Last month, our team attended the BLD Ontario Conference (B Corp Leadership Development) at the beautiful Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto. The day was stacked with influential keynote speakers and panel discussions, breakout sessions and workshops, mingling and networking, and a room full of energy. James Boettcher, CEO of Fiasco Gelato, opened the day with an incredible exemplary story of using business to show up for your community. He set the tone for the day by leaving us with the prudence of building something that matters, no matter what it takes. Simmering on this, we set out for the rest of the day’s activities.
The first hands-on breakout session explored understanding and measuring your social impact as a B Corp. Led by Lynn Ferguson and Sally Fazal of Social Impact Advisors, they challenged us to dig deep into our organizations. As a Certified B Corp, we care about what our impact is in the world, but real change takes place when everyone in an organization is clear on what that the direction of that impact is. We drafted an “intended impact statement” and the women facilitated roundtable discussion in making the intended impact strategic and attainable in just a few years, taking into consideration not just the outcomes, but the beneficiaries of the outcomes.
The diversity of the conference was evident in the selection of panelists throughout the day. Business leaders across industries such as packaged goods, security, technology, e-commerce, hospitality, and services, all came together to share their brightest ideas. The afternoon panel discussion based on effectively marketing your B Corp highlighted how the B Corp business model really is a movement building momentum. Ultimately, it’s one thing for your business to be making a difference, but it’s a whole new world if your customers and clients know about the difference you make. Christina Zeidler of the Gladstone Hotel remarked that, “Today, there is an awareness in the marketplace that wasn’t there even 5 or 6 years ago – people are interested in values-based businesses. They’re interested in spending their dollars somewhere they feel that it’s worth it.” In the panel’s experience, leveraging the new interest and awareness in the marketplace requires tried-and-tested storytelling, as well as continuous, experiential learning. Watch the discussion here.
The takeaway from BLD:
Since becoming a Certified B Corp in 2017, Phil has come to realize that one of the greatest benefits of the B Corp certification is the B Corp community itself. Behind every B Corp is a mission-minded employee (or employees) who made a choice to do things differently. The conference was a place for these people to get together to collaborate, share experiences, and learn how to better use their certifications. B Corps are continuously learning from one another, lifting each other to higher and higher standards of success. We are stepping stones for each other’s efforts and our collective success in doing business differently, together. Our thanks go out to B Lab Canada for bringing us together to help the B Corp community grow wider and stronger – we are so excited to see what changes are to come in the next year!