Working Well, Together: Lessons from the B Corp Champions Retreat

Working Well, Together: Lessons from the B Corp Champions Retreat

Apr 26, 2024

By Jennifer Lyn Simpson

At a time when our world can feel increasingly fragmented, the moments that remind us that we’re all in this together are refreshing. That was the resounding message I took away from the recent B Corp Champions Retreat in Vancouver. Gathered alongside hundreds of purpose-driven business leaders, I could palpably feel the power of community. It was clear that we have the talent, technology, and drive to partner with each other and with our planet to shape a more sustainable, equitable future of work.

The very act of convening felt restorative after years of virtual-only meetings. As I looked around the room at peers driven by a shared commitment to human-first leadership and using business as a force for good, I was struck by the energy and sense of possibility. Here at Integrated Work, we imagine a future where we get more great things done together not by working harder and longer, but by operating from a foundation of well-being that allows us to be more resourced, brave, and creative. That spirit was palpable throughout the retreat.

photo of session at Champions Retreat

At the CEO forum, we explored the importance of “listening to lead” — recognizing that none of us has all the answers, but that together we can explore and shape better ways of doing business. B Corp leaders discussed bold experiments with innovative ownership models, flexible benefits, and even four-day work weeks that support employee engagement and well-being. 

Younger leaders shared their fierce commitment to building a resilient climate future, while elders discussed giving back through encore careers devoted to community impact.

The power of inclusion was reinforced in powerful plenary sessions highlighting the need to adopt a broader societal lens. We can no longer think of “work” as separate from the communities we’re part of or the natural environments our organizations impact and rely upon. From holistic well-being — mental, physical, and financial — to deeper connection with nature, the greatest breakthroughs will come when we start operating from an integrated, ecological perspective.

In regional breakouts, we had the chance to introduce our own organizational challenges, identify common threads, and explore opportunities for collaboration. Throughout, it became clear that even as we work to solve distinct problems, we are stronger together — in our individual workplaces and as a community of businesses trying to be a force for good.

photo of Grouse Mountain

The role of community extended beyond the formal program as well. One evening, we gathered and played amidst the natural splendor of Grouse Mountain, reconnecting with the sense of awe and humility that nature and child-like wonder can instill. On another day, we ventured out for service projects benefiting Vancouver-area nonprofits — a tangible reminder of our responsibility to the diverse communities that businesses are embedded within.  

As I returned home, I was reminded that the grandest visions and boldest innovations are born through mutual trust, brave vulnerability, and an abundance mindset. When we have the courage to come together and truly listen to each other’s struggles, we begin to weave a fabric of care that makes room for creativity to flourish. The path ahead will never be easy, but the B Corp Champions Retreat filled me with hope that a fundamentally better way of working is possible when we lean into the power of community.