This weekend we re-declare our interdependence and commitment to using business as a force for good! One year ago today we launched this podcast to share with all of you our journey to certification to hopefully help you in your journey and inspire you with all the good work happening in the B Corp community.
In this episode I sat down with the four students that worked with us and helped prepare us for submitting our B Impact Assessment (or BIA for short). We began exploring the BIA in March of 2020 and with the help of these students submitted our assessment on April 30, 2021. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we’ve enjoyed being part of the UNH B Impact Clinic.
Eric Berry 0:01
It really is up to businesses to make a change. You can’t really sit around and wait for governments to enforce regulations. The businesses really have the power. And if change is going to happen, then it really has to start with these businesses.
Benn Marine 0:17
From Dirigo Collective, this is Responsibly Different™. Sharing stories of certified B corporations and our journey of joining them in leveraging business as a force for good.
Over the course of our journey towards B Corp certification and the documenting of that journey here on this podcast, we heard very early on about the UNH B impact clinic. The first heard about the B impact clinic from Brittany Angelo and Episode Two.
Brittany Angelo 0:53
UNH is amazing. Just like shout out to Fiona Wilson. She’s great if you don’t know who she is, go find her.
Benn Marine 1:00
Brittany made such a compelling case that I reached out to one of the founders of the program at UNH, very infamous, Fiona Wilson.
Fiona Wilson 1:08
I’m Fiona Wilson, and my current role is I’m deputy chief Sustainability Officer at the University of New Hampshire and director of our Sustainability Institute.
Benn Marine 1:19
What the program does is pairs students with businesses that are either exploring becoming certified B corps or are already certified and are working through their recertification process. Some of the businesses that have been through the clinic have been here on the show, like Luke’s lobster, Stonyfield Organic, Coffee By Design and more. The students support the business working through the B impact assessment or BIA for short. The BIA is what B labs the nonprofit third party that certifies B corps uses to measure their impact on community, environment, their workers, and governance structure. To be clear, the students don’t complete the BIA for you, nor should you want them to. We have found great growth and learning in working through the BIA ourselves. Here’s Fiona Wilson from our third episode recorded in summer of 2020, talking about the value of the clinic to both students and the local community.
Fiona Wilson 2:20
The B impact clinic which is one of the programs that’s part of UNH is Sustainability Institute. And in fact, it’s part of a collaboration that the UNH Sustainability Institute has with our business school at UNH. It’s called the Paul College of Business and Economics and also with our Carsey School of Public Policy. You know, how do we work and support students who want to be changemakers? You know, you’re probably a millennial, I’m guessing, you know, and Gen Z be right behind you, you know that the data is super clear, right? This is a generation of people who absolutely are aware of all of the kind of big societal issues we face today, whether it’s, you know, the climate crisis, or racial injustice or so many other things, you know, students are aware of these issues. But most importantly, they don’t want to be on the sidelines, right? They want to be an active part of solutions. So they’re hungry for that kind of experience. They you know, they know that, you know, as of undergraduate education today is absolutely necessary, right, that this the more theoretical underpinnings that they get, in a classroom, super important, right? But they also know they need to build a whole other level of skill that we call that we kind of call high impact or real world learning, right? How do you take what you’ve learned in the classroom? But how do you kind of go and apply that in a in a real world setting and, and more importantly, how do you also develop those kind of the other set of skills that perhaps is a little bit harder to learn in traditional classroom, which is all about sort of, you know, problem solving, and communication, and storytelling and working in diverse teams, those are kind of skills that we would argue are absolutely vital if you want to be a change maker, if you want to be an effective change maker, but you don’t necessarily get them in a traditional education. And so that’s what our collaborative is all about. Helping give students those real world experiences in sustainability to help them develop those skills. We talked about, like developing the courage and the confidence and the competence to sort of be those changemakers. But the other part of the collaborative is that we want to use the resources of the university to really advance sustainability in the community, right, and to help businesses and nonprofits and government organizations advance their sustainability. And so they’re part of our collaborative, right. So you know, we’re matching our students with those companies and nonprofits, to have those students do sustainability projects that can help those organizations move their efforts ahead.
