The time is always right to Do More Good®, but never have I been more inspired to do so.
We just wrapped up the inaugural Do More Good® Conference in May, and after three amazing days and 21 inspirational speakers, I feel even more energized to find ways to leverage Firespring’s people, products and profit to improve the lives of those around us.
Thought leaders and folks from every corner of the country descended on Lincoln (which we’ve affectionately dubbed “The Middle of Everywhere”) May 15–17, bringing together the catalysts of social impact movements—including Benefit Corporations, Certified B Corps, Conscious Capitalism and 1% for the Planet—for the first time ever.
As Nebraska’s first Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp, we’ve been fighting the good fight for a while—but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t starstruck by the speaker lineup. If you’re a geek about 21st-Century business like me, you might’ve gushed over it too: Preeta Bansal, former White House policymaker, MIT lecturer and benefit corporation champion. Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Labs. Rand Stagen, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism.
I left the conference with more business approaches, leadership lessons and anecdotes than I could count, but here are five takeaways too good to not share:
- Never undersell the ROI in your “Why.”
We started the conference with a panel of social impact discussions, and I was joined by local peers, friends and mentors who are making good on their promises to make business really mean something in the lives of the people it serves.
Firespring’s Nebraska B Corp brethren—Assurity, Daycos and Physicians Thrive—joined in on the fun, and our sentiment was the same: keeping your purpose at the forefront inspires customers and employees alike.
“When you engage like this, it’s a culture change,” said Justin Nabity, Physicians Thrive’s CEO and cofounder of its sister nonprofit Give Sight Global. “It’s elevated the team to a whole new level.”
2. Invest in people. Always.
We closed Day One with a presentation from LTC Jamie Peer, the leader of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Army ROTC program, and it was a powerful reminder of how the human connection should be at the core of every business decision, internal and external.
“I’m here today because of engaged leaders who invested in me,” she said. “I believe by investing in people, we can change the world.”
Her conviction in the power of relationships was so inspiring, and she even brought herself to tears a few times—but I don’t think she was the only one.
3. The power of purpose sustains.
I was already in awe of Preeta, but her powerful message on Day Two is circled, highlighted and underlined in my notebook.
“The energy that fuels purpose is clean energy—it’s renewable, regenerative and an energy of love,” she said. “So start with purpose.”
That positive ripple effect is what we’re after in business, right? Preeta said that as we see business models shift to be more mindful, our purpose is at the intersection of our people and community’s values—and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
4. Great workplace culture wins.
Kevin Hancock came all the way from Casco, Maine, with a story for the ages. He lost his voice to spasmodic dysphonia, a stress-induced vocal disorder, at the worst time—as his family business was enduring cutbacks during the Great Recession.
But losing his voice forced him to become a new kind of leader: one that shared power and gave a voice to others in the company who may not have felt heard before.
Since then it’s been nothing but revelations for the CEO of Hancock Lumber, now one of the best places to work in the country thanks to its engaging culture.
“Work should enhance the lives of the people who do it,” he said. “That should be the first purpose of work.”
5. All you need is love.
John Rood, the SVP of Marketing for Disney Channels Worldwide, brought the conference home with his witty keynote.
Yes, even at a Fortune 500 company, love matters—especially if you want to garner the interest of this generation of consumers. So, John said, use the power of storytelling to Do More Good®.
“Speak from your heart to their heart,” he said. “It never goes wrong.”
When Graham Pansing Brooks, the conference’s director and founder of SEAChange LTD, agreed to join me in planning a conference that would bring social impact leaders together in Lincoln, I had high hopes. Fortunately, those hopes were converted into a transformative experience for myself and the other 300 attendees. Now, we are taking action on converting the momentum from the conference into a full-fledged movement to educate, inspire and empower business owners and leaders to use their business to do more good.