Self-Elected is a story of abundance. Part memoir, part business guide, and part manifesto, it invites the reader to explore the convergence of social justice and profit. Lisa Wise tells a deeply personal story about being a child left behind and how that beginning, coupled with an intuitive knack for entrepreneurship, evolved into an intense desire to build security for herself and others. This work is both personal and practical in nature, providing budding entrepreneurs and those who want to revisit their business models with concrete recommendations for centering their companies in justice without ceding profits. It includes an array of research and case studies to build a compelling argument that prioritizing people and place is the truest path not only to financial success, but to a more equitable society. Self-Elected is the story of how one woman who grew up with housing insecurity went on to build a thriving family of property management companies, all while flipping the traditional scarcity-based business model on its head.
Lisa Wise successfully oversees real estate management and technology enterprises anchored in justice and profitable by design. In 2020, she founded and launched birdSEED, a housing justice initiative granting no-strings down payment grants to first time BIPOC buyers. In 2022, birdSEED was named a world-changing idea by Fast Company. She lives in Washington, DC with her little family.
The history of America is filled with contradictions. Inspiration and desperation. Patriotism and racism. Extreme wealth and poverty.
What makes Self-Elected such an excellent book is that Lisa’s story is an authentic look at one person’s journey navigating those contradictions. Most importantly, her book creates the permission for leaders to celebrate the obstacles we’ve beaten and recognize the privileges that may have played an outsized role in overcoming them. Read Self-Elected if you are ready to go beyond profits and
leverage your business to push for a more equitable America.
—Scott Case, founding CTO of priceline.com + Chair of Network for Good
Individuals who desire to venture into social impact entrepreneurship often struggle with the misconception that you won’t make much money creating a mission-driven business. Others battle with the guilt that you shouldn’t make money since zero-sum theory has paralyzed some to believe that revenue means taking away from others you serve. I hope you grant yourself the permission to read Self-Elected by Lisa Wise and take part in a community that believes in a positive-sum change. A belief that everyone wins when companies are positioned based on the core values of sharing profits, valuing employees, and serving communities. Wise reminds us that purpose means profit—for all.
—Joanna Ha Yean Shin, Architecture + Human Rights, Project Manager Real Estate Development – APAH
If you're frustrated with the state of the world, find yourself wondering what went wrong, or feel stumped about how you can still make a meaningful difference here in the 21st century, read Lisa Wise's wonderful new book! You'll get an inside look at how she turns life lessons in landladying, Lean management, and social justice into practical lessons that she turned into a ground-breaking, purpose-driven, systems-focused, still profitable, community-based business. If you read Lisa's book you'll be able to turn her teachings into a difference-making organization of your own! Her practical, powerful, and purposeful lessons are applicable in every walk of life! If the world were led by women like Lisa Wise, this would be a far more caring, more collaborative, and more creative planet!
—Ari Weinzweig, CEO of Zingerman’s