THESE FORWARD-THINKERS ARE SAYING NO TO PROFIT AT ALL COSTS AND YES TO ADVANCING A NEW BUSINESS-AS-USUAL.
Written by: VANESSA CHILDERS
Conscious leadership comes in many shapes and sizes that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: the entrepreneur whose business model, from the get-go, is a vehicle for positive global change; the impact investor who funds purpose-driven companies; the CEO who radically transforms a traditionally run business or industry for the good of all stakeholders; the leader who creates a workplace culture where team members thrive and feel genuinely valued; the person who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to cultivating the practice of conscious leadership on an individual level through self-development work; and the thought leader whose ideas inspire a new class of game-changers to join the movement. The common denominator here is someone whose values extend beyond self-gain to the wellbeing of others, whose business practices align with and reflect those values, and whose stakeholders — employees, consumers, and planet — can attest to the positive impact of their strategies.
These 22 superstars, nominated by their communities and handpicked by our editorial staff, are making a difference through their work on personal transformation, the thriving workplaces they create, and the global impact of their businesses and ideas. May their efforts inspire us and serve as a reminder that we’re all in this together. Without further ado, meet the 2019 trailblazers of conscious leadership.
22. HENRY ROCK
Founder & Director, City Startup Labs
Charlotte, North Carolina
Henry Rock believes that business can be a springboard for a rising group of entrepreneurs. He founded City Startup Labs (CSL), a nonprofit, hybrid accelerator-incubator in Charlotte, North Carolina. CSL conducts an annual Center of Excellence event where Black Millennials and formerly incarcerated citizens learn how to research, plan, launch, and operate startup enterprises — and unlock access to human capital, social capital, and economic capital.
Rock has been chosen as an Encore.org Purpose Prize Fellow and has singlehandedly garnered the support of Rockefeller and Kauffman Foundation grants, among others, in addition to local resources like Wells Fargo Bank. He plans to expand the scope of his work in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, which has the distinction of being the worst of the nation’s top 50 cities for the expansion of economic mobility for underserved segments of the population.
CONSCIOUS LEADER CRED
“Henry is extremely socially conscious in the way he conducts his business and urges his cohort participants to do the same,” says his nominator.
LESSONS FROM ROCK
“A profound lesson is the role that spirit plays in all that we do, including founding and leading a company. By ‘spirit,’ I mean the divine intelligence that tells me there’s absolutely no way that I could have plotted out where the dots appeared, much less how to connect them. I contend that that is spirit. Can we create the place within our work for spirit to show up? Are we attentive to what’s divine in the work that we do — the doing of it, as well as the outputs? Can we both govern and lead while releasing control? Do we listen to our instincts along with the analytics? By the way, we can put spirit to work with a clear intention. It happens all the time; it’s built for that.”