“Goodness exists in all of us.” In this episode we chat with Will McCoy, CEO of No Bully, about how being bullied at a young age and a kind encounter with a stranger inspired him to serve in an organization that provides bullying prevention programs around the world.
In this episode we chat with Will McCoy, CEO of No Bully, about how being bullied at a young age and a kind encounter with a stranger inspired him to serve in an organization that provides bullying prevention programs around the world.
Will was born with a genetic disorder which affected his bones. He was assigned nicknames and bullied by his peers. But a kind gesture from a friend changed his whole perspective. His whole life, Will struggled with being judged for this one aspect of his character but it taught him a very valuable lesson: you’re never given more than you can handle. He learned to be stronger than those that were teasing him and to help those that were struggling.
Will made this his life’s work. He went on to specialize in working with at-risk populations of students, and those that were marginalized and left out. He connected on a deeper level with those students because he experienced that himself.
Despite middle school being one of the worst experiences for him, Will went on to become a teacher. But not just any teacher, he went back to middle school. He saw how passionate and smart and eager middle school children were, and also how they struggled. Struggled to find their identity. So he said, ‘give me the kids that are struggling, the kids that are having the hardest time because they need us the most.’
How Can I Help More Kids?
His motto is always ‘how can I help more kids?’ so it’s fitting that he went on to become an assistant principal. In order for him to help more kids he had to look at the whole school, not just the classroom. But he didn’t stop there. He wanted to help on a much broader scale so he soon went on to become a district superintendent. At this level he was able to turn whole schools and whole districts around.
That’s when the opportunity to work for No Bully as a consultant came about. He was asked to write a job description for the VP of Education. He wrote that description and when he handed it to the founder, Nicholas Carlylesaid, he said, ‘I would apply for this job’. They obviously thought that was a great idea and offered him the position.
Will came on full time for No Bully in July of last year and was offered the CEO position in the fall. In part because of the amazing work Will has done for the company, No Bully is able to help a quarter of a million kids. They work with amazing sponsors and Will is going to the Philippines at the end of the month to talk about a whole country distribution model with the Philippine government. Will’s whole outlook on being bullied some 40 year ago is that he is going to multiply the positive impact, reverberate that back into the universe a little bit and help whole countries worth of kids that are struggling.
One in Three Kids is Bullied
One in three kids is bullied and if the World Health Organization were looking at this at a physical level, they would call it an epidemic. This is unacceptable and completely unnecessary, and it’s what drives Will and everyone at the No Bully office to go out and help these kids. Will says (14:00) ‘There is not a reason for kids to be bullied. We need to do better. We need to show compassion. We need to show empathy. We need to step up and say, just because people believe this is part of growing up doesn’t mean it has to be.’
But with this digital world we live in, cyber bullying is the newest hurdle on Will’s plate. So he is focusing on trying to find a way to eradicate cyber bullying. Nich asks Will (16:03)
‘What are the commonalities between both adolescents and adults in bullying and what are some of the differences?’ Will goes on to explain how many children are being raised without people leaning in on morals and values and ethics, which is setting them up for failure.
Will then goes on to say (17:00) ‘We’re seeing on a broad scale in our nation right now, gun violence, mass shootings. There’s a lot of conversation that has been missing here. How, how can a young person get to the point where they believe within their character that harming others on a massive scale is, okay. There’s absence of guidance (17:28) somewhere in that conversation.’
That really resonated with us and with Will. He realized that a lot of young parents are turning to YouTube instead of family members for guidance on raising children. This realization gave him the idea to look into starting their own No Bully YouTube channel. No Bully wants to get in front of these parents to help them find good messaging and good opportunities for discussion with their child.
Partnership with Burger King
One of the ways they are doing this now is through one of their partners, Burger King. On every tray liner in 83 countries there will be tips on how to start these discussions with your children. What better way to sit down as a family and talk about bullying than over a Big Mac and fries.
On of their biggest international campaigns right now is called Power of Zero and it’s about raising kids in the connected world. Our children are introduced to things like Facebook from the moment they are born and that interaction with the online world is something most of us never experienced until we were much older. So an intentional shift in the way we raise our children needs to happen, and that is what the campaign is all about.
Take a step back to when Will was a district superintendent. He wasn’t concerned as much with test scores and measuring kids success through numbers. He wanted to focus more on how the kids were doing emotionally, and asking questions like how are you feeling, what can we do to help, and then how can we measure that so that we can respond appropriately. It’s less about the test scores and more about assessing the whole school climate and culture.
Nicholas goes on to ask Will a very important question about how if you were to be that little voice inside an adolescents head, what would you say? Will responds with, ‘you’re going to be okay, kid.’ Middle school is tough and we need to be that voice of positivity for these kids and let them know there are people here who you can come to for help.
