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Meet Jenise Steverding of Gifts for Good in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenise Steverding.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a college student, I always knew I wanted my career to be about giving back, but had a hard time finding the right path. I got my start in the private sector and then moved into higher education before deciding to return to business school in Milan, Italy. As a part of my degree, I had the opportunity to work on a township renewal just outside of Johannesburg and then returned to Orange County where I grew up.

The first four years after business school, I worked in relief and development for an NGO called Giving Children Hope. In the Spring of 2010, I was asked by TOMS to apply for a role in their newly formed Giving Department and ultimately joined as the second person of the department to build out shoe-giving strategy and partnerships as well as build the shoe-giving account team. Due to the commercial success, we had to keep pace in a responsible manner, which is hard to do but I’m so proud of the work our team did. After TOMS, I worked on the organizing committee for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, which was amazing to be a part of a world event and advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Today, I’m the Chief Impact Officer here at Gifts for Good and our mission is to add new meaning and purpose into corporate gift buying. I’ve been a part of the social enterprise movement for a while and tapping into this budget to create meaningful impact is something I am so excited to be a part of!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think anything is a smooth road! My career path has not been smooth. It’s not been linear. One of my dear friends told me when I was turning 30, “Let each step teach you something about what the next step should be” and I think that’s good advice. You don’t know what is ahead ever and the best you can do is let every step guide you.

That’s the same for building a business. It’s hard work, it’s not smooth. Make sure you really want to do it if you go down that road. But if you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work.

Gifts for Good – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Gifts for Good is a business gifting company where all of our products have a social impact. We offer premium gifts for companies and individuals that are made by nonprofit or social enterprise partners who make and sell their own products to support their mission. More than 40 charitable organizations already participate, generating impact in 19 states and 65 countries around the globe.

We are the first company to be solely focused on adding social impact to the already-existing business gifting industry. We’re all about bringing sustainability to nonprofits and adding purpose and meaning to mainstream businesses. When you receive a gift that makes the world better and has a story, you feel more connected to the person or company that give you the gift. So, what we are doing is good for business and good for the world!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is viewed many different ways. From a personal standpoint, I look at if I’m happy doing what I am doing. Am I making the world better? Am I working alongside good people I enjoy spending time with? Am I learning? If the answer to all of these things is yes, then I consider it to be successful.

From our business standpoint I ask, are our customers happy with the products? With our service? Do our Cause Partners feel like we are adding meaningful value? Are we able to communicate to our customers the meaningful difference their purchase is making in the lives of others? Again, with all of these things being a yes, it’s easy to define the business as being successful.

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