Welcome to the latest installment of The Curious Capitalist, brought to you by the Board of Conscious Capitalism in Connecticut. The Curious Capitalist is a series of podcasts where we take the opportunity to not only speak to board members from the Conscious Capitalism Connecticut chapter. But also to business owners, startups, and entrepreneurs.
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There's a surprise now. Board member Soledad Matteozzi the co-founder of Thinking Beyond Business is going to be here today speaking with the wonderful Nell de Debevoise now Nell. Is the c e o and Co-founder of Purposeful Growth. She's also a published author and is known as the inspiring cowgirl Queen.
Intrigued me too. Let's find out more. Soledad and Nell. Welcome to the Curious Capitalist Podcast. Thank you so much, Claire, for the introduction. I'm so excited to have you Nell here with us. To talk about your wisdom and everything and your learnings to this audience for the Conscious Capitalist Podcast.
As Claire mentioned, you have such an impressive background and very diverse. I think you attended some of the best educational schools around the world, not only in the us you were the founder of Inspiring Capital. That is a big corp that helped change the view. That we have about capitalism. It helps so many companies and individuals.
You're also a force contributor. I read your articles are so inspiring and so helpful and informative around purpose and around everything that you do. And you're an author of an amazing book that I read. We're gonna talk a little bit about that. So you have a very interesting journey. There's so many questions that we, I wanna ask you, but I think I will start by asking you to tell us in your own words a little bit about your journey, the, the different roles.
There's so many things. You went from profit to nonprofit around the world, and that got you where you are today. Right. And I wanna. I don't know if you can maybe say or expand in one or two, three theme. I don't know particular moments that have particular influence in, in what you're doing today.
I'm gonna start every Wednesday morning with you All.
This is like the best pump up ever. I love it. Thank you. It's like the mill fan club. I love it. Introduction. Yes. Thank you for the question. Yeah, it's been a journey for sure, right? As we all have. So one moment that I'll start with was actually when I was 12 years old and I was in a fabulous. Public urban school system in Hartford, Connecticut.
Headed there tonight actually for an event, which is so fun. And it was this great elementary school. Everything that we think, I think public education in America could be, should be, you know, it was diverse. Parents were really involved. There was music and sports and mayfairs and you know, it was just a fabulous spot.was the kind of. Right around:
These are like 12, 13, 14 year olds facing this all. And my mom was just really clear like, that's not your future. I can't do it. And so you could go to private school or we could move. And my 12 year old economics, I was like, private school's really expensive. That's weird. Buy a house and that'll be easier.
Right? So anyway, they figured it out. I mean, not easily. They were both self-employed, so it was a thing, but, but they were able to get us. About 450 yards over the Townline into West Hartford, Connecticut, which is this very leafy, well-resourced suburb with incredible public schools. Still some diversity, less socioeconomic diversity and, and more kind of new Asian, some Latin immigration.
But this very lovely school with guidance counselors and again, school programs. I was a peer mediator, whatever that means when you're 14, you know, it was just this really robust. Launchpad from where I just sort of floated off to Harvard, you know, and not in a self-deprecating way, but just knowing that like I had so much support and structure there that I absolutely would not have had, and that my peers who stayed in the Hartford Public Schools didn't have.
So, you know, look, they're all flourishing in different ways to some extent, but it was just this really early lesson of the fact that human talent and potential is absolutely distributed perfectly evenly around this globe. And opportunity is not. And what that struck in me at. 12 was not kind of a bleeding heart like boohoo, but really this like missed opportunity, right?
Like what a bad idea for all of us to be leaving this on the shelf anyway. So at that point, again, in the nineties, you know, my thought was, well I'll go to nonprofit cuz that's where you change things and make an impact. And so I spent the first 10 years with my career working internationally, as you said, all, all over the place, A bit in Rome, managing this amazing network of youth activists.
Helping them to grow and do their work. And then in Palestine, the West Bank, we opened a, a really holistic community center helping with early childhood programming for refugees and other kids there. And then realized that if we were wanted to help the young children, we needed to help moms and we needed to pull university students in.
So that became this very holistic community center offering. And there, I think the aha for me was I love building things. I love that kind of zero to something piece of the puzzle of really connecting dots, bringing resources to bear. My purpose statement now is I wrangle people and ideas and horses to make work healthy and fair, and that kind of wrangling bit really came in my entrepreneurial.
First go. I wasn't the founder, but I was the founding director and, and worked very closely with the founder. And then the third moment I'll share is after that decade, I realized I, I wasn't actually feeling most purposeful in the nonprofit space. I wanted to move kind of up the supply chain somehow to the private sector where the, the volume is just so much bigger, even though the impact feels more incremental some days, or even.
Less than that when you're in the private sector, but it, it can really scale and make an impact. So I went to business school and the aha from that moment was I had these 71 unbelievably successful, smart, wise, ambitious classmates from at least 40 countries around the world. You know, just very, very global situation and, and working in those countries, not just kind of all of the folks, you know, off in New York.
Working on Wall Street from different homes, but, but really in Singapore, in Vancouver, in Sao Paolo, and, and engaging in those economies. And the noticing was, you know, these people were so fascinated by my stories of impact that I had gotten really frustrated with because they were so micro, you know, but they were saying, God, how cool that you see that on a daily basis.
You know, the kid who is no longer suicidal because he has this outlet of art or you know, whatever the specific cases were. And so the aha for me was number one, you can totally use business skills to make the world a better place. And number two people in the business world with these skills. Want to make the world a better place.
