A Story about Making an IMPACT

Every day we have an opportunity to make a difference in our life, those around us like family, friend, co-workers, our community. How often do we take advantage of this chance to do good.

Altruism is defined as doing something good for others with no expectation of receiving something in return. You do something kind, or to help others just because you want to; you know it will help the other person or its just the right thing to do!

This past weekend I heard stories from my mentor and fellow mastermind colleagues of phenomenal altruistic efforts and just hearing them made my heart sing. As an IMPACT business owner, I am passionate about people using business as a vehicle for doing good in the world – for changing how we leverage our ability to make money in a way that brings prosperity to everyone and everything we touch.

September is Suicide Awareness and & Prevention Month. According to statistics Canada, there were 4,157 suicides took place in Canada in 2017, making it the 9th leading cause of death, between Alzheimer’s Disease (8th) and Cirrhosis and other liver diseases (10th). Suicide attempts are much higher! In the US, there are over 3800 suicide attempts every day! The sad fact is the death rates have been increasing over the past decade!

Having experienced a suicide in my extended family, I understand how devastating it can be and how this one act has a ripple effect far greater than the loss of one valuable life. I believe its time we all can step up and become more aware of the signs and symptoms of a person in need of our intervention and/or support.

According to Crisis Services Canada, high risk signs for suicide can include talk or threats to harm oneself, looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online for materials or means, talking or writing about death, dying or suicide. Other signs include the following:

  • Increased substance use (alcohol or drug)
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation or uncontrolled anger
  • Unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
  • Feelings of being trapped– like there’s no way out
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes

If you think someone is in imminent risk of suicide, call “911”. If not, it is recommended we don’t ignore the signs. It’s ok to talk about it. Research has shown talking about suicide doesn’t increase the chance they will kill themselves. In fact, being understanding and empathetic can do the opposite as it shows you care, and that they are not alone.

My colleague in Sarasota Florida, Jackie Simmons, has published a book with a huge mission! Her book, “Make it a Great Day: The Choice is Yours” is now available. Jackie’s goal is to get this book in the hands of 100,000 youth by the end of 2019, and 500,000 next year and each year beyond.

You can purchase books on this site, and one book will be given to a teen or you can sponsor 2 youth to receive a book for only $9.99 US.

I hope you will join me and support Jackie’s mission to stem the tide of suicide. I have already donated 3 books. I have also shared this opportunity with business colleagues, family and friends. I am encouraging you to do the same.

Why I adopted an IMPACT business model


“Having a greater purpose and embedding it into the DNA of your business is critical to developing deeper relationships with customers in an age when creating meaningful connections is getting harder and harder.”


Trisa Thompson, chief responsibility officer at Dell

In 2007, I first became fascinated with the triple bottom line approach to business. At the time, I was working in healthcare as a consultant and could see the waste in that field everyday. I began the process to learn more. One thing was sure, I was passionate in finding ways to integrate this triple bottom line approach into my business.

The triple bottom line is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental and financial. Some organizations have adopted the TBL framework to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective to create greater business value. 

In 2010, I made a conscious decision to link my business activities directly with social and environmental initiatives. At the time, there was a strong movement to get business to adopt changes and be better environmental stewards. I branded my program “MoreThanGreen TM” to reflect my focus all parts of the triple bottom line — people, planet and profit.

“What gets Measured gets Managed”

Traditional business growth and success have metrics attached to programs and more, and these metrics measured. When a business adopts an impact model they also must identify the metrics for social and environmental initiatives to measure the impact of these initiatives.

Starting in 2015, I began the process of introducing metrics I could measure. They were small, easy to implement and measure. I began by measuring the changes I was making (rather than the impact these changes make). T

For example, I recorded the changes in the lightbulbs to LED, low flow toilets and faucets, use of transit and volunteer hours, donations to charities (as a percentage of gross revenues) and more. I used my website and blog to share the efforts and goals. Although this was a good first step is was not exactly results focused.

My efforts took a downward swing when I stepped away from business for almost 2 years. Since that time, I have take a proactive approach to evolve and advance my impact efforts and the systems and metrics to track these efforts.

