OmniWin Focus Recognizes That We’re Much Better Together


Ed Martin

Ed Martin, OmniWin Officer for 5th Element Group, says that “a focus on omni-win recognizes that we’re so much better together,” and his great joy has been to bring other men, who have been socialized to believe in the “I win – you lose” dynamic, into that inclusive everybody-wins community. He has found that most men “get it, either inherently or when they are brought into the mix, they feel it.” Ed says that he is purpose-driven and believes when you focus on the relationships, much better results naturally follow–that’s the real omni-win. In fact, he says, “There is no person that is a means to an end with me. It’s about the person.” He admits that getting a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is wonderful, but “it can’t be more important than the relationships along the way—that’s the whole point of life.”

As a marketer for fortune 500 companies, Ed was anything but purpose-driven in his career. His background urge to join the Peace Corps was derailed by an MBA and a career working for large companies like Coca Cola and Kellogg.  In the early 90’s he stumbled on a formula where he could satisfy part of his urge to do good while acquiring the market research the big corporations needed. It was simple: get the charitable organizations to provide the population to test product marketing. The big marketing budgets could serve both the company and community needs—an omni-win solution. He continued to create these omni-wins as he moved from The Kellogg Company to Coca-Cola to Citigroup to Ford Motor Company and finally the Hershey Company.

Sticking to these ideals has led him down a path where the final result is that everybody does win—big corporations as well as causes like poverty, education and clean water. Today, through his work at 5th Element Group, he links those who need funding and solutions to those who can help provide both.

The Magic of #5, as in 5th Element and SDG5 (Achieve Women’s Equality)

Now working strictly in the “social” profit sector, serving on many boards, including being an advisor the UN’s Millennium Project, Ed continues to engage omni-win techniques to solve the problems of the world. The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established in 2016,  built on that project and assigned a number  to the SDGs. SDG5 is Achieve Women’s Equality Empower Women and Girls. Women’s rights are really human rights, as the famous saying goes, and more importantly, Ed notes that when SDG5 is advanced, all of the other SDGs advance too. Therefore, the founders of 5th Element Group, assigned the 5th element as the “human element” playing off of the designation in SDG5.

The human element brings people together. Ed says that when different genders, races or age groups work together on something that matters in a major way, you get to know them deeply. The same is holding true for companies. When diverse groups come together, they create “warm brands” that include everyone and erase the 2-dimentional perspective that blocks us from really seeing one another. The final link in the 5th Element Group is the declaration of the 5th Industrial Revolution. Ed describes this as the revolution where technology will finally serve people rather than control them. <link>

What Men and Women Can Do to Get More Male Allies

When Dr. Nancy asked Ed this question, he said, “You did it. You invited me.” Ed felt honored and pleased to be invited to be the first man to be invited to Smart, Amazing Conversations with Dr. Nancy. He also suggested that if a man is doing something good for women, tell him. Men need to know that their efforts are appreciated and welcomed. Ed also advised that men invite other men to participate. He shared how he had invited one of his male colleagues to join the board of Athena International (international business women group) where he serves.  He said that once a man is invited, he will invite other men, and each will recruit another to become a male ally and create more omni-wins.

More Stories and Omni-Wins

Listen to this interview to hear more of Ed’s story, about the women in his life and how he is using his omni-win skills to accelerate change and make an impact in the world. Check out this example of how #SeeHer created an omni-win for big brands by creating a more accurate depiction of women in their product marketing.

Order Dr. Nancy’s new book or pick it up at your book store

In This Together Book CoverLearn more about getting male allies in Nancy’s new book, In This Together: How Successful Women Support Each Other In Work and Life. It’s full of omni-wins—how when women win, men win as well—along with thoughts, inspiration, and stories from 40 successful women across a variety of careers—from authors to actresses, CEOs and professors—encouraging women to support each other in the workplace and in life. Learn about action plans on how all women can work together to break free from the binds of gender inequality. Then remember to get your copy – and gifts for your friends.


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