SHE / HER / HERS
Lisa is an entrepreneur, author and housing justice thought leader, focusing on the intersection of social justice and residential housing. Her signature talks are on Racism and Real Estate, and Justice as a Business Advantage. She is the founder of birdSEED, a housing justice foundation. She also owns Flock DC, a family of residential management companies overseeing 2.5 billion dollars of property in Washington, D.C.
Listen to learn, not to talk. Then advance a more just and equitable word.
Justice as a Business Advantage
I speak about my companies’ success and design as a social justice enterprise and has done well. I profile other, relatable companies like Impossible Foods and Ace Hardware as justice based companies thriving. This talk offers tactical business strategies for operating a justice driven company. It also offers relevant and revealing data to reinforce the argument.
Racism and Real Estate
I discuss the real estate industry’s role in codifying racism as accepted practice, keeping Black and Brown citizens from home ownership, freedom of choice in where to live, and restricted and withheld resources offered with enthusiasm to white buyers. I am a member of this industry and the owner of a company doing well. When George Floyd was murdered and civil unrest unfolded in Washington, DC, I understood I needed to raise my hand and say, basically, fuck that. We can do better. I started the birdSEED foundation which gives no strings attached down payment grant to first time BIPOC buyers.
The learn as you go model. Good, bad and ugly. I started my company with no formal training in business. My whole background was a long list of side-hustles (including wedding videos!!) and reading Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines. This lack of experience I share openly as both a critical advantage and a disadvantage at once. Particularly as a LGBTQ business owner, I was quickly dismissed in most rooms. My path gives the audience a head start.
I can coach an emerging entrepreneur or small business. I focus on leadership primarily. Support in setting strategic goals. Framing the work with respect to mission, solving culture problems and organization of leadership. Conflict support is offered. Tactically, guerilla marketing, culture and brand I can also advise on. Short engagements are available along with on-going arrangements.
“I don’t often write reviews, but you should read this book. I own a business, and this book has changed the way I think about the relationship between social justice and business. In schools and organizations, we’re taught that social justice is the right thing to do, but that businesses often need to pay a price (i.e., make less profit) to do the right thing. lisa wise flips this thinking on its head and argues convincingly that social justice and business are inextricably linked and move in the same direction. Building a business focused on social justice actually leads to more profits, not less. When you build a purpose-driven organization and invest in people, everyone wins. I’m excited to implement some new ideas in my business and my life after reading this book. Would strongly recommend.”
– Roxanne Mariani-Prall
“An inspiring account of how one courageous woman started a business without a plan but with all the right intentions… and succeeded! And thankfully, continues to grow and spread her message of equity, social justice and integrity. This book comes at the perfect time – with practical suggestions and anecdotal stories to illustrate how creating community while running a successful business with a servant leadership model is not only achievable but essential to create necessary social change. Her honesty in sharing her experiences as a business owner and entrepreneur are refreshing! I’m eager to put what I’ve learned from this book into practice!”
– Jennifer Hermesmeyer
“In a world where corporations struggle to put people over profit – Lisa shares how her personal journey and life experiences shaped her path to creating successful business(es) by prioritizing what so many companies claim to do, but don’t deliver on – business model and culture that puts people first by infusing values & practices that drive toward an equitable future for all. Creating change is an intention that lives in many companies mission statement/values, but is only a sentence in a long list. Lisa shows that it is possible to structure a business at a foundational level that infuses this mission into the operating model – so that every employee is participating in making change every day. I’d work for Lisa is a heartbeat. So many insights, so inspirational – I think I’m gonna read it again. Kudos to Lisa for showing us success in business doesn’t have to “exclude” to drive profit – but just the opposite – with unwavering focus on core values to eradicate inequities, your business, and your people, can fly high.”
Lisa Wise is an entrepreneur, thought leader and social justice devotee. She has been tending to homes and caring for residents for more than thirty years. She is the founder and owner of Flock DC, a family of residential management companies overseeing 2.5 billion dollars in Washington, DC property.
Together with her co-founders, she launched Birdwatch, PBC in 2022, a high touch, technology powered maintenance service for homeowners and real estate investors. Birdwatch is a seed stage enterprise, serving members in Washington, DC and Philadelphia.
Lisa’s work and thought leadership is purpose driven and anchored in justice. In 2020, Lisa founded and launched birdSEED, a housing justice foundation which gives no-strings down payment grants to first-time BIPOC home buyers. In 2022, birdSEED was named a world-changing idea by Fast Company and to date, thirteen families bought homes with birdSEED support. She is the author of “Self-Elected: How to Put People Over Profit and Soar in Business” which released in October of 2022 in print and in 2023 on audio.
Lisa grew up (mostly) in small western mountain towns, calling 23 spaces home before she found her way to the University of Arizona where she earned three degrees. She loved the Southwest, where she bought her first house, a mud adobe. Big opportunities and politics attracted her to Washington, where her wing print is substantial.
She is a member of Leadership Greater Washington and Entrepreneurs Organization. She was recognized as a “Woman Who Means Business” in 2022 by the Washington Business Journal. She has been quoted and featured in the Washington Post, Inc. Forbes, Fast Company, CNN, NPR and more. She is sought out speaker and advisor. Deeply committed to community, Lisa is the immediate past chair and board member of Whitman-Walker Health, and serves on the Board of the DC Affordable Law Firm. She and her wife, Cameron, a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, live with their 11-year-old, Beckett, in Washington, D.C.
Let’s collaborate to ensure a transformative experience.