Donations instead of codes

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Talk-Commerce Matt Dolimpio | Mile in My Shoes

Changing Lives through Movement with Matt Dolimpio of Mile in My Shoes.

Running together to transform ourselves, one another, and our community. We interview Matt Dolimpio with in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) brings together residents of the Twin Cities from diverse backgrounds through the power of running. Based in homeless shelters, addiction recovery programs, and re-entry centers for people exiting incarceration, MiMS uses running as a catalyst for community-building, boosting health and wellness, building leadership and self-efficacy, and spurring personal and social action. By running together, our Resident Members and Run Mentors find common ground and begin to learn from and reach out to one another for support. As we transform ourselves, we transform one another.


Brent: Welcome to Talk Commerce. Today I have Matt Delpo Depo. Very, a very clean name. Matt, go ahead, do an introduction. Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day role and one of your passions in life. Yeah, 

Matt: absolutely. Thanks. I’m Matt Delly. It’s alright. I mess up pronouncing it half the time anyway.

Matt: As this, like most of my family, I think there’s still debate. I’m the program coordinator at Mile and my shoes in m. And I have a wonderful opportunity day to run and join communities across the Twin Cities and help build those communities. With Mile and My Shoes, what we do is we bring and build community through writing, and we typically do that at places.

Matt: Either the people or the act of running have been historically disenfranchised. So places like treatment facilities, often known as rehabs homeless shelters, and halfway houses for people who are, were recently leaving incarceration. And that’s where our teams are this year. Outside of the homeless shelter.

Matt: We do not have a homeless team this year. And what my role there is beyond the running with the teams, which is my favorite part, I outfit the teams and all of the new members with gear as they required. Everybody who runs with us gets a a supply of running shoes. We have shirts, shorts. Pants.

Matt: And then as the seasons dictate, we have other things like gloves, hats, stuff like that. Lights. And we outfit everybody. We ask that you run four times with us and then you get to keep this wonderful gear. And then we have incentives as well. And I I. Track and provide all of that for the members and mentors across the teams where you get a blue shirt after 10 runs, you get a really great alumni pack with a smart watch for 20 you get a headlamp at 30, a really beautiful sweatshirt at 50, which is one of my favorites.

Matt: And we continue every year. We’ll give you new shoes if we’re continuing to support you. And you’re running. And it’s been a real gift to do that. I also do a lot of day to day administrative processes. I help coordinate different events across the Twin Cities through Mile in My Shoes.

Matt: We do voices of events. We just had a pizza run last night that I helped coordinate Latinas on the Run joined us there. That was another wonderful organization that I got to meet last night along with Brick Oven Bus, who was fantastic in providing us those pizzas. And I really do have a dream and a gift job.

Matt: I found this organization when I was living in a halfway house and it transformed me from someone who used to laugh at runners to being just an absolutely avid runner , which still makes me laugh to say even, and I always challenge people to ask me that when I’m running because a lot of times, big run, I might not agree.

Brent: But I always feel that way after. Yeah. That’s that’s such a true story about how many people have poo-pooed running or put their nose up to runners and then suddenly they’re running every day or they’re running marathons or alter marathons or ironmen or whatever. Yeah. Yeah. So before we get into our conversation and the topic today is going to be around charity and maybe how entrepreneurs can start or help in charity and.

Brent: What is the mission of each charity? And I think I’m part of Mile In My Shoes, so I have a specific passion about it and running. But before that, I have a project that I’ve started. It’s called the Free Joke Project, hashtag free joke Project. And all I do is tell you a joke and then you tell me if that joke should be free, or if you feel as.

Brent: That joke could be charged for or is chargeable. And then I have some segments going where I’m giving free sponsorship spots for people, for me to tell somebody a joke, a free joke, and then they get a promotional sponsorship spot. So Matt, we might have to follow up on a specific segment just for my, on my shoes.

Brent: I feel as though that mild, my shoes needs free jokes. More free jokes. I 

Matt: love that. I love it. We get ’em at the runs. But I 

Brent: understand, and I get the runs sometimes after eating at the Himalaya, and I’m just, I’m gonna stop, right? Nevermind. Okay. Let’s go right into the joke. I know that I was about to, I was about to dive into port taste.

