Zebras in the Wild: Francene Chadwick | Co-op member
With our series “Zebras in the Wild”, we are excited to take you on a journey around the world to meet founding members, chapter leads, co-op members and allies. We talk to Zebras in the wild and report back how they’re challenging the status quo, how they envision the future and how we can support them in their mission!
In this conversation, meet Francene Chadwick, a Canadian from St. John’s, Newfoundland who is currently residing in beautiful North Carolina.
As CEO of Serve, Francene works to identify the financial needs of the family unit and community, and create innovative technology-driven solutions. Serve reverse-engineers traditional banking, investment, and finance applications, aiming to increase accessibility and close the financial inequality gap. It is a trust-based financial platform inspired by co-operatives and led by community voices, creating inclusive and accessible wealth.
Outside of work, Francene is a wife and mother, Dyslexia and Mental Health Advocate, and DEI backer.
Read how Francene envisions the capital, community and culture of the next economy:
A Zebra is…
The people, communities, and organizations that understand our societies have systemic issues that governments and the private sector, primarily well-intentioned, can’t possibly solve. Zebras find solutions, take action and execute swiftly to create a more prosperous future for all.
Zebras are the ones organizing, cooperating, collaborating, and picking up where others fall short so that our families and communities not only meet their basic needs but thrive.
We fix what’s broken for the 99%.
An unequal status quo
We have a Financial Infrastructure and GDP problem, and it’s called Inequality.
Our financial systems, the market economy, and GDP only account for and measure monetary value, not what makes a healthy, productive, well-functioning society. It also can’t account for hidden economic values like unpaid labor, the cash market, or the negative or positive impact on the environment from capitalist activities.
Most importantly, we don’t have practical tools to create wealth and capture value for the poor, low-income, and middle class. Instead, the majority of our financial instruments are for the wealthy. We are watching economic inequality grow in real-time. The United States Billionaire’s wealth surged a whopping 70% during the pandemic all while most people are suffering financially and trying to survive — it hardly seems fair or equal, and I think most can agree.
I’m not placing blame here. Our systems and policies are designed this way. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t wake up in the morning and ponder how to perpetuate economic inequality; they focus on the value that they can provide. They are not out of bounds in this game; they’re the Chicago Bulls in 98, and the rest of us are playing a half-court, scrap game at the YMCA. They do, however, need to support Zebras working on this problem from a market perspective. If economic inequality keeps expanding, they will have less and less of a customer base to buy their products and further their mission.
There is no doubt that financial systems and structures are critical to the growth of a nation, but they are only one side of the equation. They leave out the fuel that makes our economy work — our people. Consequently, inequality has been growing rapidly and it’s not just my opinion, and not only American; it’s global and widely accepted among the public, researchers, economists, policymakers, and world leaders.
Robert Kennedy spoke about the GDP problem beautifully in one of his earliest campaign speeches for president over 50 years ago at the University of Kansas in 1968. He was interrupted 38 times with applause, and it stirs so much emotion about inequality for me:
“Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate, or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans”.
In my ideal future, our societies are equal and just, and our people, families, and communities are flourishing.
Community as a vehicle
Community is what makes vision a reality. Mine is my husband Mark, my daughters Amber and Violet, my Co-founders at SERVE Todd and Heba, and my network at COMMON and Zebras Unite. These people and communities are the ones who encourage me, inspire me, and walk with me in the pursuit of equality for all.
Together we understand that as our world becomes more globalized and technologically rich, the nature of community evolved from being solely geographical to one connected by shared values. When people from all backgrounds come together striving toward a shared vision, we believe that anything is possible — especially the capacity to solve today’s most pressing issues: economic inequality and climate change.
Community is the vehicle. We are building the roads. We envision creating the necessary infrastructure, tools, and resources to inspire and incentivize individuals, communities, and businesses to work together in ways that produce equity for all and balances people, the planet, and profit.
A more collaborative approach to deploy capital
The capital infrastructure of the future will balance what is essential to people and not rely wholly on the return of investment and commercial activity. It will uncover new forms of value and wealth. At SERVE, we believe our work is at the leading edge of technical innovation in financial infrastructure. We create tools that run in parallel and complement the existing systems for a more collaborative exchange to deploy capital.
Stewardship, Transparency & Accountability
We envision a culture that promotes trust in ourselves and each other. The foundation of this culture is built on the value of equality because when we include and empower diverse perspectives, experiences, and voices, we are equipped to serve all people and the planet.
The values that drive us toward a culture of trust are individual and collective stewardship, transparency in service of accountability, and success for all.
Like many Zebras I took action, and I was lucky enough to find the co-founding team of heart-led leaders and creators that wanted to solve the problem with me. Together, Todd, Heba and I are designing and building the tools and infrastructure to tip the scales and close the gap on economic inequality. We don’t see any other way except to start with ourselves.
What does support look like?
We’re an early-stage start-up tackling a huge problem, and we have big goals, so capital is always top of mind, but, in parallel, we want to hear from anyone with aligned values to reach out for collaboration and grow our communities.
Our immediate priorities are focused on a CTO. Although we have a high level of technical expertise and competence, we’re looking for someone that is values-aligned and experienced who can champion the production of our technology, lead the creation of an internal software team and work with external development agencies.
We could also use some creative help — specifically product design, content development, and social media management in a volunteer capacity.
It’s important to know if you want to join our team, as founders, we care about solving the problem.
What you look like, what bathroom you use, what religious beliefs you have, or who you go to bed with at night is your business. We want to know about your passion for fixing the problem, your values, how you show up for yourself and other people, and your quality of work. We treat everyone with respect and dignity, and ALL are safe and welcome here.
Francene asks the community…
Recognizing a spectrum of human values, what are your three most important forms of capital that would enable you and your organization to thrive?
This is the most challenging question; so many people and organizations have significantly impacted our work both within the ZU community and others in our network.
Within ZU, I would say Chip Hauss. In the short time I’ve known him, I have been delighted by our conversations, and he’s brilliant and does some fantastic work around peacebuilding.
In the broader community, I would say, Mark Eckhardt, CEO of COMMON. He’s an incredible advisor, mentor, and friend leading a community for entrepreneurs building socially responsible brands and companies.
Connect with Francene
Originally published at https://socialventurers.com.