And so what are we doing? Again, more opportunity left on the shelf to not connect these dots. And so that's been kind of now the last 15 years of my work is, is really those connections between professionals who want purpose and problems that need solving, and how do we bring that all together.
That's fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing this. This is, I feel so connected with your journey. I went through, you know, background in corporate law. I moved to Europe, been to Asia, and I went through different kind of, Pivotal moments that kind of shaped my purpose as well. And this is what it is, right?
To see the connection on our journeys and the kind of the enlightenment and awareness that these moments. Have in our lives, things that we see and we think, okay, this is wrong. I want to hop in that direction and, and this is how our purpose is formed, right? Our individual purpose. And this is how we realize how we can bring value to our world.
So thank you so much for sharing this. This brings me to this to purpose, right? Organizational purpose. You know, at Conscious Capitalism, we believe one of the first tenants is that if we want to become more conscious of organizations, we really need to focus on having as and from an organization point of view, a higher purpose beyond.
Just making profits, and we believe that we cannot achieve that. We don't have leaders that are conscious leaders as well, that are pushing towards this direction. I feel oftentimes there's a little bit of confusion or misunderstanding of what. Purpose really mean organizational purpose, how it relates to individual purpose and personal purpose, and then this definition of societal purpose or the role of businesses in society.
Could you expand a little bit more about that, how you see this interaction? Yeah,
absolutely. I feel really strongly centered on individual purpose and my work really reflects that. I think the conscious leadership part of conscious capitalism is really where I zone in. There's just no question in my mind or experience or the research that I've seen that.
If there is not that individual level of consciousness, the rest is moot. Right. So you mentioned that my company was a B Corp and I, I engage deeply in that community and love it, right? Which is this really rigorous certification of how you do your business inside different areas and your supply chain.
And you know, it's very technical, very specific. And I love the partnership with Conscious Capitalism because to me that's actually more robust if you have conscious leaders. All the rest will follow. Right. I, I have a deep faith in humanity and at least, you know, the 98% of us who aren't sociopaths or psychopaths and unfortunately often in seats of high power, but the rest of us do not wake up wanting to burn more carbon than we need to.
Right. Are wanting to be particularly misogynistic or racist. Like it's just, we're kind of stuck in our neurology does some of that to us. Right. Our, our culture, our. Society or media. But when people are connected to what, who they really are and conscious about what they want to see happen in the world, that's a really good thing.
And sort of the rest follows from there. Not quite because we've gotten to a very complex world, right? Where it's hard to know like, can I buy an ev? Is that the right thing to do, or is that actually worse because of the battery production? You know, there's complexity that make these choices hard. I really focus on individual purpose and and we can talk more about that to the extent.
It's relevant for viewers, but you know, I just think where I'll say about that is that companies need to invest in people's individual purpose, and it's not rocket science. It doesn't need to be a two year sabbatical in the desert to figure it out. Right. But it just needs to be really that first question.
Tell me some pivotal moments that have influenced your life. Tell me which news stories make your heartbeat faster. Tell me when you get really mad. Right? Or what brings you great joy? It's as simple as that to start at least, right? And you start to get then a, a cloud at least, or some twinkles of what that individual purpose is.
Or you know, why did you come today? Right? For managers to ask their people, why did you show up today? And if people say, well, for the salary, you know, okay, why? What do you use your salary for? Well, A safe house for my kids. Okay? So that's purposeful. You know? What about your kids? What kind of world do you wanna see for them?
So anyway, I think that individual purpose is too often, gets really pressurized. You know, I have to save the rainforest, I have to end homophobia, you know, these big, massive things that's like way beyond any one of us. And so I really encourage leaders. To get conscious about their own purpose and why they're doing what they're doing, and then just start asking.
I would love it if they wanna hire me and my firm to come in and really do a proper thing. That's great. But in the meantime, ask those questions. What's been a high point of your life? Why did you wake up to come to work today? You know, simple, simple things that can actually really crack that open organizational purpose.
Matters as well, right? There's research about that. Clarity of organizational purpose is what matters. That's what brings the benefits of return on equity, employee retention, right? Very specific, very bottom line outcomes. Only if the purpose is clear, right? If the C-suite is kind of often their land having a purpose and they're really clear on it, but middle managers and entry level people and frontline people don't.
Might as well not bother. I mean, nice for them, but it's not gonna help. And just the final piece on organizational purpose I'll say is, is to reference, there was a great H B R article last year, perhaps pretty recently, about the title was, what is the purpose of Your Purpose? And they really smartly break down, like, don't just adopt a cause because that's cooler, because you read that that's what Gen Z wants.
You know, you have to be authentic. And so maybe your purpose is clause related. Totally fair, right? You can look at a company like Seventh Generation, which is trying to get rid of plastic or minimize plastic in our, you know, home goods and cleaning supplies, minimize toxins. Great, that's very authentic for them, right?
To keep oceans clean. But there's also a competence oriented purpose, right? And this is to build. I don't know who has this now, but you know the best running shoes to empower athletes in the world. Super cool, right? And that, again, that's not about ending homophobia or saving the rainforest directly, but it's valuable and powerful.
And then the third is just a culture I. Peace, right? Which is just how we run our business, how we treat each other, and the culture we have. Making this a great place to work, to earn that salary, to provide your kids with healthy food and a safe home or whatever else you might be earning a salary for. So I think that's helpful, right?
