Conscious Capitalism Columbus is your local branch of the global movement. We are dedicated to cultivating the theory and practice of Conscious Capitalism through events, presentations, and publications. We support the local community and serve as a resource on your journey to a more conscious business.

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Stories of Local Conscious Capitalists

Claire Coder
Aunt Flow
Aunt Flow
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Claire Coder
Aunt Flow

Aunt Flow

Which pillar of Conscious Capitalism is best represented by your business?
Higher Purpose

Describe how your business aligns with Higher Purpose:
Here at Aunt Flow, we are a sustainable, B2B company keeping the consumer in mind. Being that menstrual products are a necessity for menstruators, we believe that we follow the pillar “Higher Purpose” because we want to ensure that everyone has access to FREE menstrual products while maintaining a for-profit company.

Why have you aligned your business with Higher Purpose?
After getting my period at an event without the supplies I needed, I thought to myself “Toilet paper is offered for free, why aren’t tampons and pads?” At that moment, bloody underwear and all, I knew that I wanted to be on a mission to ensure EVERYONE has access to quality menstrual products. Now, for every 10 tampons and pads we sell, we donate 1 to a menstruator in need. I call this people helping people. PERIOD.®

Why did you decide to align your business with Higher Purpose?
Higher Purpose made the most sense for me and my business. I want to make sure everyone has access to free menstrual products when they need them and if I have the means to do it, I will try my best to make it happen. I have to remember my core values when doing business. We want to “Change the world, one cycle at a time.” And to me, that defines what higher purpose is, doing good, and being successful at the same time.

Can you share the challenges you faced in aligning this way?
One of the challenges we face is the stigma around periods. Periods are looked at as “gross” or “unnatural.” And when you are trying to run a business with this stigma around your products, it can be difficult. But, we like to be positive and surround ourselves with Period Positivity. Also, we are big on educating people that periods are not gross, and they are a normal part of life for menstruators!

What have been the benefits of aligning the business this way?
At Aunt Flow, our higher purpose is to “Change the world, one cycle at a time.” The benefit of principals are when considering a deal, investor, or opportunity, we are able to test against our purpose with a simple question: “Does X allow Aunt Flow to more easily, quickly, or radically change the world, one cycle at a time?”

What advice might you have for businesses considering aligning with the principles?
When considering business principles, I first reflect on my personal values. My personal principles directly seep into the business, so I must be sure that my higher values are positive, strong, and focused. Take time for yourself to reflect; your business will benefit.

How have your employees/customers benefited from this approach?
When people tell us that they got their period unexpectedly in a public place (restaurant, school, work), and they were at a place that offered our product, and that our product was able to save their day, that’s when we feel awesome about what we do. We follow the motto #PeopleHelpingPeople!

Mark Henson
sparkspace
sparkspace
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Mark Henson
sparkspace

sparkspace

Name: Mark Henson

Title: Founder of sparkspace

Which pillar of Conscious Capitalism is best represented by your business? (Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership, Conscious Culture)
Conscious Culture

Describe how your business aligns with this particular pillar:
I think all the pillars are closely related (and practiced in our biz to varying degrees), but since you asked me to choose, I picked Conscious Culture. Without creating a conscious culture, I think it would be much more difficult to achieve any of the other pillars. At sparkspace, we put our people first. The relationships between our team members is by far our most important success factor. It sets the vibe that makes coming to work more than an obligation, it creates an atmosphere that people really enjoy working in. It doesn't just "trickle down" to our guests. When we focus on our culture, it FLOWS FREELY to our guests. They see and feel the difference. And they love it, too.

Why have you aligned your business with this (or other) pillars?
When I started sparkspace in 2000, my #1 goal was to create a business that we (myself +
anyone who ever worked for me) would always consider to be"the best place we ever worked." I honestly didn't have any grand higher purpose in mind. I just wanted to run a business that was profitable AND made people happy, starting with the people I would spend the most time with — my team. By focusing on our culture, it has encouraged me to be a more conscious leader (and to develop and elevate others to be the same).

Why did you decide to align your business with this pillar?
Maybe it's best to tell you why I STUCK with this pillar for nearly 20 years. The answer is simple — it works. We have always had the most success when our people are doing what they love in a place they love to work. And I have stayed friends with almost everyone who has ever worked for us, even a few I had to reluctantly let go at various times over the years!

Can you share the challenges you faced in aligning this way?
Maintaining a conscious culture isn't as easy as it sounds. There are definitely obstacles to
overcome (and keep overcoming).  One of those obstacles is to keep your promises to maintain the culture when things get tough. One of the toughest times in our business was in 2009-2010 as the recession finally hit us hard. We lost 40% of our business almost overnight. One thing we did during that time was to be open, honest, and transparent with our people. We told them exactly what was happening, shared our finances with them, and hung on to every one of them as long as we could. In the end, we had to let most of our employees go. But we did it about the best way we possibly could and took care of
them as much as we could afford to. I hated that time in our business, but it is also one of the times I am most proud of because while we were trying to save the business, we still put our people first in the process.