Will then goes on to tell us about a time in his life when someone said something so kind and encouraging to him, at a time when he was feeling vulnerable, and how he now carries that kindness with him throughout his life. (26:02) ‘I remember one person taking 3 minutes, 3 seconds of their time to be thoughtful with me when I needed it most. Every one of us has five seconds in their day to add that kindness to someone else’s world. And again, you don’t know how far it’ll carry.’
The No Bully Team
The team at No Bully are amazing people and they work every day to change lives. Their comprehensive school programs are able to reduce bullying by 90%. That’s absolutely incredible. They have some incredible sponsors backing them as well. ESPN Major League Baseball and the X Games are a huge part of their Shred Hate Campaign, which is helping them bring awareness to their work on a global scale.
Will’s one fear is complacency. He always wants to stay hungry. He’s the guy who says I don’t want 200 schools, I want 2,000. Will is incredibly driven and passionate about his work and No Bully. And it shows.
We loved having Will on to chat, and learning all about his life and work. We thoroughly enjoyed talking with him and we hope you enjoyed listening too!
N Kristock: In this episode we chat with Will McCoy, CEO of No Bully, about how being bullied at a young age and a kind encounter with a stranger inspired him to serve in an organization that provides bullying prevention programs around the world.
N Kristock: Welcome, welcome. You’re listening to The Science of Social Impact, a podcast from Crate of Good. We are on a mission to educate and inspire you to make social impact a key ingredient in your business and life. Thanks for joining. The time to make an impact is now.
N Kristock: As a young eight year old boy born with a genetic disorder that impacted his growth and bones. He’s one of the shortest kids in the class, assigned to nicknames like half pint and isolated, cause he’s not able to participate in a lot of the physical activities at school. This kid is bullied. Today we hear the story of, Will McCoy’s CEO of No Bully. Will, welcome.
W McCoy: Hey, good morning. It’s great to be here.
N Kristock: Thank you so much for taking some time to talk to us. Tell some stories. And of course tell us more about No Bully. But let’s start at the very beginning. Start by telling us, Will, what do you believe? What’s a core principle that you know to be true after your life’s work so far?
W McCoy: I, I really believe that goodness exists in each of us and that everyone can truly make a difference each day. I mean, it takes two seconds to decide to do something positive, even on a very small scale, that positive action, you know, it can’t be underestimated. We never know what those ripples are going to be. And we can make a choice every single day to make a difference and make it better for someone else. And I try and live by that and we try and broadcast it through No Bully.
N Kristock: Awesome. So if, if we were to take a very high, high, high fly view of No Bully today, share with me maybe, I don’t know, three of the most compelling stats about your size and your scope just today.
W McCoy: Okay. well we’re serving about 250,000 kids each year. And so we’re working on a national and starting this month, international level, which is incredibly exciting. We’ll be in 83 different countries with one of our campaign sponsors. We just wrapped up with shred hate and the X games. Our partners there will, we’ll be working in a couple of hundred schools at least this year, but impacting thousands and thousands of kids.
N Kristock: Awesome. And if if someone listening to this hasn’t heard much about No Bully yet, what is one sentence or two sentence description of the work that you do?
W McCoy: We’re the most comprehensive professional development out there for schools related to anti-bullying and anti cyberbullying and our data shows that we have a 90% effectiveness rating in eliminating instances of bullying when they occur.
N Kristock: Awesome. So let’s let’s go back tell me a little bit about some experiences or some stories in life or business that have really shaped you as a person and brought you to where you are today.
W McCoy: Well, yeah, as you mentioned in the intro, I grew up with a genetic disorder that impacted my bones. I was on crutches a lot as a kid. I had to have surgeries, things of that nature. One of the things that really was most profound in impacting me about feeling different and feeling isolated, and it’s simply because of some other kids ignorance frankly. I had to have some surgeries when I was 15 and they completely reconfigured both of my hips at the time and they changed the musculature and the, the bones themselves. And in so doing the muscles had to stretch and the tendons had to stretch. And so it left me with a rather unusual walk while I was going through physical therapy and rehab after. I looked much I mean I walked much like a penguin and because all those muscles were super tight on the side and the comments and the, you know, pointing fingers and all of that, the typical to a high school, it was very isolating.
W McCoy: They didn’t understand. They just saw somebody that was walking funny. They didn’t know my personal struggle. They didn’t know who I was. And it was that first, well, not first feeling, but it really magnified the feeling of being different and being left out on a, on a consistent basis because of something that was well beyond my control. And so for me, that was a pivotal moment in that it cemented for me what it felt like to be different, to be isolated and to be well to be bullied. I was teased about it. It wasn’t just that I was isolated. I was teased about it by people who didn’t understand what was going on.
