Last week was the 2014 B Corp Champions Retreat set in stunning Burlington, Vermont. Champions Retreat is the annual get together of B Corporations (what the heck are those?) from around the world. The retreat is a place for B Corps and like-minded folks to B inspired to advance the movement. As a first time participant, I sure was!
In no particlar order, my top ten reasons to B inspired:
1. This is what a bank CEO looks like at a B Corp. Kat Taylor. She sang (in front of 400 people), she inspired (me and others), and she launched a credit card for good.
2. Vermont creameries make really good cheese. Vermont Creamery’s ash rolled one is epic. I usually eat vegan to avoid factory farming, but with food-producing B Corps like Vermont Creamery, I feel good about indulging. A tour of their goat farm proved happy goats make delicious cheese.
3. King Arthur Flour, the oldest company that is a B Corp – founded 1790! Learned how to bake bread in their education kitchen. A group of their employee-owners also talked to us about employee shared ownership.
4. Ben Cohen from Ben and Jerry’s is hilarious. He’s also on a crusade to get big money out of politics and he’s spreading the message on your money. A lot of people bought his money stamps so expect to see some stamped up US bills.
5. I got peopled-out after a long day of socializing with my awesome new B friends. So I hid at the back of a bus next to a guy I thought was sleeping. He wasn’t. He was Bryan Welch and he gave me some BIG LIFE ADVICE. I’m on it…and I subscribed to his B certified magazine, Mother Earth News. It’s really good.
6. Woaw. South American B Corps are rocking the continent. They put on a B Corp inspired event that drew 50,000 people. 50,000 people!
7. My CEO, Tim Masson, getting people excited about our collective ability to enable people to do meaningful work…by helping B Corps and similar businesses to hire better. I heard a lot of business leaders lament how hard the hiring process is and that fires me up to do more great hiring.
8. The B Corp movement is non-partisan. The founders have worked hard to keep it that way. There are people on the left and people on the right who want the same thing – a healthy planet that supports a vibrant human community.
9. Above all, it was a week to be in community with like-minded people. At times I felt like I had found my tribe. Whether they’re making cheese or loans or maxi pads – these business owners and leaders all believe in a better world. Sometimes it’s hard for me to be hopeful about the future, but if this crowd can use its influence, if it can spread the word across physical and ideological boundaries, then maybe just maybe the arc of the business universe will bend towards justice.
10. Coming home to get to work making it happen!
B there. B inspired.