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I Want to Make Saving Water Famous

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That’s what Mina Guli tells me in an interview before Cirque du Soleil’s One Night for One Drop fundraising event in Las Vegas tonight. Doctors once told Guli that she never would be able to run again. She just finished her third campaign of running 40(!) marathons, a feat that defies description, to raise awareness about saving water.

Guli had to suspend her last campaign after running “only” 62 marathons in 62 days because she broke a leg (explaining the featured image). Guli tells me that the connection with Cirque du Soleil started in Las Vegas when she was invited to a big gala for the 2016 One Night for One Drop event. Colgate became the Colgate teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to take the message to the world.

Colgate spokesperson, Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Alyssa Matos, tells me that Colgate products are found in two-thirds of households across the world and almost all their products require water usage. Colgate teamed up with Cirque du Soleil to take the message to the world.

Colgate’s #EveryDropCounts campaign debuted in a 2016 Super Bowl spot featuring the hashtag. The connection with Guli came about when Colgate became aware of a runner who was attracting worldwide attention using the exact same hashtag. Kismet!

Guli has devoted 15 years to climate change. She grew up in Australia where saving water was paramount, down to putting buckets under taps. Guli tells me, “I realized two key things, firstly, water is not just a local issue but a global one and that the problems we’re facing are not just Australia’s but global problems.

Guli also helped dispel some of my misconceptions about Las Vegas and water. The city of North Las Vegas has the largest membrane bioreactor (MBR) plant in North America, which serves to reclaim water. Notes Guli, “I spoke to some government officials who say that everyone will be laughing in the other direction because we’ll always be able to get water.”

She also cited some remarkable statistics:

  • We are all connected to the global water crisis by the things that we use and consume every day. Notes Guli, “Just what you’re wearing today, this one outfit, took more water to make than all the water you drank before you were 14.”
  • The dire prediction is that by 2030 there will be a 40% greater demand for water than the supply of water available.

So Guli decided to do something that would put water on the front of newspapers, saying “I wanted to make saving water famous.”

Like me, Guli is a transformational speaker, so I asked her if she saw any ROI in her awareness-raising efforts. Guli, a former World Bank executive, immediately mentioned KPI (Key Performance Index), a term rarely heard in fund-raising circles. She uses two KPIs. One is monies raised to support water-saving programs. Her second ROI measure is the success of building a community around these types of events and the resulting outreach to water authorities.

Finally, I wanted to know what Guli was going to do after all her remarkable feats. What groundbreaking idea did she have to help push the water envelope? She smiled coyly. Mina Guli will undoubtedly reappear soon on everyone’s radar.

One Night for One Drop will be broadcast nationally on CBS on March 16, ahead of World Water Day, March 22. 🌎

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