N Kristock: Mm. So you’re born with this genetic disorder that’s impacting the growth and the bones. And so you’re getting already teased from eight to 14. At 15, you have this surgery. Was this surgery something that you thought was going to instantly and dramatically change everything and then you get out of it and it’s like, Oh man, now I’m getting bullied for something else.
W McCoy: Well, you know, it was, yeah, it was incredibly frustrating as a kid to struggle with a physical disability to begin with, to feel different. You know, kids, kids don’t want necessarily to feel different. We were never taught to embrace our differences, which is something that’s wrong that we have to work on. But I was, you know, the white kid from the suburbs that wasn’t used to feeling different, that wasn’t used to a life where the, you know, I I expected to fit in and for, you know, because of my disability I was unable to. So yeah, I get to this surgery, I’m like, all right, I’m going to feel better. The pains going to be better. It was very painful and go through the surgeries and then it was like, Oh well, you know, they, they’ll find something else. You know, one of the interesting pieces about bullying that we’re seeing through our research is it can be any kid.
W McCoy: There’s not a specific demographic of a kid that can be picked on. And I think I was an example of that. It’s just a matter. It wasn’t my skin, it wasn’t my sex, it wasn’t any of those things. It was just something that someone chose to point out because I was different and I happened to be struggling. Again. Yeah. It was incredibly frustrating to get to that point, know that my life and my pain should have been better. But the social situation was impacted and still negative because of it. It was very disheartening.
N Kristock: Mm. So you’re 15 after that surgery, you finish out high school that things get better then. And then what happens after high school?
W McCoy: Well, a series of surgeries for me. I had surgeries again at 18 and 19, and then I had to have both hips replaced at 32. I was in a wheelchair for a year waiting for my hip replacements. I didn’t want to leave the classroom and leave my students. So so really just a lifetime of being isolated for this one aspect of my character. But what it did, you know, there’s the saying of you’re never given more than you can handle. So I really tried to turn it into a life lesson and, and take it to heart. What I, what I really was learning from these situations and to be stronger than those that were teasing and to help those that were struggling. I mean that really became part of who I was. I specialized in working with at risk populations of students that had been marginalized, that had been left out. And I was able to connect with them, I think on a on a much deeper level because of those experiences I had as a kid and growing up. So I really used it as a lever to be able to, to connect with kids that were struggling. And and you know, I, I’m proud to say that I, that I helped quite a few kids.
N Kristock: Hmm. It’s really interesting. Possibly some of the darker times for you in regard to bullying were in the classroom or around school, but now you have made education and being in the classroom you know, a huge part of your career. So take us through that journey of I want to be a principal. I want to go back in the classroom that I have, you know, some tough memories in.
W McCoy: Well, I just know, you know, middle school for me was, was horrible. It was, you know, there aren’t a lot of people that celebrate their middle school years, right? I mean, it’s tough and kids are trying to figure it out. And I wanted to dive in there. So, so as a teacher entering the practice, I loved working at middle school. Not a lot of people say that, but you know, middle school kids can be so passionate and so smart and they’re trying to find their identity and they want someone to just lean in and say it’s going to be okay. And, and you know, why don’t you try this out? How can I help? It’s really important that kids feel that throughout their lives. But I think at middle school it’s that real turning point. So when I went into the classroom as a teacher, I knew, okay, give me the kids that are struggling.
W McCoy: Give me the kids that are having the hardest time because they need us the most. So that’s where I started. I, I started as a middle school teacher. I worked with them, work with at risk populations. And then I went through and said, look, I, my motto has always been how can I help more kids? Well, in order to help more kids be on the classroom level, I had to look at school level. So then I went on to become an assistant principal and then principal, that was amazing. I worked with some incredible schools and then went on and said, well, how can I, how can I have a broader impact? So I became a district superintendent, turned around some schools, help turn around a district and get them online as far as, you know, trying to help as many kids as we can, balancing those academics and those whole child needs.
W McCoy: And then the opportunity came to work with No Bully and we really, you know, I was at a place where I had felt success. I was doing some consulting at the time and No Bully needed me to help them with a job description for a VP of education. And I knew, I knew of No Bully. We’re fortunate to be, I’m not going to say a household brand name yet, but give us a couple of years and we’re going to be there. And the opportunity to consult with them and lean in and say, Hey, you know, here’s a job description for someone that can really help your organization expand and grow. So I helped them write it out and I, and I handed it to Nicholas Carlyle, our founder. And I said, you know, this is a great job. I would apply for this job. And they must’ve thought that was a good idea because they offered me the position.