Benn Marine 4:57
We had the conversation with Fiona when we ourselves were ankle deep and the B Impact Assessment and the kind of support and guidance she spoke of sounded like a dream, especially when we were looking for all the help and guidance we could get in navigating the BIA. So we applied to partner with the clinic and were accepted into the spring 2021 cohort alongside Bristol Seafoods, LL Bean, Kikori, Prime Bucholtz and Good Start Packaging. I invited the four students that were part of our B impact clinic team from UNH onto the show to learn more about what got them interested in the clinic, what they’ve learned and what’s next for them, as well as sharing a peek behind the curtain as to our process and struggles in hopes that it will help you in your B corp journey. I was super impressed with all four students, as I’m sure you will be by the end of this episode.
Katie Roscoe 5:47
My name is Katie Roscoe. My pronouns are she her hers. I’m currently pursuing a dual major in marketing and sustainability.
Deniz Kayhan 5:55
I’m Denise Kayhan she her hers and my majors are Political Science and International Affairs and my minors are economics and Russian.
Eric Berry 6:05
My name is Eric Berry. My pronouns are he him his and I’m a current Junior in marketing with the sustainability dual major
Gabi Sott 6:13
Hi, my name is Gabi Sott I am a junior here at UNH, I’m dual majoring in sustainability, and International Business and Economics.
Benn Marine 6:21
I don’t know if you caught that. But they all are double majors wowzers. To kick us off, I asked the students about how sustainability and social responsibility became core values to them.
Gabi Sott 6:34
So for me personally, I went on a missions trip my senior year to help rebuild homes in West Virginia after major flooding had occurred. And after that trip, just seeing how it impacted poor communities in the Appalachian Mountains who had already been very poor. One of the poorest counties in the US just seeing the impacts that it had on those families made me look into climate change a little bit more because I feel like we don’t really learn about climate change and global warming really at all. In high school, at least I didn’t personally coming from a small town. So I feel like that can relate to a lot of people. So after going on that trip, it kind of made me realize that, you know, we can do more within the business sector because I knew I wanted to go into business. And then seeing the huge Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire really kind of made me want to focus in on sustainability in order to really just further business businesses in the future and you know, help combat climate change.
Katie Roscoe 7:39
I know for me, I kind of accidentally found myself in the business school, I really kind of thought I was going to go more into more in the area of psychology or political science. But an opportunity was presented to me to be a part of the Paul Scholars program within Paul College. And I will say that has been an incredible experience. Paul College has an incredible community, and I’ve really enjoyed my time. At the time, though, I was like, What am I going to do with this business degree, I had this like really jaded image of business. And it was very clear to me that the economy wasn’t working for everyone, it was working for certain people. And I just didn’t know how to fix it. And I didn’t know if it was fixable. But when I did take this class with Fiona, it kind of opened my eyes to the fact that I’m not the only one paying attention, like there’s this whole whole community out there that cares just as much as I feel like I do. And it was really inspiring, because I was like, okay, like, I now have a niche within business school that I belong. And I’m going to run with it and see where it leads me. And that has kind of allowed me to discover the sustainability dual major. And I’ve watched as that program has grown also. And I think the most incredible part about it, too, is the interdisciplinary aspect. I now get to meet students from all different majors with all different interests. So that really just opens your eyes to the different ideas and perspectives out there. I do think whether it’s called college or any school that you’re in, you can kind of get stuck in a bubble if you don’t expand outside of what you know. So I think that you know, both that initial class that I took the Fiona as well as just my time in the sustainability dual major has really impacted me and showed me that there is there’s a whole movement out there and I’m like, excited to be a part of it.
