The theme of this year’s Annual Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit was Confidence and Humility: The Dynamic Duo of Conscious Leadership. 225 CEOs from around the world converged in Austin, TX this past October to connect and learn, from each other and from other conscious leaders, how to put Conscious Capitalism into practice in their businesses and within themselves.
For Thea Polancic, Founder and Chair of the Chicago Chapter, author Brené Brown’s work with the group on vulnerability and shame was especially engaging. Vulnerability is at the core of conscious leadership and is our access to courage. It’s what is at the source of creativity, innovation and change – things that many organizations are looking to impact.
Brown challenged the group to be vulnerable and confront what she calls “face plant moments” of failure. Leaders who are willing to be vulnerable and authentic enough to tell themselves the truth about those times that they’ve failed, can create a space in which employees are free and feel safe to share their mistakes – and humanity – with no consequences.
Joining Thea this year were a cadre of CEOs from the Chicagoland area. A few of them shared their experiences of being at the Summit with us and our members who weren’t able to attend the Summit, at our December CEO breakfast.
CEO, Round Table Companies
Corey Blake, CEO of Round Table Companies, a storytelling company that helps companies and individuals be seen, is a CEO Summit veteran. This was Corey’s third summit and he shared that he continues to attend because he has found a tribe that is aligned on values.
Corey particularly resonated with Brené Brown’s session. (He shared that he felt that starting in that way created room for the participants to let go of titles and be more human with each other – not easy in a room of two hundred plus senior executives.) Each year, Corey’s team provides the “Vulnerability is Sexy” wall. Throughout the summit, leaders share their observations about how they’re experiencing the keynotes and conversations they engage in, and his team translates them into a wall-sized unique graphic interpretation.
According to Corey, his participation in conscious capitalism has helped his company create more aligned relationships with their customers and has impacted the quality of work his team is able to produce for those clients.
CEO, Envision IT
Envision IT is an IT consulting company that prides itself on being a group of talented and compassionate people who are “Purpose-Full”. This was Nancy’s first time attending the CEO summit, although she personally has been on the journey of becoming a conscious leader building an exemplary, purpose-driven company for a few years.
As a first timer, Nancy said that she went in with no expectations, but committed to being open, learning, and experiencing as much as she could from the speakers and her fellow participants. Nancy shared that she found the practicums to be especially valuable, providing the opportunity to hear stories from other CEOs about their journeys, and the victories and challenges of implementing the principles of conscious capitalism in their organizations.
Nancy resonated with the talks that emphasized the capitalism part of conscious capitalism. John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) and Arthur Brooks (President of the American Enterprise Institute) both made compelling case for capitalism to as a powerful force for good in the world. Brooks challenged the group to remember that money isn’t inherently evil… it is instead the attachment to money that is the source of people working against the greater good.
Nancy has had personal success with helping to guide Envision IT into a thriving “firm of endearment”. She shares that the key to building a company with a solid foundation is to build it from the perspective of “doing the right thing.” She and her team at Envision IT are doing just that.
CEO, Simple Mills
Simple Mills is a start-up food company with a mission to produce products that are both healthy and delicious; and was also a first time attendee at this year’s summit. She shared her experience in an excellent article entitled Four Insights from the Most Revolutionary CEO Summit in the Country at Inc.com.
Closing our breakfast conversation, her comments felt almost prophetic. She reminded us that the world is changing quickly, and capitalism itself is going to continue to evolve before our eyes in the coming years.