W McCoy: And so not often do we get to write our own job description. It’s a phenomenal, phenomenal work with a great organization. I came on full time in July of last year and then the work that I, that I’ve been able to do was appreciated to the point where they offered me the CEO position in October of this last year. And I tell people on a, a weekly, if not daily basis, I’ve got the best job in the world. We, we help a quarter of a million kids. We work with amazing sponsors to spread the word. I get to travel the world. We’re working at helping whole countries now. I’m going to fly to the Philippines at the end of this month and we’re looking at a whole country distribution model with the Philippine government. And so, you know, go ahead, pick on that kid 40 years ago and I’m going to multiply the positive impact, reverberate that back to the universe a little bit and see if I can help countries worth of kids that are struggling.
N Kristock: Hmm. Wow, that’s incredible. So bullying is, bullying is a problem and it would, you could probably say it is one of the problems that you are most passionate about solving in the world. Give us some scope on how big of a problem this actually is.
W McCoy: Well, if you look at the statistics, one in three kids worldwide experienced bullying at some point in their childhood. If this was a physical issue, it would be an epidemic. The world health organization, sorry, I get all fired up. The world health organization would be leaning in and looking for like a vaccination or something. One in three kids worldwide? That’s completely unacceptable and unnecessary. So yeah, that drives everybody in our office and everybody in our organization every single day. You know what? Go help a kid, go help a school, go help a district. It’s, it’s an epidemic proportion with an unnecessary cause. There is not a reason for kids to be bullied. We need to do better. We need to show compassion. We need to show empathy. We need to step up and say, just because people believe this is part of growing up doesn’t mean it has to be.
W McCoy: I mean there were all sorts of cures for the plague that they thought were the right answer too. No, we have a proven solution. We need to stop bullying and cyber bullying, which is blowing up everywhere. Cyber bullying is the newest part on our plate and trying to help organizations. We have great companies that we work with because cyber bullying, it has that anonymity factor to it. I mean, I got a note from my sister yesterday that my niece was being cyber bullied. She, she did the right things. She called the person out. She told her parents she did all of the right things. The fact is it’s becoming pervasive in our culture for people to be able to insult anonymously and walk away and that’s just not good. That’s just not being a good human. Let’s start with that and let’s find a way to eradicate bullying and cyber bullying. This is, the world is too polarized right now. And adding that anonymity cloak to it only magnifies the problem. If you have an issue with someone, we should talk to them or back to the, if you can’t say something nice, right? That’s something from our last generation that we should hang on to. You can’t say something nice, don’t say anything or don’t leave someone out. Don’t bully. We can simply do better.
N Kristock: When we ask the question like why does bullying happen? Where does it come from? Do we have to, do we have to tackle this on an adolescent front and an adult front? And what are the commonalities between both adolescents and adults in bullying and what are some of the differences?
W McCoy: Well wow, great question. I think that we have to start with parenting because we modeled for children as parents. I model for my son, he’s 14 years old. He picks up every bad habit that I’ve got. And so we need to be careful. You know, there’s a Tim McGraw song about, you know, raising, raising people to be a humble, and kind. I think that that’s a great way to start. The children are being raised, well, not all children. Many children are being raised without people leaning in on morals and values and ethics. And that’s, that’s setting us up for failure. We’re seeing on a broad scale in our nation right now, gun violence, mass shootings. There’s a lot of conversation that has been missing here. How, how can a young person get to the point where they believe within their character that harming others on a massive scale is, okay. There’s absence of guidance
W McCoy: Somewhere in that conversation. I think that young parents need help. I think that we need to provide resources. I think that we need to provide talking points. I saw a statistic the other day that most millennial parents look to the internet to YouTube instead of to family members for guidance on raising children. I think that’s fascinating. So we’re looking to start a YouTube channel. We want to get out in front of those parents and help them find good messaging, good opportunities for, for discussion with their child. One of the things we’re doing with Burger King, our partner is that we’re going to be in 83 countries and in the tray liners we’re talking about, you know, how to discuss bullying with your kids, right? I mean we, we’ve got to get out ahead of this and we need to take a stance and we need to catch people where they are.
W McCoy: If they’re in a, you know, a burger King fast food restaurant, great. That means they’re sitting down together. We’ll give them something to read and something to talk about. I think that really trying to be intentional with our work. And trying to help parents do better is the first part, right? We have a whole international campaign called Power of Zero and it’s about raising children in the connected world. So raising kids in a digital age where they’ve got Facebook from the moment that they’re born pointed at them. And that interaction with the online world starts much, much earlier than it ever did when, when I was growing up and even when I started raising my son. And so we have to, to do intentional shifts as parents to raise children in a connected world. And that’s one of our big campaigns right now. Another thing we have to do is looking at what are we doing to serve the students and serve children as we raised them.