Another challenge is being open to criticism as a leader. I don't always do the right thing. I don't always say the right thing. I have even offended some of my employees with some of my decisions, actions, or words. And I have sat alone in a room with them while they expressed their frustration, disappointment, and even anger with me and trying to figure out together how I need to change as a leader. That is INCREDIBLY hard to do, but that's one way I have always tried to put my people first. Thankfully, it hasn't happened too often, ha ha! (But it definitely has happened more than once).

What have been the benefits of aligning the business this way?
I feel like a broken record, but happy people = a culture with a great vibe = customers who notice and enjoy doing business with us. It also makes a difference in the lives of the people who work here, and their families, too. Imagine going to a job you dislike where you're stressed out every day and then going home and trying to be your best for your family. That would suck, and it would be pretty impossible. I think our people go home pretty happy most days (no place is perfect), and I seriously hope that it allows them to be better parents, spouses, friends, etc. outside of work.

What advice might you have for businesses considering aligning with the principles?
Building a conscious culture is not an event, it's a habit. You have to work at it and involve your people in the process. What does a great place to work look like to THEM? What do they love to do? What makes them want to come to work every day besides a paycheck?
As a leader, you have to sometimes let go of what YOU want or what YOU think makes a great culture. You're smart, but you don't have all the answers. And you have to realize that as the leader or owner of a business, you might have different wants and needs than your employees do. You're in a different position and likely a different life stage than some/most of the people who work for you. Talk to them. Pay attention to what they say. Build your culture around that.

Chapter Leadership

Josh Harrison
President
Josh Harrison

President

Josh Harrison is President of Improving – Columbus where his primary responsibility is business development, talent acquisition, along with building and sustaining trust within the company and IT community. He initially joined Improving in 2012 as Vice President of Consulting, and lead the consulting team to grow revenues from $1.5 million to over $5 million.

Active in the community, Josh is a graduate of the 2016 class of Leadership Columbus. He serves on the board of directors for the Columbus Metropolitan Club, Besa, and is the Board Chair for Gladden Community House.

Barry Chandler
Co-founder + Principal
Barry Chandler

Co-founder + Principal

Barry specializes in business building, brand strategy and marketing. Since 2003, he has launched three (and sold two) strategic consulting businesses and worked with more than 500 businesses from pre-revenue startups to publicly traded companies to help drive margin and identify differentiated brand positions.

A qualified hotel manager in Ireland, Barry spent five years as part of the management teams of luxury hotels and cruise lines, circling the globe twice. He established Ireland’s first food & beverage control consultancy, and launched Barkeeper, an award-winning online subscription service for bar owners to manage more efficient and profitable businesses, expanding to the UK and the US, and adding a digital marketing agency in 2010.

In 2012, Barry’s businesses were acquired by Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE: NTN) who hired Barry as Chief Marketing Officer to lead brand strategy, market development and help determine the strategic direction of the company in line with growth potential and market opportunity.

Haley Boehning
Co-founder + Principal
Haley Boehning

Co-founder + Principal

Haley is a brand and communications consultant with 20+ years experience working with Fortune-500 companies, non-profit organizations and startups to elevate storytelling and build differentiated brand positions.

Prior to founding Storyforge, Haley spent 16 years with L Brands (NYSE: LB), most recently as Vice President of Internal Communications directly supporting the company’s founder and chairman in strategic, leadership and internal communications, designing and implementing messages, communications strategies and engagement campaigns to reach 100,000 global employees. As head of the internal communications function for the enterprise, she was additionally responsible for all change communications including mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations and reductions in force.

In her life before retail, she worked in the non-profit sector, supporting a DC-based liberal arts accreditation agency, producing special events and directing and stage managing theater in NYC.

John Lowe
John Lowe

John Lowe joined Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2009 as Chief Executive and part-owner after receiving a late-night call from his long-time friends, Jeni Britton Bauer and Charly Bauer. The couple knew they had created something amazing, and they knew their friend was just the person to help it skyrocket. John took the leap to the four-shop ice cream company based on his belief that Jeni Britton Bauer was a once-in-a-generation talent who was making the finest ice cream the World had ever known. Since John joined Jeni’s, the Company has grown to more than 30 shops, from LA to DC, and has “gone national” with its pints on the freezer shelves of more than 1,800 of America’s finest retailers. The Company has received innumerable accolades, from a Time Magazine headline asking, “Can The Best Ice Cream In America Be Its Biggest?” to Inc., Fast Company, and Fortune, as well as “Best Dessert” and “Best Product Line” “Sofie Awards” from the Specialty Food Association. John has appeared on Bloomberg and MSNBC, but generally remains behind the scenes in favor of the Company’s founder, who remains its creative driving force. For the company’s handling of a 2015 outbreak of listeria monocytogenes, including its transparency with consumers and management through the crisis, John received the Specialty Food Association 2016 Business Leadership Award.

