Build a Loyal Community of Millions with Angela Maiers

Build a Loyal Community

Angela Maiers has been listed as one of IBM’s Top 20 Global Influencers, named by Forbes as one of the Top 5 Education Leaders to Watch, in 2017, and is among Huffington Post’s Top 100 Social Media Influencers!

Angela founded the global movement, Choose2Matter in 20XX, with a singular mission to help individuals recognize their value and potential contribution to change both their own lives and the world. The non-profit organisation grew out of the impassioned response to a TEDTalk she gave on the power of two simple words, that went viral. YOU MATTER! An educator for 30 years, Angela has shared her message of Mattering not only with students and teachers but with businesses large and small and organisations of all kinds. Her work has been shared in 78,000 classrooms across 100 countries that has rallied more than a million children. Her work with industries is finding new ways to ignite the genius of employees, successfully addressing a $15 trillion employee engagement problem. Angela Maiers is considered one of today’s most influential thought leaders in education and transformative thinking.

You can also checkout Building a Community Online: Mike Briercliffe and another amazing resource here Community Building Real World Stories With Massive Value (with Tim McDonald)

Here is Angela’s You Matter Ted Talk! It’s emotional!

Podcast episode transcription!

Welcome to build business acumen. My name is Nathaniel Schooler, like a school with an ER, it’s really lovely to see you again, Angela. And today you’re going to tell me how to build a community of fiercely loyal fans, people that just take action, right?

Good morning to you and it is lovely to see you. I am so excited about this new year. I think community like everything else, like networking has become a buzzword. So I think it’s important to understand the core of community. How to build a loyal community is key! So if you take community offline, I grew up in a town of 641 people, and we were a community and the key factor in any community. No matter what size of the level of contribution that each member not only has, but feels responsible for, it feels when you’re in a loyal community that matters to you, that you want to be a part of; contribution is a non negotiable because you understand that every member in that community has a gift that is needed by another and that the idea of withholding that gift up withholding everything that you are towards something bigger doesn’t exist.

So you never take for granted anyone else in the community. And you never take for granted your role in that community. And that’s really different. And a network which is just a body of people that potentially are like minded, but they don’t have the same level of commitment where they’re just, they’re just, they, they are a part of something, but they don’t necessarily have that deep, you know, DNA level driven idea that they must can interview.

Nathaniel: So what do you think? So,you see me looking up at the sky there, I have this really bad habit. I mean, people aren’t watching this, thankfully, because I just have this bad habit of just sort of looking up when I’m thinking.

it’s very interesting what you’re just saying. I think, I think from a personal standpoint, I think it depends on actually the cause that that you’re focusing on.

I mean, for me, as an individual. Since my network became really strong. Which is literally the past couple months. I’ve been focusing on, just working out who in my network will help me to create content, right?

That is the most important thing, help me share that content and deliver massive value when I interview them. So that’s my purpose is sharing that content with people to make their lives better. Okay, so that’s my, that’s my actual purpose with that content. Yeah, so for me, as an individual, I think I actually fit into what you’re talking about, quite nicely. Problem is, most people, their actual networks are shallow. They have not communicated their value to people. I mean, I know you and I know you’ve built communities that are so big, like millions of kids, right! You have done amazing things!

Do you want to talk a bit about that and explain what they’ve done and how you did it.

I do. And I think that it goes back to, again, I go back to the web is very similar to a small town. Even though the people think that the web is this gigantic, you know, faceless, nameless place, it operates under what I call small town rules. And so small town rules are you acknowledge everyone, you never underestimate anyone, you always recognise whether you’re there, your best friend or your neighbour, you treat people truly treat people well and be neighbourly.

Again, I go back to this, this obsession of mine is contribution. So I use the example of a barbecue. Like if you enter a new true community, people welcome you. And they don’t expect you to bring a covered dish. They don’t expect you to contribute. But there’s an unwritten rule that if you come to that barbecue every weekend, and then you eat everyone else’s goods, everyone else has value that they put time and energy, you will be ostracised emotionally from that community and won’t learn how to build a loyal community!

So I think the core of how to build a loyal community is founded at an open invitation to your barbecue, that you share your value and say. This is what I have, this is what I’m putting on the table. If you’re interested, come taste, there’s no expectation of reciprocity. But if you sit at the table, and you want to stay at the table. But you can’t leave it covered, you have to uncover it.

