Episode 8 – Safwan Shah on the Critical Role of Time in Restoring Livelihood and Humanity

In this episode, Safwan Shah and I talk about the importance of time and the critical role it plays in the livelihood of essential workers and the more than 90 million Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck. Safwan has unlocked a huge gap in the systems for how we receive our paychecks. He is an incredible example of what is possible when we get curious and follow our purpose and work to show up authentically in our lives. As a successful CEO, he also humbly shows his humanity and normalizes the universal experience of telling ourselves self-limiting stories. My eyes have been opened by Safwan’s work and how it can help restore humanity and help people feel they matter and be a little more whole. I hope you’ll leave our conversation enlightened and encouraged.

Guest Info

Safwan Shah, Founder & Chief Executive Officer - PayActiv

As founder and CEO of PayActiv, a Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp, Safwan Shah’s mission is to bring security, dignity, and financial wellness to low-income workers. An engineer by training and a serial entrepreneur, Safwan has built his career around harnessing the power of technology to create a more equitable society. Prior to starting PayActiv, Safwan founded Infonox, which was acquired by TSYS (now Global Payments).

Safwan is a noted public speaker who has appeared at TedX and the Conscious Capitalism Conference. His work has been featured in NYT, WSJ, LA Times and NPR. Safwan’s book, It’s About TIME, calls for businesses to embrace greater responsibility in helping workers deal with an epidemic of financial stress that leads to lost happiness and productivity.

In 2019, Safwan received the George Norlin Award, the highest alumni honor for his devotion towards the betterment of society from CU Boulder, where he got his PhD in aerospace engineering and worked for Bioserve Space Technologies, a NASA center for commercialization of space. Safwan has received seven patents, has taught at the Haas School of Business, Berkeley and Baskin School of Engineering in Santa Cruz, and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program.

Show Notes

It’s About Time by Safwan Shah

It’s About TIME invites readers into a head-slapping understanding of how we came to pay workers in this country and how an industry of predatory practices positioned to “help” the poor amid crises have resulted in massive financial stress and a loss of happiness and productivity. The book shares a fascinating look at the role “time” plays in our society and how it’s about time for company leaders to step into their heroic nature and right this injustice.

It’s About Time (the short film)

This short film illustrates the issues resulting from our default system of how people’s wages are paid. It includes links to share on social media; for each person who shares the video on their social channels, PayActiv will contribute $5 towards a financial wellness fund to help paycheck-to-paycheck workers

The Surprising Link Between Payroll Systems & Financial Stress TEDx Talk - In his September 2020 TEDx Talk, Safwan describes the need for and how to change the timing of pay and reduce financial stress on both workers and American businesses.

We Heard You Video Short - this powerful video shows the power of treating our essential workers as human beings by providing them access to wages they’ve rightfully earned (and Safwan references during our conversation)

Behind the Scenes

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