To really understand how my background positively impacts my abilities, you need to understand what it means to run a sustainable company. The performance and value of a company has traditionally been measured in a strictly financial sense, through the profit or loss that it generates. While this gives perspective on the financial health, it does little to take into account the company’s overall impact. To more fully quantify the overall impact of an organization, the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) method has come to the forefront of discussion.
In the simplest of terms, a TBL is a measurement of the social, environmental and financial health of an organization; its sustainability. It’s the outward acknowledgment of the fact that, in addition to the profit it generates, an organization affects not only the community and people around it, but also the environment as a whole.
To become a Certified B-Corporation is to achieve the premier certification for all companies that are focused on the Triple Bottom Line. The certification is administered by the non-profit B-Lab, based in Pennsylvania. It’s a rigorous process that requires a thorough examination of all business, employment and outreach practices. The testing is combined with on-site audits, and regular re-certification requirements, to make sure that each organization is meeting the levels of performance to which they have committed. I am proud to say that my company has been certified for 5 years.
But how does owning and running a B-Corp, make me a better candidate? I’m glad you asked:
- The mission of a benefit corporation is to have a positive impact on the people and the planet. This is exactly what our government SHOULD be doing. We need leaders who are focused on helping all of the members of our community, not just working to move up the political ladder. This change in approach can’t be accomplished through partisan politics, bickering and ideology. I believe that in the right hands any organization can become a force for good in the world. This has been true with my company, where we positively affect the community and environment through employment, outreach, education and sustainable use of our resources. We can make it a reality in Washington too, by electing candidates that understand that our government should work for the people.
- While running a B-Corp, I have gained a wealth and breadth of leadership experience that isn’t readily available to others. As a citizen, I know that what I want from an elected official is for them to have the ability to effectively lead, work cooperatively, and listen to the people to know what they need. These are exactly the skills I have developed by running a B-Corp. Because our mission is to make a positive impact on the people around us, the planet as a whole, and the profit of the company, I have had to learn how to keep those three things in balance. To do that successfully, I must; bring people together to focus on a common goal, to build teams of diverse individuals with sometimes competing interests, and to listen to the people around me. It’s these skills that, over the last 14 years, have helped me to employ almost 2000 people in North Carolina, to work with area organizations to provide educational and career opportunity to the people of our community, and to minimize our footprint on the planet.
- It has given me direct knowledge of the struggles of the people of North Carolina. In my company, I’ve had the good fortune to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, skills, educations and cultures. I have learned from each person how they have faced adversity, and what great things they can accomplish when given a helping hand. These experiences led us to become a founding member of the Durham Living Wage Project, to focus on aiding veterans and their family transition out of the military, and to provide an internship designed to help people successfully return to work. It is also how I know there is more work to be done.
All representatives from North Carolina must always work in the best interest of the state and its people, ever mindful of how each vote effects the State’s triple bottom line. Running a B-Corp has made me a stronger leader, team builder, and listener. It’s given me the direct knowledge and insight into the challenges and needs of North Carolinians, a perspective that is missing from career politicians. These are the skills needed to bring change to Washington. These are the skills that make me the best candidate for North Carolina.