Wendy H. Steele is the founder and CEO of Impact100, a global organization that unites and empowers women to pool their resources in order to transform their communities. Each Impact100 chapter around the world—there are more than 60 as of 2023—has at least 100 members. Every member contributes $1,000 per year to create a single transformational grant of at least $100,000 that is gifted to a local nonprofit.
Now, Wendy adds “published author” to her already impressive resume that includes banking executive, CEO, popular speaker and entrepreneur.
When Carrie Morgridge first learned about Wendy and the Impact100 model, she knew she had found something special. It was clear that Impact100’s success and Wendy’s personal journey were stories worth telling.
MFF Publishing partnered with Wendy to create the newly released book, Invitation to Impact: Lighting the Path for Community Transformation. It is an inspiring story about the power of generosity, the design and growth of Impact100, and Wendy’s evolution from mother, wife, and leader in finance and banking, to creator of a global movement.
In this exclusive interview, get a behind-the-scenes look at what inspired Wendy to share her story, what her writing process looked like and what advice she would give to other first-time authors.
Impact100 has been thriving for more than 20 years, mobilizing tens of thousands of women who have collectively funded more than $123 million, and yet, most people have never heard of Impact100. I wrote this book to bring awareness to the impact we are having in communities around the globe, and to draw more support to those local chapters and to the Impact100 Global movement itself.
Early on, I decided to write the book for a wide audience that included women—and men—who could be inspired by the story of a small idea that had the power to become a global movement. This includes philanthropists, of course, but also entrepreneurs and volunteers, and moms and business executives who see needs in their communities and want to help. I wrote a lot more material than I could use—especially about my personal life—and then with the help of great editors we decided what to keep.
The hardest part was the personal stories. It was a challenge to know what to share and how much detail to go into. My childhood shaped my desire to help others and give back. It was vital I tell it all with honesty and from a perspective of grace and gratitude.
Sometimes, writing was emotionally exhausting for me—and not just the personal parts. Impact100 has grown so far beyond my initial expectations, it is just incredible. Documenting the growth and the statistics would sometimes just take my breath away.
I would advise aspiring authors to always keep your focus on why you are writing this story, who your audience is and what you hope will happen after someone reads your book. It’s not that any of these answers is better than another, but once you know the answers it inspires you to keep going. And you’ll be sure you’ve included everything that will help you achieve these goals.
Invitation to Impact is exactly that: a personal invitation for every reader to increase their impact through generosity and community action. Readers are invited to be a part of solving the most pressing problems facing the world today—however that looks like for them.
I hope readers will truly understand that they can have an important role in making the world a better place. I want them to feel ready to act! If they dream of doing something big, my story will inspire them to bring that dream to life.
Now that the book is published, my next project is to spread the word so that it reaches as many readers as possible. And, at the same time, to continue to grow and fund Impact100 Global so the work is sustainable far into the future.