You have to share where it came from, and how you created it. so other people can and be nourished by it. And then all of a sudden, you start owning like, there was a lady in my town that made the best potato salad, it was really like, incredible. No one would even dare to replicate potato salad, that, you know, Dana made, because it was her thing.

So people start creating identities around what they contribute. And even when Dana was sick, she pre made potato salad for the neighbourhood barbecue, because she knew it would be missed. And I think that’s the core that is slightly different from a network. And network is a body of people that surround you and build you and grow with you. And you can learn from and be inspired by, but not necessarily do you belong there, you’re a part of it. But that’s different than true belonging where you’re missed. But do you think you want to push back do you want to argue, though,

Build a loyal community to create change!


I’m not not going to argue with with any of that. But, I think people listening to this want to know why they should listen to you. I want to reaffirm that they’re listening to you for the right reasons. Not just because they know who else has been on my show, right?

Because I know that you’ve done amazing things with millions of children. You really know how to build a loyal community. You created a movement, didn’t you! Which was the #youmatter movement, right. And that attracted IBM to you, and it and it and it created huge change. So how many, how many kids were involved with that, and what actually happened?


I have been living and embodying the message of mattering for as long as I can remember articulating it in the best way!

I did in a talk that I did for Ted, I had to tighten it up. You have 17 minutes to get people’s attention to change the world. I thought long and hard. I thought like, it isn’t someone else’s idea that changes the world, it’s awakening what people already know, and have, that changes the world. So they come to the world, their full selves and how to build a loyal community is founded on the YouMatter principles!

So it’s a really simple concept that people understand, they matter. They understand they have value and know what that value is and that is needed by someone else, which is the driver of human behaviour, everything changes. And I would say I was directing the message of mattering to kids but realised very quickly, kids believes that they matter. They know they are born to make an impact. They enter the world until an adult in their life tells them that who they are. And what they have is not enough doesn’t fit in this box, every five year old that I know runs to school and is ready to contribute. They don’t need to be prodded. They don’t need to be pushed, they don’t need to be convinced.

They understand that they have something that you need, whether they believe their dinosaur expert, or a dancer or an artist, they are bursting to show and tell. And not because they’re trying to brag or out do because they can’t stand the fact that if they know or have something that they could give to you, they will not withhold it, they will burst inside before they hold it out before they hold it in. So based on that core DNA level knowledge, people rallied around that I gave them a mirror to themselves. And so kids mostly rallied in the 10’s of thousands, and demanded that they matter. And they understood that they were recognised for their power as not kids, but individuals who could contribute to the betterment of someone’s life life in the world.

Creating change!

That movement, the biggest change that it sparked beyond just individual kids. And it’s a lot of them, like in a year, they launched, Oh, my gosh, 176 social enterprises, they passed 17 laws, they move forward change in 60 countries. So but beyond that individual, they changed a structure in schools that needed to be changed. So companies like IBM companies like Google companies that I worked with, that I interviewed the way they kept talent, the way they recruit a talent was they got out of the way of the genius that they hired. This episode really explains how to build a loyal community!

Google most famously said, one day a week or 20% of the time, you can use your genius for the betterment of our company in the world. So I created that same structure in schools called genius hour, so convincing adults and kids lives for one another an hour to literally get out of the way and see what happens. Now we estimate that genius hour is happening in about 68 countries with over a million active students every week in school. And that’s important. It’s not separate from their education. It is their education, using their genius to change the world and, and running the school because of it. So that obviously spilled over into adults. Go ahead.

So what are the type of things?

They’ve been doing at school in this in this genius hour. So this is a once a week thing, or once a day,


Once a week, every school does it a little differently, to get something done

In how many schools?

We think it’s about 68,000 classrooms. So just from our in general estimates, in over 60 countries. So it’s pretty incredible because it was through networks of teachers and networks of schools that I had built up over working with schools for 25 years.

The ability of social media to spread how that could work in schools. I know it’s amazing, if you think of how many even more miraculous so then what the kids are doing.

This is where the adults came in the it started the tension of it came through projects that kids were doing, and then it started discovering. Because I think projects are a temporary sort of high where even if the project gets notoriety.

I mean, there are some profound projects, there was a second grade class where one of their classmates lost her arm and the kids 3D printed a freaking arm, they freak 3D printed arm, there’s an 11 year old that is on opening her fifth orphanage in Ghana.

