The time has come for B Corp women to join together. Years (if not centuries) in the making, Eileen Fisher’s LifeWork project sums it up perfectly: “Individually we are strong. Together we are a force.” Women Together is a collective of B Corp women CEOs who have joined forces to address our most pressing issues in a way that is unique to B Corp women leaders.
This April, I was honored to participate in a gathering of B Corp Women CEOs hosted by Eileen Fisher at her corporate headquarters in Irvington, NY. Eileen and her closest colleagues launched the event as a complement to the blog, events, workshops, and philosophy that she calls LifeWork.
Eileen and her team envisioned the gathering as the beginning of a movement. One of the main goals of the event was to uncover the highest priorities for B Corp women CEOs. The group uncovered a number of core issues with two key factors: they were issues that the women felt they could impact and that were also good for both business and the world at large. The event reflected relevant issues of the day such as Trump’s policies, #MeToo, and #BlackLivesMatter.
Eileen’s vision and generosity brought together nearly 70 B Corp women CEOs and B Lab staffers, along with Eileen and many of her team members. A talented facilitator organized the day around the World Café model, which is a structured conversational process for knowledge sharing. The day included everything a progressive woman CEO could want: the opportunity to be surrounded by creative and passionate women, a beautiful environment, delicious organic food, breaks to reconnect with our bodies, opportunities to learn more about ourselves and our businesses, and even shopping at Eileen’s innovative and sustainable boutiques.
We B Corp women CEOs emerged from the day with 10 working groups, covering subjects and action items that we agreed are critical to the B Corp movement. They include:
- Shifting capital to women-owned businesses. In 2017, just two percent of venture capital went to women-owned ventures.
- Gender equality. Women and women of color earn between 54 and 87 cents for each male dollar.
- Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. Women of color and other diverse businesses were under-represented at the event, and we all want that to be different next year.
One of the most valuable elements of our day came at the end. Our day concluded with actionable results geared at helping women B Corp CEOs move the needle on issues important to triple bottom line sustainability, including social, environmental, and financial sustainability for everyone. As you read this, participants from the gathering are moving forward with our action items. We will present them at next year’s gathering, which will strive to include more women business owners and increased diversity.
As Charles Dickens put it in the famous opening paragraph of his novel about the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Our deep and resounding goal is to strengthen the B Corp community and make an overall positive impact on the global movement to use business as a force for good.
What You Can Do
Become a B Corp! Join over 2,564 companies in over 50 countries representing over 130 industries united to make the world (and the world of business) a better place.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a voice in this distinguished group of entrepreneurs, Fortune 5000s, movers, and shakers.
Here are some images from our day: