A Community Conversation with a Purpose

Abraham Lincoln once wrote: “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

Increasingly in business, the shadow is becoming the tree. And good is becoming the new cool.

At our New York office last week, we hosted 75 people for a community conversation focused on the moves B-Corps and other purpose-led organizations are making to advance their businesses and values.

Our discussion panel featured Kickstarter General Counsel Michal Rosenn, B-Labs Head of Community Development Andy Fyfe, Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn author Afdhel Aziz, and SYPartners Managing Creative Director Jessica Tillyer.

Some themes that surfaced in the conversation:

  • Marketing is changing for the better. Rather than prop up the old model, dozens of organizations like Kickstarter, Etsy, Stonyfield Organic, and Patagonia have chosen to invent a new one by certifying as B-Corporations.
  • “Being transparent” is more powerful than saying “we’re for good.” Brands must have a willingness to be transparent with employees and shareholders.
  • Being purpose-driven can’t start with marketing—it must begin from the internal organization, then move outward.
  • The current political landscape makes all of this even more relevant as organizations are getting clear on what they believe in.

As a company that helps individuals and organizations define their purpose and values to help them achieve maximum impact in the world, we were happy to host a discussion with a group so passionate about purpose-driven business.