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Samuel Rubin
Yea! Imapct
How To Have Social Impact Without Being Political
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Samuel hails from Barcelona, Spain and believes in the power of passion and creative marketing to make the world a better place. ​ YEA! Impact is a response-driven agency that produces impact events (live and digital), campaigns, content (TV/Film/Apps), divisions/initiatives (companies, brands) and offers a wide variety of advisory services. We believe in responsive impact, an activation method entailing unique community outreach and long-term action plans, with a goal of ensuring cumulative effects and intersectional growth. To date, the budding agency has worked on campaigns and impact projects with Rogers & Cowan PMK, The Abaunza Group, Bloomberg Philanthropies, DocSociety, ExposureLabs, & more. The agency was born from the organization, Young Entertainment Activists which programs responsive impact initiatives, events, and content to empower our community of 4K+ Young Hollywood leaders to make an impact in their industry and in the world.

In this episode

The biggest social impact a business has is who do you employ and how do you treat them, advocates Samuel Rubin of Yea! Impact.

Samuel argues that the social impact strategy for a business shouldn't be reacting to every event and cause in the world and ensuring every response must be "politically correct". Your social impact activities shouldn't be performative but community-driven and designed for long-term, sustainable impact. Social impact starts with implementing your mission and values within your organization and staying true to those beliefs. Samuel cautions not to feel that you have to weigh-in on every trend embraced by large multinationals. Start small by implementing your specific mission and values within your organization. Social impact is best created by building coalitions. Samuel suggests basing the development of your social impact strategy on the Theory Of Change.

How To Have Social Impact Without Being PoliticalSamuel Rubin
00:00 / 26:50

A glimpse of what you'll hear

02:32 A business shouldn't view social impact as performative but instead focus on internal and external communities in which it exists.

05:55 Social impact starts with living up to your mission and values.

09:02 If you focus on your people, you'll avoid getting caught in identity politics.

12:08 How your business can benefit by acting in a socially responsible way.

15:11 An effective implementation strategy for social impact starts with the Theory Of Change.

19:04 Learn about Samuel. Email Samuel at

Episode Transcript
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)

Centricity Introduction 0:04

Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.

Jay Kingley 0:43

I'm Jay Kingley, co founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to another episode of our Best Kept Secret show where I'm happy to welcome Samuel Rubin, founder and principal of Yea! Impact. Yea! Impact is a response driven agency that produces impact events, live and digital campaigns and content for companies up to $1 billion in revenue. Samuel is from Barcelona, Spain, is now based in Los Angeles, California. Welcome to the show, Samuel,

Samuel Rubin 1:18

Thank you so much for having me Jay.

Jay Kingley 1:21

It's a it's a real pleasure. Now, Samuel, what I want to talk to you about today is the what I think is the very tricky landscape of social impact and how social impact relates to businesses and how business executives need to navigate, which I think, to so many is a minefield, filled with potential disaster. It's a little bit I think, damned if you do damned if you don't. There's expectations in society, I would say, particularly from our younger people that are becoming adults, that companies not sit on the fence and engage in issues that are relevant to society. But I think many business executives are struggling to see how they can accomplish that, without getting themselves in their business blown up at the same time, and I know this is an area of expertise of yours. So tell us what is it that business executives are thinking about incorrectly? When it comes to social impact?

Samuel Rubin 2:39

Yeah, I think about interesting question to get started with because it is in the problem, and how much of executive see it and fear it. I passionately believe that the reason why that is this like, I don't know, yeah, I'm fear of social impact because some people choose to see it as bigger than it is. They think that if you start associating because your strategy, you're gonna care about sustainability, inclusion and diversity, make sure that your employees are happy. And then your social media talks about every issue out there. You'll know about every single crisis and genocide going on, and you're always sharing the political world. And like you say, If you're don't, you're going to be cancelled. It's going to be the end of your business. Oh, my God better not to say anything. And that's absolutely the wrong way of looking at it. Because it's not productive. If that is short minded. I mean, you're basically talking about an executive who is not really thinking of a cumulative responsible strategy, but more like a reactionary. Oh, we'll have to put out fire, we'll have to now say something about me, too, would have to say you know, something about Black Lives Matter. We're going to say nothing about Asia. And that's not organic, and that's not effective. And that's what young people call performative because part of America, it seems bullshit. And it seemed blah, blah, blah. And I think that the shift that we see here that maybe a few executives are worried about, because, of course that that shift in mentality moving on from what some people call corporate pride, you know, like, I'm here, I'm when I go to the Pride Parade and I say, all these banks and all these companies who are sending paraphenlia and merchandising, to the actual parade to put the guy I'm like, wait, what does that mean? Are you hiring trans people in your branches and offices? Are you supporting, in your medical plan, people who might have HIV or you know, suppurtive of gay relationships, in your marriage among employees, Human Resources have a system for that. That's what matters, not whether if you show up on a pride parade. And so what we do a lot with our collaborators and clients is how do we send the message that the impact that you're doing, it's not performative. It's indeed, cumulative, and long term minded, and you're not doing things for people to give you a cookie. But you're doing things for your internal transfers your own mission and values and theory of change, which is definitely the most effective way of preventing any potential backlash.

