B Corp Champions Retreat, October 2015

In October, I had the great privilege of attending my first B Corp Champions Retreat in Portland, Oregon. My sense of the B Corp movement had always been positive, but until I met this group of 400+ inspired leaders, I had no idea just how wonderful it could be.

The B Corp movement currently has about 1500 certified businesses worldwide that not only desire to make a profit, they are also meeting high standards for achieving positive impacts with their workers, their communities and the environment. Certified B Corps from many countries (U.S., Canada, Australia, Italy, England, New Zealand, Chile, Colombia, and more!) were in attendance and enthusiastically shared best B Corp practices. So many have found a comfortable balance between doing well and doing good that it proves it is possible to use business as a force for good.

Throughout the conference, I had to override my natural introvert tendencies and start conversations with total strangers time and again. To my surprise and delight, I was not once disappointed! With every single conversation, I met someone extraordinary and learned something inspirational about the creative ways businesses are serving their stakeholders. The more people I talked to, the easier it became to introduce myself because I was so curious about what new nugget of good business practice I could uncover. I found my tribe.

Heather with Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab co-founder.

Heather with Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab co-founder.

I had my star-struck moments, to be sure, meeting people I had only previously seen in TED Talks. My head and my notebooks quickly filled up with ideas, resources, inspirations and leads for follow-up conversations. Watching several new and exciting collaborations emerge among very different kinds of businesses was thrilling. This was hands-down one of the most worthwhile conferences I’ve ever attended. B Lab throws a mean conference!

If your business is not yet a Certified B Corp, become one! And save the dates for next year’s B Corp Champions Retreat, which will be held October 18-20, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. You’ll be glad you did!