ready to go.  To be an agent of change you need people who believe in what you are doing and we love to help make that happen.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch these organizations help others find their calling.  I've had incredible experiences and I’m really proud of the work we've done in the first three years of business.

Rachel shares some of the success stories from her events

 

If you could write the rest of Agent of Change's story, what would the next 5 years entail?

We’re creating the first Agent of Changesymposium.  I’ve attended everyone else’s conferences and it's time for us to have our own!  The focus will be on wellness,  education, women’s rights, peace, and social justice issues.  We'll be addressing topics related to mind, body and spirit inside a three day event.  I want to inspire people through the panel discussions and with various calls to action for participants.    I'm about building community and helping you find your calling.  I don't want people to come and only exchange business cards, I want people to know who is in the room, feel comfortable, and have a meaningful time at the symposiums.

Another project we're working on is developing a YouTube channel with the purpose of helping you become your own ‘Agent of Change.’  There's so much need in the world.  My aim is to empower people in order to be inspired.   If there's something you're interested in, if someone needs help, you must go out and do something about it!  Why sit back?  I can't hear someone’s in need and not take action.  I have been doing this for so long that when I do something, I go big.
 
I'm excited for the Agent of Change brand to make its mark.  Ten years from now, I would like to own a summer camp where we're teaching future young Agents of Change.  Currently, we’re creating an Agent of Change youth initiative where we’re going to be taking on projects and developing them with young people who have ideas.  The mission is to help them incubate and develop their mission circles.  If I can help anyone advance what they’re looking to do, I will.
 

Rachel gives her vision for Agent of Change in 5 years

Passion in Practice

What is your advice for other female entrepreneurs for how to effectively make a difference in people’s lives with their products or services?
 
If you have a project you want to develop, I would first use the Internet and research organizations with a similar mission.  If you care about stopping violence against women and girls, then look up all of the organizations that are supporting that cause.  Join their Facebook groups, call up organizations and say ‘How can I help or volunteer?'  My company is always looking for volunteers, capable ones, who can help us with our events and in turn, make a difference.
 
Another thing you can do if you have a product line, a handbag or a t-shirt company, is give ten or fifteen percent back to a charity of your choice.   Ensure that you're being effective with what you’re doing so that people can find the heart and soul in your efforts and you're someone making a difference in the world.
 
What can bSmart members learn from your non-profit clients and events?
  
One of my favorite events to talk about is Marie Forleo’s Rich Happy + Hot Live.  This is a three day forum of learning about how to make your business the best it can be.  It includes speakers such as  Kris Carr from Crazy Sexy Life, Danielle LaPorte who is the deepest soul sister you’ve ever met, and Simon Sinek author of Start With Why, a brilliant book that changed my life.  We had amazing women in the audience; the event included dancing and education.  You walk away from events like that inspired and empowered. 

Marie has created something called B-School and Agent of Change will be helping you if you want to get involved with B-School this year.  It’s an incredible experience that includes topics such as how to market your business and how to get a return on your investment.  B-School includes every detail you need to learn how to make your business excel.  I am a big fan of Marie Forleo, and you will laugh along the way because she is so entertaining, as well as a genius marketer.

Rachel offers what you can learn from her clients such as Marie Forleo

 
What have been your greatest lessons learned promoting events and managing projects as a vehicle for social impact?
 
Social media is a genius tool for marketing events.  Our events are high-caliber where we manage host committees and people who sell tickets for the different fundraisers and such, but we also provide social media to promote sales.  We’ll compose tweets, we’ll write Facebook posts for people to put on their pages, and help to increase awareness.  We love to promote the names and causes of our clients for the world to see.

About Rachel Goldstein

Can you tell us about your background and where you found your passion for public relations?

I spent five years working in PR, film, music and politics.  I worked with two amazing directors, Emmy and Sundance award winner Marc Levin, and two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple.  I had an incredible run in the film industry, but I kept gravitating towards working in philanthropy because I wanted to make a direct impact in the world and make a difference.

I had one of those ground-shaking turning points in 2006, where everything in my life went wrong.  It was terrible. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. It was one of those pivotal moments; after having a successful career in film, and realizing I’m pretty good at promoting things, and yet this thing called publicity that I was doing didn’t really resonate with me.  I took a breath, spent some time in nature, and after a couple of months I decided that I’m only working on projects that make a difference in the world.

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I can’t hear someone’s in need and not do something.  I take action and I go big.  

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How did your time at the Urban Zen Foundation, founded by Donna Karan, prepare you to create and run Agent of Change?

I’m really proud of the time I worked at Donna Karan’s organization Urban Zen.  I was very fortunate to know Donna’s daughter when I was a child.  We were childhood friends, and her husband, who passed away from lung cancer, was like a father to me.  I was having a normal Sunday night dinner with Donna, and I said, ‘From now on I’m only working on things that make a difference.’  And she said, ‘You want to come to Turks and Caicos with me tomorrow and talk about it?’  Twenty-four hours later I was on a Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidmen yoga retreat in Turks and Caicos and it was the launch of this beautiful thing called Urban Zen. 

For three years I produced these amazing events which included, in the first four months, a ten day wellness forum about what’s needed in hospitals.  I was that lucky person who would say, ‘Hi, Dr. Oz, I’m calling on behalf of Donna Karan, and she wants to get involved with wellness.  Would you like to come and speak on our panel?’  or ‘Hi, Deepak Chopra,’ ‘Hi, Tony Robbins,’ ‘Hi, Marianne Williamson,’ ‘Hi, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Dean Ornish...’  All of these doctors came out because this fashion icon was getting involved in a new realm of her work.  I was the lucky person who helped foster these beautiful relationships with all of the amazing people in the wellness world.  
 

Rachel Shares How Getting Back to Nature Changed Her Life

After leaving Urban Zen, I spent some time at the Standard Hotel as the Director of Events.  That season in my life lasted about ninety days.  The hotel is beautiful as are the people who worked there, but it wasn't for me and I felt I wasn’t making a difference and not being used to my fullest capacity.  That realization was a big change for me.  I couldn’t go back.

I decided to create Agent of Change to work on things that fulfill my need to make a difference.  We host forums, summits, galas, launch parties, cocktail parties and create circle conversations - events that make a difference.  I learned, from my time at Urban Zen and working with Donna Karan, that I really truly love making a change in the world.  

How has your own life been impacted with your work in health and wellness? 

Almost every day I start with yoga or meditation.  It’s become a very special time of day for me.  If you’re looking for a yoga school in New York City go to Jivamukti.  That’s where you’ll find me!  And if you’re in Woodstock, New York, you can go to Jivamukti up there.  If you’re in the Hamptons, go to Yoga Shanti. Yoga Shanti is also opening up a NYC location in February.  I am a big fan of yoga and meditation.

What advice would you give your younger self about finding your life’s purpose?
 
Listen to that inner calling.  Find your calling so you can become the best version of yourself.  Understand how you want to make a difference from the start.  Making a difference guides a balanced life.  Know there’s a big world out there you can impact with everything you do.  That’s your calling.
  
What do you want all bSmart members to know about your story that would help them ‘bSmart’ too?
 
Learn from your mistakes.  Learn from every experience you have.  What would you do better next time?  What would you not do again?  Walk away from each experience and soak it all in - maybe write it down in a journal.  Find a way to say, ‘I learned from that and I can make a difference and be an agent of change too.’
 

Rachel tells you how you can bSmart too

 
 

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