Again, it's just kind of demystifying and taking the pressure off. And finally, societally. I have no time or brain space for the kind of old, you know, the point of businesses to maximize profits. It's just so narrow minded and goofy. If you care at all about your eighties or your children or your chil grandchildren or your neighbors, grandchildren, I don't have kids.
My own, I have stepkids and but. There's no question in my mind that enlightened self-interest is to take proper account of long-term costs of doing business, which are financial, environmental, social. You know, if there are no customers left because everyone's died of cancer, you are not gonna have a great business.
I ru the success of this narrative of E S G, you know, being some trendy, far left. Goofy trend. It's just
not. I agree. And especially right now, right? There's a lot going on. I feel that there is kind of an exhaustion some over the issue of E S G and you've seen, I think, mistakenly as, as a trend or as something that is something separate that is not doing business.
What it is is really managing our own risks. According to our new externalities, and this happened through our history, things are things are changing. We need to evaluate what our externalities are and adapt our business. An organization towards those externalities, and today we're facing climate crisis.
We have war in Ukraine, supply chain issues. So why wouldn't we take all these things into consideration when while we are doing business? For us to be resilient in the future, right? And the role in society to solve this problem. So we are all sustainable in the long term is crucial, and that is why it is a societal purpose.
We have a role to fix these problems. So our planet and we as humans become sustainable
long term. And it goes back to that my business school kind of moment of now. It's also just a talent strategy. Like, again, enlightened self-interest. What's the differentiator? You know, everyone can have, you know, great code or, you know, chat, G p T is white labeled or, you know, so you can have all the technology you want, but if you don't have the, the people who are most committed, most driven, most.
Skilled for your organization, you're just not gonna win. There's no doubt. I mean, I, Paul Pullman, who I know we share as kind of a mentor guru in this space of business for Good, just came out with a really interesting report that you know, that people just, people, there is some generational slant, but people, boomers, millennials, gen Z, everyone in the workforce right now wants leaders to do more, to say more explicitly.
And I, I know we might get to that of, you know, Is that too much to ask, but there's just a really clear mandate of we wanna know why we're doing, why are we getting out of bed for this? Because salary isn't enough anymore. As well as like the survival of the planet. Yeah. Which some of us care about.
There's the angle of trying to get good leaders to run your company
and it creates value for everyone, I believe. I think if you think about how you're building relationships, you know, and to be fair, we're not trained to do this. You know, we were trained in business school and in law. In, in law school differently.
So people who are leaving the organizations, it's like, okay, we have this intuition that we have to do this, but how do we do it right? Because we were not taught how to do it. I believe, as you mentioned, that we have, this is a way if, if we are thinking. That our organizations are group of humans and putting humanity back in the center and focusing on that and how working on trying to see how each one of the individuals within our company can bring value in their own distinctive way.
And that is where the individual purpose come in. You know, everybody can bring value to the company in a distinctive way and we need to be able to give the autonomy to be able for, for this to happen as well. But you mentioned a little bit about this, okay. Is this too much for leaders? And I get that a lot too.
You know, some people that I work with, they say, okay, I understand. People are the most important asset in my company. I want to invest in them and their wellbeing, and I want to make sure they know what value they bring to our organization and how they can bring their personal purpose. To our organizational purpose and align it, but oftentimes they feel a little bit overwhelmed that, okay, they're asking too much from me.
I, I have people that come and say they want me as a leader to fix. All their ex existential crisis, their family problems. I got to be a psychologist. This is too much. I cannot do that. Do you get that too? So I feel, especially with a new generation of talent, that is kind of a gap with the leaders that are from an older generation and they don't quite understand how to do
It's a whole new paradigm, right? We're just in a new way of working and living, and some of that certainly was. Accelerated or pointed out by covid, but a lot of it was going on anyway. Just, you know, with kind of coming outta the industrial age into the more knowledge era, it's just a different world. And so we're on a learning curve.
Right, for sure. So there's a lot to say about that. I think everyone needs to learn to do this and the learning is different on, you know, based on. Generations. If you've grown up for 40 years working one way, it's a shift to then start a meeting with a personal check-in or a mindfulness moment, or, you know, some of these things feel very foreign and un uncomfortable or at least unfamiliar.
And if you. Have grown up only ever working remotely behind a zoom in a moment of global pandemic and war and climate crisis. That's also a very real experience that needs some comfort and some support, right? So no one is wrong here. And I also think generations are inevitably linked to what was going on at certain stages, right?
But I think we overvalue kind of the generation piece and just like. Look at what has been happening for these people in their working lives, right? Like that's, yes, that's gonna be very, that's going to inform deeply how they work and how they show up. But I think the biggest lesson that I always have for people is start small.
Start somewhere and start small. Right? That's why my book is called Going First, because it's not about like, Being the first woman under 20 to kayak from the Antarctic to the Arctic, like I'm sure someone will do that and she'll be a badass, right? Like, good for her. I'm not gonna get there. You know, that's not where I wanna go first, but maybe I'm the first person in my traditional company to say, gosh, what if we did start with.
Some stretches in the beginning of a meeting. Not like woowoo meditation, but just some physical stretches to get our body out of the thing. That could be my first, you know, or whatever. There's a million versions of that, but people, we have to all take a step out, you know, whether you're. The millennial in, or the Gen Z in existential crisis saying, you know, Hey, could we have a philosophy of life book club after hours?