Brent: All right, . Matt, let’s let’s just keep moving. Stay on top. And I’m realize I’m the host and I’m already off topic. All right, let’s do the. Okay. What’s the difference be? What’s the difference between a clown and an athletic rabbit? One is a bit funny, and the other is a fit bunny, 

Matt: but a, I like it.

Matt: I don’t know if I would charge too much for it, but I would use that at my bar when I bartend. I would bring that, I would use that as a nice joke. That’s a. 

Brent: See, that’s an athletic joke that fits into Mims as well. 

Matt: It is very much yeah, it is very much topical for what we’re and what we’re wearing.

Brent: I feel as though your reaction is one that I could probably not charge 20 grand for the sponsorship spot. Yeah. I probably have to charge a little less. Anyways, I think that’s, it’s keep moving. Yeah. Yeah. Let’s keep moving. So Matt let’s first talk about Mims. My. Changing lives through movement, I think is the mission statement.

Brent: , tell us a little bit about the reason or the how transforming somebody’s life can be done through the simple act of movement. 

Matt: Beyond a lot of the academic research that’s happened in medicine, especially in things like recovery medicine where you can look at running in particular, but lots of other forms of movement.

Matt: Really do help repair and reestablish a lot of our damaged neural connections. Our brain chemistry as a whole. A lot of the healthy endorphins that come from running a lot of the. The physical fitness, the boosts, the natural boosts of serotonin and dopamine and or epinephrine that happen really do help.

Matt: Especially with things like what’s called pause post-acute withdrawal syndrome and things like that. So there’s obviously that physical and psychophysical component that I think is really important. And I think that we still, we need to continue to do lots of the research that we’re doing to see how much more and how much movement is really great about that, but more.

Matt: I think one of the cool things about running is that it is a remarkably accessible. And an activity for so many people. Movement is accessible for so many people. And I know that’s obviously not, an all inclusive thing, that there’s limitations that some people have. But I think that movement alone is something that we can work with and it allows us to build a bond where physical creature, we’re physical species as much as we are a social species.

Matt: And I think that when we combine the two together, The bonds that we’re able to build with each other as well as the growth that we’re able to experience within ourselves is just magnified. I think that it allows us a really nice opportunity to have fun while we’re practicing self-love and self-improvement.

Brent: Yeah, I think one, one thing you keyed in on there is the group aspect of it, and I’ve heard more than often, that guys will say that more than just the running part of it, they appreciate the camaraderie and the community that we build with those people over time by consistently being there.

Brent: . And then let’s just say there’s no judgment. Like you’re, we’re just there to run with them and we’re all equal, right? 

Matt: That’s right. More judge less. That’s one of our. 

Brent: You run more judge less? Yes. I run with Matt often and I can barely keep up with him and but Matt is so nice is to slow down for me.

Brent: And that’s the other thing is no, no one runner is left behind and nobody runs on their own. Yeah. So I think that community aspect as well as just the simple aspect of moving ma all those pieces come together and they create this unique, beautiful thing. That people show up. . 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely.

Matt: And the community really is the cornerstone of what we do at Mile In My Shoes. It’s what led me into Mile in My Shoes. It started with my roommate when I lived in the halfway house, inviting me to join and hyping them up a bit. And I was already on a bit of a fitness journey and I was like, sure, let’s try running.

Matt: All right. I had been walking for a long time. I had enjoyed that, but I went out and I did not. The run part of my first run. But I loved running with Emily, who I had run with that day. And I went back out again cuz I did finish my mile. Everyone starts at the mile and I was pretty cool. That made me feel really good.

Matt: And then afterwards I felt great. And the second time I was blown away by everybody. even more to the point where I almost got a little suspicious and was like, this is gonna be some kind of a cult or something. And then by the fourth I was so enamored with the people I was with and my team and the community that I didn’t realize that what I was looking for was that community connection, that validation, I had been so worried while I was incarcerated, what my role, what my life would be socially when I got out.

Matt: I’ve always been a very social person and I was really very concerned about being a pariah and not having. That, that connection that, that community or I’d have a community that I would find unhealthy, that I was trying to get away from and to experience such an extraordinary bright spot, a super nova of love and community and acceptance.