W McCoy: I was a superintendent during the time when it was all about academics and it was all about state tests. They mandated testing and making sure your scores were going up often to the detriment of their physical health and their, their social emotional health. So we, we’ve got to have that pendulum swing back and look at what are all of the things that are impacting students. And yes, we need to teach them, yes they need to learn, but we also need them to learn about taking care of their bodies, taking care of their social emotional needs, finding some balance to, you know, their digital world versus their natural world. I, my son and I used to, we used to play Fortnite together. I’m one of those dads that loves to be involved in what, what my kid’s doing and we, we’ve shifted that to now we’re playing chess together.
W McCoy: We have better conversation and we don’t have online gaming conversation and people being horrid to each other, right? If you’ve listened to some of the chat rooms on games like Fortnite, there are some not nice things being said and just that hazing and roasting of different players, even by very famous players of online games and you see them on their YouTube videos and their channels and all of that. You know, what are we modeling? And so we need to look at what are we providing for kids? What are we providing in schools? Right now we’re working on an incredible assessment and evaluation that not only looks at bullying and cyber bullying, but looks at things like what is their level of hope? What is their level of depression? What is their level of connectedness to their school and to the people that work with them, what is their level of connection to family?
W McCoy: So looking at that much broader scale beyond, you know, what are your test scores kids, it’s about how are you doing? How are you feeling? What can we, what can we do to help and how can we measure that so that we can respond appropriately. I’m incredibly excited by the work that we’re putting together related to assessment and evaluation of whole school climate and culture. Because I think that that’s been a big missing piece of the puzzle and it’s like we’re bringing in this, you know, giant pizza size answer. It’s like this is the right thing to do. We need to know how kids are feeling, not just what they’re doing. Because if we know how they’re feeling, we can help them manage it. And if and unless we know that we’re operating it again in this, this cloak of anonymity and then something bad happens and we try and trace it back, that’s not the way to get after that.
W McCoy: Let’s take care of the mental and social health of kids. Look at if bullying’s going on, we need to stop it and then let’s look at what can we do about it. If our kids are not feeling connected to their school, what are the answers? How can we do that better? And so we’re asking the much deeper questions. It’s like that asking the five why’s, right, of why you’re doing something. Well, our why’s always lead back to kids and we need to know how the kids are doing so that then we can do better as a school, as a district. And then on a much broader scale.
N Kristock: I want to make sure we take a stop on the train right here real quick to give the most actionable takeaway possible. So everyone listening to this is going to either have a kid or know someone close to them that is an adolescent, right? Like we all have it, cousins, friends, friends of friends. Whatever it may be. So like if you could be the voice in a child’s head, what is the one phrase that we need to know that we should be reinforcing over and over to try to get into, into that, you know, like be that little voice behind the ear of an adolescent that’s you know, facing some of these things or witnessing some of these things. What’s that one phrase that we can take away?
W McCoy: I have to start with, you’re going to be okay kid. I mean, we really just need to, to instill that hope and that optimism in the, in the upcoming generations. We need to not come at them like they’re broken and we need to make sure that they don’t feel like they are alone. You know, when, when kids feel alone and isolated, they, they don’t make good choices either for themselves or for others. And so to be that connection, to be that encouragement where kids can hear on a regular basis from multiple people or at least one, it’s going to be okay kid, you know, life gets better. Yes, middle school can be miserable but hang in there, it’s going to be better. If you’re experiencing trauma or adversity or isolation or anything, any of those things that really make you feel less than, talk to somebody, ask for help, connect, do what it takes to persevere. Because you know, being a, reflecting back to being that kid that was struggling,
W McCoy: Uh I’ll never forget one of the things that was said to me just after that surgery when I was 15 that we talked about, I was even more self conscious, right? Cause I have the huge scars on my hips and it was coming into summer. I felt like I, everybody was going to be staring at them when I was going to the pool or whatever. You know, cause they extended beyond my swimsuit and all that. And someone that, that was a very close family friend, I, you know, we were having a conversation and he said, well, I said I was self conscious about my scars. And he said, Billy, cause that’s what I was called when I was little. Right. And it wasn’t before William and grown up and all that. He said, Billy, what you need to know is we’ve all seen you struggle. We know what you’ve been through. And we don’t think those are scars. We see those as racing stripes. Wow. And you know, I’m 47 years old. I remember one person taking 3 minutes, 3 seconds of their time to be thoughtful with me when I needed it most. Every one of us has five seconds in their day to add that kindness to someone else’s world. And again, you don’t know how far it’ll carry. I carry that saying ‘it’s not a scar, it’s a racing stripe’ with me everywhere I go. I just, I just can’t emphasize enough what those kind words of encouragement when I was in a tough, struggling time meant to me.
