top of page

Episode # 2 Full Transcript

Building Healthy Organizations to Cultivate Climate Conscious World 

Eve Turow-Paul
Okay, so all of these naysayers and critics of the millennial generation are calling us these like self -centered narcissistic kids and like we are, we are.

Jessica Grossman (00:14.35)
Hey, Fam, it's your go -to leadership team coach and host, Jessy here, and I'm ready to shake things up. If you're also tired of outdated forms of authority and ready to rebel against the mediocrity of leadership we see today, you might have just found your spot. So join me in unleashing this next generation of leaders by embracing being just a bit too millennial. Let's redefine this thing together.

Jessica Grossman (00:47.886)
Hello, hello, hello everyone. We have a fantastic interview that we're going to get to today. But before we get there, hold on. I'm going to talk a little bit about some of the concepts and ideas ahead of time so that you can really absorb and understand all the amazing things that our current guest today goes into. So.

Today we're going to talk about the quest for high quality motivation, which is called self determination theory or SDT. I had to be very careful to not say STD. It's really hard for me, but this concept was created by Desi and Ryan in the 1980s. It is not a trendy concept. It's actually been empirically validated by a hundred studies over the last 40 years. And

What's really crucial about self -determination theory is that it moves us from this idea that organizational levers are the architect of our motivation and really makes us think inwardly about what is the person's internal experience that's happening and how is that then motivating. So you're probably like, Jessy, just tell me the drivers of STD.

Self -determination theory, I almost did it again. Self -determination theory, just tell me what they are, give me the answer. But before I do, I wanna just let everyone know that when it comes to motivation, there is no silver bullet. People's behavior is complex, it's intricate. And so motivation is not linear. But let's talk about the three main drivers or the embedded laws of self -determination theory. The first one is autonomy.

When I'm talking about autonomy, I'm not talking about freedom or independence because those are like, hey, don't tell me what to do. I can do whatever that whatever, you know, if I want. And when it comes to organizations, we are not talking about people can just do whatever they want. That is not what we mean when we say autonomy. But autonomy means and feels as though you are the author of your work, your space that you can take ownership of the work. So it's not that.

Jessica Grossman (03:03.439)
You can still have a mandated task or a prescribed task, but it's whether or not I deem that task as valuable that will allow me to think whether or not I have ownership of it or I am the author of it. So a lot of it is also, you know, how you get work done can also help with autonomy. So that's number one. Number two is relatedness. This is all about belonging, feeling respected, feeling valued as a person. This is core psychological need to.

all of us and it's a driver for motivation. The third is competence or mastery. Not only do we want to feel like we relate to people, do we want to feel like we have ownership of our lives, but we want to feel like we're good at things, that we have competence, that we can master things. So this is not just, you know, completing your task and doing it well. There's also a growth element to mastering competence in feeling as though we're growing, progressing, and we're learning.

So those are the three pillars of self -determination theory. And this is the crucial part. This is the kicker. This is the exciting part. These are three psychological needs. So though they are uplifting our wellbeing, but at the same time, they've been researched, they've been studied to enhance organizational success. And I'm talking about financial success, retention, performance, all the things we say we want.

SD self -determination theory, almost did it again, helps us motivate our employees, motivate ourselves to achieve success, performance, well -being. We don't have to sacrifice well -being. We don't have to sacrifice performance. We can actually have it all using these embedded blocks. You might be wondering, where does compensation fit into this picture? It certainly is a driver for me. Well, compensation is critical and

I believe people should be paid fairly and we should never use the idea of self -determination theory as a reason to underpay people. We should never use those levers as a means so that we don't have to pay them fairly. I truly believe that. But let's go back to the research and read. The research suggests something pretty crucial about this, that when compensation becomes the primary tool for motivation, it brings about exactly the detriment that...

