Whatcom County future of business series focuses on people, planet, profit


Where will you be on May 22, July 31 and Oct. 16? Will you be making new business connections, learning valuable new information to help your business grow, finding inspiration and having stimulating conversations about your employees, the environment and the profitability of your business?

Take an evening or three to focus and recharge with Sustainable Connections' 2014 Future of Business Speaker Series and learn all about the concept of a triple bottom line in business and how this concept applies to all business in every sector of the economy. The focus on people, planet and profit is becoming the new norm as consumers demand the businesses they support and shop with address the social and environmental impact of their business operations.

As business owners we understand the importance of profitability but are we doing enough to make sure our employees are happy and healthy, our goods are responsibly sourced and that the impact of what we do isn't a detriment to the environment and our community? Are the choices we're making for our businesses sustainable? Did you know that by addressing these concepts you may increase the profitability of your business?

These are big considerations to take into account but when broken down can be easily addressed and better understood. It's especially valuable to hear directly from other business owners. You'll be inspired by an excellent line-up of knowledgeable speakers including British Columbia's Best Green Business founder Toby Barazzoul of Eclipse Awards, Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy Homes of Seattle, and Patagonia's chief storyteller, Vincent Stanley.

These experienced entrepreneurs will share stories and practical advice for how they bring people, planet, profit practices into their businesses every day. We'll hear about how they are excelling at creating workplaces and cultures that engage happy and successful employees and build community beyond their businesses, how we can align environmental values with what the market is looking for and how environmentally friendly actions can stimulate the economy.

In addition to these renowned speakers we have a wealth of knowledge in our own local business leaders who will also open up and share what they've learned and best practices in working towards a balanced triple bottom line. You'll notice some heavy hitting, successful local businesses in the line-up including Mallard Ice Cream, Bellingham Cold Storage, RAM Construction, Q Laundry, Alcoa Intalco Works, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, Healthy Pet and more.

Besides inspiration and education each series session includes plenty of structured and unstructured time to network, share stories, and eat some great local food and drink with a great group of fellow professionals. Some of the most amazing opportunities and outcomes from past events have come from friendships and partnerships that were forged by connecting and meeting new people and reconnecting with existing friends.

Sound good but feels like you're too busy to attend? The series' bite-sized format is a practical approach for those of us who feel overwhelmed by our daily tasks with a schedule that's been broken into three parts, each on a different day but always from 4-7 p.m. Attend just the sessions that you're able, or attend all of them to really maximize your learning and socializing time. Best of all, this is our local event, and even though it's nationally recognized, it's a screaming deal with discounts available for attending all three sessions and for buying tickets early. I'm certain these events will be extremely valuable to all who attend.

As hard as it can be to make time as a busy business person, it's important to step away from the day-to-day tasks and take opportunities to unplug, focus and learn new approaches to being successful. This speaker series is a really fun way to not only educate yourself about triple bottom line practices, but to connect with others who are working hard at being successful too. We're all in this together and if our local economy is strong everyone benefits.

It's conveniently located at Broadway Hall, so whether you walk, bike or drive, it's easy to get there. And if you're an architect you even get three hours of continuing education credits per session.


Sustainable Connections hosts the Future of Business: People, Planet, Profit speaker series from 4 to 7 p.m. May 22, July 31 and Oct. 16 at Broadway Hall, 1300 Broadway.

May 22 focuses on people with keynote speaker Toby Barazzuol, owner of Eclipse Awards of Vancouver, B,C. Aaron Fairchild, chairman and CEO of Green Canopy Inc., will speak July 31 and Vincent Stanley of Patagonia will be featured on Oct. 16.

For more information, go online to sustainableconnections.org.

For tickets, go online to brownpapertickets.com.


Shawn Kemp is a technology entrepreneur and founder of multiple successful startup businesses, including current endeavors at ActionSprout, Qualnetics and BellPort Ventures. He is also president of the Bellingham Innovation Group and founder of the Big Idea Lab.

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