And that's what I need, you know, to be okay here. Or whether you're the 63 year old CEO who's like, okay, I guess they want me to ask about their puppy, you know, and kind of hear more about that. I guess I'll do that in the meeting, but I, I just think. We get kind of this like built up thing on either side.
Again, the media don't help. It is just about being human, right? It's just going back to like not being scared of each other, not putting each other in boxes, not looking at each other as cogs in the wheel or cost centers, you know? But just as humans who are having a pretty hard time, cuz the world is hard right now, you know?
And there's a lot of beautiful stuff and fewer people in poverty than ever and more people are literate and all that good stuff. And yet it's hard to be a human in this day and age. And so just recognizing that and being a little gentler and starting with some easier, simple human questions, I think is really underrated.
The other element that I think is super interesting and worth playing with is from Esther Perel, who's actually a relationship therapist. She's a beautiful psychotherapist and couple's therapist, but she's crossed over now into talking about work, and one of her points is that like in significant other relationships, We expect everything now from work in a way that it didn't used to be, right?
You used to go to work and then you would probably go to church or some faith group, and then you would go to your bridge club maybe, and then you would have your, you know, ladies lunch and a husband, right? I mean, obviously this is a very traditional kind of setup that not everyone has wanted to or, or want.
To now live, but there was a better rounded, whereas now work is life, you know? And so we need our spiritual fulfillment at work. All of a sudden. We need our professional growth, we need friends. And that is a lot to ask. That's too much to ask from one entity. But if work isn't gonna provide that, it needs to allow the time and resource to find it elsewhere.
And that's what we're getting wrong at this point. You know, people need to have. Evenings and weekends, they need to be able to work remotely so they can pick up their kids and get fulfillment in that way, or you know, whatever it might be. So anyway, I think, yeah, it's a learning curve. It's not shocking to me that people are struggling with it, but I wish that folks would just dip a toe somehow in one element of this more human approach to work.
Curious Capitalist Podcast On behalf of the Conscious Capitalism Connecticut chapter is created and produced by Red Rock Branding. If you are enjoying this episode, please subscribe to and share this podcast today. One of my observations being a Brit that has landed on these fair shores is that you all work ridiculous hours.
You have little or no holiday. Those that are lucky enough to get a decent amount of holiday, don't take it. And it's like a badge of honor to not use your annual leave. That blew my mind, and when I got offered a job that said you could have 10 annual days a holiday. Yeah, I'm like, You are, how am I gonna get my life into 10?
No, no, that's not gonna work for me. Hence becoming self-employed. And then that's a very different battle that you face to be able to make that successful. But what I wanna get to is how when your company goes in and speaks to people who are inspired a little bit, you've got like a, a window of opportunity where you get to go into corporate America and you get to change something.
You know, they've got like a window of opportunity where they've reached out for help. How do you. Help them find what their purpose is gonna be and what changes are they gonna be able to make that don't upset the Apple car that still keep their bottom line. Cuz obviously it's all about the money sometimes for some people, not me.
How do you help them become laser focused on what purpose means in their business and how do you en how do you help them get there? Because a lot of people wanna do good, they wanna do things differently, but they're like, um, how do I do it? What do you do? How do you do that?
So we again, really go to that individual purpose level because, you know, soda said the training is not here.
This is not how we help people think about their careers or, or their, their lives even, right? I mean, that notion of like, when are you at your best self? What do you care about? That's just not a question that's asked tragically. And so that's where we start. We take people through, I mean, my favorite program is kind of 12 weeks, and so we have.
Some in groups with other colleagues and peers, which builds amazing relationships, right? Either across departments or within, depending on how a client wants us to set it up. So we have four work workshops over 12 weeks. You know, the first is just discovery. Exactly. Soda's question. Tell me three magic moments when you really were at your best, you know, and we'll hear everything from like, Winning the high school track meet, you know, even though I had been injured and our team, you know, was really the underdog to sitting out in the sun on day three of maternity leave with my baby girl, you know, and everything in between.
Personal, professional, mundane, monumental. So just that discovery process. And then as coaches, we meet with them individually in between each of those four workshops and you start to really be able to pull out some threads here. Right. Okay. So, Innovation and change is really a theme for you. What about that versus, you know, it's all about community and relationships and family, you know, so we, and frankly, the peers even in the workshop, are able to do that with each other.
Again, this isn't brain surgery, right? I, I'm just listening as a fellow human and, and hearing what people are reflecting. You can see it in faces and hear it in voices when people, you know, are in their purpose, it's alive. You can hear and see it. So that's the discovery piece there. There's a ton of different exercises.
We try to get at it in different ways, and then it's really about evaluate. And you know, we use flow as a neuroscientific principle, right? When are you in flow? When do you not notice that the time is passing? When are you at that right edge of challenge and comfort? You know, because you're eight times more productive when you're in that state of flow.
Eight times more productive. So hypothetically, if you really nailed it Wow. And could get yourself into flow for one hour a day, you could be an effective full-time worker. Right. Wow. In those in one hour a day, we asked people to track several days of work and, and weekend time, and. Note, when they're in flow, what are they doing?
So that's this really kind of analytical evaluation phase. Um, we use my framework of the spheres of impact to help people think really holistically. This is not just about your job or work, it's about your community involvements. It's about your money, what you buy, what you spend, what you donate to. And it's about the home front, right?
It's about yourself and your self care and the sleep you're getting and the food you're eating, and the activity you're doing as well as family and friends and the impact you can have there. So we just take people through this holistic, but really pretty analytical, you know, there's excel and, and all of that.