Prior to Jeni’s, John served in numerous leadership roles with General Electric Company, including stints as General Counsel of GE’s Business & General Aviation startup and its Aviation Services Global Operations, a $14B P&L operating 35 MRO facilities and joint ventures around the globe. While at GE John served as an Officer of GE Honda Aero Engines, a joint venture created to power HondaJet. John began his legal career with Kegler Brown, where he was twice named a Rising Star by Ohio Super Lawyers, was a 40 Under 40 recipient at 29, and was cited by the Columbus Bar Association and Columbus Public Schools for his “volunteer work, mentoring and commitment to Columbus-area youth.”

John is as an outside director of White Castle Company, and serves on the advisory boards of Watershed Distillery and Acre Farm-to-Table-To-Go. He serves on the boards of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Youth Foundation. He is a graduate of University of Illinois, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, GE’s famed Manager Development Course, the Human Performance Institute’s Executive Course, and most recently, Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program. John is dad to three boys, 7, 9 and 12, and loves coaching their basketball teams. He is married to their mother, Catherine L. Strauss, a partner with IceMiller who primarily handles high-profile litigation for large corporations.

Derek DeHart
Derek DeHart

Derek DeHart is a Product Owner at CoverMyMeds, whose mission is to help patients get the medication they need to live healthy lives. As a Product Delivery professional with over 15 years of leadership experience, Derek serves technology teams by helping them to discover the next most valuable thing to deliver to their customers. Derek also serves as Chief Operations Officer and member of the Board of Directors for DACA Time, a non-profit social enterprise he co-founded to reduce the cost and complexity associated with completing immigration forms. DACA Time was recognized as The Metropreneur’s Top New Startup of 2017.

Outside of his professional life, Derek is a passionate member of the social entrepreneurial and technology communities in Columbus. He co-organizes the Columbus Product Club to promote the Product Management discipline in Columbus and is a lead organizer for GiveBackHack, a weekend-long event to launch new social enterprises.

Mark Harris
Director of Software Engineering
Mark Harris

Director of Software Engineering

In a career spanning over 20 years in technology, Mark has had the opportunity to lead and participate in roles as diverse as engineering, sales, and management. At Microsoft, he owned development and release of two major products: Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 R2. Upon leaving Microsoft in 2010, Mark held a series of positions, including developing and leading the QA department at Grange Insurance, leading engineering and product management at Manta, and leading engineering for the Provider Vertical at CoverMyMeds to integrate with the leading EMR systems Epic, Cerner, and Allscripts, eventually ending in a $1.4B acquisition by McKesson. He has been with Fuse by Cardinal Health since late 2017, supporting teams responsible for on-site inventory management solutions.

Mark holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Science from The Ohio State University and a Master of Science degree with concentration in Computer Science from the University of Washington. In his spare time, Mark is active in the Columbus startup community, an avid cyclist, and 10-time Pelotonia participant

Jacquie Bickel
Director of Business Development
Jacquie Bickel

Director of Business Development

Jacquie brings over 14 years of experience in sales, customer service, and professional leadership. Jacquie currently leads Business Development for Improving’s Columbus based subsidiary. Since joining the Improving leadership team, revenues at Improving (Columbus) have more than doubled. In addition, the company was named to the Fast 50 in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2015 Jacquie was a recipient of The Stevie Award for Executive of the year for women in technical business. Jacquie is also passionate about learning and growth, she’s a certified instructor of FranklinCoveys “The Speed of Trust”

In the business community, Jacquie serves on the Membership Engagement Committee for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, a member of WELD (Woman for Economic and Leadership Development). She serves on the Board of Directors for The Ohio Girl Scouts, a founding board member and Chair for Conscious Capitalism Columbus, and Board of Directors for New Directions Career Center. Jacquie was also a recipient of Columbus Business first 40/40 class of 2017.

Jen Bowden
Director of Community Investment
Jen Bowden

Director of Community Investment

Jen Bowden is the Director of Community Investment for the IGS Family of Companies, where she works to carry forward the company’s purpose of building a meaningful energy future together. In this role, she’s responsible for investments into the communities where IGS does business including philanthropic investments, employee community engagement, community economic development and volunteerism. Additionally, she has responsibilities on IGS’s corporate innovation team.
Before joining IGS, she was the vice president of community relations for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus’ professional hockey team. Jen has also held roles as the director of corporate and government relations and capital campaign manager for Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Prior to her time with the Foodbank, she spent several years in charitable fundraising in Washington, D.C. She received a degree in International Studies from The Ohio State University.
Jen actively serves the community through volunteerism and civic participation. In addition to her role on the Conscious Capitalism Columbus board, she serves as a board member of Deep Griha USA, chairs the HRC Columbus Gala, and annually serves as a roster judge on Election Day.
She lives in Upper Arlington with her partner, Josh Flynn, and daughter, Parker.

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