GenXYZ: Saul Garlick, 29
Founder & CEO, ThinkImpact
A family trip turned into a life-changer for Garlick, who decided to start a nonprofit, then a for-profit.
How did ThinkImpact come about?
When I was a student at East High School [in Denver], we went on a family trip to South Africa because my parents are from there. We visited a rural village and I started thinking about my role in society, the apartheid legacy, and how South Africa is really well-known for its economic inequality. That was jarring for me. So for the next seven years I built a nonprofit that built development projects in Africa.
Why did you change it to a for-profit?
I learned a lot about the complexities of nonprofits, and about donors wanting to provide input. I think if you can generate revenue, you should try. It’s cleaner and the impact doesn’t have to be emotional. By the end of 2010, I realized a for-profit would be a more sustainable solution to the world’s problems.
What does ThinkImpact do?
There is a shortage of schools in the developing world, but we need to talk about what inspires people to learn. ThinkImpact is an education company that provides travel experiences to connect people from two totally different worlds around common goals.
What drives you to succeed?
I think that to understand our role as the most financially successful country and the most influential country in the world, we have to be able to leverage that for good. I am a big foreign policy person. I studied foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University in undergrad and graduate school.