BLD Southeast is Finally Happening!
BLD Southeast is less than one week away and we couldn’t be more excited. Why? Well, let’s start with the obvious. Our region has never. had. an. in-person. BLD! We’re overdue for a celebration–a celebration of our community, of our success, of our growth. We have B Corps popping up everywhere, turning former deserts into rolling hills of lush certified B forest.
But that’s not the only reason BLD Southeast is going to be great, there’s other reasons as well. So without further adieu, let’s dive into the top five reasons this will be a conference like none other.
BLD Southeast–Yes, We Said “Southeast”
Ok, so yes, our map still has a hole in it. But the last time there was a B Corp conference in the southeast, it was Champions Retreat 2018. At the time, Louisiana had zero B Corps. Alabama had one. Georgia had eight. South Carolina had two. And the list goes on.
Our founder, Nathan Stuck, was there with our fellow B Local Georgia members, Ad Victoriam Solutions, Thrive Farmers, & Cafe Campesino, when the emcee did a roll call, going state by state, being answered with crickets, until they finally asked about the “south in general.” That moment is what motivated him, and us, to take such a leading role since the inaugural [virtual] BLD Southeast 2020. “On our own, we didn’t have much community, but as a region, we had a lot of potential if we worked together,” Stuck recalled thinking.
So in a way, this conference is a culmination of so many dedicated individuals working towards this moment–not just on the conference but on spreading the word. Jared Meyers, Jennifer Moreau, Winnie Mulamba, Sirena Andras, Christina Noel, Greg Norton, Jessica Thomas, Mel Hubner, Maria Kingery, Eric Henry, Kaley Cross, Adrianne Gordon, Kevin Christopher, Bruce Allen, Violaine Panasci, Jackie Godwin, Brad Flowers, Scott Koloms, Mackey McNeill, Laura Huckabee-Jennings, Beth Salyers, George Chmael, Kristi Tisdale, Toni Stiefel, Rhy Curry, Mike Mannina, Jake Mosley, Tripp Pomeroy, Zack Godfrey, and countless others (like seriously, the full list could fill this entire blog).
This conference is also a commencement of what’s to come, the dawn of the “better business, better south” movement, the moment where we make the collective business case that reshapes how we do our business.
Before that embarrassing moment at Champions Retreat in New Orleans, there was supposed to be a Champions Retreat in the Triangle. Then the bathroom bill happened. All of that energy quickly turned to disappointment, but this conference has reignited B Local NC Triangle and is finally giving them their moment under the spotlight.
The Triangle (and the entire state, shout out B Local Asheville) has always been the region’s leader in B Corps count, with 66 certified companies in the Tarheel State. They’ve trailblazed this region and it’s high time they got their due.
Raleigh is a world-class city with a classic, southern charm–and they are welcoming us with open arms. We’ve planned pre-conference excursions at CompostNow and in downtown Raleigh (who doesn’t love a locals led walking tour). There are also pre- and post-conference
receptions celebrations at Raleigh Founded and The Loading Dock, a BIPOC Gathering at Liberation Station, and a WeTheChange breakfast at Bay Six. And NC State’s beautiful Talley Student Union will be the main venue of the magic that will unfold.
The Speakers & The Content
We’re not understating that magic will unfold. The speaker list is phenomenal. We have speakers from almost every state in the region representing all of the great diversity we have to offer.
They’ll be discussing topics like creating a sustainable, supportive, & intentional B economy, getting your team involved in the community, doing impactful work in the diversity, equity, & inclusion space, and building the B Corp movement.
There is a fireside chat with Jorge Fontanez and Kate Williams, the CEOs of B Lab US & Canada & 1% For The Planet, respectively. And to follow that, we have Fenwick Broyard, the VP of People & Culture for Creature Comforts Brewing Company, delivering the keynote. Our companies are both based in Athens, so we’ve heard him speak–and it’s going to be a real treat.
A Southern Twang
It’s just…different down here. Even in our region, there are distinct differences, but also distinct similarities. The majority of us live in states that were the last to adopt public benefit corporation legislation (or in some cases, like North Carolina, still haven’t passed it). We live in states where letters have become lines drawn in the sand (e.g., don’t say ESG). And we live in states where we’ve gotten good, by necessity, at finding the middle ground and the things we have in common.
And we know the importance of talking about ROI, talent acquisition & retention, and customer acquisition & CLV. We’re bringing an important voice to the B Corp ecosystem in North America, one that is building this movement in a region where you wouldn’t expect to find it. We’re making the business case for every company, large and small, to believe in good business being good for business.
We live in states that are full of opportunity, rich with diversity and with growing tech, media, and manufacturing hubs. We live in states that we love, warts and all. It’s where we grew up and it’s where we chose to call home. We know it isn’t perfect (hey, nothing is), but we’re staying–and we’re doing the work. And we’re excited to share that “something” that the South got to say.
Ain’t No Party Like a B Corp Party…
We may be biased, because we’ve been heavily involved in the planning, and the most detailed of details–we’re ready for a break. But we’re also ready to see this all come together. All of the long nights and early mornings, the spreadsheets and the Eventbrite exports–it will all be worth it when we see 250 great people networking, making connections, sharing expertise, and enjoying each other’s company.
This event was so needed that we sold out before we started promoting it. And now it’s here. Old friends, new friends. Hugs and handshakes. Laughter and tears.
When we talk to prospects, one thing we always tell them is that a large chunk of the B Corp ROI lies in this wonderful community and the energy they give. And it will be on full display in Raleigh.
If this is your first experience at a B Corp event, you’re in for a real treat. And if it’s your 100th B Corp event, you’re in for a unique experience with a familiar friend.