We attended BLD PNW for the first time this year! It was magnificent to see the turnout for the sold-out conference and quite an honor for Feynman Group to sponsor an event with such fervent drive behind it. The B Corporation Leadership Development Pacific Northwest Conference is the largest B Corp centered event in the Pacific Northwest. In its third year, the conference is organized by B Local PDX, a community of Certified B Corporations from Oregon and SW Washington that ‘help business people act on their purpose to achieve socio-economic and environmental impact through meaningful relationships’.
BLD PNW 2019 was held at The Redd on Salmon Street, an Ecotrust venue that is ideal for B Corps within the PNW to gather, connect and grow as a community. We were welcomed at registration with morning beverages and breakfast provided by local B Corps Nossa Familia Coffee, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Grand Central Bakery, Wild Friends and New Seasons Market. The conference kicked off with keynote speakers Stephen Aiguier, Stephanie Ghoston Paul, Kristofor Lofgren, and Jenelle Isaacson. Sharing their background stories and the impactful work that they pursue, the speakers delivered inspirational messages regarding awareness of our impact, the community, and our planet.
After lunch, attendees broke out into smaller sessions that offered an intimate and interactive experience on specific topics allowing individuals to ask questions and a platform for speakers to go more in-depth. The guest speakers shared a common passion for inclusion, diversity, and sustainability. They encouraged companies to think outside the box, challenge the mold that society often promotes, to strive for the success of their communities and planet, and to bring new innovative ideas to the table. Businesses should use their platform and resources as a force for good. The people and businesses we choose to contribute to grants us the ability to define our world. Who do we want to represent? As a company, we can make a louder impact by coming together and offering the resources we have that others may need. There is strength in collaboratively working with other companies who share a similar vision and building relationships with people who are driven by the same desire to see an improvement in society. This is exactly what the BLD PNW 2019 conference offered us as B Corp companies, to build a B Ecosystem of one.
This was an inspiring event that brought together some of Oregon’s best creative business disruptors. An event that challenged the complacency or ignorance that businesses must not fall prey to at this dire turning point in human history. One of our employees who attended the event, Javier Martinez, was inspired by the accomplishments of the Sustainable Restaurant Group. During the presentation questions like, “How can a community member like myself inspire restaurant groups to lead with sustainability and their employees?” began to arise. It assured that the small things that we do are actually the big things. To start small, be persistent, and most importantly be unique, and then one day we will be able to look back and recognize how far we have come. As Cara Meyer said it best, “we are organizations in the universe of infinite potential”.
Reflecting on what they learned, our employees shared their greatest takeaways from BLD PNW:
“The ‘Rewilding at Work’ by Cara Meyer breakout session stood out to me the most because it emphasized the importance of individualization. Highlighting that each person is different and the importance of showing that creativity through the company. This Breakout Session made me think outside the box, to challenge the old way we participate in our organization.”
“I walked away musing on the power of partnerships. With authenticity and aligned values, companies such as Feynman Group, can partner with other B Corps to elevate our transformational power. This increases the velocity and strength for positive impact in our community and, most critically, for the environment. B Local PDX has created a platform to form connections and build partnerships with local companies who are committed to using their business and power as a force for good. BLD PNW had a terrific line up of speakers. I found Jenelle Isaacson to be particularly edifying. She’s a real dynamo; the way that she thinks and recognizes opportunities that challenge social norms. I really admire her.”
The conference concluded with a reception catered by Elephants Delicatessen that segued into the first annual B Corp Block Party, a public event that invited the community to celebrate and learn more about the local B Corp community with live music and local vendors. BLD PNW 2019 held true to their theme of ‘Building the B Ecosystem’ and achieved their goal of connecting ‘local, socially responsible businesses supporting our communities to build a more sustainable and just world’. It was motivating and encouraging to see and feel the energy of this diverse group of PNW businesses come together in unity for the same cause. Thank you B Local PDX and everyone involved for making this momentous conference happen.
Feynman Group is proud to be a Certified B Corporation.