Talk Boutique is excited to welcome Betty Ferreira to our speaker roster. She is the founder of Goodcasting. As a Foresight Strategist, Futurist and Keynote Speaker, Betty inspires leaders to adapt, prepare for, and create the future.
One-on-One With Betty
What’s an accomplishment that you are proud of?
Looking back over 28 years of work, I can truthfully say that I am proud of many accomplishments:
- from creating bold strategies for well over 100 international, national and regional social purpose initiatives and putting them on the path of resilience,
- having those strategies create favourable impact and outcomes and as a consequence touching millions of lives;
- to training and speaking to thousands of appreciative people on the importance of a strong business model and a growth-oriented mindset.
I am proud that I charted my own path, and pioneered along the way. I have had the privilege to work hand in hand with brilliant and compassionate people to participate in building a future of good for us all.
Describe a significant business or other challenge you experienced throughout your career and how you resolved it. What lessons did you learn in the process?
Working with organizations that want to create something new or transform their organizations is invigorating! Foresight scenario planning research, new corporate strategies and business models, and change management efforts…comprehensive transformation requires transformation on multiple levels.
One of the most significant lessons I learned early in my career, is to ensure that the research, planning and implementation efforts include authentic participation by staff, external key informants, and intended users . The staff team must participate in the process of realizing the need to adapt and being part of the process that identifies both the need for change and the specific changes or strategies required.
Including the users in the creation and transformation efforts not only centres the projects with informed intuition, provides legitimacy and credibility for the project but it also inherently motivates teams to adapt, pivot and work collaboratively to adopt bold solutions.
How did mentors influence your life? What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
My mother is my mentor. I am fortunate to be influenced by her mindset of ‘strive always to do the best but weight it in pragmatism.’ She is driven to do her best every day, in every action she takes and every interaction she has with people. She is empathetic, compassionate, bright-minded, all this wrapped up with an edgy sense of humour to boot. She also has an innate ability to persevere tenaciously through the many challenges she has faced with a clear hope for a new and better day.
I couldn’t think of better messages for a Mother to communicate to her daughter. They are filled with hope, humility and strength – and it is probably for these reasons that my favourite saying is ‘Onward and Upward’.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
I am not someone who regrets; it is not in my DNA. I am someone who learns from experiences and becomes better for it. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment that it is not what happens to you but what you do about it that counts.
What is the last business book you read?
I usually read at least two books at a time, and these are my last two recent reads.
The first book is “Systems Thinking for Social Change: A Practical Guide to Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences and Achieving Lasting Results“, by David Peter Stroh. The author provides insights on the systems thinking mindset and offers insights on how to use the mindset both retrospectively – to understand why social change efforts have not been successful in the past – but also prospectively to aid those in system change to understand how to navigate into the future.
The second book is “The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World” by Jamil Zaki. We are living in a world where we are increasingly polarized and one where there is escalating cruelty and isolation and where people are less caring than they were thirty years ago. Zaki’s research suggests that empathy is a skill that can be strengthened and offers research that suggest that people who can vividly imagine their future-self behave more wisely, and that people who imagine a more positive and connected future vision of their communities are more inspired to realize that preferred future. A necessary read for those interested in inspiring a future of good!
These two books underline the importance of an open and growth mindset, a sense of connection and community, and a strong vision of the future.
Why did you decide to become a foresight strategist and futurist with a focus on a future of good?
The future has always intrigued me. I would sit in my bed at night as a child and wonder about the future… Would there still be homeless people living on the streets when I’m 50? What year will we see women as Presidents and Prime Ministers? Will there be a cure for mental illness? My fascination with imagining a future of good was inherent in my outlook as a child and it has guided me in my work.
I worked for many years as a CEO of not-for-profit organizations before starting my first management consulting firm, ReStructure Consulting in 2005. I work with social purpose organizations and government to restructure, turn around and strengthen their business models and their leadership capacities. I save organizations from closure and bankruptcy, increase the capacity of many more to achieve significant impact and resilience.
In helping social purpose initiatives to prepare for and create the future, I actively use qualitative and quantitative foresight methodologies to look for signals and trends and forecast scenarios and work collaboratively with my clients to develop bold business models and strong leadership capacities in their pursuits of doing “good”.
My journey from being a CEO of social purpose organizations to a foresight strategist, researcher, author, and forecaster has organically led me to start Goodcasting. I work with corporations, government and not-for-profit social purpose initiatives to co-create business models and evolve mindsets with a purpose of inspiring and accelerating a future of good for us all.