Entrepreneurial Advocator Conscious Capitalism to Open Twin Cities Chapter
Curtis Hite, CEO, Improving Enterprises. (Photo courtesy of Improving Enterprises)

Entrepreneurial Advocator Conscious Capitalism to Open Twin Cities Chapter

The chapter, launching on Thursday, will be the 44th chapter of the nonprofit to open worldwide.

Conscious Capitalism, a nonprofit organization promoting entrepreneurialism that goes beyond the bottom line, is opening its latest chapter in the Twin Cities. The new chapter—Conscious Capitalism’s first in Minnesota—will be celebrated at a launch event Thursday.

Conscious Capitalism co-founder and chairman Emeritus, Raj Sisodia, is scheduled to give a keynote address at the Metropolitan Clubroom in Golden Valley. Local businesses and chapter leaders Improving Enterprises and Y Scouts will also be hosting the launch event.

“We’re trying to attract through this event and inspire business leaders to start using the gift of the platforms they have, the businesses or divisions they lead, in a way that has a cause beyond making just profit,” says Mark Reichert, director of sales at Improving Enterprises, a Dallas-based technology management and consulting firm. The company also keeps an office in Bloomington.

Reichert explains that Conscious Capitalism as a whole is based on four pillars: that businesses should identify what the purpose of their work is beyond making money; businesses should have a commitment to culture, creating an office environment that aligns with their ideals; businesses should operate on a stakeholder model rather than shareholder model; and business should have conscious leadership, or a leadership style that’s rooted in awareness and courage.

The seeds for this movement were planted as early as the 1980s through a book by Edward Freeman, and the term itself was first mentioned by Muhammad Yunus in 1995. The first conference dedicated to “Catalyzing Conscious Capitalism” was held in the U.S. in 2008 and the eponymous official organization was launched in 2010.

Now, there are 43 Conscious Capital chapters worldwide, with thousands of business leaders involved. The Twin Cities chapter marks the sixth in the Midwest, following last year’s launch of one in Columbus, Ohio.

Improving Enterprises CEO Curtis Hite says they wanted to start a chapter in Minnesota sooner, but the Columbus launch consumed more energy and resources than expected, so time was needed for things to come back into place.

“It’s a grassroots effort, therefore it takes people that are willing to give their time and money… willing to put in the work,” says Hite.

Reichert was one of those people, in part because, as he and Hite say, they felt the Twin Cities is a community that would be open to the mission of Conscious Capitalism. Tasha Hock, leadership search director at executive search consultant company Y Scouts, agrees.

“Service and philanthropy are the oxygen in the room for the majority of the individuals and businesses here,” says Hock. “A CCI Chapter in the Twin Cities is a perfect fit to bring us all together in community and work to further put these values into action to drive even greater positive impact.”

Adds Hite: “It’s been absolutely amazing from my perspective to see how many companies there are in the Twin Cities that are already doing a lot of this.”

Some he mentions include: Finnegan’s Brew Co., which under its Specific Benefit Corporation arm donates 100 percent of profits to charity; Coolibar, which manufactures clothing for people with skin conditions; Creative Kidstuff which supports play and learning for children; and Gutter Punk Coffee, which helps homeless youth learn how to hold down a job.

Leaders from some of those companies will also be participants in Thursday’s panel, including Gutter Punk Coffee founder Carley Kammerer, Coolibar CEO Kendra Reichenau, and Creative Kidstuff CEO and president Roberta Bonoff. BTM Global CEO and president Tom Schoen and Improving Enterprises-Twin Cities president Barb Gurstelle will also take part in the panel event.

The event kicks off with a social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by Sisodia’s address, then the panel.

In addition to shedding light on the already existing examples of Conscious Capitalism-aligned efforts in the Twin Cities, the hosts hope the launch event, and future chapter meetings, encourage more and more Twin Cities leaders to join the movement.

“We hope to elevate the conversation, educate on purpose and bring this philosophy to bear,” says Hock, “generating action to create substantive positive impact in our communities and collective lives.”