Almost seven years ago, I had a dream. I was standing in front of a building with large windows in a downtown area. It was the home of my business. I owned a company that was successful enough that I didn't have to take on many clients to make revenue. When I woke up from my sleep, a seed was planted; I should own a business. The type of business, I was unsure of, but slowly things started to materialize. I came up with the name Lima Pea Co., a play on my name. I purchased a domain, trademarked the name, and started building a website. I eventually started to think about the function of the business. I knew that I didn't want to own a business that exploited people or the planet. With that decision, I decided to build slowly and intentionally.
I do believe that projects and ideas are an extension of how we see the world. There are many components of my background that have led me to live and work with a service-oriented lens. I do things to help others and to help the planet. I am always thinking about growth and how to grow without exploitation.
This reminds me of the idea that the "personal is political". Try as I may, I cannot separate my personal experiences and the systems in which I live in. Thus, over the years as I have worked on various projects and considered starting a business, I have realized that my personal beliefs and worldviews will shape my company culture and business model.
I realize that the decisions that I make will not only impact revenue and profit margins, but also the people I employ, the community where I work, and the environment in which I live.
There are companies that have social impact, corporate social responsibility, community relations, diversity and inclusion, and/or supplier diversity programs. These programs are divisions or projects that are addons. What happens when the idea of social impact is embedded within a company from the beginning? What happens when social impact is not a quota, or for tax credits, or for media buzz, but it's a strategic and key component of how a company moves and makes decisions?
This is what I am thinking about as I work on developing Lima Pea Co.
I started with thinking through the core beliefs of Lima Pea Co. The core beliefs include: values, vision, mission, principles. These components helped me think about the future organizational structure, organizational model, and even the supply chain.
For example, the platform I am using to send this newsletter is Ghost. Ghost is a remote first, open source, non-profit with transparent metrics. The company has values and practices that align with what I am looking for in the tools that I use. Not every company is going to have everything that I am looking for, but something I look for are other companies that make intentional decisions that are part of their company purpose. I like that Ghost is open source and that they are a remote first company. I also liked that they want to help others become independent publishers.
This decision is an example of how I am embedding social impact into the building of Lima Pea Co.
Another example of embedding social impact into the building of Lima Pea Co, is that a percentage of revenue (maybe profits, I'm still researching which is the most impactful decision) will be donated to Grown in Haiti, a Haiti-based organization that promotes reforestation and community development.
There are many ways to make intentional choices when building a company for social impact. A key thing to consider is that ideas of social impact and social good are not just a side division of a company, but are the company. These are things to think about when writing the mission statement, when considering what products and services to provide, when deciding which vendors to procure supplies from, when deciding who sits on the board of the company, even when considering how to legally structure the business.
Changing the world to be a better place for future generations will not only take individuals, governments, and non-profits making a difference, but also businesses as well.
Lima Pea Co., is a leadership development firm providing stories and strategies for those building social impact. As I continue to develop and think through how I am showing up as a leader in my community and how I am creating a company that values people and the planet, I will continue to share my process and thoughts as I learn.
Have you given any thought to how you can infuse social justice and social impact values and principles into your projects and organizations?
For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. - Audre Lorde