Ethical Markets - R The Blog

By Rosalinda Sanquiche, Executive Director, Ethical Markets Media

© 2011

A turn of the 20th century home welcomed 21st century thinking this November.  The Henderson-Schumacher Library at Ethical Markets Media hosted two retreats – alike in ambition to build a better world, different in constituency and method.

The first meeting was a highly personal and motivating sharing of vision among women gathered to move the world toward greater sustainability by bringing their unique skills, talents and interests to social enterprise.  Corporate leaders, investment advisors, entrepreneurs, artists, heads of NGOs and true visionaries met over 2 ½ days to tell their stories, seek guidance, find inspiration and collaborate in a uniquely feminine mode.  Is this description vague?  Yes, but then the meeting structure set out to find a path rather than forge one.

The keynote speaker of this women’s gathering was Jean Houston.  She explained how we are living different lives than we or our parents and grandparents expected.  We are living in the “parentheses.”  Our challenge is to become social artists – great artists who bring love, courage, innovation and more to our social canvas.  Our meeting had women finding their power in their 30s, 40s and 50s learning from those in their 70s and 80s who started their canvases decades ago.  Jean asked the latter group, the elders, “to be midwives.”  She asked all of us to cross the divide of otherness and engage in “radical empathy.”  She encouraged us to activate our outer and inner senses.  She lamented that our equipment is enormous; our use is miserable.

As a group, we laid out our equipment.  We each spoke to our ah-ha moments of self-awareness that drove us to study economics or promote workplace democracy or take a solar company public.  Our “elders” offered news ways of participating in the world: Elizabeth Sahtouris brought her concepts of evolutionary biology to organizational thinking.  Barbara Marx Hubbard introduced Conscious Evolution to a new generation.  Susan Davis spoke of the success of KINS, networks based on deep collaboration.  Hazel Henderson grounded the meeting with tangible metrics of the success toward sustainability already achieved as demonstrated by the Green Transition Scoreboard® and the many opportunities still to be met.

The group shared deeply personal experiences and expectations.  They offered assistance and asked for help.  The meeting ended with hope of bigger gatherings, more profitable entrepreneurs, grander visionaries, human rights leaders and sisters-in-arms committed to improving the globe.

Such commitment to humanity was a unifying thread of the second November meeting at the Henderson-Schumacher Library.  Originally designed as meeting of SRI pioneers to mentor emerging leaders in SRI, the group evolved to a 2 ½ day conversation on Transforming Finance 2.0, picking up from the Transforming Finance meeting held the previous year.  Building on the Transforming Finance initiative and statement of 2010 that finance is part of the global commons and must return to serving not exploiting people, their communities and the Earth, the group committed to continue their pioneering reforms, collaborating across disciplines, institutions and generations.  Participants included international representatives from institutional and private SRI investment firms, non-profits, a market research company, cleantech, think tanks and media.

Katie Teague of Storm Cloud Media videotaped Hazel Henderson in dialogue with many of the participants, creating nine new TV programs which soon will be at  Topics include the politics of money, bypassing Wall Street, cooperation over competition, the future of SRI, reforming Fannie and Freddie, transitioning to the global green economy and bold initiatives to reform banking.

As with the first meeting, the group shared personal experiences and expectations.  They offered assistance and asked for help.  They inspired each other to keep up the work started decades ago because the tipping point has arrived and those in the room had been preparing to tip the outcome in favor of sustainability.

What next for the turn of the 20th century home?  What new leaders will emerge?  What ideas will take hold?  The world needs the kind of intimate exchange these two weekends manifested.  To inspire and aspire.