It's, it's really grounded in, in that data. And finally it's, it's about embedding that into your life, right? And so what we saw with one great partner, uh, we just published a case study on the website actually, that I can include for show notes. There were. An average of about six hours per person that per week that they repurposed.
So that's one of the most tangible outcomes, right, is you literally get time back of realizing, you know what that nightly TV viewing or the Instagram scrolling for a lot of people, or these inform only meetings that I'm on the invite and so I show up are terrible uses of time. They're not aligned to my best.
And highest use, or when I'm at my best, nobody wants me doing that, including the company, right? That's not a good thing for me to be in this energy suck mode. And so what can I stop doing? And what can I do more of or start doing that's new? So that's the kind of arc that we try to get people to. And then, you know, look, organizational purpose, we leave to other people.
There's great agencies that that help companies think about that. That's beyond our scope. We're really just trying to ignite that individual level and let that go from there. Right? And all kinds of things come up. People say, I am gonna get involved in that ERG to support. Black employees here or I really do wanna step up on this board that I've been asked to join at home, you know, and donate more and volunteer more or, you know what?
I hate that board. I hate the meetings, but I love the cause. So I'm gonna quit the board and start volunteering twice a week, cuz that part I love and it's totally energizing for me. So anyway, it's really just about getting. Pretty specific and action oriented and performance oriented, frankly, with your approach to purpose on an individual level.
Again, the the organizational piece certainly can follow, but not if people aren't in their own. Purpose.
I love that. And that is what is the connection? I think people can bring their better versions of themselves and realize if they're the good fit for that type of organization. And h how to be aligned with our organization if they really work on that journey.
And I think with your book now, you mentioned a little bit about this. Fairs of impact, and then you have the spectrums of Impact and it's Nell's book. It's very practical, pragmatic. You have these frameworks, these tools to implement all of these things that I've, I've been starting to try how to do it and how it works.
And you talk about the three dimensions that you mentioned a little bit, the me, the we, and the world to think about our impact through these three dimensions of three lenses. And also it's very interesting that you talk about kind of the spectrum of impact that we're currently in. And you talk about four different types of spectrums.
Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Yeah, absolutely. So having worked in nonprofit with government agencies in the private sector, you know, experiencing business school and and that world with my classmates, my point that I wanted to really. Share with people was, it's not about retiring and going to volunteer, right?
Or, you know, having a big exit and then, you know, starting a family foundation or something. We need like bagel makers and investment bankers and shoemakers and dog walkers and restaurant owners, right? We need everyone who is connected to their own purpose and the impact that that business has has on the world.
Right? In, in the US the not-for-profit space is about 7% of G D P, and from my view, We don't need 7% of change. We need like 77% or maybe 97% of change. Um, so if the, if the private sector doesn't get involved, it's just not enough, right? I mean, if you just think about environmentally carbon emissions, the nonprofit space can help lobby, government can make regulations.
Those are all. Essential things, but if business doesn't really get creative and, and step up to figure out how to reduce their carbon output, it, it's just, you know, game over. Um, so the amazing opportunity that that brings up is that every human everywhere, no matter their role, can. Have social environmental impact.
And so the spectrum specifically is from the government space, right? The public sector, which by definition, and I know that in reality and in execution, this is different sometimes, but by def definition, the public sector exists. Solely and specifically to serve the community, right, to provide services, roads, protection schools and such.
The non-profit space is private, but is also legally mandated to do some social good. Right? And again, I'm, I'm not arguing that there aren't places where that gets perverted and and problematic, but by definition, the non-for-profit space is designed and legally obligated to create a social and or environmental benefit.
Third, you look at what I think is a very exciting space of the B Corp and the Conscious Capital movement, right, of businesses for good. And so you're now talking about a for-profit company that has a profit motive and a very real commitment, whether that's, you know, legislated by Benefit Corporation status and B Corp certification or more cultural and just kind of baked into the company.
To again deliver, you know, minimize harm and deliver some good. Um, so again, sevenths generation is a favorite example there. I love a company that's making your paper towels and your laundry soap, but in a way that's really responsible and thoughtful about the ingredients, about the plastic, about the workers', reality and conditions.
And then finally we come to the corporate sector, right? So the traditional for-profit, uh, space where. This is changing happily and evolving and, and obviously these four are a spectrum. They're not rigid, black and white boxes. Um, but they're still, the bulk of the economy are these traditional for-profit companies that may have an increasing number of e s g, you know, environmental, social governance factors that they're reporting on or accountable for, but still essentially remain.
We're here to make money and there's nothing wrong with that as long as they are taking into account those externalities, as you mentioned,
and what you mentioned is it's kind of, uh, important to realize. Or be aware what, what size of the spectrum we are. And maybe how we can expand our impact if we can collaborate with the other.
I don't know if we are in, I don't know, conscious capitalism or maybe or for a for-profit, uh, corporation, how I can connect, collaborate with the government, collaborate with the non-for-profit sector in order to expand my impact and my influence once I'm clear about what, what that is. Right. And I feel that this is, What really purpose, individual purpose, or organizational purpose really?
It has to be collaborative in nature. I think if we want to activate, we want to enable our purpose from our organizational purpose, our personal purpose. We cannot do it in isolation. We need to be able to build this relationships that are based on trust, and that is how we become today with our current context, more resilient and bring value to each other.
Because if you think about it, you know, relationships. From our organizational point of view with our suppliers and know if we have more transactional relationships, more reputational relationships, they get us to a some point, right? And especially in times of crisis. But if we build these collaborative models, uh, built on, on, on trust, Then we build different types of relationship that bring value to each other.