So on the whole it’s Yes, the projects are profound. There’s a first grade class that raised money to build a library for kids. So it is spectacular what kids are capable of passing laws and states that legislators couldn’t pass. But more importantly, a different breed of students emerged thousands of them that said, You know what, I don’t have a cause that I’m really like into, some of the kids were really convicted that, you know, I want to fight cancer or I want to, I want to go up against this or I want to, you know, build a playground in my community and other kids were like, none of that can happen. If people don’t believe they matter. I want to ensure that everyone in my community, whether it is veterans or whether it is the elderly or whether it is people sick in the hospital or whether it is their classmates were suicide, depression and anxiety are rampant pandemic.

So they set up things like hotlines in their schools, safe rooms, in their schools. Places where they would like several of the kids created a spot like a bench or a lunch table where kids would never have to eat alone or be alone.

Loneliness is pandemic anxiety is pandemic and I’m getting calls from elementary schools where suicide is it is a thing that fifth graders think about, like, that’s horrific. So this body of what they call themselves the choose to matter ambassadors and how to build a loyal community is their priority. They self organize, and they move forward change in the city. And it started with 29 kids. And now we have over 2000 choose to matter ambassadors that work with organizations in their city and school organizations, government organizations, medical organizations, and move forward local change. And then I share it at the global level, like one of the city’s because of the kids, the mayor declared the city the first entire city that chooses to matter. So I it’s, it’s profound, inspiring. It’s like being a part of a miracle.

So just to give everyone a scale of this.  I just did a little calculation. If those classes that you talked about 60, how many 60,000, it’s in about 68,000 classroom. So okay, so so if you just put 30 people in a class, which is a bit actually a bit under, it’s an underestimate, it’s probably 50 actually, on average, I would for 40, probably, if you did 30, that’s over 2 million children who are spending an hour a week doing something at that school to help the community and that community can be within the school or it can be a project or it can, yeah, whatever, right.

But it This does not take into account the adults that those children encourage. And also, it doesn’t take into account in 10 years time, 20 years time what this movement is going to achieve, and what it will look like, right, because it’s inspirational. How to build a community of over 2 million!

This is this is something that it’s about how to build a loyal community, a fiercely loyal community. This this, this, this podcast isn’t about that this podcast is actually about how to create change. Yeah, it’s not about it’s like change in in society. By leveraging a community that is the right community to what would you propagate,

Collective genius, because that’s what it is people miss, understand and misrepresent the true definition of genius. They think it is a DNA anomaly. When average is actually the anomaly we have adopted average and created identities, entire institutions based on above and below average, because genius is too hard to control. It doesn’t fit in a box. So we have literally schooled and educated genius out of individuals. Collectively, we spend trillions of dollars trying to liberate it from the world and workforce, because every five year old not only understands that they have something someone else needs, but they understand how to articulate it.

They are walking, talking personal brands with humility, not hubris, with integrity, and with a fierce commitment for something bigger than forwarding their own good. So it’s just basically trying to get society to get back to their five year old selves when they fiercely knew who they were, and why they existed and not for their own purpose. And then the next key to that is leveraging collective genius. So when I work with kids or grownups, I don’t count the ages, the genders, the grades, I look at the number of people in the room. So let’s say it’s 1000, our largest event was 6000, 500 k 12 kids. So it’s a time limit. And I say we have 24 hours together and we have 1000 of us and if everyone contributed their best fierce itself, no holding back, no hesitating, complete courage and bravery, what can we accomplish together and the methodology in which we ignite change, instead of having individuals follow their passion and heart.

We asked them to follow heartbreak. So if you say, Nathaniel, what matters to you?


Well, it could be producing content that matters to me.


So the rub is, you could get all wrapped up in producing your content and, and getting yourself a top podcast and all of that and find success, but not necessarily fulfilment and significance. But if I said, What breaks your heart about the content that exists right now, or the way people access it, and you drive your actions and use your passion to fill and men that heartbreak. Now, you’re in a whole different place. you’re producing content for whole different reason.

Yeah, I’m, that’s what I’m producing content for already. Because I’m not gonna lie. Yes, I am my biggest fan, right. Who isn’t?

