Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Gerald Teo, the founder of UNLEASH. Let’s learn what’s happening at UNLEASH and how Gerald is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Gerald, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through UNLEASH?
Gerald: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! The challenges UNLEASH tackles within the queer communities in Asia include limited safe spaces, social stigma, lack of inclusivity, support, and the need for empowerment. We strive to address these challenges by creating safe environments, challenging societal norms, promoting inclusivity, and empowering individuals to embrace their true selves with confidence and pride.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Gerald: What motivated me to start and continue the work with UNLEASH is the recognition of the impact of societal and cultural norms on individuals in Asia. These norms often create barriers that hinder personal growth and limit authentic self-expression. I am motivated by a strong desire to challenge these norms and create a supportive environment where individuals can truly be themselves. By breaking free from these constraints, we can empower individuals to embrace their identities, celebrate diversity, and foster a more inclusive society that values and respects the uniqueness of every individual.
Spiffy: Well said! How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Gerald: UNLEASH actively promotes equity by curating inclusive experiences, advocating for marginalized communities, and strategically influencing societal norms. Through our initiatives, we empower individuals to authentically express themselves, challenge and influence societal norms, and celebrate diversity. We work towards a more equitable world by creating tangible value, promoting inclusivity, and strategically shaping societal attitudes and behaviors to foster positive change. Our goal is to empower LGBTQIA communities and create a society where everyone can thrive with equality and respect.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your community?
Gerald: UNLEASH's recent initiative, EQUA: Redefining Digital Inclusion and Empowering Interconnected Communities has a profound impact on our community. By integrating web2, web3, and AI technologies, we promote digital inclusion, empower diverse communities, and revolutionize digital engagement. This creates a more interconnected and inclusive digital landscape, fostering unity, diversity, and innovation.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?
Gerald: During one of our events, we faced a setback when it didn't meet our expectations and resulted in a huge financial loss. Rather than giving up, we embraced it as a chance for growth. We conducted a thorough analysis, identified areas for improvement, and implemented necessary changes in our strategies. This experience taught us the significance of resilience, adaptability, and continuous learning. It reinforced the value of perseverance, motivating us to pursue excellence and make our future endeavors even more robust.
Spiffy: I wish you the best in your future endeavors! Thanks for speaking with me today, Gerald—it’s been an honor!
Gerald Teo, an accomplished creative marketer with 8+ years of experience, has spearheaded award-winning campaigns and contributed to renowned brands' marketing efforts. As the founder of UNLEASH, he empowers the queer community through transformative experiences, fostering a future where equality, acceptance, and innovation seamlessly converge. (Nominated by Kayla DiPilato at StartOut. First published on the Ladderworks website on June 15, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.