Jessica Grossman (05:27.822)
SDT predicts. So when the most salient motivational factors for work is the amount of compensation one receives, the motivational quality tends to be lower, along with loyalty, performance, well -being in the workplace. So I just want that to sink in for a moment. Money is essential, but it can't be the sole driving force behind why we go to work. But, and there's always a but,

Compensation isn't inherently bad. In fact, it can contribute significantly to the motivational quality, but it's all about how it's done. It's really more about signaling that mastery or that efficacy, acknowledging that the job has been well. In this two -part episode, we will embark on a journey to unravel some of these complexities of leadership. And I'm very excited because we have an expert in the house to do this.

Eve Turow -Paul is here to help us. She's a leading expert in millennial and Gen Z global food culture and the founder and executive director for Food for Climate League. Her latest book was titled Hungry, Avocado Toast, Instagram, Influencers, and our search for connection and meaning. She's been recognized for her insights into this changing landscape.

where she views food culture as a key lever for improving mental, physical, and environmental health around the world.

I'm excited to introduce my first guest on this show today, Eve Turow -Paul. She is an author, climate activist, thought leader, speaker, the executive director of Food for Climate League, mother of two amazing kids, and of course, the most important part of her life, she is my best friend. Welcome to Too Millennial. Thanks for having me, Jessy. So for those who -

Jessica Grossman (07:27.79)
aren't aware of all the amazing work that you've done, who you are, just tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Eve Turow-Paul
Sure. So I have written two books on the why behind foodie culture. The first being very US specific, the second from a more of a global perspective and really honing in on the emotional underpinnings that drive all of human behavior, but looking at it specifically through a lens of food culture and dissecting

the top food trends. And then in 2019, I became a mom. I had been using all of my research on human behavior and food culture to advise large food companies, hospitality groups, farming groups, on really what millennials want. And in bringing new life into this world, I asked myself a question of really what is my responsibility at that moment in time. And I decided that if I was going to justify bringing a new life into the world, that I had to be working on the climate crisis.

And so in 2019, I founded Food for Climate League with funding from the Food at Google program. And we work specifically on changing the common narrative, the way people think, the stories we tell ourselves about a sustainable food choice. That could be plant -based, plant -forward, up -cycled, regenerative. There's all sorts of ways of eating in a climate -friendly way. But all too often, those food choices are framed in the negative. It's about what we're not eating.

Uh, it's about what's not on the menu. It's about giving something up for the common good. The messaging is also very often targeting kind of white, wealthy Western audiences. And those are not the only people who are interested in engaging in climate smart food culture. Um, and so we work to change the way that people think and behave when it comes to climate smart food choices. And now that's, I'd say 99 % of my life is being the executive director of this organization and taking it from.

kind of zero to I don't know what stage we're at right now. 

Jessica Grossman
I want to jump in to your first book because looking back at it was pretty hilarious. I also got anxiety just reading it. But you published this in 2015. So we're actually coming up to your 10 year anniversary of that first book. I wanted to read you back. Oh yeah, I want to read you back a portion of it. Quote, we're fucked.

Jessica Grossman (09:52.782)
Because this generation actually is as narcissistic and self -involved as all the critics we claim we are. There, I said it. After three years of research, my secret fear had been confirmed. While I'd spent a great deal of time attempting to psychologically diagnose Jen Yum, pinpointing the numerous anxiety -provoking elements we face and how we react to them, what I'd really found was...

We spend a lot of energy on us. Maybe we are just a self -centered, hopeless, glutinous kid. Looking back at this writing, what is surprising you about the last 10 years and about the millennial generation? 

Eve Turow-Paul
Yeah, I mean, I think that the point that I was actually making in that section was that we are incredibly focused on ourselves because the world demands that of us. Because you are forced to brand yourself.

and project a certain version of yourself all the time. And that was also in 2015, it was still somewhat the infancy of social media, where you had to be one person on LinkedIn and a different person on Facebook and a different person on Instagram. And I can't remember if Snapchat was even out yet at that point. But the...