Matt: When I got out coupled with this, like by the fourth or fifth run, I was hooked on that. It was the, it was this combination of. Being with these people, and I, you flattery is wonderful, but I remember running and apologizing. I am sorry, I just need to, I need to walk for a minute.

Matt: I need to walk for a minute. And then suddenly I was running a 10 K and it was remarkable to see those two things. And I had so many people encouraging me or I never would’ve gotten there. So that community is just the essence, it is the vitality even more than. . 

Brent: Yeah. I think not only do you get introduced to all kinds of different people and there’s so many different there’s such a wide variety of types of people that aren’t.

Brent: Yes. From the mentor side and the resident side to the alumni side. Yeah. People in every walk of life. But we also help, and I’ll use we cuz I’m part of mild, my shoes Yes. But mild, my shoes also brings people to. And introduces them to the next part of running, which is competing in something. It 

Matt: doesn’t I thinking about it.

Brent: Yeah, it doesn’t, I think that’s another unique experience that and you don’t have to run, you can walk a race. There’s so many different in that when you get to that point I, I invited my mom who’s in her late seventies to walk five Ks. , there is so much more to running than just the act of running.

Brent: , there’s all the training and maybe talk a little bit about the journey you took as you went through some of that in the 

Matt: beginning. Yeah, absolutely. So when I started I had never really run. I was not the most athletic kid growing up. I played sports, I played basketball, I played stickball.

Matt: Growing up in New York, I played. I swam up until ninth grade on a, excuse me, on a competitive team. And I enjoyed swimming. I enjoyed all those things. I was not physically built for basketball especially not playing in a place like New York where it was so competitive. I loved baseball, but I never had too many opportunities to play growing up, so I really stuck that as more of a fan anyways, point being when I, as I got older and older, I really turned more towards you.

Matt: Drugs, alcohol, things like that. I was, I smoked for a long time, starting when I was 12 years old. It was, I was never particularly healthy. I always worked a very active job. I worked in restaurants primarily for the last 20 years. Some other gigs, one as an investigator in New York and things like that.

Matt: But for the most part, I worked on my feet. As a bartender and a server, so I was always carrying shit up. I was always carrying stuff. I was always walking, I was always getting my steps in, but it was still a very unhealthy life. Here I am, I go to prison. I finally have an opportunity to do all of these things that I had talked about.

Matt: Finally, getting into shape, working on my nutrition, losing weight because I have the time. There’s not a lot to do in prison. And one of the few things that we have left to do is have that recreation time where we can lift weights and exercise and stuff like that. So I spent a lot of time walking the compound that I was at in Duluth.

Matt: I spent a lot of time, as much time as I could in the weight room and listening to other people who knew more than me, who were already further along on their fitness journey, some of whom had really taken it to become a career when they were leav. I asked them for advice. I would trade protein shakes for suggestions and tips.

Matt: And so I started to get, and I lost about 50 pounds when I was in prison, and I felt great. And I put smoking years ago, and I was ready to take that next step, but I was definitely timid because that was something every time I tried, I would play hockey in prison, I would do something. It was still like this achilles heel for me.

Matt: No. Actually intended there, but I when I got out and I started running that first mile, I was able to do, I was winded, but I did it, I think I did it in 10 something and. I remember Emily d being like, you did it though. You did it. Say you did it. You ran it. You didn’t talk it, you ran it.

Matt: And she would use that to continue to inspire me throughout, run. So did so many of the other mentors that I got to run with. My first year there, Noah was another great example of someone who managed to distract me from my misery when I was midpoint about two months in, when I was finally starting to run two and a half.

Matt: Three miles at a time before I needed that break. And my pace was, and I was, but I was struggling and I had this very chaotic breathing and trying to learn it. And Noah would just, he could just always seem to talk me into this food state, where I was more entranced to.

Matt: Because I couldn’t talk. I was huffing so much. And then Emily d would always remind me like, Hey, you know what? You just did, you just hit four miles. Have you ever done that before? After tricking me into running the longer route, and I, as I got stronger and a better runner, and it took less time than I expected and I would feel, I remember I only ran in the mornings then, and I would remember just every day I would run.