Jay Kingley 5:51

So how should an executive be thinking about social impact, what is the right mindset for an executive to have, so that they can feel comfortable that this is going to work for them, and it's not going to blow up in their face?

Samuel Rubin 6:08

Well first of all they need to be very confident about about their mission and values, I think that if you are an executive who your mission and values at that section and a website, that it just for people to see. And that's it, then that's like a cancer but going to follow you or your entire life, go on a retreat, do some soul searching, find a value within yourself, and then you can start actually caring, because if you're really show value of that don't connect to your operation that don't connect to the way you want to show up. Then it'll be like a ghost that follows you. And when people think of values, you know, they think that they all have to say the same values of equality, respect, Inclusion. Okay, that's great. I love those value. But what do they mean to you? How do they show up in your day to day workplace environment? How does your company create operational systems around our value, so that whether it's inside of your department, in the value of the employees, or in the way that the that the consumer receive your product those value will be apparent plus and treasured and along the way, and maybe you should have a maximum of five values, you really could not choose each value of the world because your company unless you are Amazon or Apple there is no, there is pretty much everything go through this data loading algorithm in but when you really can start small and focus on your principles, and essential, you know, the foundation of your ideology, because you should have an ideology, but it shouldn't be a political ideology, it should be a philosophical approach to why you care about your business, and why people who care about your product might be in alignment or not. If I mean, the actions of that alignment, you still can bring people together around those values.

Jay Kingley 8:19

And he said something like that, that's been on my mind that I'd like you to comment on. We're in a society today, where everything is politicized. You're either agree with me, or you're my enemy, even though we're all in the same country, it seems like everything's socially. And a lot of the issues that you want, are now red meat for politics. And they, you know, it's becoming this sense of identity politics. And if you're a business executive, for the most part, you don't really want to go there, you don't really want to enter in to the political arena, at least not in a very overt fashion. So my question to you, Samuel, is, there's social impact, there's political impact, how do you keep those two things apart? Or in today's world? Is that even possible? And if it's not possible, what do you do about that?

Samuel Rubin 9:24

It's possible and the way I think it is possible is to focus on the people and focus. Quite simply, and I will put the example of the pandemic because I think that the pandemic has done something to the relationship between employer employees that in corporate America were very unheard of which is understand what everyone's family situation is. Understand that Oh, yeah. You have children at home and now you're working from home, and you have to deal with that. Oh, Oh, husband had COVID and has been a mind shift at your house, and you had to take care of that, you know, like all these day to day challenges, the done yet they connect the paycheck live, they connect to mental health and productivity at work, they connect with the way you can talk to your colleagues about how proud you are to work in the company you work in.

So I, quite frankly, don't have a thought, executive policy, there's a political issue. Political issue is when Delta CEO makes a donation to a Super PAC to try to get the FDA regulators or the regulators to stay away from them. That's political decisions. And it happens all the time in corporate America, from 9am to 5pm. Every time that is calls to the government to try to change regulation, to try to, you know, cooperate with political institution. But that's not the way to get to the employees. And even more, that they have the consumers evaluating when companies choose to interfere with the political government. I think most of the time is fire for them. And we are at the, at the beginning of the cost of that cultural change, which is why this year that there was more a union trial than ever before for many decades. And it's why, you know, the companies are now for the first time having conversations about mental health and having conversations about the kitchen table issue, without human resources, being annoying in the middle and not knowing how to deal with this situation. Because I think that for a long time, the demise of Human Resources has been alongside the incomprehension with social impact, social impact and human resources, through them be the power away from each other you know, because at the end of the day, the bigger impact your company, whoever you employ, and how you engage.