I look forward to sharing more about the metrics and results in future posts. What I have learned along the way, is that combining impact initiatives with sound business strategies in a small business is good for business. In fact, it has been much easier and less time consuming than I once thought.

Prosperity Abounds!

So, why did I undergo this transformation? I strongly believe that when a business adopts practices that deliver a positive social &/or environmental impact they create a ripple effect that benefits the planet, the people in their organization and their community and their bottomline.

In fact, 60% of consumers say brands should make it easier to see its values and its position on important issues at the point of sale (engageforgood.com). We have shared our values and our sustainability and community engagement efforts on this website.

Becoming a certified B-Corporation is next on our horizon. This is a big step but one I am embracing with open arms. I believe that when businesses align their current practices with impact initiatives, activate and measure their efforts they will achieve significant results that create prosperity for the organization, key stakeholders, the community and the planet. Plus, these efforts attract new clients and employees who align with your values and efforts.

In future posts I will share more on our efforts to this goal. Going forward I am also committed to being more transparent in communicating our impact. Watch for our IMPACT Communique.

Are you a social entrepreneur or a small to medium business interested in taking a stand and becoming a better social &/or environmental impact organization?

Our online courses, coaching, masterminds, training and consulting services may offer the right solution for you. Book an Ignition Session to explore how we can assist in your transformation and evolution.

Green Your Horizons – 3 Steps to a Better Business

Greening your horizons doesn’t mean becoming a ‘tree-hugger’ or anti-establishment.  In fact, I believe that incorporating a MoreThanGreen™ approach to your business gives your business heart and will “do-good”.  You will have a better business and better customers and more profits to do more good!

What is business with heart? 

In today’s business world, a self-centred focus on your own profitability is not enough to be truly successful and to have longevity. Businesses must remove their blinders to create and maintain a positive impact on their own employees, the community they live and work in, and on the environment.

A for-profit-businesses is traditionally, and continues to be focused on wealth building.  In addition, today’s Comtemplation Reap Action ILIprogressive and most successful businesses also now recognize that wealth sharing is a critical facet that cannot be ignored. Giving back to the community and reducing their impact on the environment are a necessity if they want to engage and retain top talent, attract loyal customers and build strong relationships with community members.

A business with heart considers all facets on the triple bottom line – people (employees, the community, clients), planet (environmental impact) and profits. They strive to create economic value while also creating social or environmental value at the same time. Each factor is important in all decisions and actions are transparent and well documented. Corporate philanthropy is as important as profit-making components of any business.

What Steps Can You Take?

1. Integrate your Values

Are you clear on your own personal values?  Do your values and those of your organization align with those of your employees / team members? Are employees clear on what the business’ values? If not, this is the place to start! If values are not clear and in alignment, there will be challenges – a true misfit!

One of my top values is education. This has become an integral focus of my business endeavours, my own professional development and is part of my charitable focus. This alignment creates a strong link between the three and allows me to maintain a strong focus. It also sends a clear message to my team, colleagues and clients of what is important.

2. Set SMART goals.

Setting goals should be a routine activity for every business, department and leader.  As you know, goals should be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Specific).  One area where new goals for business can be set are philanthropic goals.  Many organizations claim to “do good” but they fail to have clear and measurable goals in this area.. In my business, I have set a goal to donate a minimum of 1% of gross sales to charities that align with my values.  Learn more on my efforts on my website

Can you measure the impact of your social and environmental efforts? Are your efforts transparent so others can clearly recognize that you do what you say? If not, it is important to establish a method to both measure and report on actions taken and results achieved. Be specific. Rather than state “a portion of profits,” state a specific amount of total revenue ie: 1% of gross sales, or $2.00 of each book. These numbers cannot be manipulated or branded as a “green-wash.”

3. Engage Others

Getting employees at all levels engaged with your business goals and endeavours is a critical component.  Are your philanthropic goals resonating with members of your team and with your customers? Are your efforts more than lip service to a cause? How do you demonstrate this commitment? Employees are more motivated to help you to achieve your goals if they are part of the process. Do you support their desire to volunteer for causes important to them?