Matt: I felt awesome. All. It didn’t matter what else happened that day. I always felt like I had accomplished something significant and I physically just felt good that like runner’s high, that you get and you get that initial peak a little after the run. It would subdue, but it would go it would leave me at this better place.

Matt: My anxiety would be subdued. My joy would be increased and I just feel better. That transformed my running style into when the pandemic hit. I started running once a week with Beth, who I work with at Mile in My Shoes. Now she’s our program director, Emily and Erin, who was one of my teammates at the halfway house, and we would run together once a week, but I started running alone and that gave me a new gift where now I run in the mornings by.

Matt: and it allows my ADHD brain time to get out its little kinks and all of that. And then I go back in the evenings and I run or run, walk with with our teams. And I get that community aspect. So I get it now twice most days. And I don’t know, I just, I don’t, there’s so many other activities that I’ve started and not held onto this long.

Matt: And I think the fact that I’m not. Still running, but running more now is a testament to the power of in the community and b, running itself. 

Brent: So one of the topics we talked about in the green room is redemption. And I know that you have a lot of a lot of thoughts about that. How do you feel?

Brent: And I feel like Mel in my, my, my shoes puts us all in the level playing field. . But you did talk about, those comeback success stories and things like that. Talk a little bit about redemption and some of your thoughts on 

Matt: that. Thank you for asking.

Matt: Yeah. Redemption is one of the topics that I am most passionate about. In general, I. Appreciate how much we love a comeback story, and I can appreciate why it’s one of the most relatable heroes journeys that we can go on as a, as an individual and as part of a community. And so I think there’s a, and we all wanna know that’s possible too, right?

Matt: We all wanna know that if we stumble and recover, that we have a. To return to that, that recovery is gonna be worthwhile, right? Otherwise, why not just give up every time we make a significant mistake, right? So I find this idea of redemption to be so powerful, so promising, and it also has given us so many wonderful humans that have thrived when they’ve come back, when they’ve risen from the ashes, for lack of a better cliche.

Matt: And I do wish, as I mentioned earlier in our green room discussion, The idea of having to struggle initially isn’t this inherent part of that redemption arc that I think we’ve often made it, that it’s this overcoming of adversity that alone validates redemption, and I don’t think that’s necessary.

Matt: I think it can be a powerful tool. I think that discomfort leads to change and often positive change, and I think that’s wonderful and it shouldn’t be discounted, but I don’t think it’s a. And I think that organizations like mine on my shoes, like the Second Chance Coalition that does some legal work in our state capital particularly about things like felony murder laws and some of these more like strictly punitive in draconian laws that exist that are designed to help people find.

Matt: Find that like second chance to find that beauty and that story and that comeback tale, that hero’s journey. I think that’s amazing. And I think it does require help. First off, it requires a community to accept you and that’s the whole point of redemption, right? Is that you’re redeemed yourself.

Matt: Sure. But the community has allowed that redemption to be like accepted or validated and I think that’s wonderful. I think organizations that sort of encourage and help that, which I think my and my shoes does extremely. Partially because of what you were saying about how we come from all these different backgrounds we run together, the community, we don’t have any judgements.

Matt: We just come together. And that alone can be such a powerful conduit for allowing us to say, I do belong. I am here, I am redeemed. I don’t necessarily need to do more. I just need to be here and be me and continue to do as well as I can. And these people will be here with me. If I slow down, they’ll slow down with me.

Matt: They’re not gonna leave me behind. and together we could do anything. And I think that’s incredible. 

Brent: Yeah. There’s a little bit of trust involved in there, isn’t there? Yes. The people coming into the group have to trust that that we are gonna slow down or we’re gonna try to speed up. And then there’s some learning as well because there are, if we want to try to relate this to running.

Brent: there’s people that are farther ahead in their journey and , they need to slow down for us, right? , as mentors even, . yeah. So there, there is a it, there, there is a definite time when everybody has to come together and we have to communicate together. There is also that aspect of of being able to talk to somebody and who’s in a different place.

