In early May, a dozen of The Container Store’s employees and vendor partners traveled to Dallas to attend the 2018 Conscious Capitalism Conference. This annual event routinely features talks and seminars from some of the best conscious business leaders in the country, and this year’s speaker lineup included leaders from Whole Foods Market, Student Maid, Gravity Payments, Poo-Pourri, Which Wich, and many others. Needless to say, the expectations were high, and this amazing speakers enlightened, challenged, and inspired their audience in equal measure. One Container Store employee who was greatly impacted was Erin Hogue, our Vice President of Custom Closets. “The conference was more about leadership development than I expected,” she says. “Conscious companies exist by having conscious leaders, not the other way around.”
Callie Micek, our Director of Visual Merchandising and Presentation said, “So much of who we are in business is who we aspire to be at home and vice-versa, and I felt that most of my ‘nuggets’ were things I want to ensure are thriving in my home and heart, as well as in my workplace.” She cites the words of speaker Shawn Achor (Co-Founder and CEO of GoodThink) as an example: “We thrive and shine brighter as a community when we advocate the inclusion of others.”
One speaker who truly embodies this philosophy is Chad Houser, Founder, CEO and Executive Chef of Café Momentum. A few years ago, Chad was enjoying success as one of the top chefs in Dallas, when he decided to use his talents for a higher purpose. After some positive experiences with teaching cooking skills to a group of boys in the juvenile justice system, he decided to pursue this cause full-time. He opened up Café Momentum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit restaurant that provides an amazing paid 12-month program for post-release juvenile offenders. This program fully invests in these kids by teaching them a variety of restaurant and life skills (as well as covering their housing and medical needs). Graduates of the program are placed in local restaurant-related jobs that allow them to earn a living and embark on a successful future. The result is an incredible win-win for both the business AND the community!
In addition to the inspiring keynote speakers, the other purpose of the conference is to bring together conscious-minded individuals from all over the business world to connect and exchange ideas. Much of this was fostered and encouraged by Will Wise and Chad Littlefield, Co-Founders of We! Their leadership philosophy hinges on truly listening during conversations—not just waiting to respond—and they guided several group exercises that allowed the attendees to connect on a deeper and more meaningful level. “Learn from the other person talking to you instead of just trying to ‘win’ the conversation,” they instructed the group. When individuals can truly engage on a personal level, it can lead to a much higher level of collaboration and creativity for all involved.
Our employees left the event completely inspired to help use the power of business for the greater good of society. One of the most enthusiastic attendees was Shishir Vaidya, our Director of Pricing and a relatively new member of The Container Store team. “So many of the tenets of my culture, philosophy, and upbringing were woven throughout the presentations at the conference,” he gushes. “And, for the first time in my professional career, I feel I have the opportunity to flourish in balancing the fulfillment of both my personal and the company’s higher purpose. What an amazing gift that is!”
· Be curious – people get their best ideas in the shower or in nature, not in the office or in the boardroom! Keep a notebook to write down great ideas wherever you go.
· Be an independent thinker – challenge the status quo.
· Be fully present – the senses are the ministers of the soul.
· Have a higher purpose – it awakens your heart.
· Wellness – overall wellness of mind/body/spirit – will make you most successful.