Jay Kingley 10:25

So Samuel, I think you've made not just a, a clear case, but a very passionate argument as to how businesses should be looking at social responsibility. So let's go to the next thing. I think it's on an executives mind, if I do what you suggest, how does this first, you know, benefit me? How is this going to position me in the field?

Samuel Rubin 12:37

Well, I've been within discussion, no, and I'm a, I'm a co founder, I have my own employees. And I know that my own employees are burned out and fatigued. And they, you know, we are all experiencing a high level volumen of growth at work that will affect how we work next month. So I think it's very important that you, you work these outcomes around, how do you measure and evaluate? How did they affected the people that you work with every day. And actually, either they affect the people that come in as new people to the company, and have the chance to start with a fresh new perspective, and bring in something that maybe you felt your recognition so that from the perspective of the employees, and then I do think it's very important to see social impact as coalition building. Competition is very important in business, because it's what drives people to improve their services and products. So which will maintain competition in that aspect. But I always talk a lot about mutual aid because there is a big non extractive economy that we can all participate on, where we use a currency, our values, and connection to our product, and we extend services or network, or insights with other organizations that sometimes are private enterprises, or social enterprises, sometimes our local communities of neighborhoods, and sometimes our nonprofits. And I think it's very important to see at the core of social impact, pretty much who they become friends with, because friendships, going back to the idea of like political influence. For a long time, we've been using that model with prosecutors with with all the agency but let's use the same model of hosting good conferences bringing people together in great places with great food, beyond those just the position of power because The power of communities can really strengthen your position as a business. So I think that is an extremely important benefit that you can see as in a CRM that actually engages and organically stays in touch with, where you can build a coalition with.

Jay Kingley 15:21

Samuel, you have, I think, educated us on the importance of social impact, and talk through a little bit about the benefits to the company for doing it. So let's talk implementation. What are the key steps that a visitor needs to do so that they can be an appropriate player in the social impact space?

Samuel Rubin 15:45

Yes. That no one everybody tangible, I think the most important thing is to go back to the values as were described at the beginning, because those are the values that will allow you to put together a theory of change, which, if you don't know what the what the theory of change looks like, go to Google Images and see, educate yourself with the diagram, which is 3d matches, basically, the ultimate impact, your outcomes lead into that final impact, and then that indicator will output your activities that will get you their. And it's very important rather than get overwhelmed and be like, Oh, my God, this is everything I need to do. Put together that initial framework for you to know if you're staying in your lane, and for you to know, what are your boundaries? When do you say no, if someone comes to you and says, Look, we really care about this, you can say I care about this, too. But this is my mission, these are my values. And I will care about that through that lens. So I think, once you have that theory of self, but important that, you know, who are your relationships, that you connect people that you know, with other people that you know, that allow each other and collaborate together, that you see parts of your currency as the Win Win mentality of Well, I have to narrow our chakras, I can just give you my island recommendation or tell you how did I do that? And that kind of like Lessons Learned mentality, you know, generate good results very quickly. So I think there's a good starting step for anyone who hasn't yet started this question in their own social impact strategy. And if they've done that, great, you need to update us. This doesn't work like a theory options. There are companies that they were already very woke in the 90s. That had to do, again, everything that they did in the 90s in the 2020s, when Black Lives Matter suffer because you don't do a reaction or vanishes. It's, it's a process that you engage with, because it's part of your workflow. It's part of how you keep your employees engaged. And, you know, you want to make sure that you're taking the benefits of that a lot of them say, Oh, shut, wanted to do that. No, time,

Jay Kingley 18:24

Samuel, do you have I think really shined a nice bright light onto this very important issue, which I think for so many business executives, is filled with trepidation. You've made it much clearer. Now we're gonna take a quick break. And when we come back, we're gonna learn a bit more about Samuel.

Centricity Introduction 18:45

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Jay Kingley 19:43

Welcome back. We're talking to Samuel Rubin of Yea! Impact. Let's find out a little more a little bit more about Samuel and his business. Samuel, what pain points to use solve for your target market, and why do they need you to get rid of that pain?