Brent: And that could be, it could be substance abuse or it could be. You’re in a ha you’re in a tough situation. There’s all kinds of aspects there that, that make you want to be empathetic for your per, for your fellow person. And empathy is directly correlated to mile in my shoes, the whole idea of what does it mean to run a mile in my shoes?

Brent: You have to have empathy. And I think as part of that empathy, redemption and forgiveness has to be, has to. Part of that, and I think we’re talking about maybe less about the individual, but the more of the community forgiveness to accept somebody into community no matter what they’re, what they’ve been through in their past.

Brent: Absolutely. Would you agree with 

Matt: that? And I think that there is something to be said about like bad actors, right? There’s gonna be people who are gonna take advantage of that mentality. That is an unfortunate reality. I think though, that when we focus on things like that, that we do ourselves a disservice.

Matt: That can always be dealt with. It’s usually not too difficult to discern that as it’s happening or shortly after it, it happens. And I think that community forgiveness piece and that welcoming back in and allowing people that opportunity to thrive once again and to be a part of that community, that’s the, that’s a huge part of who we are as a species.

Matt: Like you talked about empathy and Yeah, absolutely. It’s literally the, where. Idea mile in my shoes, that expression, that phrase comes from is a way of explaining empathy. And I love that so much. And I don’t know how, I didn’t make that connection until you just said it, but thank you for doing that.

Matt: Cuz I think that is so important to, to note. I do also think there’s an important part of self redemption and I think things like running and I think things like self-improvement can lead to a healthier form of discomfort that lead to change You. And I think that focusing on things like that for allowing ourselves to improve, tend to work better.

Matt: I don’t have any data. I’m sure there is data out there. I don’t have any to back that up. I was just throwing it out. But I do have a feeling that’s the case. It just makes the most sense. I Look, what we do is our instinctual response when we’re born, we can’t walk, we can’t eat, we can’t do anything except cry and nurse.

Matt: That’s a species that is instinctually requiring some form of empathy in order for it to perpetuate itself and survive. 

Brent: Yeah, and I think part of this journey as well is some discipline. And everybody, I can’t say that you can say across the board there’s nobody that has perfect discipline, right?

Brent: No. And as in, in my shoes, we train for certain events and there’s a couple of bigger. A group trains for a half marathon, but also a group trains for a full marathon. And every year we get people that are going through that journey. Yeah. And as you get, as your goal is bigger, your commitment to that goal is bigger.

Brent: And if you don’t make the goal, either you don’t do it or you are in a ton of pain once you’ve done it. Yeah. 

Matt: And you’ll hear it too, you’ll hear from people when you ask them, when I ask ’em about their trading, and they’ll say that exact thing I missed it. Now. I, when I went back, I feel, oh, it was a rough day

Matt: So 

Brent: you’re 100%. And there’s a part of that is part that, that is a discipline that once you’ve gone through that you’ve realized, oh, 16, Then I ran a marathon 12 weeks and then I did a half marathon. Wow. Now looking forward, there was lots of anxiety or lots of stress involved in doing that.

Brent: But once you’ve done it and then you’ve come through it, you’re like, wow, just like waking up at 5:00 AM or six 5:00 AM to get to a 6:00 AM running group every morning I do that. I’m like, God, this is I don’t want to get up. Yeah. But once I’m leaving and I’m coming home, I’m like this is the best decision I’ve ever made in 

Matt: my.

Matt: Every single time. Every single time. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be running at Roseville at six in the morning and I’ll be working late this evening at my second job. And I promise you, at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning when I wake up, I’m gonna be like but by six 15 I’m gonna feel like a million dollars being in that group running.

Brent: I’m so I want to just pivot a little bit to employers, entrepreneurs. How would. Part of this journey too is as an employer, you want to help, you want to, you would like to help people. And in, in this economy, when it’s still super low unemployment, which is great for us here there, there sometimes has to be some learning that has to do on the employer side for people that are, that, that are coming out of, say, out of prison or through a halfway house or there’s all kinds of issues that come.

Brent: What, do you have some advice that you would give to an employer or how to help the employer through that? 

Matt: Yeah, I would say the first word is patience. And I don’t mean that in any sort of I’m not trying to be condescending or anything like that. What I mean by patience is that, There’s so many hoops that people who come out of prison have to jump through, even in the best case scenario, right?