Eric Berry 9:41
I believe me and Katie were in the same class, if I’m correct with Fiona. And I remember seeing like Katie i was i was in between majors. I know what to do something environmental, environmental focus because my mom worked for the EPA for 30 or 20 something years, so she’s always pushing that onto me, and I was in between majors. And I remember taking that class and Fiona showed a is a graph and it showed the economic power of nonprofits, government bodies, and then independent businesses. And it was a staggering amount, like exponentially more for the businesses. And she said, it’s not really up to the site, really on the people to wait around for the government to enforce these regulations. And the nonprofits are doing their part. But it really is up to the people and by people, I kind of mean, like business owners and executives. But it really is up to businesses to make a change, you can’t really sit around and wait for governments to enforce regulations, the businesses really have the power. And if change is going to happen, then it really has to start with these businesses. And so that’s that’s kind of what turned me on. I said, Oh, snap, you know, the graph. I’m a visual learner. And I said, Well, you know, that really points that out very clearly. So I guess to answer that question, I said, Yes, I want to do business and sustainability, because that seems like it’s the future. And it is.
Katie Roscoe 11:12
I do remember that graph. I think it was, I think it said like, Walmart had a bigger total net worth than countries like a handful of countries around the world. No shade to Walmart, but just as an example of a very large, private company. Yeah, I do remember that. And I think, you know, we’re marketing majors. So it’s images that make us pay attention and make us care. So yeah, that has stuck with me, too.
Deniz Kayhan 11:44
Yeah, kind of bounce off of that. I like what Katie said, with the interdisciplinary approach. Because when I first got into this, I mean, I think we can all agree where we really love, like nature, and just being in it. And I guess, you know, appreciating it hiking, you know, running, walking around anything, really, it does so much for us. So I guess that’s like the root of it. But when I studied political science, I was like, I know this, isn’t it. And I want to put all of my interests together. And I think, and studying the political economy really like shows how businesses can make such like such an impact on society, and putting sustainability into that mix too, like, it’s just this whole equilibrium that you can get for society, and what society demands of the future and future generations and what it means to live sustainably and protect the environment that they live in.
Benn Marine 12:52
That’s awesome. And I’m curious, did you all know each other before this clinic? Or did you all meet through the clinic?
Gabi Sott 12:58
We met through the clinic? Yeah, we didn’t know each other before, which is kind of crazy. And we haven’t even met in person yet. Which is even more crazy.
Deniz Kayhan 13:06
Yeah, you guys just kind of exist to me on the computer. I don’t even know if you guys exist in real life.
Benn Marine 13:16
I’m curious, what was the most challenging part of being a being part of the clinic? And also don’t hold back? Like, if you’re like, Oh, my gosh, this guy, Benn, ooff man, and like, you know,
Eric Berry 13:26
yeah, the worst part was the client who’s terrible. The, when I was first pitched, the B impact clinic from that student who’s giving is like a guest lecture. And one of my classes. I was asking, like, kind of curriculum, or like, what the deadlines were. And she clearly said, you get out of it, what you put in. And that’s kind of the definitely the best way to sum it up. Because although, you know, you’re not giving us a grade and you’re not saying Oh, like you didn’t do this, that Well, you didn’t do this, I will be doing this really well. It’s really up to us how much we decided to put in obviously, every week we have to come back and answer to you. So it’s not like we can just you know, run off and put this on LinkedIn and say, to hell with it. But that stuff in the most challenging part is kicking yourself in the butt and making sure you get the stuff done.
Katie Roscoe 14:19
I will say too, it wasn’t. This semester was not my first time in clinic. It was my third of all but thinking back to when I did the clinic for the first time. I remember there just being a massive learning curve. You’re going from like probably you’ve heard of B corpse. But we up until then, at least for me, I didn’t have any direct experience with any B corps. So kind of going from like having a rough idea of what a B Corp is to literally consulting a company about how to be certified is like a huge jump. And it’s definitely something like to grapple with throughout the process, but it really I was like, the best way to learn is kind of like as you go. And I’ve kind of found by like throwing yourself into it and doing it. That’s how you get the most out of it. Like Eric said, if you’re like ready to go, and you really do want to learn and like experience what it is to be a B Corp, then it really is a great opportunity for that.
Deniz Kayhan 15:21
Just to bounce off of that, like, yeah, for me, I was gonna say, the learning curve, because this was my first time ever doing this, it, it was pretty hefty, but I think just, you know, having three other peers working like together and doing this all together really helped me learn and actually putting everything into practice really helped me retain that information too. And whenever I didn’t know anything, I knew, like I had three other people and a whole co- cohort to rely upon. So it was just, it was just really nice. Having a team and working with a really good team too.