N Kristock: Wow. Well, you’ve had a quite a journey from eight years old to today. Along the way, there’s probably multiple times when you had no idea what you were doing, whether it came to business or in life. So take me to a time and it could even be a, something happening now that you had no idea what you were doing. And let’s talk about your first three steps after you realized you had no idea what was going on.
W McCoy: Wow. It seems like on a daily basis, right? I’d love to say I have this all figured out, but that’s just not the case. Anytime that we’re really trying to blaze new trails, there’s a vertical learning curve. I mean, we are putting ourselves in a risk position and a vulnerable position by trying something new. I believe that that’s exactly why we should do it. We need to really step out of, of patterns in order to have a greater impact. And sometimes we’re going to fail and that’s going to be okay. But to not have tried, I would rather live with failing than regret. So first step is, you know, what do I want to accomplish? What do I really need to achieve by whatever this action is? If it’s a new program, if it’s a new contact going beyond my comfort level and sitting in on a podcast, any of that nature, what is it that I’m trying to accomplish?
W McCoy: Once you’ve got that concrete, you’re, you’re good to go and you can use that as your lighthouse. Then I am so fortunate. I am thankful and grateful every single day for the people around me that I get to work with. It’s honoring, humbling, amazing to work with people that are dedicated to that same lighthouse cause and work with smart people. If you can, you know, smarter than you, there’s all those things around that. Great. Bring the best people to your team that you can try and treat them the best that you can and then I’ll run at the same target and then let your message out. You know, a group of people working in isolation can do some pretty good stuff. A group of people doing great work with a message and an effective approach can change the world. And we were doing that. We are helping kids
W McCoy: Every single day because we stick to our core principle of bullying is not okay, we can end this. We know that one in three kids worldwide are being bullied. That’s not okay. We’re gonna change that. We have an amazing team, all of whom were either dealt with bullying or saw the impacts of bullying or were bullies at one point in their, in their lives until they came here. And then we’re all working and spreading that message through social media, through podcasts, through all of our work. And most of all we’re doing good work. Our sponsors wouldn’t stand behind us if we weren’t doing great work. You know, to be able to say that we have ESPN and major league baseball and shred hate and Hasbro behind us is because of the good work that we do for a good cause. And so having, having that central focus, a great team and then broadcasting good work and good messaging around it would be my advice.
N Kristock: Awesome. Gotta take a second to highlight that guys. If we’re going to impact outcomes in new ways, we’re going to have to do new things. And we are not going to know everything when we start that journey. But it is a worthy journey to start. Set your goals, work with smart and passionate people and get the message out. Three easy steps. Well probably not easy, easy to say, hard to do. Three steps when a, if you’re trying to impact an outcome in a new way to go for it. So great. Great points there Will, appreciate that. What’s something we’d be surprised to know about you?
W McCoy: Oh gosh. Well I’ve got a pretty, pretty diverse background. I, I didn’t come up through the traditional ranks to where I’m at as a, as a CEO and I, and I’m really proud of that. My undergraduate degree, much to I think my parents’ chagrin was art studio. And so I did drawing, painting and sculpture in college and I chose that major because I felt like problems hadn’t been solved in that major. You know, I looked at business and there were formulas and I looked at computer science and there was, there were ways and systems and it seemed like in retrospect it seemed like things had been figured out. So I like solving problems. I like solving, you know, puzzles. And so for me, I chose art studio because there were problems that I could create that hadn’t been created yet. And there were answers that I could try and figure out and solve.
W McCoy: So art studio major and I, if I hadn’t gone into art studio, I would have done like artificial intelligence and just those, those cutting edge pieces. And so now I bring that problem solving to the work that I do. I brought it to the schools where I worked, the classrooms, the schools, the districts and now to business. I, I do consulting and I actually consult with cutting edge technology companies as well. So I get to solve big, hairy, audacious problems and help, again push the frontiers of what’s possible for humans and for technology and where the two of those meet and it’s, it’s fascinating and wonderful work. I get to work on augmented reality, virtual reality all those types of things. And that allows me to do my work at No Bully and really solve a global problem. One in three kids experiencing bullying that, that makes me stare at the ceiling at night. And what are we gonna do to make it better.
N Kristock: Wild ride, quite the ride. So on this ride so many experiences, so many stories. What are you like, what are you scared of today? In business or in life, what are you scared of today?
W McCoy: You know, I am scared of complacency. I in the business world and in, in, you know, beyond our private, I actually, even in private life. Complacency is acceptance of the fact that everything is as it should be. I can’t accept that. I can’t accept that two massive shootings over the weekend is a world that is okay in my book. We, we can’t sit aside and believe that that’s okay. My heart goes out to those families. Everyone impacted in those areas. So complacency is a dangerous thing and I like to push boundaries. I, you know, we talked about finding that lighthouse idea, surrounding yourself with good people, and then getting your message out. I really liked to help disrupt for good. Right? and then, you know, that was, so that’s in business and in life, really I am scared of not leaving a legacy.