Matt: Whether they’re on supervision, whether and they have a PO that they have to report to and have to do all of these things for that could show up and visit your workplace at any time. Things like that. That those things happen and that they have to take this certain degree of priority because of the inflexible nature of car supervision.

Matt: That can often be problematic, and I think that having patients in an open dialogue about the situation so that expectations are where they should be, so that hey, this guy can come in, he probably won’t, or this woman can come in, she probably won’t, just to see if I’m actually here at work. They might call here.

Matt: To verify if I’m here or if I was here at a certain time, that’s okay. I may have to go and, meet with them at, during work hours or something like that. I promise to make up that work, so that you have these open dialogues that expectations are there. Secondly, I’d say, obviously give the chance, and I know it seems like that should be reversed, although I’m starting to see the trend of the chances are being given out.

Matt: But they’re often utilized as a way of either underpaying somebody or, using it to hold it over their heads. And I don’t think that’s necessarily gonna be as positive. So I, I do suggest giving people this chance. I think they’ll find people in prison a two things through returning from incarceration to, to trades that you’re gonna see consistently.

Matt: They are going to have remarkable work ethic that’s probably less expected. , especially if the conditions are any better than they were in prison. And they probably are. And the other thing too is I think you’re gonna see them very eager to shine. They’re gonna be eager to want to grow. They’re gonna, they’re gonna be motivated to make up for lost time.

Matt: This is not just my personal experience, but what I’ve noticed. With my comrades from incarceration, who I’m still in touch with the people I’ve run with a mile on my shoes. Talking to a 68 year old dude who’s like hole in ice for his job just because he wants to like, move up and get something better and then he still shows up to run with us or walk with us, and I think that’s powerful.

Matt: I think employers would have a remarkable experience. Allowing a lot of offenders to, or, recently exiting incarceration people to have these opportunities to grow. And it’s not just things that I think are often traditionally associated with us. I was given this opportunity by mile in my shoes to work here at a nonprofit to do something a little different than I had been doing for a long time.

Matt: I had this gift of an opportunity, this chance that Beth and Michigan and Whitney took on me. And I am eternally grateful for it. And I am, I have a learning curve too. That’s the last part that I’ll mention is that especially for people who have been incarcerated for a long time, There’s gonna be a learning curve in terms of how things are done nowadays.

Matt: And I’m not just talking about the obvious things with like technology, like smartphones and apps and stuff like that. That stuff actually seems to come a lot quicker than even with the boomers, than a lot of people often assume it will. I won’t say why, I won’t say that we have any of this tech access inside, cuz we sure don’t.

Matt: We definitely don’t see any of that inside, but we do. I do think though that just, even just the way business is done, the way jobs are applied for the way jobs are and way even management interacts communicates with staff, I think now is much different than it was, even when I was younger.

Matt: There’s certainly a lot more familiarity, a little less formality in a lot of , even things like that can be really awkward for people coming out of prison. So I’d say those three things are a good starting. And then just treat them like humans. Man. Don’t treat them all that differently.

Matt: Beyond that, just understand that their circumstances are a little different, much like you would, someone who’s a single parent hopefully that you would accommodate them and understand their situation a little bit better. Someone who’s, less abled or differently abled things like that, just an accommodation.

Matt: To the circumstance. 

Brent: Yeah, and I’m, my, my professional background, I’m involved a lot with project management and there is certain assumptions that you make with a client and there’s certain assumptions that the client makes with you in that project management situation. And I can tell you that if you don’t communicate, the less you communicate, the worse the project goes.

Brent: , this is the same thing. It’s just communicating is the top three things you need to do. You need to, number one, communicate the number two, you should communicate. Number three, you should communicate. Yes. Those three things will get you so far. Yes. And then I always say the less time there is between those interactions the.

Brent: Missed expectations you’re gonna have. So if you’re, 

Matt: if you have, and that’s what, and I would actually say, and I know you asked me specifically about employers, but for those of us coming out of incarceration who are looking, I always encourage people to be. Very forthright and honest about the situation specifically, so that those expectations are there because it really, it, you don’t want that anxiety, you don’t want that insecurity and you certainly don’t want people finding that out later cuz then they start to wonder what you had to hide and why.