Samuel Rubin 20:02

Yeah, I think social impact with a lot of pain. And, you know, I think, you know, we just have to learn how to mitigate that I think one of the main solutions provide us with a good social impact strategy is you get rid of reactionary impact. And the tendency of feeling like you need to put together a quick turnaround for Corporate Social Responsibility campaign, that usually have minimal impact, and maximize your chance of doing a mistake, then, you know, the public may want to cancel. Pain point number one, we get rid of reactionary impact, we got rid of control culture. The second one, I spent it when it comes to the productivity around tracking your relationships and making sure that you maximize the potential of your network, and people who are willing to support your business. So designing good CRM systems that are integral that will get rid of that second pain. And last, but not least, I think, you know, it's harder to measure and evaluate your success and your positive impact when you don't have a strong impact strategy. So I think fixing the lack of metric checkpoints that you can provide to your funders, or to your super powers, that is painful when you know that you're doing something good, and you cannot prove it. So we fix measuring and evaluation.

Jay Kingley 21:53

Samuel, and one of the things that is important in a decision of any client to work with you versus your competitors, is the desire to work with someone who's really great at what they do. So can you share with us what makes you great at what you do?

Samuel Rubin 22:10

You know, what makes us great at what we do is a collected is mindset. This is not about me, this is not about what I do this is about how do I work with my team? And how do I collaborate with others who think differently than me. And it's also about a fresh, young perspective, because I think being younger, you usually get sold, too idealistic or too naive. But I think what is mistaken by that is a passion and willingness to deliver and to get involved. And I think people have been around for so long, maybe are not able to remember that. But it is a very excited and thriving feeling to have so i lean on than that. And I laid on intergenerational action, as well as creativity and storytelling, I believe that. So making sure that in order not to politicize things we can connect to mainly through stories and through values is a way to be less divisive and less polarizing. So I think those are some important characteristics that I try to be mindful of when we do our day to day work.

Jay Kingley 23:29

Now, Samuel, I encourage everybody to go to your LinkedIn profile, and to understand your educational background, and what you've already done in your career, which is very impressive. But I want to ask you a little bit of a different question. I'd like to understand what happened in your life, either personal or professional, that would explain why you're doing what you're doing with Yea! Imapct.

Samuel Rubin 23:56

I think in my personal life, I've always been very impacted by grassroots activism and organizing industries. And social justice really, is a very, you know, it's almost in many ways, like religion, like I am, I'm not sure every week, but when I go to a project, or when I see people coming together on the front line, I realize, oh, wow, people can come together. And, you know, fight. And fight is not a negative word terminology. It can also be just the empowerment of people coming together and saying, okay, here is where we're gonna have the lighting. So being in the Occupy Wall Street movement, in the early 2000s, when I was 13 years old, and I was going into school and I went got an in bar, shirt and in front of the principal job fairs with the Student Union, go into general strikes and see you know, okay, we're the People can, you know, comfort on the banking system and say put people over profit? You know, I think that radical background in my early days of teenagers really excites me in for where I am today. And why do I want to work with corporations and larger business owners who are not put on path that backstory, but can still connect to the power of the workers the power of the people in a different way. And in a different process, we all get better differently. And I will say that in a professional life, the fallible climate chart, it has been a great example for me to see how the power of coalition's is undeniable and bringing together the industry around the most important crises of our lifetime has been witness to see that, okay, we can, we can bring people and stakeholders for this cause within our family.

Jay Kingley 26:06

Now, Samuel, you have really addressed an issue, which I think a lot of us don't even really want to talk about. But it is necessary. And I'm sure that people in our audience are going to be interested in learning more, and continuing the discussion with you. So what is the best way for someone to reach out and get in contact with you?

Samuel Rubin 26:29

This was great. Thank you so much having me and giving me a chance to talk more about why social impact important to me and our team. You can reach out if you want to learn more if you want to collaborate and to simply provide feedback and say, Tell me all the reasons why you disagree. I love chatting with people that disagree. My contact info is you can also find more information about what we're doing that Yea!, if you go to either or as well as the handle yeaimpact on social media, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can also send me a request at Samuel Rubin or Yea! Impact

Jay Kingley 27:20

We will put Samuel's contact information into the shownotes to make it easy for everybody to reach out. I want to thank Samuel for coming on and addressing such an important issue that doesn't get enough attention to my listeners. Let's continue to crush it out there. Until next time.

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