We have, you know, supply chains that we can trust in times of crisis. We have customers, as you said, that trust us, so therefore they stay with us in times of crisis, we have employees that are more engaged, they're happy, and they connect to what we're doing, and that is like a cycle of value. And what happens when we create value we can double on on our purpose and then we continue growing.
And that is how it's connected to profitability, I believe.of this came out of, um, the:
So, you know, and, and then the companies I talked to in Covid were having unbelievable results. So two quick examples. One of the earlier ones was actually KIPP Tindel from the Container Store, not a certified B Corp, but very deeply for purpose. And they, you know, saw this recession coming. We're like, shoot, you know, suppliers rates, payment terms need to change or we're gonna really have some trouble.
And so they're working at it, you know, kind of at the executive level and upper management. And somehow it gets out and they find out that these like, you know, kind of line level. Procurement folks on their own accord have called suppliers and are renegotiating terms. Right. And so not only did were the employees motivated and compelled enough to keep their own jobs firstly, but not just to kind of throw up their hands and hope for the best, you know, but really to get proactively creative and engaged.
Then they had the relationships with suppliers, that suppliers were willing to say, yep, you've been here for us. We're gonna be here for you. Sure. You know, we can extend to a six month term, or whatever the details might have been. So, just very tangible and, and so they weathered the storm, right? And didn't have to do layoffs.
So again, positive cycle, right? It's. Good for everyone. And then one of the other examples I loved was, um, Lisa, which I think was a B Corp, I'm not sure they were able to re-certify, but deeply purpose-driven, committed to positive impact. And in Covid they were like, what can we do? Found out that indeed mattresses were really a gap for a lot of hospitals, especially in lower income areas.
Well, we make beds. Right, so they were able though to create, I mean, they don't make beds for hospitals, and that's a different thing, especially for respiratory issues. They needed to have angles so that people were not prone, and so they were, I think it was nine weeks, more or less, from figment of an idea to delivery of the first mattress.
Which is 70% shorter than their normal cycle of innovation and new products. And so the next product that was in their pipeline that had been in their pipeline for a while came to market in a little more, but in like three months rather than six and a half. If you tell any leader that they could have their creation to market cycle, I mean, dollar signs, right?
And it was because there was this sense of purpose, this sense of urgency, this sense of we do this, you know, and okay making a bed for a human. Family is maybe a little less urgent and compelling, but when you do it with purpose, has that same kind of fire, right? So there's just no doubt that, uh, you know, yes, we, we are in recession, we're headed into recession.
We might be, who knows, I'm not an economist and they all seem to disagree. But it is not the time to cut short on this, right? It is not the time to say, well, we'll buckle down and just make it through, and then we can worry about all that fuzzy stuff later. Like wrong idea. Again, you've gotta go first.
You've gotta be brave and take the step. Ask the questions now, because what comes up in terms of innovation, in terms of loyalty is just gonna really pay the bills. I
love that and that. It's something that we get a lot, you know, like especially small companies, smaller operations or companies are trying to survive and it's like, this is like fluffy thing about purpose.
Okay, it's great, it's great to have, but how does it relate to my, my business strategy? And I just, I cannot focus. Right now on this, I'm gonna focus on this later, and you just explain how if, if you are in a time of crisis, if you think you're struggling, there is not a better moment to start working on this because it will create value in the short and in in the long term.
And I love what you mentioned earlier about progress, not perfection. I think people want to. I think many leaders, they just wanna have it all in place. And I hear that very often. And, and I love what you said about start somewhere with the capabilities that you have with, with the strength that you have.
See where you can start and, and, and like eating healthier. You know, you start doing something and you see the results and then you will get momentum and, and move forward.
Right. And it's just too urgent not to. Right. I mean, Look around 12 feet of snow in California, war in Ukraine, international Women's Day, sort of a celebration, sort of not like the gender gap in wage and wealth is on track to move more slowly than ever before.
Right? I think we're on track to be like 180 years to pay equity or something. I mean, it's just insane. And so get over yourselves and take a step, you know, and, and don't try to be perfect. No one is. And how many people run their companies that way, right? So many things get launched Agile, you know, we're gonna try and see, and then when it comes to doing good, we're all worried and paranoid that it has to be perfect.
Like, how ironic is that? You know? Wouldn't a little good be better than no good? Again, not to say that it's not complicated, and you have to be really thoughtful about stakeholders, right? We all know the story of Tom's, which, yay, we're giving away a pair of shoes for every shoe bought. Great. Oh, whoops. We like massacred the local industries in these countries that we're giving, and now no one has shoot, has jobs or a way to make themselves a living.
So, oops. You wanna be thoughtful about the things that you do in this realm, but you've just gotta start somewhere and ask good questions and, and move from there.
You're right. Thank you so much for sharing all this around purpose, and I know you, you are now the c e o founder of Purposeful Growth Institute and it's, you are connecting the people with the right companies, right people, and it's very purpose oriented and I'm trying to find or build, continue to build an ecosystem of.
Purpose organizations and purpose individuals and connecting the two dots, which is fantastic. But I also know, I'm very curious about a new type of leadership development that I think that you're training to be and that you're very involved with, that it's related to Equis, I think that it's called, this is an organization that was founded by Kelly wro.