W McCoy: I have to believe that my time on this planet has served more than myself. I really like to be that guy even at Starbucks that buys the coffee for the person behind them. That you know, stops and gives money to people in need. And I really try and make that a part of who I am. I try and be generous and gracious and a life full of gratitude. But, but knowing that I’m leaving that legacy of kindness, trying to do what that, what that family friend did for me 40 years ago, providing that moment of kindness no matter how small to someone else and not knowing what, what that’s going to do, that butterfly effect. Legacy is a big deal to me.
N Kristock: Fear of complacency is going to be one that a lot of people who listen to this, will share. What’s your, what’s your check for yourself? How do you know that you’re not becoming complacent? What do you have in place to be that check?
W McCoy: If I’m spending too much time like looking in the metaphorical mirror and, and celebrating, Hey, you know, look at all this great stuff that we’ve done instead of what’s next. You know, I always want to stay hungry. And so yes, absolutely I need to take the time to celebrate with my team and appreciate the success that we’re experiencing. But I’m, I’m the guy that if we’re serving 200 schools, I want 2000 schools. If we’re in 83 countries, when can we get to 200? I mean, incredibly driven. And so just that, yes, I believe in gratitude for what has been accomplished, but if I spend too much in that gratitude zone, I really question that in that the work’s not done yet, there’s so much more to be done. And so that, that’s kind of my check is yes, we need to celebrate. But what’s next? We’ve done something, well how can we do it better?
N Kristock: What a tough balance to find between celebration, complacency. What is, so like someone listening to this who leads a team or leads people, what’s your quick thoughts on how we find that balance between not celebrating enough, which we know can be detrimental to the morale of the team and contributing to the ‘is it ever going to be good enough for my leader’ attitude versus celebrating too much to where someone thinks, Oh we’ve arrived.
W McCoy: Right. wow. I think that really one of the dangers of, that I experienced, I’ll just personalize this. One of the things that I, my brain is always going and I’m always motivated, go, go, go, go, go. And sometimes that’s a lot of internal dialogue, internal planning, internal thought that doesn’t get externalized to my own team. And that’s a dangerous place because I want to make sure that my team knows the incredible appreciation that I have for them. And I, and I sometimes get caught up in that internal dialogue and forget to turn to, you know, members of my team and say, you know what, I am really happy with what you’re doing. You are doing some incredible work on everything from social media to our partnerships, to our amazing trainers in the field. I can’t thank them enough. Our trainers, we train two to three people or two to three schools per day, somewhere in the U S and our trainers work incredibly hard and, I need to do a better job of thanking them.
W McCoy: So, you know, there’s the, the saying of if, if people aren’t following you as a leader, you’re just a guy on a walk. And I got to keep myself from just being on a walk and, and bringing my energy and bringing the appreciation, the gratitude back to my team so that they want to come with me. It’s an incredible, difficult, incredibly difficult balance to make. And it’s an area that I struggle with each day. So I’d love to give you the, you know, the golden ticket on how to, how to solve that. But I think that growing as a leader in, in my world, that’s an area that I want to get better at.
N Kristock: Awesome. I think we’re all looking for the golden ticket in so many avenues in life so it’s okay that you no one has the golden ticket. I think you got us a lot closer to the thought process behind getting to the golden ticket. And probably in the end we all arrive at our own golden ticket and it’s the journey we take to get there that makes it a golden ticket.
W McCoy: I like that.
N Kristock: So someone who is learning about No Bully, just hearing about it knows a little bit about it, where, where can we connect with you with No Bully? How can we learn more? And then more importantly, how can we help from where we are?
W McCoy: Well, of course I’m going to send you, you know, here’s our URL, it’s nobully.org, which is, you know, easy to find. We just redid our entire website. I’m incredibly proud of, of our new website and all the work that our team put into it. Looks great, clearly identifies what we do. You know, of course there’s a great big donate button for anybody that’s interested in doing that, but also support our campaigns, support our partners. They are generous with us and they take good care of us. So you know, we’ve got ESPN major league baseball in our shred hate campaign. If you watched the X Games over the weekend, you saw shred hate everywhere. So talk it up, right? I mean, talk about shred hate, go to an event, talk to our group in our booths and just make that commitment to do better for kids and help do better for kids. If you follow us on social media, always helps to follow and repost and comment.
