Green.org sat down with JinJa Birkenbeuel, CEO, Researcher & Creator, to learn what she would do with one billion dollars.
Who is JinJa Birkenbeuel?
JinJa Birkenbeuel is the CEO of Birk Creative. She is also a Writer, Researcher & Creator is AI-obsessed and the creator and Host of The Honest Field Guide Podcast.
Her rich content is read by global brands including Google, VaynerMedia, Meta, LinkedIn, Apple, DropBox, Microsoft and also by curious and inspired people. JinJa’s agency Birk Creative serves people and brands who believe in collaboration to create a seamless creative, content and brand development process.
She welcomes leaders who want to test innovative and culturally relevant approaches for marketing, messaging and want to identify and build relationships with untapped audiences in the knowledge-share economy.
Birk Creative is her primary company for my family of brands which include:
– Journey of Gratitude, a 501(c)(3) is a research-based, digital-first organization that designs curriculum and creates personalized digital transformation coaching, training and educational services to entrepreneurs, small business owners and curious people with ideas.
– Her trademarked The Honest Field Guide Podcast, featuring discussions with Corporate executives, entrepreneurs and business owners dedicated to winning in business,
– Stomping Ground Studios, a full-production music production, licensing, and songwriting studio that produces with her musician husband, their band’s soft-country, Americana rock Utah Carol and,
– Birk Digital, her book publishing production company that trains independent authors on how to build online platforms around their intellectual property.
Featured in AdAge, AdWeek, Fast Company Magazine and Forbes Magazine, JinJa is a trusted thought leader and recognized award-winning strategist, technologist and creative executive with over 20 years of experience, including enterprise brand strategy and creative development for mid to large size organizations, establishment of visual identity systems and research, development and execution of customer and talent acquisition strategies using social and digital media.
She is a collaborating architect of the Accelerate with Google, acquired by Grow With Google, now recognized as the award-winning Google Digital Coaches by Fast Company Magazine. She is also a founding board member of The Women in Entrepreneurship Institute at DePaul University’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center and a founding member of The Jewish-Black Business Alliance, a foundation focused on economic justice and based on the social justice legacy of the American Jew and their advocacy of Blacks during Jim Crow.
JinJa is also mom to three geniuses: a classically-trained jazz pianist, a high school visual artist and volleyball player and a high school varsity hockey player. She loves hot tea with cream and to make meals and baked goods from scratch just like her own mom did for her.
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
Love this question so much. What an absurd dream it would be to have a billion dollars.
In fact, it would be a dream for me to have a cool $50 million! I could create and execute on soooo much with $50 mil.
But ok, a billion, here goes:
1) Pay off all my debt
2) Pay off all my family’s debt
3) Put money in a trust for all three of my sons so they don’t have generational financial debt
4) Pay in cash for a few homes for my family that are spread out across the world, are accessible by commercial plane and have paved roads, and that are run 100% on sustainable energy, have home grown vegetables and herbs and have drinkable water.
5) Create a foundation with an endowment that focuses on mindset training for women of all nationalities and ethnicities so they can get their lives on a path of independent thought and financial freedom. I would create and lead the content development, and find the woman CEO to run it and also help staff the people and board of directors to help the CEO.
6) Put solar panels on every single building and home in the USA even if it means rebuilding every rooftop so they are solar panel compliant therefore disrupting the death grip that fossil fuel energy companies have in neighborhoods, schools, politicians, non profits, research institutions, pharma companies, auto manufacturers, the list goes on.
7) Eliminate the combustion engine. Replace all cars with sustainably made electric vehicles.
8) Create legislation that forces mobile phone makers to make all phones charge exclusively on solar power.
9) Ensure that fiber optic cable is connected to run to every single town and village everywhere in the world and all those connections are prevented from being interrupted by bad actors.
10) Create with a diverse team lead by revolutionary thought leaders to write and implement global legislation to ensure digital privacy of all humans and all the code for all AI is open source
11) Inspire, by education and real world experiences, leaders, and their descendants, of health insurance companies to understand what happens when they get ill and don’t have life saving and protective health services.
This was fun.
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
We humans are consuming way too much. Data. Animals. Water. Manufacturing is dirty and is too much. We are basically trapped. It’s gluttony and feels immoral. We need to have more empathy, generosity, and desire to read and learn how to be better to each other. Then people will start to see our own greed and turn things around in time before we eat the entire world.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
The commercial creative development industry will continue to be transformed by AI. Writing, advertising, creative and strategy will be generative and the public will not know the difference. People trained in my field will need to go back to the basics of craft to get emotional and spiritual satisfaction. I do think the amount of money we have been making in our fields, some have done quite well, will not be sustainable.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Read. Listen. Stop talking. Take classes and get certifications on sustainability, design thinking, AI and cyber security. Then go out and teach others how to do the same. Also, listen to and believe Black American women, because we can see and understand things that many people can’t. And then hire us, contract with us or pay us to help you build amazing things.
JinJa, thank you for sharing your vision for a sustainable future, and how you would use one billion dollars to make the world a better place.
Dylan Welch is the CEO and Host of Going Green, a podcast, website, and social media brand that highlights renewable energy, cleantech, and sustainable news.