So much to share about the American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) conference that was held in San Diego December 6-11, 2021.
How to describe being in a space with about 300 like-minded spiritual adventurers who care deeply about people and the planet and are leaders in their chosen field as profit business leaders, non-profit leaders, investors, philanthropists, and activists. The collective energy is amazing, and the ideas fermenting are out of this world awesome. This small merry band is doing their part individually to save humanity and the world as we know it and I am hopeful our collective action may someday be very powerful and important.
A brief history lesson to understand why this conference has so much hope tied to it. The Social Venture Network was founded in 1987 and in my mind was the mother of our global progressive business movement however you frame it, socially responsible business, triple bottom line business, social ventures, social enterprise, green business, regenerative business, etc. In SVN’s first thirty years it spun on many of the leading groups that now support of movement including BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), Balle (now Common Future), Investors Circle, and Net Impact. Recently in the spirit of our collaborative times, SVN merged back with Investors Circle to form the Social Venture Circle. Now this conference was celebrating the merger of SVC with the public policy group the American Sustainable Business Network or ASBN. More on this in a moment.
For me, the conference is a mix of hugging and reconnecting with old friends and proactively meeting new folks. The good news is there were folks there interested in engaging with me on several levels including new clients. Feeling very encouraged the interest included our New Now Zoom Salon (ask me about joining in or see the blog post on our Salon page)
The newer often younger (under 50) folks left me feeling very hopeful that as the baby boomer tribal elders begin to step back there is an excellent group of wisdom seekers to fill the void.
Often, I hear from younger folks oh you baby boomers had great ideas, but you never finished. My belief now is our time to do just that finish what we started. I will not be the person who starts the hot new start-up, that is for a younger person with creativity and energy and a willingness to take risks as I did at that age. As tribal elders, we boomers bring a depth of wisdom (I am not talking OK Boomer you should BS) that the younger folks to me seemed hungry to engage with our wisdom. Again, very encouraging that they desire our experience so we can collectively save humanity and the world from our own poor behavior. A task that requires all hands on deck to work collaboratively.
Now back to ASBN. My co-living person Jerry Gorde in 2019 paid to have Anand Giridharadas author of Winners Take All speak at an SVC conference. His comments about we keep fielding new teams, yet in reality, we need a whole new stadium. He also commented about the need for much deeper more proactive public policy for collective action. This formed the idea that became the SVC/ASBN merger. At the conference, I was thrilled to see how seamlessly the public policy speaker sessions merged with the rest of the program and how well all the attendees responded to the value of engaging in public policy. More hopefulness.
One of the highlights of the SVN/SVC/ASBN conference history is the hospitality suite is privately organized yet open to all. No other conference I have ever been to or heard of has this unique feature of positive energy. This is the late party scene usually in a large hotel suite. Fortunately, in San Diego, the Presidential Suite was beachside with a couple of available fire pits for deep conversations. The band and entertainment could also be outside (we are blessed with several professional and semi-pro musicians who make up a terrific house band). I have not done any form of drugs or alcohol for decades, yet just like everyone, I appreciate the relaxed late-night vibe that really uniquely facilitates valuable and interesting conversations with plenty of fun to go around.
Have you found your tribe yet? I have two. The outdoor adventure sports community with a real emphasis on rock climbing and the ASBN change the world with business and build a new economy crowd. I love and value them both. It’s rare when they overlap yet that is especially delicious for me.
The value in picking and participating in our respective tribes is about support, inspiration, and collaboration. I know America is still hung up on the old John Wayne meme as the lone gunfighter on the main street taking on the world. In reality that is mostly a fantasy. When I see who is successful and how they got there it was never a solo endeavor. Yes, the initial idea spark may have been theirs and I deeply honor that. It takes a team of collaborators and supporters to cross the finish line.I come across people who question the cost, time, and value of conferences. And in some cases, I might share their point of view.
The American Sustainable Business Network Conference is a class by itself. Smart with lots of heart and a soaring spirit that I have never seen duplicated elsewhere.
One concept that was clear to me before the conference and only got clearer, virtually every industry is in some kind of significant upheaval. The world is in crisis with the environment & climate change, economics, health (can you say pandemic), authoritarianism in politics, potential wars, and more.
The one thing that I think binds this ASBN community together and will form the basis of solving our problems is collective action.
Now of course no Coherence Collaborative blog post would be complete if I did not point out that brain coherence=wisdom and wisdom form the foundation that all actions individually and collectively will allow us to make the kind of progress we hope for in saving humanity and the world. Not everyone uses our language yet in conversation after conversation folks realize we need a deeper solution. Really smart people got us here. Intellect alone will not get us where we need to be. A new path needs to be forged based on the deepest wisdom we can collectively access. And I believe that is the hope of ASBN. Collective wisdom is individually exercised. In reinventing the new economy through employee ownership, how we invest, how we give, how circular our products are, how our employees participate. In essence our leadership.
This all brings me to you. Are you the kind of leader who will join us?
With this much disruption, the opportunities are huge.
There is a significant cast of characters waiting to support and collaborate with you. Let us introduce you. The next step is yours, please consider this an open invitation. A better world awaits those who act.
And a huge thank for from me to SVN/SVC and ASBN community for all the years of personal growth, business education, business connections, and clients as well as wonderful friendships.