Jeff Swartz – Episode 3

Jeff Swartz on Timberland, Social Impact, Philanthropy, Having Too Many Words and Lots of Dreams

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On the 3rd episode of Invested, Michael hosts Jeff Swartz, the former president and CEO of Timberland. Jeff Swartz, co-founder and chair of MAOZ, served 15 years as CEO of Timberland, a global brand of footwear and apparel. While at Timberland, Jeff incorporated a social agenda within the business agenda—he led public & private partnerships with several social change organizations, including City Year, where he served as chair for 10 years, Share Our Strength, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and the Climate Group. In 2011, Jeff led the sale of Timberland to the VF Corporation. Since then, he invests all of his energies to advance sustainable socio-economic change aimed to have real impact in Israel and the US. Jeff holds an MBA from Dartmouth University and a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University. Jeff lives in Jerusalem. He is married to Debbie. They have three married sons and a growing number of beloved grandchildren. If you would like to follow Jeff on social media, you can’t, because he doesn’t have social media. Please enjoy and rate this episode 5 stars wherever you stream your podcasts!

Key Topics

[0:00] Why Timberland never created a foundation
[00:35] Intro
[2:46] How Michael and Jeff know each other
[3:55] How Jeff starts his day
[7:32] Why Jeff moved to Israel
[10:25] How Jeff got home for his grandfather’s funeral
[16:20] Why Jeff sold Timberland
[18:45] How Jeff felt the day after the sale
[20:28] How Timberland values made the business better, social impact
[25:25] Timberland’s mission
[27:00] Corporate social responsibility
[31:25] RiseUp (company) and financial empowerment
[35:53] Subscription vs. one-time sales
[38:20] Virtue signaling, information disclosure, the environment
[50:20] Jeff’s investments - market caps close social gaps
[51:18] Being with people in the game
[52:25] Being in the oval office
[54:50] Philanthropy vs. Tzedaka (charity)
[59:30] Allocating between serve and solve - for-profit + non-profit
[1:00:30] Food chain[1:01:20] Rappers wearing Timberland
[1:03:00] How Jeff feels now about Timberland
[1:04:10] Why Jeff is not on social media
[1:07:10] What problem Jeff wants to solve
[1:10:00] Learning how to learn
[1:10:50] How Jeff wants to be remembered
[1:11:50] Title of Jeff’s future biography

Show References

Timberland's values
The Lonely Man of Faith, by Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveichik (Wikipedia)
Maoz (organization) On Language, by William Sapphira (New York Times Column)
CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility (Investopedia)
U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (Wikipedia)
Riseup (LinkedIn)
Harlem Children’s Zone (organization)
US President Theodore Roosevelt (Wikipedia)
US President George Bush (Wikipedia)
Jeff’s article in Sapir Journal, “Philanthropy is Not Enough”Nachmonides (Wikipedia)
Lyrics for Hypnotize by The Notorious B.I.G.


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Executive Producer: Erica Marom
Producer: Andrew Jacobson
Video and Editing: Ron Baranov
Music, Art Direction, Invested Logo: Uri Ar
Design: Rony Karadi