Success can be measured in a variety of ways. Some may measure it in terms of profit, fame or simply by achieving a personal goal set for themselves. Kevin McCracken, Jeff Sheinbein and the Social Imprints team measure success in terms of helping a community that often feels disparity and hopelessness. Named America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs of 2011 by Bloomberg Businessweek, I would suggest they have gone beyond the standard definition of success. I was fortunate enough to discuss this flourishing organization with a former employee and current COO of Social Imprints, Kevin McCrackin.
1. As COO of Social Imprints, would you mind sharing some of the work that your organization does/how it functions and what inspired you to become involved with this unique idea?
Social Imprints is a full service specializing in printing and graphic design with a unique social mission: providing higher paying professional jobs to at-risk adults including ex-offenders, and recovering drug addicts. Social Imprints works with over 700 of the Nations most recognizable brands including, Wikipedia, HandsOn Network, UC Berkeley, Dolby Laboratories, JetBlue, etc.
Serving as COO of Social Imprints isn’t “just a job” for me. It’s a lot more than a way to make a living and provide for my family. Social Imprints is my way of giving back. At one long-ago time in my life, I was a prime candidate for Social Imprints’ social-mission. At 24, I was addicted to heroin and alcohol. My own life experience enables me to relate to our team members’ struggles as they begin the journey to getting their lives back in order. Using my 12 years of experience in custom printing, I developed a training program that enables the team members to learn the ins and outs of printing and become customer service experts.
In 2008, Jeff Sheinbein, Social Imprints CEO & Co-Founder and I, joined forces to start the company of our dreams. We wanted to create a different kind of printing company, one that would offer high-quality promotional products and outstanding customer service, while providing maximum social returns to the community.
While most “social enterprises” offer lower-paying blue-collar transitional jobs in production and assembly, Social Imprints opens outstanding white-collar opportunities to at-risk but high-functioning applicants in management, sales, marketing, accounting, and customer service.
SI’s social model delivers maximum returns compared to other social workforce development enterprises. Instead of offering transitional blue collar jobs that go nowhere, we offer jobs that earn our employees a very livable wage, with the understanding that they will return to the community and help others get their lives on track – simply helping themselves isn’t enough.
2. Could you share a story about one of the experiences you had with a colleague, business or other client that you saw first hand how beneficial your organization was to them?
Recently Social Imprints met with one our largest clients in Atlanta, GA. At the meeting she pulled us aside to tell us about her sibling who had a life long addiction to heroin and was having difficulty finding a job. After our initial discussions about sobriety and the challenges of staying on the right path, we discussed the possibility of him coming to work for us. After several interviews he flew across country and became our sales manager. I think we have a customer for life.
3.Where do you see your organization headed in the future? Do you see expanding your services? Are you taking on any other endeavors?
My long-term goal for Social Imprints is to open sales offices in other parts of the country. Our social-mission employees will own and operate these offices and hire other at-risk adults.
4. What are some of the challenges that you face with the organization and how do you overcome them?
Social Imprints generated nearly $2MM in revenue in our first full year of operation and we expect to do $3MM in 2011. Social mission aside, this is a chaotic and fast paced work environment. Our biggest challenge is to find good people from the social mission that can keep up with such a demanding workplace.
To find the right candidates we have an extremely rigorous interview process. Each potential candidate comes in for 4-5 rounds of interviews. Once a candidate is selected SI has a very rigorous training program. We invested most of our start up money in a custom cloud based software that helps our employs to do their job more efficiently which frees up more time for one-one training. With my 12 years of printing experience and maintaining my sobriety we are able to meet the needs of our extremely diverse employees.
5. How could our readership at Care2.com benefit the works of this organization?
That’s easy, order all your corporate identity wear, product launch and special event gear from Social Imprints or refer all of your colleagues & peers. Mention Care2.com and receive 10% off your first order. As we grow, we are able to hire more social mission employees, so it’s a win win.
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