Many large corporations are now encouraging their employees to volunteer in the communities where they live and work. They support these efforts by allowing time off from work and/or providing financial, marketing or physical resources such as equipment. Millennials and Generation Y’s now expect this involvement from employers. Failing to integrate and involve them in social enterprise efforts means they will look elsewhere for employment. If you want to attract and retain top talent, engagement is critical.

Isn’t it time for you to seriously add heart to your business and green your horizons? Your community, the environment and your bottom line will thank you!

How We’re Making a Difference

It’s our year-end and as part of our “MoreThanGreen“™ program, we are proud to share how our 2016 donations are making a difference this year.

We contribute at least 1% of gross revenues to charities.  Learn more about our efforts by visiting our sustainability page

Our donation to Canadian Athletes Now Fund will benefit two athletes in their bid for the 2016 Olympics.  As a self-proclaimed Olympaholic, I am thrilled to share this information on these two talented people.  I know I’ll be cheering8944 CanFund COL Logo FR FA.ai them on in Rio this summer!

Adam Froese – Field Hockey

From Abbotsford British Columbia, Adam made his National team debut in 2009 and has quickly developed into one of Canada’s top defenders.  He has appeared in over 120 international games including representing Canada at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and most recently the 2015 Pan Am Games where Adam and his teammates won silver.  At the 2015 Pan Am Games Adam scored the 5th goal for Canada in the semi-final shootout which also clinched an Olympic berth for Canada to the Rio 2016 Games.  Rio would mark Adam’s first Olympic Games where the squad is looking for a top performance in 2016.

Magali Harvey – Rugby 7s

From Quebec City, Magali has exploded onto the international scene becoming one of Canada’s top offensive players since making her 7s debut in 2011.  She has also represented Canada in the 15s at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup where she most notably was named the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby Player of the Year after leading her team to a silver medal and finishing the tournament tied for second with 61 points.  At the most recent 2015 Pan Am Games Magali and her teammates won gold in the 7’s and Magali finished tied for first in tournament scoring.  The Canadian Women’s Rugby 7s team has qualified for Rio 2016 where rugby is making its Olympic debut.  They are currently ranked second in the world so are training hard with their sights set on the podium in Rio.

 

Our donation to SoldierOn will help assist them in their aim of supporting ill and injurBanner-1_E-aug-13ed military personnel with a permanent or chronic disability, both still serving and retired, and their families to attain an active and healthy lifestyle. Our donation helps support these personnel in increasing their independence, in developing new skills, in achieving goals and opening the door to other life opportunities. It furnishes an opportunity for them to socialize and explore common interests, and share learning experiences.

 

kidsport logo

Our donation to KidSportbc will help children to become involved in sports when they otherwise wouldn’t be able.  When kids are involved with sport, they learn leadership, teamworkhave , fun grow great friendships and stay healthy.  “So ALL Kids can Play!”  What could be better than that?

 

 

And our donation to the Alzheimer’s Society will help find a cure for this devastating disease that affects adults of all ages.   In fact, I was surprised to learn that more than 70,000 British Columbians have Alzheimer’s disease or alzheimers_bcanother form of dementia. And the numbers are increasing as younger people are being impacted and baby boomers are aging. Every year 15,000 British Columbians are developing dementia.   We are happy to help find a cure and offer education and treatment options to these adults through the Alzheimer’s Society efforts.

 

We want to thank our clients who have supported us in the past fiscal year, so that we could support these worthy causes.

 

I Took the Ice Bucket Challenge

This weekend, I was challenged by my sister living on the East Coast to take the ALS Society’s Ice Bucket Challenge.  She also challenged my niece (her daughter) and my other sister — so we all accepted!

ALS is such a horrible diagnosis.  I have known 2 people with this disease and it was terrible to see and hear of the decline in their health.  Therefore, in addition to taking the challenge, I have also made a $50 donation to the ALS Society as part of my More Than Green (TM) approach.

I have now challenged the following three people to participate

1. Paul Holden, CEO – Burnaby Board of Trade
2. Susan Scott Gabe — Managing Director – Care At Home Services Inc.
3. Maureen McKinnon — CEO – McKinnon & Associates

If you haven’t been challenged yet, you don’t have to wait… I’m happy to challenge you too!

