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The Conscious Company Global Leaders Forum

1440 multiversityI spent a few days last week at the new 1440 Multiversity, attending the Conscious Company Global Leaders Forum. Here’s my recap of some of the highlights.

Created by Conscious Company Media,  the event showcased a variety of businesses, including organizations like; Oxfam, Combat Flip Flops,  L.A Kitchen, Patagonia, Go Pro, Linkedin, Rising Tide Capital and The American Sustainable Business Council.

What do all of these companies have in common?  They all believe in the power of combining social responsibility, economic value, and environmental impact.  Some call this the “triple bottom line” or the “3Ps”. (People, Planet, Profitability). However you look at it, the movement toward conscious capitalism, business, and leadership is growing exponentially.

Founder and co-director of 1440 Multiversity, Scott Kriens,  invited attendees to “Think of this place as your canvas, to do what you are most compelled to do.” And we certainly did. The conversations among participants were a catalyst as much as the sessions. Everywhere we looked, from the trails surrounding 1440 to the sanctuary and meeting areas were opportunities to explore the concepts presented and dive deep into creating lasting relationships.

What did we learn?
The goal of this conference wasn’t just to listen to the speakers and absorb their wisdom by osmosis, though that certainly happened. Instead, after almost every session the participants broke out into small groups to discuss the topic of the panel and how we could apply it to our own businesses.

I had so many wonderful conversations, and so many tips scrawled in my journal. Here are just a few of the highlights for me from the 3-day event. Be sure to follow the links and get to know some of these people and organizations.

Akaya Windwood  President of the Rockwood Leadership Institute spoke about building organizations of belonging, where everyone in the company felt they were moving toward a common goal, with respect at all levels. It’s that kind of connected purpose that creates a mutuality and cohesion within the company.

On the topic of our relationships with each other, she asked the question “What would happen if we, at our first meeting, decided we were kin?” This led to an interesting discussion on race, relationships and our perception of what makes a family.

Mike Brady  CEO of Greyston Bakery, a benefit corp and social enterprise bakery in Pennsylvania, practices the collaborative approach to hiring. They call it “Open Hiring™”. Anyone who comes to the door of the bakery is given the chance to work, no questions asked, as long as there is an opening, they get a job. Most start as apprentices and are taught baking and employee readiness skills as well as environmental and cultural education. They also offered child care, low-income housing, supportive services, childcare, after-school programs, tenant services and community gardens.

Cory Smith of Wisdom Labs said,  “The case is made (for conscious business), the science is there, and it’s about how we bring it together”. He went on to share a lot of insights into today’s workforce, including stats like 83% of American employees are stressed about their jobs, up from 73% a year before the PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey. An astounding 13% of employees around the world report being engaged at work (Gallup). It’s obvious that we need more wellness training in our workforce to reduce stress and improve productivity with a happy workforce.

We heard from Matthew Griffin Co-Founder, Combat Flip Flops and ex-Army Ranger and West-Point graduate who saw a need to empower those who were caught in conflicts around the world. Their products are made in Afghanistan, Laos,  Colombia and the US. Their mission is “To create peaceful, forward-thinking opportunities for self-determined entrepreneurs affected by conflict. Our willingness to take bold risks, community connection and distinct designs communicate, “Business, Not Bullets”–flipping the view on how wars are won. Through persistence, respect, and creativity, we empower the mindful consumer to manufacture peace through trade.” Every product Combat Flip Flops sells puts an Afghan girl into secondary school for a day.

Alfa Demmellash,   CEO/Co-founder of Rising Tide Capital which she co-founded to empower underserved urban entrepreneurs in northern New Jersey to start and grow successful businesses. Now, a new Rising Tide business opens every 7 days, due in part to their Community Business Academy, created to better equip entrepreneurs for the business world and make their businesses more successful. She said: “How can we do the deep systemic work of creatively establishing the framework for the shift and the future?

Robert Egger,  Founder and CEO of L.A. Kitchen says his motto is “Wrinkled food, wrinkled people, No waste!”. The organization provides training in the culinary industry and reclaims local, healthy food that would otherwise be thrown away. Provides healthy meals to the community at large. “Scale is a boring, outdated, male concept that big=good, Where is the intention? That’s what matters,”

What does this all mean for business?
Tatu Digital has always eagerly included Nonprofits and benefit corps in our client base, often at a discounted rate, and we are proud to say we’ve worked with amazing companies doing great work. We will continue to do so and welcomed the opportunity to make connections here and see how far conscious business has evolved.

Making money is no longer enough to make us happy. In fact, it never was.  Working with conscious companies, wh0 value their employees as well as their customers and who strive to make the world a better place is in the DNA of a conscious company. Like ours, and perhaps like yours too.

I’ll leave you with this video of Raj Sisodia’s TED talk, which explains Conscious Capitalism brilliantly. I know you’ll be as inspired as we were.

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