But I understand you’re worth


The problem is most content is rubbish. Yeah, I’m not joking. And most of it is just like, you listen to podcasts are just trying to sell you something every five minutes. Yeah. And it’s and it’s rubbish. Yeah, you’re not gonna learn anything from most of these? Yeah, you’re going to spend an hour listening to something that you could have actually talked to one of your friends and said, Hey, can you help me learn something about this? And they say, Oh, yeah, all you need to do is this. This isn’t this. Yeah. Right. And that makes me tick. Yeah, but what else makes me tick is actually giving this content away. Yes. Yeah. So that I can change someone’s life, right?

That matters to me, like the other day, I was talking to this guy, right. Basically, I go to church, right? I don’t care who knows. I’m not bothered by that but I don’t push it on anyone. It doesn’t make any difference you know, I’m not going to say more about it apart from met this guy. He’s got this massive tattoos on his neck and he’s a big guy. You can see that he’s, he’s a big guy. He’s got this intense look on his face. It’s huge beard.

We went to have a drink with them afterwards. He’s the loveliest guy and he’s actually quite religious and stuff. The sermon was all about faith and whether you believe in God, or you don’t believe in God? If you don’t have faith, right? Then you losing something. You must have faith in something. Yeah. Like, everyone has faith in!


Exactly. Exactly. So, so what I was saying was, he basically he got, like, 100, he got 200 pounds from the government is not, you know, he is broke, rise, homeless, sleeping in a hostel, blah, blah, and I said, Dude, I said in Hackney, with your tattoo on your neck and your beard, like you, you could run a bar, like, chicks would love you, just, like, just, yeah, like, you know, and, and, and the thing is. He said, Look, I’m in a bad place right now.

So I said don’t worry, it’ll all be absolutely fine. What’s really interesting is, is that if you get into that place, you cannot see the genius and what I love about your movement is, it actually is bringing those children to see their own genius. What will happen is, this is what what will happen, they will will give other people the knowledge of their own because they’ll say, oh, you’re amazing at that. Like, I spoke to my daughter the other week, right? And I was on episode five of my podcast.

You need to interview not should you must interview her Not right


I will do but but I was on episode number five. Right. And and, and I said, Look, my I am in iTunes and she said: “Daddy, Daddy, are you famous.” I said said no. That’s weird.

Like, it’s just that what’s so amazing is now is that we’ve all become media. Yeah. And in some way, shape or form. We’ve become the media. Yeah, and yeah. And what’s what I think is going to be amazing is when all of these people who are involved with your movement grow up to the age where they’re actually allowed to use the internet. And they’re actually allowed to talk Yes! It will just blow up even more, you will have millions of people using that hashtag. And because I know you’ve had massive results, but you’ve been to governmental meetings, did you go to discuss the build a loyal community?


I went to Scotland, I’ve been to all just working with the ministries to try to help them set up genius hour in Scotland, and Australia and everywhere. So that they understand it isn’t about giving kids the hour but about how to build a loyal community, it is fierce, how to build a loyal community is fierce!

It’s about getting adults to get out of kids way in the hour and understand that adults need to learn from these kids. So the most frustrating thing I did an event with 256 probably fortune 100, fortune 200 CEOs. So I’m in a room with almost 300 brilliant individuals who have billions of dollars within their companies.

If you leverage the collective genius, in that room, we were together six hours, the CEOs, nothing got accomplish, another meeting got scheduled. So it was heart wrenching. So I told the organizer, I said, this is why I am frustrated working with adults with companies because they spend more time thinking about what they should be thinking about the difference in working. If I had six hours with a group of 300 kids, I don’t care what age there would be an action plan, there would be things done, there would be committees made, there would be websites built.

Their default is action, apathy, and, and excuses and every other thing that gets in the way. But at the core of adults, they don’t contribute fully because they they still are operating on that above and below average, they are so worried about staying above average that they forget it is not about their score, or their ranking or which company makes more because every company CEO in their wanted whatever strategy, whatever knowledge for their own forwarding, instead of looking around. What I love about kids is I’ve never in all the kids that I’ve seen. And in the last two years, I’ve seen 32,000 kids live. What I’ve never once heard from them is what’s in it for me, what can I get out of this? It is what are we going to do? What are we going to do? And then they do it it may fail. It may have to audacious of a goal. But they will absolutely do it. And adults don’t do that. It doesn’t matter what company. It doesn’t matter how innovative from I’ve worked with IBM I’ve worked with Microsoft. I’ve worked with Apple. It doesn’t matter how innovative that company wants to be. If their members are not liberated to contribute, nothing is going to happen to set How many times have you gone to a company event. And last year, the same goals were the same as the year before the year before. And nothing is accomplished with this mass amount of money in mass amount of genius. mass amount of talent, nothing is done.


