Flow at B Corp Champion's Retreat
By Crystal Wilson
Hey, did you know that Flow is a B Corp? We are, and we are super proud of it. At the beginning of October our team had the opportunity to attend the 2017 Champion’s Retreat, and the B inspired Toronto event that followed. It was the first time the retreat was held outside of the USA, and it was great to host our B Corp community from all around the world right here in Canada. I had the opportunity to work on a community gardening project with other B Corp folks at the Christian Resource Centre in Regent Park, answered lots of questions about weather, poutine, and politics, and took my first streetcar ride!
April and Laura-Lee joined for 2 days of the retreat and Lisa joined in on the final day to co-lead a session on Peer Exchange groups with some friends from B Lab and Sweet Livity. Each of us gained different learnings, and experienced our own challenges throughout the conference but here are a few of the top learnings and biggest challenges for us:
- Be intentional. Whether it is about who you connect with, how you spend your time, etc. do it on purpose
- To engage your team you need to find out what their passions are - If no one cares about planting trees don’t plant trees.
- “It is better to be together than to agree on everything”
- “I am not separate from any one of you”
- When engaging in an international conference, with a majority coming from one country in particular, be ready to engage with a lot of content geared to that population
- Remember that your experience is not everyone’s experience
- B Corps have the potential to be one of the most powerful forces for change in the world for a world that works for everyone.
- Continued collaboration, innovation and collective engagement with B Corps of all sizes and focuses is needed for us to level up the movement
Some more of our team members joined in for the B Inspired Toronto event, held at Massey Hall and open to the Public. Those of us who had been at the Retreat had a hysterical time riding a schoolbus with a boxed lunch (full of delicious things from Manitoba Hemp Harvest, Plum Organics, and Genuine Health) bonding over belly laughs with some new friends from Peaceworks.
Jess bussed in, and Kumarie carpooled with a client (because we’re green like that) and we settled in. The event lived up to its name, and all 5 of us left having laughed, and cried, and having a renewed sense of hope and inspiration. You can see the whole thing on B Corporation's Facebook Live Video and you really should. Highlights, if you don’t have hours to invest in watching, are Jeff Ward, Roshan, and the chat with Rhino Foods and the employees of People against Dirty.
Here’s what our team had to say about it all:
I appreciated the opportunity to attend and learn about all the inspiring things that other people do to help the less fortunate. I was very impressed when I heard about all the things the Roshan Foundation do for the people of Afghanistan. It made me want to get more involved and help others.
As an employee of a b-corp business it was really interesting to hear the panel of employees of other B corps (Rhino Foods and People Against Dirty). It feels good to be a part of an organization that cares about more than just the bottom-line and has a genuine interest in the well-being of its workers and it's great to know that there are other businesses that do the same. It was great to hear the different ways in which other B Corp businesses do this as well, like offering no-questions-asked loans, different training opportunities or community/family events
I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from people who work for B Corps. Not just senior managers, but also "on the ground" employees. They talked about how the HR practices of their companies reflected a genuine interest in the wellbeing of their people. You could tell this motivated employees to do their best at work.