The conclusion was really that, okay, so all of these naysayers and critics of the millennial generation are calling us these like self -centered narcissistic kids. And like, we are, we are. And I think that that's still true. We live in a world where we do need to be self -centered. And I think that ultimately that might be our demise. 

Jessica Grossman
If there's something recently I've learned is how...

self branding is so critical for all those listening. Follow me on Instagram. Please @coachJessyGrossman. Yes, exactly. Never would I have thought I would have had to brand myself on LinkedIn and Instagram and here I am doing it. So jumping to your next book, Hungry, I think I enjoyed this one maybe a little bit more. I wasn't so anxious reading it. But I found it fascinating because you use so many well -being concepts that are

Jessica Grossman (12:08.654)
that I also use in my work, but you apply them in such a different way with a different lens, trying to understand food habits and behaviors. Whereas I obviously apply them with a focus on the employee experience. But I've actually always been curious if you took, you know, what you wrote in your book, Hungry, how might you apply those three pillars in Hungary to some of the leadership behaviors you've seen yourself and you're seeing in those trends today? Yeah.

Eve Turow-Paul
Well, so first, I guess I'll back up a little bit actually, because I want to draw a kind of a line between the first book and the second one. So the first book was born out of my own curiosity about my own behavior. And I graduated from college in 2009, I moved to New York City, I was broke. But I was finding that what little discretionary time and income I had, I was spending on food and food media. And I was seeing that other people around me were doing the same thing.

And A Taste of Generation Yum, my first book really, it was my master's thesis. I didn't think anybody was going to read this, but I just was personally fascinated by it. And once I started to dig into the why behind my own behavior, but also kind of this rising foodie culture, I saw that people are using food as a coping mechanism for rising rates of stress and depression and loneliness and anxiety. And then after that book came out, it got

a little bit of media coverage and I was hired by a couple of companies to do some talks and book talks. And it was only through that process of actually presenting the research to others and receiving feedback that I made this connection that what I was really talking about was Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. And that served as the inspiration for Hungry. And so in preparation for the next book, I got an agent and a publisher, which is really great to have support system around me.

But it also gave me the time and the space to think more about how our food behaviors, our reflections of unmet core human needs, that we all have these core needs and what, you know, whatever we're choosing to spend our extra time and money on, it's probably a reflection of us trying to fulfill a need that's otherwise going unmet. And it's really easy to poke fun at it, but I find it more interesting to try and understand, you know, kind of the emotions that underlie it. And so I took that and did a ton of.

Eve Turow-Paul  (14:33.134)
research on various philosophies of well -being. So I went beyond Maslow and looked at philosophies in psychology, neurobiology, religion, layered them all on top of each other. And you see that there really are these three pillars of a desire for control and safety, a desire for community and belonging, and a desire for purpose and meaning in life. And I use that as the foundation to then analyze.

food culture and lifestyle culture, you know, other related behaviors. So that is foundational to me. I now view kind of everything through those three pillars. What's interesting though, is I read this question, you sent me this question ahead of time and I thought, oh my God, I've never thought about it that way. In terms of leadership. You're like, that's what I'm doing with my organization. And I think that on a certain level, I have considered it. So the, the

The work that Food for Climate League does now, we do use those three pillars. We most specifically though, we leverage self -determination theory in a lot of our work. So we're developing narrative that speak to people's desire for empowerment, mastery and connectedness, which ladders back to those three pillars very nicely. There's like slight nuances there, but, and we do within our own leadership work,

we are starting to think about how to cultivate self -determination within our own organization. That said, your own email made me think like, God, you really need to be doing this in a more strategic and targeted way. I can tell you that - That's what I'm here for. Yeah. Really hard as a startup. So a year ago, I had one employee. Now,

There's seven employees. I'd say most of the time I've been focused on the research. What is it tactically that we are doing? What are we aiming to achieve in order to impact the food system? Over the last year, now that I have more people involved, it's not just what is the work that we're doing? Because that part, we're figuring that part out. I feel pretty good about that. Then it's how do you actually cultivate a team that can execute this work well? And how do you do that in a virtual setting?

Jessica Grossman (16:52.91)
How do you take a bunch of strangers living all over the world in different time zones who have a shared passion and shared interests, but how do you make them feel empowered with the skills that they need in order to do their job well? How do you make them feel connected to one another? And we have a number of initiatives within our own organization to help that come to life, but it's still a work in progress. What are some of the ways in which you've taken inspiration from your book and applied initiatives to Food for Climate?

There's a number of different things that we're putting into place. So one are just like standard operating procedures of just like, this is how we work at Food for Climate League. And you know, if you're, this is how we do things. Basic instructions. We're getting really clear on our research process. We're also working on knowledge management systems. This is something that I would also love to chat with you about maybe on this podcast or off the podcast, but we're really realizing, hey, like now that we're many years into this organization.

If someone joins, there's all of this information that they need to learn. There's also multiple teams now that are working and they need to be able to exchange information with one another. But it does get to this idea of empowerment and mastery, which is how do you help people feel like they have the skills that they need and are constantly improving upon those skills? And so knowledge management is one of those ways of learning from one another, providing input to other teams, receiving input from their colleagues who happily they respect.

appreciate the opinions of. So knowledge management is one thing. For the first time ever, we've carved out professional development budget for each person. So we're hoping to get it to 500 per person for per year to spend on professional development. Then there's the more mental health side of things. What we have found. Well, first of all, it's hard to exist today. It just is. I mean, and sitting on a computer,

And dealing with the inundation of content is extremely hard. It is going against a lot of kind of the core things that we as human beings evolved to live amongst. And on top of that, my staff is coming into a job that is about the climate crisis. This is inherently emotionally triggering. It's difficult to think about. And so we've developed a program called Sustainable Self that one of our amazing project managers, Ting Ting, runs now and has taken ownership of.

Jessica Grossman (19:20.654)
And every two weeks on Fridays, she sets out an agenda for people. And sometimes it's some form of movement. Sometimes it's a meditation, sometimes it's journaling, sometimes it's an art project. It's a way to keep people accountable, to remind people to be getting outside, doing something physical, doing something tangible, connecting with their bodies. And it's a way for us to encourage self care. And...

I think one of my biggest challenges as a leader in this space for my own organization is that we, to be frank, we don't have the funding that we need to hire as many people as we need. And so everybody's working probably a job and a quarter. And how do you really maintain wellbeing when everyone is, has too much on their plate? And so.

For the time being, we're trying to build in these other things where it's like, okay, we want you to feel empowered. We want you to feel skilled. We want you to feel like you're growing. We do want you to carve out some time for self care. But the biggest challenge for me right now is just how do you really help people feel well when we're in kind of this like odd growth stage as an organization? So I have some fundraising goals for this year. If I can meet them, it's basically all gonna go to operations and HR.

because we need to have a healthy team in order to do the impact work. Because otherwise everyone's going to burn out and the impact work is not going to happen.

Jessica Grossman
I do want to give a shout out to let people know this is why when you give money, you give unrestricted money. Because the people haven't operated like not for profits have to operate. It doesn't just all go to the mission. We have to be able to support those doing the work in a healthy way. So shout out. 

Eve Turow-Paul
Well, but that does. Yes, and that does go to the mission. And I think that that is too why it's like, this is why you have to be investing in people, the people who are doing the work because the mission driven programming is not going to happen or it's not going to happen as effectively if you have staff that are understaffed and be overworked. And it's by like cultivating this positive workplace environment that you ultimately are going to make the biggest impact possible. So.

Jessica Grossman (21:40.782)
This is a challenge I run into with every client I have, which is they have too much to do and not enough time to do it and they're burned out, they're overworked. And as a coach, it's heartbreaking because we're only as well as our environment and our context. And the idea is that, like you just said, there's a lot to do. The work you're doing is extremely important. And...