And uses horses and the wisdom of horses and connect it with purpose and with leaderships. We would love to learn a little bit more about that. That is kind of new. We've be and innovative. I've been waiting for this bit. Come on. Inspiring Cowgirl queen is your title. Hit Me Nail. Tell me about this.
Wrangling Horses cowgirl. Go for it. How does it all connect?
Yeah, so inspiring cowgirl Queen has just grown and become, it's such a fun place to be. I wake up every morning very excited about that identity and that work. And so very specifically, the cowgirl piece with horses is this Aquin Assisted learning is what it's called, right?
So many people are maybe more familiar with equine therapy, right? For people, kids, sometimes with autism or other learning disabilities or veterans and ptsd. D, it's become a great use case, um, which is inc. Incredible work. I am not a therapist, and so I'm not doing therapy. That's why we call it, you know, learning.
And so the idea here is really just bringing in natural wisdom. Broadly speaking, but then very specifically, horse wisdom. Horses are the second most successful species that is still alive today. So over 3.8 billion years of our planet's evolution, they have survived and thrived really for 56 million years through tectonic shifts, through climate change.
As. Prey animals, right? They're subject to mountain lions and, and all kinds of wild beasts out there. And they've survived largely thanks to this group culture that they've developed. And, and that herd that is led by a female horse, a mare, in a very powerful kind of from behind leadership style, which is, and, and so that's a lot of Kelly's work and, and what I'm learning and integrating into my work is the power of that sensitivity, that listening those boundaries.
Right. It's not that they're just, you know, out there to take on all the problems of the herd. They're tough love, right? You might have seen horses nip at each other or kick even, right? There can be what looks to us like some intensity because it's this notion of care, but presence, really robust presence, not just like, Sure honey, take the car and be home whenever you want.
You know, it's like, sure, take the car, fill it up with gas, make sure it's clean and be home by 11. Right? That's the kind of horse Alpha Mayor style of leadership, and it's powerful, and it has worked for them for 56 million years. So we bring leaders into the herd, um, to hang out with the horses and, and here, right?
They're, they're deeply, deeply sensitive. They have about a half mile. Field of sensitivity that they pick up presence. So they have to be very attuned to what you're bringing and what your energy is. Are you a threat or are you part of the herd? And then they react accordingly. So it's magical. I mean, I do a lot of work without a horse in the room, literally or physically.
Um, but when I do get to bring people out, the immediate deepening and bullshit filtering that happens in the presence of these animals. Is so powerful. It's like nothing else, right? I mean, I work with incredibly smart people who can say, well, the strategy was this and the team was this, and they're a this type and they have this background, right?
And we can really intellectualize what's happening and what's wrong and what's good. But horses can't talk and they can't intellectualize. So just immediately becomes heart and body and feelings, which is where a lot of this, you know, that's where consciousness begins. It's just incredible. I've had some amazing sessions at the.
Impact and the insight just lasts for weeks and months. We're still talking about, remember when Maggie did that thing? You know, I, I know I hear and see her that I need to just stay in my truth about this, even if it seems like we're not moving fast enough or, you know, whatever the business issue may be.
These little tidbits from the horses are so visceral and just really so fundamental. It really hits home for people. So it's fun work. Um, and we do it, you know, just be ourselves. It's fascinating
and retreats and, and it, we're so interconnected. I think with Covid, with the climate crisis, we are realizing and with the technology, how interconnected we are, uh, how we affect each other constantly.
And how we connect with nature. I love the idea, the fact that the leader is a female and that sensitivity that comes with that, but I love the idea of building this relationship with the horse and with each other based on trust. And that's what we need. We need leaders that we can trust and more collaborative so we can bring our best.
And that's the only way I see that we can start fixing these very complex problems that we're dealing with, again, with collaboration. And I think from an evolutionary point of view, even Gavin Watson's from our chair for Conscious Capitalism talks about and did a lot of research about how. These groups that were collaborative.
In the beginning of time, activism groups kind of were the ones that move ahead from selfish groups because this collaboration is essential for evolution. It's essential for us to continue being sustainable. Right,
totally. I think the other. Piece of it that I've certainly seen from the horses so strongly echoed is authenticity and realness.
Right? Which is another overused word, unfortunately today. But with the horses, it's very real because you know, if a lot of people might have had an experience of being a little scared of horses, or you've heard, oh, they smell fear, you know? And yes, but not in kind of a predatory way. Again, they're prey animals, so, If you're scared, they're freaking out because they think they should be scared.
Right? If this person is scared, there must be a mountain lion around the corner. I'm scared, right? They're not kind of acting out at you, it's just they're big and so it can feel scary, but the realness, they just get right to the heart of it cuz they've got that sensitivity to keep them alive. And that's I think to where that perfect.
Is the enemy of the good piece comes in is that we just need, and, and that's what Paul Pullman's research showed was we just want leaders to be real and express. Like I have grandkids too, and I'm ashamed when we go to the beach and they pick up one of my product rappers, you know, out of the ocean. Like that's really embarrassing to me.
That's not how I wanna be, but I don't know how to do it. I have shareholders. And we've gotta keep up 3 billion of sales, of beauty products and they come in plastic and I can't turn the supply chain around tomorrow to make it glass or you know, bamboo or whatever it might be great. Just tell me that.f our plastic will be gone by:
Yeah. So much to learn from that. And that's what we need.
We need leaders. That we can trust. We need people that we can trust, and customers needs companies that we can trust. This is fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm really curious about how you're gonna incorporate this. You continue working with purpose and with companies, so I wanna ask you, what is next?