10 Actions to take for Earth Day 2014

With Earth Day 2014 upon us, I thought I would share EarthDay.ca Top Ten Actions to Take to reduce your impact on the environment.  You can download them too.

Beach FootprintMy More Than Green program outlines the many things I do within my business to walk the talk and operate with a Triple Bottom Line approach.  In looking at the 10 Actions, here are some of my results.

1. Smart Shopping — I no longer buy “silly” things that don’t have a use or things that aren’t going to last – they end up in the land fill too quickly.  This includes office and promotional items.

2.  Simple Savers — I have replaced almost all lights with LED’s.  The remaining few are either fluorescent or halogen (where alternatives aren’t available).  Along with shutting down unnecessary equipment and operating in power saver mode, these changes have  resulted in a decrease of about 20% in my electricity consumption in the past 2 years.

3. Transportation Alternatives — I use public transportation to many events in the downtown core or when I have to travel out of town from the airport.  I average about 40 – 50% and I carpool many more times than I travel alone.

4. Close to Home — I operate Ignite Leadership International™ as a virtual organization. This allows each team member to work from their own home office.  We connect with our clients and with each other via phone, skype or even video conference to limit the trips we have to make.   This approach allows us to work with local and global clients effectively.

5. Don’t Discard — All old electronics are recycled using approved recycling depots or charitable organizations who follow stringent methods.  All paper is shredded and recycled, as is newspaper, plastics, styrofoam, cardboard.  We also take any hazardous waste items like batteries to the approved drop-off locations.

This highlights just some of our efforts to meet our community and business obligations.  It is always my intention as CEO to make new strides every year.

To further my commitment, Ignite Leadership International™ has taken the Sustainability Pledge through the Burnaby Board of Trade. Learn more… I encourage you to do the same!

What actions have you taken to keep Earth the precious resource we have to live and work?  What results have you achieved from your efforts?

Another Goal Achieved

I am thrilled to confirm that our project goal for the 6 young women in Northern Ghana has now hit the 100% mark.  We partnered with Create Change Foundation to help send these women to achieve their goal of getting post secondary education.

 

Screenshot 2013-12-14 19.girls to school project

I’ve Taken the Pledge for Sustainability

I am very pleased to share the recent steps I have taken to improve my efforts to support sustainability within our community.

As a member of the Burnaby Board of Trade, I was encouraged to make an even more public statement about the efforts my business is taking toward this end.  I have always incorporated a “More Than Green” pledge_MemberButton_FAapproach in my business.

Today I joined many other businesses who have joined this initiative by taking the The Pledge for A Sustainable Community .

“The Pledge is a comprehensive online resource with the goal of helping businesses large and small reduce their carbon footprint while at the same time promoting their company and even saving money.” (BBOT.ca)

BBOT also says “It (The Pledge) means demonstrating to the community that your company cares about the environment and wants to reduce its impact. Your commitment can be as simple as turning off the lights, printing double-sided, or composting food waste. Or if you’re already doing something great, tell us about it.”

Although the Burnaby Board of Trade is spearheading this initiative, you don’t have to be in Burnaby to participate.  I encourage you to check out their site for more information and join me and make a Pledge for a Sustainable Community.

 

What Steps are You Taking to be More Than Green(TM)?

October is Power Smart month.  Although this program is promoted by BC Hydro (the provincial utility company) it is a program I believe is important.  It is a reminder that each of us – as individuals, businesses and industries should be taking stock of how we use power in our everyday life.

More Than Green™

A key component of Ignite Leadership International is our More Than Green ™ approach to business.   This program is integrated into everything we do – individually, as a team, as a business and as members of our community. [Read more…]

Girls to School Project – An Update

If you follow my blogs on a frequent basis, you probably know that I have a strong desire to include a ‘give-back’ program in my business. Giving back is, in my opinion, an important component of any business and their corporate social responsibility (CSR).  Corporate social responsibility offers a business a wonderful opportunity to connect with their community.  Employees and customers are becoming very discerning about which companies they align with.  CSR is one area that I believe should be included in every business, no matter how big or small. [Read more…]

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