Matt: And you can be like, I was just ashamed or I was insecure, or whatever. But it’s better to just start off that way, and I know how difficult that can be. It pays dividends, I promise. 

Brent: Yeah. Good. Matt, we have a few minutes left today. At the end of the podcast, I give everybody a chance to do a shameless plug.

Brent: What would you like to plug today? 

Matt: Obviously I want to plug mile in my shoes. You can see us at mile in my on Facebook Mile in my shoes. We also have a community group There were Instagram a mile in my shoes. Check us out, check out our socials. We would love to see you there. We have a lot of really great information on our website.

Matt: You can there’s a link there to get some of our me. You don’t have to earn a blue shirt. You can, and we’d love it if you did. You can also buy one. I’m not gonna say what You have to tell people how you got it. I’m just saying. You can get one. They look great on everybody. We’ve got all different sizes.

Matt: We have really great sweatshirts, hoodie. Available and all of that. That all helps. The money that we get from these mer, shes helps us outfit our teams. It helps us outfit our mentors with their wonderful incentives for doing things like being our team coach or team captains and things like that.

Matt: Team leads rather team captains or are for our run members, and they also get a cool sweatshirt for that, a really nice gray crewneck. But yeah, it helps us out in our teams. It also helps pay our staff salaries, which is one. Big parts that get us out to, distributing that gear, running these teams, finding these teams, doing all of the management and, human labor that’s necessary to take those donations and make sure that we get the best out of them.

Matt: I also would like, you’re also welcome to check out, there’s so many great organizations out there that do similar. Missions to what we do, or that complimentary missions is probably a better word for it that are working to improve our community as a whole that are working really hard to making the world just a little bit brighter and brighter.

Matt: But I think that what we do at my and my shoes is so wonderful, unique and powerful, and it’s impacted not just my life, but so many lives, both from the member and mentor perspective in I’ve yet to hear a. Experience, and I’ve seen so much beauty, joy, and growth that I can’t help but encourage people to check us out and join us too.

Matt: It’s not just about merch and donations, which we love. We accept run mentors. If you’re in the Twin Cities area we are always looking formentors on a rolling basis. You can join us in our community events, our voices of events that are coming up. We just had the pizza run last night.

Matt: So we love having the community as a whole involved in these event. I hope everybody gets to listen to this podcast as well. I would absolutely love to, to see all of your listeners show up for one of our runs, even as a guest and just see what we’re all about. It always brings me joy, much like your visitor yesterday brought us so much joy at visiting our runs.

Matt: So you, personally the power of of that extra community involved. And he got a blue shirt. I think he. It’s in his first run, right? Yeah. So 

Brent: come on. No. Yeah. VJ was here a couple years ago and he leads our laughter sessions. He a thought he he just does that on his own.

Brent: makes us laugh. So it such a great benefit and it’s just a really good example of diversity in our society that brings in different people and they feel comfort. Doing something out of an ordinary in front of a whole group of people. Yeah. It really is powerful to see. I just want to piggyback on your plug because I do want to have people recognize that there is a significant investment that Mile and my shoes makes in every single person that joins Mile my shoes, I should say.

Brent: The residents that are coming out of the halfway house, and you had mentioned that they get shoes, they get a. And eventually they’ll get a Garmin watch and a headlamp. It is a signi. It’s not just, 

Matt: Hey, here’s parable shoes. The shoes alone are significant. You know how much running shoes cost?

Matt: I know you, these shirts even are 40 to $50 each. Like all of the things that we outfit yeah, there is a substantial financial cost. And then of course there’s the labor cost that comes from our volunteers that do an extraordinary job helping us out. And, our staff.

Brent: And going back to that trust and there’s no expectation put on that person when they’ve earned those pair of shoes. Zero, they could never show up again if they don’t want to get that watch. They could go and not show up and not even run ever again. It’s, it is something that I guess in a sense they do earn it, but they’ve earned it from the fact that they’re participating over and.