Gabi Sott 16:00
I think for me, it’s, it’s a toss up of positives and negatives for having a lack of structure a little bit. Um, within like, the B impact clinic, there really isn’t a lot of structure of, you know, like Katie said, there’s not a lot of homework or assignments, it’s more of you just working with your clients, we do have a textbook that, you know, we’re we’re kind of, we’re encouraged to read, but there’s no check in with it. So it’s keeping yourself accountable. And, you know, educating yourself to be a consultant, while also checking in with your multitude of advisors. And also checking in with your client just juggling all the balls, I think was probably one of the biggest challenges. But the fact that we had such a great team this semester, it made it very doable. So I wouldn’t really have to say there are many negatives coming out of this semester, especially, so go team.
Benn Marine 16:56
in your meetings with your cohort at large, like the other groups to is there were there particular parts of the BIA that everybody was really struggling? Like, I’m curious what some of those like overall pain points were for, that were kind of a little more universal, and how the different groups maybe work through them.
Katie Roscoe 17:15
For the for the companies that are certifying for the first time or applying certified, there’s always usually at least one group per semester, there’s a little bit of, you know, we get going, we start diving in, and then we realize, Oh, my gosh, we’ve been categorized incorrectly and you’re filling out basically the wrong format of the BIA. And then it’s like, okay, now we start over with with our experience, I know this wasn’t as big of a hiccup as we thought it might be. But when we had to change the company size to reflect that like recent hires, it was like, Okay, well, we’re so new to this, that there’s kind of like little things that are actually big things that sometimes you miss. So I feel like that’s been a little bit of a consistent thing. As well as just kind of trying to figure out, Okay, I’m figuring out which deliverables will be enough to support your requests for points. Because I know, for me, I wasn’t familiar with the specific policy titles and the specific contracts and things that were needed, because that’s usually like an internal business thing. So you know, unless you have been in a business for failover to the business, you wouldn’t necessarily know that those things exist. So I think that is also you know, going back to the learning curve, like that’s something I think that’s a shared experience for everyone.
Gabi Sott 18:40
So there, there was one company this year, who just started up as a company. And I think for them initiating, possibly the process of being B Corp certified was early, and they didn’t have policies yet. I’m not sure. But juggling, you know, becoming a business and really having those first steps was a bit tricky for them. So I would have to say like governance with the governance section might be tricky for companies that are just starting up. So our early startups, just because they probably don’t know a lot of the questions yet about their governance.
Benn Marine 19:28
Yeah. And that was something that we ran into was like the governance I mean, even before we started working with you all and I think it was part of what made the whole experience really helpful was, I mean, we started you know, just a couple years, two or three years into our journey as a business. And so there was a lot of things that were like we’ve been so busy doing the do that we just hadn’t even thought about, like different policies and, and things like that, that you’re like, oh, shoot, okay, yeah, no, that makes sense. But now we have to think about what is our stance on that and what is our policy around that and when What language do we write? You know, like? So that is, that’s a that’s a good, good point. Awesome. And I’m curious what was the most rewarding part?
Katie Roscoe 20:09
I think this semester it was watching guys actually hit the button…
Benn Marine 20:14
pushing the button. What Katie is referring to is the moment our B Corp committee of seven folks, and a few of the students jumped on a zoom call to hit the submit button on our B impact assessment. The comical nature of our inability to easily find and complete this task made it all the more memorable.
(Mix of Speakers) 20:32
Why is there not a big red button? [background laughs] Was there a Continue button up top when we were on previous screen or the dashboard here like written I’ve got like, there we go. This will help me Okay, maybe under the B Corp certification tab and left the certification tab keep this keep part in the recording. Don’t just start out if there isn’t a button like the T’s on the bottom of assessments, okay. Oh be in practice. Can you continue? Oh, no princes I place I wonder if I come here. If I go to the disclosure questionnaire and maybe if I go to the end and I hit Oh, no, there’s no next okay.
