Brent Lager | Uncover KC
Brent Lager on Having Hope for Something Better
Brent Lager is the co-founder of Uncover KC, an organization that connects compassionate individuals and groups of volunteers with local organizations in need of their time and talents. This mission is achieved through active volunteerism, event management, education programming and shop-for-a-cause retail, among many other ways.
Brent kicked off our first Conquer for Good: Connect event in August, discussing his journey discovering the gap in non-profits' need for skilled volunteers and the lack of people offering up their time, and the plans to continue to grow and scale his organization. We sat down with Brent to talk further about his personal purpose, the challenges Uncover KC faces and more. Keep scrolling to check out his conversation with us, or watch his talk at Conquer for Good: Connect.
CFG: What difference do you hope to make in the world?
BL: I hope by making it easier to serve one's community, more people will, thus enabling our organization to create real, positive social change on a grand scale.
The key is simplicity. Increase awareness, abundance and action with little to no time commitment and more people will be willing to give their time, talents and treasure for a greater good.
For anyone interested in pursuing a social purpose what three pieces of advice would you give?
The first would be passion - find it and never let go. I wouldn't be able to do what I do if not for having a passion for it.
However, I believe as humans we have many passions and we should chase them all if possible - even if that pursuit is small. So never limit yourself. Never let go of what you love once you know you love it.
Secondly, develop and lean on your support system. I am nothing without my family, friends and co-workers. They believe in my social purpose and therefore sustain me so I can sustain that mission. It's not money, power or material things that enable me to make change, but those I love and who love me.
Lastly, don't become short-sighted. I'm at my worse when I'm purely mission-driven. I lose sight of the big picture - why I'm doing what I'm doing and why it matters - when I focus too much on the small things or day-to-day stresses of the organization. I also lose sight that there are more important things in this life like faith, family and friends. Lose those and you've got nothing.
What’s been your biggest challenge in building your organization?
It's two-fold and they go hand-in-hand: delegation and work-life balance. I have a hard time giving up control. Not because I'm power hungry, but because I want to make sure everything is perfect. This lack of delegation costs me time, stress, money and overall happiness, which directly affects my work-life balance. It becomes a cruel cycle and once I've learned is hard to break.
What have been the most pleasant surprises?
People. I never realized the depth of kindness within people until seeing it first hand, especially within our youth. It amazes me how much people are willing to help when provided an easy opportunity to do so.
What is your personal purpose?
Love. To love and be loved is the highest form of happiness I think we can achieve as humans, thereby my personal purpose in this life is to create as much love as possible and share it.
What are three ways people could help with your organization?
First, get involved. Whether that's by volunteering through our services or serving on one of our committees, nothing changes unless we act together.
Secondly, help us with funding. We don't need money to create change, but we do need money to grow it. No matter the shape, size or form of that funding, every bit helps.
Lastly, spread the word of what we're doing. For mass change, the masses must participate. The single greatest key to social impact is citizen action, and so we need help getting the word out.
Who has been inspirational in the work that you do?
My mother and my pastor/mentor, Paul McGarvey, have been most inspirational to my work as they both taught me how to love. Through their own kindness and gentle strength, I learned the power of love and why we must share it with all.
It also allowed me to develop a relationship with Christ on my own terms in my own way, which took my belief in love to new levels.
Have there been any partnerships that have helped you get where you are today?
So many I can't even begin to list them all. Partnership is how we built this whole damn thing. In truth, it's why we did it - people helping people.
With that said, there is one partnership that stands above the rest: my co-founder, Brent Lobdell. One of my best friends for nearly 16 years, he was with me from day one back in 2013. He left the board when he moved to New York earlier in 2017, but his support is still palpable. Brent is a brother to me and no matter how much we differ on things, we share the same belief in the power of love. That never wavered, and it never will.
In 100 years, when people talk about your organization’s work, what do you hope they say?
They created love. Real love for all.
What does the term "Conquer for Good" mean in your life?
For me, the term "Conquer for Good" means hope. There is so much to lose hope over in the world that if we want to survive the pain and evil, we must overcome it with happiness and good.
We conquer for good so that we have hope for something better.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey?
It's not over. It's just beginning.