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Firespring’s founder and CEO, Jay Wilkinson, recognized at a young age that he was an entrepreneur at heart. He has started over 20 companies throughout his lifetime, including (of course) Firespring. And while his other ventures may have been short-lived or eventually sold, Jay’s goal throughout his entrepreneurial journey remained the same with each new venture: to build a company based on kindness, empathy and gratitude.

Jay Wilkinson’s vision came to fruition as Firespring grew, expanded and refined its purpose over the years, eventually becoming Nebraska’s first Certified B Corporation®, a business that “meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”

Today, everything we do at Firespring is fueled by Jay’s vision to be a company that makes the world a better place, and we’re honored to announce that Firespring has been chosen for the 2020 Real Leaders Top 100 Award for the second consecutive year.

Real Leaders 100 is the first ranking of positive impact companies across the globe and acknowledges the top companies that are “leveraging the engine of capitalism for greater profit and greater good.” Firespring’s mission goes beyond increasing its bottom line to using its people, products and profit to do more good and create positive impact—something Jay envisioned from the day the company opened its doors.

Jay Wilkinson recently spoke with Kevin Edwards, host of the Real Leaders podcast, about his vision to create an impact company with a purpose beyond making a profit, and shared about how an event during his high school years changed his life and set him on a course to be where he is today. You can hear about how a Launch Leadership Workshop sparked a turning point for Jay when he was a teenager and ultimately how the inspiration he discovered there defined his career as an entrepreneur, CEO and investor.

You can also hear Jay talk about the time, in 2001, when Firespring’s board fired him as CEO of his own company because he refused to lay off employees after a major financial downturn—and how that event became a milestone in Firepring’s progression to become a company based on kindness, empathy, gratitude and transparency. (Jay was able to buy out investors and get his job back quickly, so he wasn’t away from the helm for long, thankfully.)

Today, a part of Firespring’s mission is to work with other companies and business leaders to help them refine their purpose and create an impact strategy that allows them to move beyond making a profit to making a difference in their communities. If you’ve wondered how to make this happen in your company–how to adopt an impact strategy that goes beyond your bottom line and really inspire your team members to do more good both within your walls and outside them, we’d love to work with you. 

Listen to Jay Wilkinson speak with Kevin Edwards about his passion, purpose and vision to do more good on the Real Leaders podcast, released on January 23, 2020.

Who’s Behind The Real Leaders 100? Real Leaders magazine and Big Path Capital partnered to launch the Real Leaders 100. Real Leaders magazine has been in circulation since 2010 and is the world’s first sustainable business and leadership publication, “inspiring better leaders for a better world.” Big Path Capital has been called “Impact Investing’s Investment Bank” and works with the top sustainable and impact companies and funds.