Yeah, I mean I think a lot of its to do with them thinking they’re going to get in trouble for making the wrong decision and stuff. But you know, over and above that, right. I did a podcast the other day with Jonathan Chase. So used to be still Britain’s leading hypnotist. Yeah, well, I mean, he used to be a stage hypnotist. Yeah, just bang people under. Just like that. Wow. Literally, just like that!

Oh, no problem. No problem. So. So when I first met him was really interesting. He actually called me Nick. And he made me laugh loads. And he called me Nick. And then he touched me on the arm. Yeah. And it’s like a hypnosis. What they do is when when, when they say that to you again. You just start laughing Yes. So yeah, even if I just think about him calling me Nick. It makes me smile, right? It’s just hilarious. But the thing is, is that what he’s big about? Yeah. is becoming that nine year old subconscious mind in your head.

That’s what you have in common with him and when he launches his new podcast show, you should be on his show. Because that because it’s about that nine year old in your head, which is the subconscious part of your brain that wants to have fun.

Yeah, absolutely.

I went through some changes. Yeah, I and I was like, what my goals for the year, you know, and I was like, you know, it’s like, and I was thinking, I was thinking, like, what am I going to do about this and then I was like, tools down.

I’m going to focus on three things for the day. I’m going to talk to Jonathan and create and listen to a podcast. I talked to Jonathan Chase and did a podcast and since then, I’ve gone from, you know, 80% of my time doing things I hate to 20% more time, things I like. And now I’m doing 85 to 90% of things I love Yeah. To 15% of things that I don’t like, right? Because everyone has to, you can’t run away.

Yes, it’s a completely different way. It’s like you are you are that kid again, and you’re doing things that you want to do. And that’s a in essence, that’s what you’re doing is you’re so that’s the problem is the mindset. Yeah, of the Yeah, completely.

So give me some tangible things that these kids have done.

I want to just share a tangible thing for your audience to understand that to build a loyal community you can create real change. Because at the core, what I’ve learned most from kid is not about the projects. It’s the underlying core of why they have so much energy, why they are so productive, why they are so fierce and at the core is worthiness, our own worthiness is at the core of this and worthiness is a daily practice, this is not some mumbo jumbo, or some rubbish that if we don’t get up every day, and understand that what we add and who we are.

I’m sorry, who we are not what we know and what we have and what we have acquired matters to at least one other person. That’s what makes you run to work. That’s what what makes you run to school at the core of mattering be on being noticed and being seen and being heard is the knowledge that you are needed.

The most powerful words in our human world are I need you. And when you find out what you have that is needed by others, you will work hundred hours you will smile the whole time, you will get up in the middle of back surgery and still think about work.

Because you know that you are needed by someone else. My charge and my challenge to your community, is don’t question that you matter. Find out how to matter, because you’re making mattering is a choice. And doing nothing is a choice. So you can’t afford to not show up in your full self every day. So find your value right now. Work on contributing that and you will get back to your five year old self. I guarantee and, you know, this is more than engagement.

This is this is is critical to your health and well being as food, water, shelter and air. And so I will end by saying Nathaniel, you matter and I’m so grateful that you are contributing your full self to the world, the world is better because of that. And I’m telling your listeners and your community that they matter. And so I’m I’m grateful to be here. And I am grateful to be doing this work.

Thank you, Angela. I’m going to say as well. It’s a bit you matter as well. And you know, and I’ll finish off with that. And you know, it’s in England we’re a bit turned off by the American hype you know, and that’s the problem is, is that we’ve had all these people Anthony Robbins and everyone else sell us all these massive workshops and this and that and what’s amazing is what you’re doing doesn’t cost people anything right unless you know it doesn’t because they can just do it they just realised that they matter right and that’s it right so

Now I’ve been working with the parliament in England and we went to the 13 communities hardest hit by Brexit to prove exactly what you said that this is not warm fuzzy that this is DNA level activation and the head of the house of parliament wrote about it. So I’ll send that to you know we I just travel with two other politicians and then he went back and presented what we did to the House of Lords.

Thanks everyone for listening. I really appreciate it. And don’t forget to share and review us on iTunes or wherever you listen really appreciate that very much. So thanks for so much.

Information from her most recent visit to the UK