No one has, I think, the resources that they need to create a thriving organization. So what do you do when you have too much to do and not enough people and you're asking them to work too many hours? But then you're also saying, but we need to be well and we need to be sustainable. It's very hard then to take time off to do a meditation because at the end of the day, the work still needs to get done. 

Eve Turow-Paul
So there's a few things that we are adopting within our own organization to cope with this. And so number one is also making it clear, we're really not asking people to work more than 40 hours a week. And there, I mean, there are some situations where sure, you're going to have a specific deadline that maybe you're going to have to work some extra hours for, but there is no judgment or shame in our organization for saying, I'm going to end. So for me, example, I end my workday at 430 because I want to spend time with my kids.

And that's really important to me. I make up those hours for myself if I need to on the weekends during the night. And that's how I manage my own sustainable wellbeing. So we make it clear that we want people to work within kind of the schedule that works for them. But we also are starting to build in longer timelines into our projects so that our sponsors understand that maybe it'll just take us a week or two longer because we don't have the extra person. And so.

The project might take one or two weeks longer. Um, and so we're trying to build in that kind of buffer to allow for, uh, just a more sustainable work environment. And, and again, it is emphasizing to people, it's okay if you need to take some time off for X, Y, and Z reason, because ultimately if you are not well, then the impact work is not going to be as impactful. I need to have a, a healthy.

Eve Turow-Paul (23:59.886)
a well functioning team in order to meet the mission. I feel like if we are stepping into leadership positions the way you're thinking about these, then we are in very good hands because when I coach people and this is the case, I'm truly confused because like you said, one to two weeks longer, what is so urgent in this life that we're going to sacrifice someone's life?

well -being and mental health. And we're not just talking about people here who are tired. We're talking about people here who have truly mental health issues due to the workload that are putting on them. We did do a team training during our team retreat. It was a Jedi training, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. It was something like the, you know, 12 or 20 signs of, I think it was like white supremacy or white colonialism in the workplace was the way that she framed it.

And it was interesting because she put up all of these different characteristics around the room and then people went over with stickers to put stickers on the ones that they felt reflected the environment of food refinery. So the two that rose to the top were urgency and perfectionism, which don't go well together. Most of the people who come into my coaching.

Jessica Grossman
That is what we're dealing with. We realized that the sense of urgency, we actually did this analysis of, well, where does the sense of urgency start? And for me, the sense of urgency starts when someone says, there's a grant proposal due in a week and we need you to come up with a concept in a week. And when there's that sense of urgency, I come up with a proposal that is not the best proposal that it could be because I didn't have the time to think through it with my team.

Eve Turow-Paul
And where the sense of urgency can be managed, I found is actually coming down to me as the executive director, in actually pushing back against some of those deadlines that are being imposed on me that are making me anxious to say, actually, our team needs more time to really thoughtfully think through this proposal, this service proposal to you, this project proposal. It also comes down to how many weeks are we actually building into the estimate for the project thinking about, okay, we're going to need

Eve Turow-Paul (26:21.134)
a few weeks to actually find the right team members and onboard them and get everybody set up. And so, you know, and then the other part of it is when someone is in a moment of anxiety, reminding them like, this is not the end of the world. If you need to push the deadline back by a week, like the world will not collapse. And there's a fine line between this because you want people to get the work done efficiently and you want them to take their job seriously. But you don't want them to torture themselves over.

and deadlines that they set for themselves. I agree. 

Jessica Grossman
You know, it is interesting to me a lot of the urgency and perfectionism that I see in my coaching is it's self -imposed. And I'm always curious. I'm like, well, who said that? People forget that there's a middle ground between perfectionism and urgency and reliability and laziness. And there's a true belief that if I take care of myself, there's the self -judgment.

that, well, I'm lazy. And it's usually based on a person on their team, who they see as lazy and they are judgmental. 

