In September, we boarded a plane to Los Angeles. We were on our way to Hollywood, to meet with the leaders of the B Corp movement. We spilled into lobbies and conference rooms, halls, and pop-ups. Throughout the three days, the overwhelming feeling I got was connection and community. The ability to start a conversation on meaningful topics or action items regardless of the kinds of business was refreshing. While many conferences can be sales focused or aggressive, this event genuinely cared about helping attendees build connections and relationships, whether it’s in a financial sense or simply to work toward common goals. 

I’m so grateful for the time we spent there, the people we met, and the community we get to be a part of. We’re invigorated and focused, passionate about driving change in our local community and beyond. Here are just a few of the experiences we had while at the conference that inspired us.

Connecting with others

The most important part of this week for us was building connections. I met folks from across North America working hard every day to make a change. In creative problem-solving sessions and facilitated networking opportunities, we connected and met with folks in a new environment. Whether it was in these sessions, elevators, or during meals, these conversations were crucial in making the conference feel so collaborative. 

I was also lucky to attend a Table Talks breakfast for LGBTQIA+ folks in the B Corp community, and connect with other folks in the queer B Corp community. Being able to be a part of these conversations and communities gives me hope for the future of our B Corp community. With folks leading the way, like #WeTheChange, the Dismantle Collective, B Local, B Academics and the Climate Collective we see real change happening in different areas. 

Keynotes and storytelling

The keynotes told varied stories with compassion and personal perspectives. Hearing from folks about their experiences going from incarceration to freedom and thriving in the B Corp Community, or from those who are changing the face of B Corps to be more intersectional and inclusive was an absolute joy. The stories of those who are changing business as a force for good in small and big ways invigorated our team.  Hearing where there is so much work still to be done felt like a call to action. An action we are excited to be a part of.

Collaboration on tough objectives

We participated in several action-oriented workshops, which helped us make progress and work together to start to solve tough challenges in the community and world. 

One focused on climate action, and we discussed steps folks could take to make a difference in their community through sustainable business practices and personal changes. These included things like adopting a plant-rich diet, wasting less food, and taking one less flight per year. There are bigger actions, like buying carbon offsets, choosing green energy from utility companies, and driving electric vehicles. We can all work to improve our individual behaviors every day.

Another meaningful presentation we attended focused on using our collective power to solve objectives within the B Corp community. I participated in a group focused on a design thinking exercise to solve the marketing challenges around B Corp notoriety and understanding of certified B Corps around the world. I’m excited to enact the practices at Mad Fish, see the enactment of initiatives by folks in the community, as well as B Lab’s overarching marketing goals for community growth and engagement. 

B Lab + the growth of B Corps

As a Portland-based company, we’re lucky to be in a great community through our B Local and the over 120 B Corps in our area. However, learning about how the B Corp movement is spreading from the folks at B Lab, and hearing from those in other areas really helped us contextualize how the movement is spreading and growing over time. Did you know that there was a 90% increase in B Corp applications in the first quarters of 2019? We’re thrilled to be a part of this movement and want to help keep the traction growing. 

Our Presentation on Marketing B Corp Values

We feel so lucky to have been selected to present at the retreat. Our presentation, on marketing and growing your community with your B Corp status was a summation of the work we’ve done in our first year of being certified. We shared how our focus on values helped drive our initiatives and how collaborative communication is key to growing and maturing as a B Corp. We also wanted to provide resources and assistance for folks interested in taking their marketing to the next level with checklists and content strategy initiatives. You can learn more about our presentation and get materials here

Overall, we had a wonderful time and got clear ideas of what our next steps are. We’re excited to double down on our climate efforts, sustainable business initiatives, and remembering the power we have when we work together. Let’s get to work.