Brent: And and, my, and my shoes supports that and it’s such a great gift that we all get, myself, 

Matt: you might get a phone or some texts from me though if you do stop running. Just to give you a fair warning, I may be like hey, we haven’t seen you in a while. How’s 

Brent: it going? What doing? I don’t wanna say that the.

Brent: I don’t want to say that there’s not repercussions, but there, there is , there’s, let’s say there’s a bit of accountability, like we Yes. Yeah. I we could go into so much more detail that Yeah, of course. There, there is a follow up. There’s a person who’s who takes care of alumni and there’s a person who takes care of the, of recruitment and there’s so many different roles that are volunteer roles that aren’t eight roles.

Brent: Everybody is pitching in to make this community a great community. And I think the essence of this whole thing is how well the community works and how well this aspect of movement and changing your life through movement can really change your life. My life has been changed through it. 

Matt: That’s wonderful.

Matt: I’m really happy to hear this. 

Brent: Matt, yeah. Thank you so much for being here today. I will put all these links and contact information on the show notes. Excellent, and we will have to have a follow up with more folks from my shoes. 

Matt: We’d love that. Thank you so much for having me, Brett.

Matt: I really had a great time. Thank you.

Andrew Forman -

Offering Donations Instead of Discount Codes Increases Conversion Rates with Andrew Forman

Tis’ the season to give! We interview Andrew Forman with Offering a discount isn’t always the best idea when enticing people to buy. Andrew walks us through how offering donations and giving to charity instead of discount codes increases your conversion rate. We discuss why discounts are problematic for the long-term profitability of a business and how brands are embracing the move towards social good. Andrew explains how giving away money will outperform a traditional discount – It is true! This is a timely episode as we are coming up to Give to the Max Day.

Why Offering Donations Instead of Discount Codes Increases Your Conversion Rate

Money is king. A massive portion of your company’s annual profits is made through money spent on direct mail, promotional, and ad spending.

One of the most significant issues with discounts is that it’s just a temporary hit to your bottom line, and all it does is increase your expenditure on mailing lists.

Why is Money Really King?

A recent article from the Financial Times revealed that the average luxury brand spends around $3 million on mailing lists alone. This doesn’t take into account the amount of time people spend browsing their emails.

Offering a discount code is a quick solution to an easily solved problem by having an intelligent email list manager build out your prospect list.

The Problems With Offering Discount Codes

The best online stores that we interact with daily are giving discount codes simply because they want to be part of our daily lives.

Giving away discounts to get users to do things they don’t want to do is like training a dog to do a specific task without the owner’s consent. If you are preparing a dog to pull a wagon, is this ethical? Is this ethically right if you’re training a dog to do something more helpful, like picking up litter?

Discount codes are a privilege to be had because most of us are content to give them away.

The Benefits Of Offering Donations

Of course, to offer up a donation instead of a coupon, the first question you should ask is why you’re doing this. Why not just use your standard discount code?

This is where you get into the whys, when, where, and how. It’s essential to figure out why you want to offer your customers a donation instead of a discount code.

It’s All About Impact

One of the most popular reasons to donate your discount code is because the customer is already involved in your business’ cause. In fact, 35% of customers are willing to support charities even if the cost is higher.

By offering them the opportunity to make a donation, you increase your impact and customer experience. You’re also making it easier for customers to make a difference, which you always want.

How Brands Are Moving Towards Social Good

Discount codes have been around for years, and it’s not a new concept. Yet even though this model has worked for so long, the times are changing, and brands are no longer interested in protecting profits at the expense of social good. In fact, there is a growing trend of brands taking the drastic step of totally boycotting discount codes in favor of generous approaches, such as promoting donation schemes.

Looking at this trend, it would seem that the future of a brand lies in focusing on making a social contribution. In order to do so, a brand needs to use every tool at its disposal, especially discount codes, to draw consumers to them. Some brands are so committed to building social value that they have abandoned discount codes altogether.


The rise in digital technologies and marketing innovations means that traditional ways of doing business will struggle to compete against the multi-channel and omnichannel environment created by companies in the modern era. While a move away from offering discount codes will initially see competition increase, those that adopt a different approach may be able to build long-term relationships with customers that work to their advantage in an increasingly competitive marketplace.