Eve Turow-Paul
Yeah, I mean, I think that there's also pervasive self judgment amongst young people. And again, I think that's because of social media, I think we are constantly being taught to judge others. And

to also be judging ourselves in comparison to them. I mean, when you look at evaluations of what are the top emotions that you feel coming out of time on social media, it's jealousy and envy. People who spend more time on social media are more likely to feel like their relationships with others are superficial to feel like they're often left out to feel as though their friends are more interesting or more successful than they are. And so,

I think that we're in a world that asks us to promote ourselves as perfect. 

Jessica Grossman
So obviously the conversation's not over. There was just way too much wisdom to pack into one episode. So we've split it into two parts because trust me, you'll want to soak every bit of Eva and her insights. And I'll be totally honest, Eve had my brain spinning throughout this episode. So if you think this interview is good, you should definitely read her book.

Jessica Grossman (28:47.022)
Total hidden gem and one of my favorite reads still use a lot of the theories, a lot of the practical actual insights today. And it was just really motivating and enlightening around how we can support climate. So keeping in today's theme, I've got some food for thought. What I recognize is we often place unrealistic expectations on ourselves, thinking everything must be done immediately and flawlessly. But what if, what if,

with just a dose of bravery from all of us, we decided that perfection isn't a prerequisite for where they end up. What if we prioritize our own wellbeing, our own sense of prioritization over that constant feel of urgency, over that uncomfortable discomfort of having unchecked off tasks to do or things we haven't done or...

unopened emails, what if we were brave and we held space for that discomfort rather than alleviating it by just getting it done, sending that email back right away because we're so afraid we're going to forget it. And also, perhaps by being just a little less judgmental towards ourselves, we could extend more empathy and grace to all those around us. I know that's something that I hold on to and work on every day. So let's be brave together.

And that's a wrap for today's episode of Toon Millennial. If you found yourself nodding along, you know the drill. Smash that subscribe button wherever you're tuning in. And if you want a daily dose of leadership wisdom with a sidekick of quirky parent jokes, catch me on Instagram at Coach Jessy Grossman. But hey, if you're serious about leveling up yourself, your team, head over to zlncoaching .com.

where we have great tools, resources, and case studies that will help you unlock your potential and enhance your team's resilience and performance. Because here's the truth, when we don't invest time in building our own leadership skills and the skills of those around us, problems fester. We feel disconnected and it's just so hard to get work done. So if you need an executive coach, a sounding board, an offsite facilitator, team consultant, get in touch.

Jessica Grossman (31:05.934)
Thanks for hanging out with me on TooMillennial. Until next time, stay curious, stay bold, and keep growing.

and on our to do list for today. But whenever Eve tells me about her next thing that she's doing, I think I look at her with like crazy eyes. Like what? Wait, what? Like I remember you told me you're gonna write a book on quinoa. Who wants to read a book about quinoa? And then you come out with Jen Yum, obviously a little different, but I was like, what? And then when you started telling me about food for climate, like I was like, but you know, you're doing so great with speaking and there's all these things going in your head. And I'm like, what? You're gonna go run a nonprofit? And.

You have to do all, you have to set it up. Like that sounds awful. Absolutely awful. So I think I am your most judgmental critic in fact. You always try to prove me wrong every step of the way. 

Eve Turow-Paul
Well, you're a good friend because you've never said that to my face until now. So, well, there was a time when I really, I was actually pitching like an in -depth article to the New York Times Magazine, which I never picked up. Almost did.

I wanted to write about kind of the black market behind quinoa. But that really was the start of me thinking about the impact of food trends on global food systems. So you had a bunch of wealthy people in the United States who suddenly were going crazy for quinoa because it's gluten free and packed with protein and fiber and kind of met all of these other food trends. But then, you know, what most people weren't thinking about is that drive towards this one single ingredient actually upended this entire indigenous food system in Peru.
 

bottom of page