Brett Hagler, CEO & Co-Founder at New Story: "Bold Ideas Attract Bold People".
Brett Hagler started NewStory at the age of 24. He tells the story of having been obsessed with an entrepreneurial spirit and having experience with a startup that didn't go as well as he had expected. That first startup had an association with a charity in Haiti. On his first trip there in 2012, just after the earthquake that was so devastating to the country, he saw such extreme poverty that he was never exposed to prior and felt a need to do something.
On the Maslow Hierarchy scale, housing was one of the basic needs, and there were a large number of families, especially kids who had their future and hopes wiped out because these needs were not met. He came back home and started researching charities he could contribute to, but found the majority of them were not transparent with their funds, and a large portion of the donation went to administrative costs.
He saw a need to revolutionize the charity industry and honing his entrepreneurial skills with his love of technology, NewStory was born. He found some private donors that would cover all administrative costs, which allowed him to focus on donations, and know that 100% of the funds would go to the cause at the hand of raising money to provide shelter for families in need. He was able to build a generational home for $6,000.
He began to build his team and more importantly his culture. He says "you are either adding to the culture or detracting from it. The choice is yours", he continues "If you're average, the gravitational pull goes down, and when you do just a little bit more, you stand out as extraordinary. That is unfair to the end consumer. If you're average, you are detracting from the culture. It's a choice".
Part of his steadfast vision and focus comes from the fact that he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 18 and successfully beat it. He says it was his first introduction to adversity and he understood that he couldn't control everything. The only two things he could control were his attitude and his response to things.
As he built the core principles of NewStory, he focused on the following:
1) Transparency -he wanted to make sure everyone knew where every dollar was going.
2) Empowerment - he has created thousands of local jobs in these communities as local workers build homes for their neighbors, strengthening the sense of community.
3) Innovation - he wants to make sure he remains cutting edge and at the forefront of making a difference in people's lives.
When I asked him how he responds to someone who says, '`what can one person do?' His response was wise: "You can do for one what you wish you could do for all.".
Brett attracted the eye of large industry in both the technology and real estate worlds, and he says humbly, "Bold ideas attract bold people.". It has been an ethos that has served him well.
It was indeed a pleasure to speak to this entrepreneur, who is doing so much to help change the world.
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182 Howard St #101, San Francisco, CA 94105