Fornell, because you already done so much and you, and continue doing so much and having such an important impact in this world with what you do for individuals and for companies. So, I know that you are in our community. You have a very important role as, as a board of the b local community, but I, I'm curious to know.
If you think about what you going, you see yourself in the next year or five years, how do you see yourself?
So plenty of really fun things on the horizon. One that I wanna be sure people know is the book that you mentioned is coming out in hard copy in May. Thanks to a B Corp certified publisher. LGBTQ owned, female-led, fabulous publisher, publisher purpose.
So that will be coming out with a companion playbook, so it add props to you for kind of already diving into some of the work. But I really wanted to spoon feed that to people. It's not a book to kind of read and put on the shelf. It really is meant to be played with and interacted with over time. So mid-May that'll be available anywhere you get your books.
Hopefully not Amazon, but lots of other places. And so I'm just excited for this to get into people's hands at a very accessible level, right? The cost of a book, not the cost of a five or six figure corporate program. And my hope, what we've started to see from the ebook is little pods of people playing with that together.
Because in community is where the work is most magic. And so we've gotten, you know, some input, some in. Query an interest in, we wanna do this as a group, like a, you know, book club style sort of, but a, a purpose club. And so I'm just super excited to see where that goes. There will be some online community around that with, you know, me piping off as I like to do for an hour a week or something.
And, and just really encouraging people to work with it in their communities, whether that's a neighborhood community or a family group, or an alumni group or an at work, right. An E r G or a a team. So that's fun and just very accessible and kind of b2c. Right? Take it and play with it as you will. And then certainly, you know, most of my days and week is spent with corporate partners, right?
And so working with leadership teams, ideally starting with a retreat, right? We have, I have a few really cool partners in Italy and then in Santa Fe where my mentor is. To do the work with the horses, right? And so you stay at these fabulous, beautiful destinations. You eat amazing food, you hike, you walk, you talk, and you hang out with the horses.
And that is either the beginning or the middle or you know, near the end of facilitation and conversation around making that a more purposeful team. And then my other, you know, the purpose fused corporate work we do, and the Purposeful Growth Institute can trickle down from that, right? If, if a leadership team really decides they want to do, What's the important next step of bringing it into their whole company?
Then we have programs and really more scalable solutions for that as well.
Nell, that's awesome. Your life is amazing. It's incredible. You get to change the world chapter by chapter. You get to be an author. You get to mess around with horses and inspire people to change the world. You've hit the jackpot.
You really have. I'm inspired.
complaint. We need more leaders. We need more leaders like you now in this world. And so glad that we had the opportunity to share all this wisdom with all of us today. I love one thing I love about. Now's books and uh, and probably this is another one. It's like, it's not just another book that you read and put, you know, in the drawer.
It's like in her book at the beginning it's like, okay, if you're not gonna do these exercises, just stop reading. It's like there's an urgency and to work on this, and this is. Proven that it works. So if you're reading this book, it's not only just to read and put it in the drawer, but just come on, connect with your community, put it into action.
Let's try it out and see if it works. And that's what I love about it. I love the fact that it comes with a workbook. I mean, that's fabulous. Playback a very America, no more work. I have seen so many people collect these fabulous business orientated purpose books and not one crease in the spine, not one crease, they're coffee table fodder.
So the fact that this one is a, you know, get hold of it and, and bend the pages and, uh, really utilize it and, and keep going back to it, which is what I really liked. What you said is testament to you. One thing that you say, okay, I want to leave this conversation with this. What could it be?
I would invite people to play with purpose.
You know, I think get over the bad branding and the trendiness and the millennial green juice yogi thing of purpose and like, except that it's really human, right? The Japanese word for IK is, Geeky guy, which is like a reason to get up or a reason to live. Like don't give me that. That's trendy. You have thought about that too, right?
There's a legacy that you wanna leave, so dare to think about it yourself. Right? That's that kind of me dimension. And then dare to ask about it. I promise. Like I won't say never. Very rarely, no matter who I ask, and I interact with a lot of different folks from like, Old white guys in finance, like my husband and many of my friends to 20 year old young professionals, and literally everything in between of races and ages and genders and geographies.
Extremely rarely in those thousands of asks of What's your purpose? What do you care about? Have I gotten. I've never gotten hit, right? I've never gotten smacked. So that's good news. Occasionally there might be an eye roll, but the downside is nonexistent, right? So dare to ask about purpose and then in the world dare to see things differently.
What if companies were serving us as people? What if they weren't extractive? What would that look like? Is that possible? Just dare to play. Those were my me we world invitations to end on. I
love that. What a fabulous takeaway and what a wonderful way to end today's podcast. Do check out the fabulous book going first.
You can check her out also on the website, purposeful growth.org. If people wanna reach out to you and carry on the conversation. Is the website the best point of contact or would you prefer LinkedIn
or. LinkedIn, honestly is great. I'm super active there and because I have sort of this portfolio happening, that's a nice central spot.
Fabulous. There will be a link to Nell's LinkedIn in the show notes and a link to the website and a link to the book, which you're not gonna buy on Amazon, but I'd just like to say thank you so much, Solidad, for hosting today. And Nell, thank you for being such a fabulous guest and a part of the Curious capitalist.
What a treat. Thank you both.
Thank you. Thank you so much, Nell. This was great. Thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode of The Curious Capitalist. If you would like to find out more about Conscious Capitalism or if you would like to join the local chapter, visit the website, Connecticut dot conscious capitalism.org.
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