This review first ran in the June 9 edition of The Hamilton Spectator.
By Jennifer Dulski
Portfolio / Penguin
Manal Rostom started wearing a hijab after surviving a bus crash that killed her cousin. She wanted to thank God for giving her a second chance at life.
Manal launched a Facebook group called Surviving Hijab and invited 80 women to join her online community. Overnight, 500 women signed up. Today, there are more than 570,000 members.
Manal is also an avid runner who wants to empower hijabi women to be active and play sports. So Manal emailed Nike asking for help. Nike said yes. In 2015, Manal became the first hijabi athlete featured in a Nike ad campaign and the first coach of an all-women’s Nike running club in Dubai.
In 2017, Manal was invited to join other Muslim female athletes in testing Nike Pro Hijab prototypes. The hijabs went to market earlier this year.
“That swoosh gives us power,” Manal told Jennifer Dulski, author of Purposeful. “It was magical. It was the first time that a multinational brand said they would cater to this segment of Muslim women.”
So how about you? What’s your passion? What cause do champion and what change would you make at work or in our community?
“I believe wholeheartedly that every single person has the capacity to start and lead a movement that changes the world,” says Dulski, Head of Groups and Community at Facebook and the former President and Chief Operating Officer at Change.org. “We all have the power to inspire people and spark movements around issues that matter. Whatever your movement or your cause, you have the ability to affect people’s lives.”
All of us have a choice, says Dulski. We can be managers or movement starters. “Whereas managers accept the world as it is, movement starters burn with the passion to make it more just, equitable and engaging.”
Building a movement starts by setting out a clear and compelling vision and purpose. What’s your desired future and why do you want it? “A movement simply cannot exist without a vision to rally people around and the more clearly articulated that vision is, the easier it will be to mobilize people to achieve it.”
Once you have your vision and purpose, start winning over decision-makers. Browbeating and publicly shaming the powers that be is not a winning strategy. You need allies and long-term partners, says Dulski. Understand what motivates key decision-makers and then make a realistic ask that lends itself to an easy yes.
Now it’s time to inspire your team and keep them motivated. You need every single person to buy in and fight for the cause. “Without others supporting you and spreading your cause, you really don’t have a movement.”
Expect criticism and use it to your advantage. Listen to genuine and constructive feedback. Ignore what Dulski calls the tsunami of haterade and remember the army of supporters standing with you. “One way to overcome the cruelty of haters is to build enough positivity around us to dwarf the negative reactions we do receive. Put more positive around you than negative, and it can boost you up, even amid the cruelest of trolls.”
And finally, be mentally prepared for the journey ahead and the obstacles to come. You’ll be scaling the mountains you aim to move. “The key to success is holding on to the belief that you will have more sunny days than cloudy ones and to just keep climbing, every day no matter what.”
Living a life in pursuit of positive impact is why we’re all here, says Dulski. She highlights movement makers like Manal throughout her book, showing how ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.
“We’ve seen the power that can come from those who step up to start movements and from the large numbers of people who support them – new, purpose-driven companies, new ideas and approaches within staid organizations, and new policies and laws that create a better world for all of us. Now it’s your turn.”
Dulski shows how to do it. So why not you?
@jayrobb serves as director of communications for Mohawk College, lives in Hamilton and has reviewed business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999.