Maybe try? Yeah, B Corp certification. Go back to their drop down. verification, verification process. Oh,
Benn Marine 21:32
I move I gotta move the faces. Okay. All right, we ready? Shoot like drum roll or something. I don’t know. This point, we had a 40 minute drum roll. Here we go. The mat. Based on your operation date of July 18 2018. You are submitting your assessment for pending B Corp certification. Submit. Okay, so this is the real button. So they faked us out. Here we go. Now it’s getting real. Boom. Oh my gosh. I can’t push button Really? There it is a screenshot that beauty. I did it too. Yeah. Like I’m gonna get all your faces appear to Okay. Fun!
Katie Roscoe 22:16
Um, that was something I’ve never witnessed before. And there’s some bumps in the road there. But it was super memorable for me. And I know that and I, it brought me back to like, why I wanted to work with your company to begin with. And it was just that super enthusiastic, positive energy that I felt when you first presented. It literally changed my mind. Like I had another company as my first choice. And when I saw you, I was like, No, I want this company. And I think it that like full circle moment was really exciting.
Deniz Kayhan 22:55
Yeah, to bounce off of that, too. Yeah, hitting the button was so exciting. And I think even the build up to like we were there. On zoom, I don’t even know for how long and we were trying to figure out where the button was. So once we actually hit it, it was really exciting to see and to see all of that work pay off. But also, I think it’s always rewarding to work with like minded people that are passionate about the same things that you’re passionate about. And I guess more specifically, it was really interesting to learn about the B Corp, certification and how it can be used for really any company smaller, big, like whatever it is. It’s it’s a model for like what we should be achieving in the future for businesses.
Gabi Sott 23:45
I think the most rewarding part for me would have to be just seeing how far we got in one semester. Like just not just compared. But like when we presented at the undergraduate research conference, the judges were just so ecstatic for us for accomplishing when we get around like 30 points throughout the course of the semester, we started around 67 and a half right and ended up finishing with 105. Right? I think so. But just seeing the progress throughout the whole semester was definitely very rewarding to me, especially within those last presentations when everyone was so excited for us. The chat on zoom, everyone’s like, Oh my gosh, congratulations. That’s so exciting. How did you get so far and like so little time? I didn’t really realize it until they started saying it. And we were like, Oh my gosh, that’s actually amazing. But it would definitely have a major part of that would be because of your team like having you guys meet every single week and assess your goals and give us deliverables. I feel like definitely made us realize what we needed to get to you immediately and what we could push off and really made us time manage the entire semester.
Eric Berry 25:00
I would say along with, you know, doing the meaningful work and seeing that improvement. Having that weekly check in with the cohort, Erin, is such a great, like support base. You know, there’s a lot of people who this is like their first time and the clinic. And also there’s some, you know, veterans who’ve done it for three or four semesters now. And big or small. I remember I worked with Stonyfield last semester. And there, of course, you know, like Jack’s pizza, there’s also small mom and pop shops. But regardless of that, every week, or every weekly check in with Erin, she’s always so supportive of the work we’re doing. And she’s always so grateful, and she makes it feel like, like it’s not being ignored. And it doesn’t, it’s not swept under the rug, Erin is a very, very supportive leader for the impact clinic. And it’s always so rewarding at the end of the semester, when she always congratulated us, it almost feels like a proud mom , after winning a trophy at a soccer game.
Benn Marine 26:05
I’m curious, so what so before you even got to meet with with me or the or the rest of the team? Did you already have kind of a plan of like, Okay, this is how we’re going to, you know, attack the BIA, or what was kind of like your approach to the BIA?
