This Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending Insights 2019, the first conference organized by the Columbus Chapter of Conscious Capitalism. While the day to day of my work for CCI involves a lot of operations, my passion is in community organizing, so attending events like this is the most fun part of my job.
Insights was a smashing success with over 150 attendees coming from across Ohio, many of them attending their first or second CC event. The guests heard from an engaging speaker lineup with representatives from Whole Foods Market, IGS Energy, the Stagen Leadership Academy, ootBox, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and EY. We made authentic connections and broke down barriers using We! Connect Cards. And at the end of the event every attendee made a commitment to bring a specific lesson they learned back into their work.
The conference approximately marked the Chapter’s two-year anniversary, and its success is a testament to the amazing work done by the Chapter’s volunteer board and committee members to build the community and movement for Conscious Capitalism in Columbus.
I’m often asked which factors make for a successful Conscious Capitalism Chapter, and I usually point to aspects like leadership, board composition, network density, and local company involvement. The Columbus Chapter has all of these in spades, and all play a role in their success. But there is another that stood out to me in my interactions with Chapter members.
Their vision is not just to practice Conscious Capitalism themselves, or to build a local community of practitioners, or to get more companies involved. Those are all important and necessary steps toward the ultimate goal of changing the brand of the city of Columbus, so that when people think Columbus, they think “Conscious Capitalism”. From what I have seen that civic pride and ambitious vision has helped unite and drive their community and bring more impactful individuals and companies into the movement.
This builds on a trend I’ve noticed in other successful recently launched chapters in Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region. Individuals in these mid-market cities are motivated to really make a difference for their home area and by tapping into that civic energy, and as a result the chapters are making rapid strides toward making Conscious Capitalism a dominant paradigm in their cities.
As a Midwesterner I take particular pride in seeing this dynamic arise. One of the many beautiful aspects of Conscious Capitalism is its potential to be a unifying and empowering force for everyone, from big metropolises to state capitols to suburbs and small towns. As our movement grows I am excited to see more Chapters and communities thrive in all types of environments.
Deep appreciation for Jacquie Bickel, Haley Boehning, Barry Chandler, Josh Harrison, Jen Bowden, Mark Harris, Derek DeHart, and John Jowe, the volunteer leadership Board for the Columbus Chapter, and especially Jen Bowden who as Event Chair poured her time and energy into making the event a success. And none of it would have been possible without the Chapter’s current Coordinator Rachyl Kershaw and initial Coordinator Amanda Bogorad, who hustled every day to build the chapter into the success that it is today.
The rapid success and growth of chapters like Columbus and others in the region gives me incredible optimism for the future of the Conscious Capitalism movement. They are pioneering new models for growth that new chapters will be able to replicate around the world.