W McCoy: We, like any other social media activity, the more action we get, the more visibility we get and the more opportunity we have as a result to help more kids. So everything from, you know, supporting us and our sponsors, going to nobully.org finding out more about what we do. And even, you know, it can’t be understated, I want to help more schools. So if someone has a child in a school, someone has a relative, a neighbor, and they think that No Bully helping at their school to reduce bullying by 90%, they think that that would be of help, I hope that they pass either this along or our URL. Get the word, help us get the word out because we have a fantastic solution and we’re happy to share it. I would love to see us in 2000 schools as I stated, instead of 200.
N Kristock: Awesome stuff there, ways to connect. You mentioned the new website, congrats on that. Can’t wait to check that out. The big donate button, huge cause that’s what helps you know, further the cause. So what’s someone who goes on clicks the donate button gives you guys some of their funds. What’s that going to do? What are you guys going to use that for? And what are some of the metrics behind being able to say, you know, like we really made something happen with your dollars.
W McCoy: The, the dollars are incredibly helpful in subsidizing school programs, making our programs available to more and more schools. We’re intense as far as our professional development. We work with each school seven different times and so that takes considerable amount of resources to be able to do that. But what we know to our metrics is we can reduce instances of bullying by 90% we have research validation on that, but it takes real buy in and real commitment from the staff and from the school community. One of the ways that we measure is through what’s called solution team logs and those solution team logs are enacted, utilized when an instance of bullying occurs on a campus and they followed our no beliefs solution teams system. So it walks them through the process and then records the outcomes. So have we indeed made things better for students?
W McCoy: Did it, did the instance of bullying stop? Yes. That’s measured by the solution team log. Anytime the solution team is run. We measure three times during that process and then three months out because we want to make sure that the kid that was the target of bullying is still doing better is doing better three months out and their attendance is up and their perceptions of bullying and everything are better three months out. And then as I mentioned earlier, we’re looking at this new assessment and evaluation system where we can correlate not only bullying and cyber bullying, but how the students were actually feeling and responding on an emotional level to their school climate and culture. So by doing that, we can look at a much broader range of school climate and culture measurements and correlate all that data to prove our impact even further because ideally we’re going to reduce the number of bullying instances on a campus.
W McCoy: And if we do that, then our metrics actually reduced, right? So if we go from 50 instances of bullying in one year, to five, then that metric is good and we’re very proud of that. But what you’re not seeing is all of the other positive attributes like school connectedness, optimism, all those other things that permeate a school when we go in and do work with them. So we’re looking at really balancing our metrics to prove not only that we help the students that are targets of bullying, the bullies themselves, but then the broader school community.
N Kristock: Awesome. So if you had 30 seconds to give a message to the whole world, it’s a captive audience, everyone is listening to you, what is your 30 second message to the world?
W McCoy: I think it goes back to we can do better. That we don’t need to be complacent. We don’t need to live with things as they are. We need to drop our fears about differences, embrace the beautiful diversity that exists among our fellow human beings. The more, the quicker we drop that, the more quickly we are going to be able to solve some of these problems that we’re facing. Bullying being one of them, but on many different levels. We have to stop looking at what makes us different. Look at the common causes that we’re after and how can we solve those together? Because everyone, everyone has special skills, talents, and abilities to bring to solving a problem. We need to start there. We need to start with kindness and compassion. You know, we have the capacity to make our global experience better for everyone. And it’s time to act. You know, whatever your positive cause or inclination, start today, drop those barriers and start today.
N Kristock: Awesome. We live in a world where we can share and communicate more than ever before. And that in itself is a tool. And that tool, like any tool could be used for good or for bad. So we have a responsibility to use it for good. For everyone out there listening who’s been a victim of bullying or has had a friend be a victim of bullying or I’ve seen it you know, just be reminded through Will’s words here that you’re never given more than you can handle and you’re gonna be okay. You’re going to be okay. We started talking about an eight year old boy who was born with a genetic disorder that caused him to be shorter than everyone. He got surgery for that and then walked like a penguin was, consistently bullied and this eight year old boy became a nine year old boy and a 10 year old boy and gets all the way up to 15 year old.
N Kristock: He is he’s at a pool and it’s one of the first times that the world is going to see the scars from his big surgery. And he’s extremely, extremely nervous about that. And someone takes the time to come up to him and they say, you know, it’s not a scar, it’s a racing Stripe. And so for everyone listening, whatever your scars are, emotional, physical, treat them as racing stripes and take take care of the world that we live in. Be nice to others. And you’re going to be okay. Will, we thank you so much for your time and your words. It’s been absolutely incredible and we wish all the best to yourself, your family, and to No Bully.
W McCoy: Likewise. Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s humbling and much, much appreciation for the, for the chance to talk about our work.
N Kristock: Absolutely. The pleasure is ours. Thank you very much.
W McCoy: Take care.
N Kristock: Thanks so much for being with us on this episode of The Science of Social Impact a podcast from Crate of Good. Go make an impact in your world and we’ll see you next time.