Eric Berry 26:19
So this is like my biggest gripe with the B impact clinic. And it’s why I love and what I hate about it is that there’s like not it’s not a typical class, we do get credits. But there’s no set curriculum, there’s no syllabus, and there’s no guidelines, and there’s no grades. And so it really is what you make out of it. And each semester is different depending on what company you’re with, and what they want out of it, and what you’re willing to put out. But I remember my first semester in, I had no clue what a V impact clinic was, or B Corp was. And we had these weekly client meetings, and I really didn’t know what I was doing in my first semester. And so there is a lack of structure with the B impact clinic. But that’s how we, as Erin told us, I’m not an actual consultant, but that’s how it usually goes with consulting. It’s usually up to the client and the consultant to, you know, figure out a game plan. And Erin, Erin kind of holds back on giving us like a set of objectives, she could go and say, okay, clients, we need, like five objectives for the semester. But instead, she kind of throws us lion’s den. And it is great. It’s a great way to learn, it’s a great way to you know, build leadership. But of course, it does have that, you know, fear aspect. It’s like, okay, we need to figure this out. And no one else is going to help us it’s just us in the client.
Benn Marine 27:45
What I’m curious, what advice do you all have for any businesses that might be listening and interested in pursuing B Corp certification?
Katie Roscoe 27:52
I think first of all, just recognizing that the B Corp community is so vast and just so supportive, and you know, everyone kind of comes together behind this mission of wanting to use business as a force for good. And I think sometimes you for businesses, when they’re first starting with the BIA, and it’s super overwhelming, and it’s like, Alright, how do we get from A to B. And I think just being able to reach out to current B corps I know that I have networked with a few different companies that are certified B corps and they have all been super approachable and just so nice to just so excited to welcome in anyone that wants to make a difference. So I would encourage any company that’s considering it to you know, reach out to those certified be corps reach out to people at the lab. Because only what if, like, literally the more than merrier, like that is our whole mission is to create this whole giant movement to you know, do what’s best for the world and, and create the space to improve socially, environmentally, economically. Yeah, there’s, there’s room for everyone like we want you all.
Deniz Kayhan 29:13
That’s Yeah, and I think one thing that I’ve learned is that the B Corp certification isn’t an end goal. Like it’s just the beginning. And I think what I’ve learned from the experience this semester, is that just, it’s good to take it slow, and it’s good to do every single thing, like every slowly and every step of the way. And just to, you know, focus on one thing, focus on the next and you’ll get there at some point. And given that like, say you aren’t able to submit that’s okay because you can continue to keep working towards that. And so you are able to submit and you can still continue to gain more points. So I think that’s just like such an amazing thing to have, I guess as a structure of the B Corp certification process. So yeah, just the B Corp certification isn’t the end goal. And that’s not how companies should approach it. It’s just kind of what else they can implement in their business model too.
Gabi Sott 30:20
I think the spreadsheet that we used, just to talk like logistics of the process, that we went through the spreadsheet we use that Benn was so kindly put together for us, broke down the potential points that we could get the current points that we have. And then potential, I believe it was, it was the current points, the potential points and the potential score. I feel like this really encouraged us throughout the semester for that end goal and gave us a number that we were really thriving for. And even if we couldn’t accomplish it now, further down the line with recertification. I think your company can definitely accomplish those points. But having that spreadsheet that we could all visualize throughout the semester, I think was a major. A major goal for us, I think that was great.
Deniz Kayhan 31:16
Oh, yeah. And just to add on to that, too, I think the one other thing that I learned with all like the approach to this was how sustainable it was in the spreadsheet was really part of that. Because you can use the spreadsheet forever, like you can use it once you certify you can use the after. And it’s just like a great way to keep track of everything. And yeah, I think sustainability should just be like one of the core values that businesses approach this certification process through.
Benn Marine 31:47
So I’m curious for folks that have participated in the clinic before, can you share some of the differences in your experience last time versus this kind of go around?
Katie Roscoe 31:58
Yeah, so for me, it’s been a wildly different experience, each time that I’ve done it. The first time, I worked with a sustainable fashion company called A Day down in New York City. And that was, again, my first time in the clinic. And I think the only one of us that had done the clinic before was our peer mentor. And we were like fish out of water. as consultants, like we didn’t know what was up and I do really want to pat Gabi and Denise on the back. Because you guys really like came into it, like so strong. We’re not like that we’re like really just like flying by the seat of our pants, trying to figure out exactly what it was that he needed from us and how we could get them to their goal, which by the way, I can’t say enough things about A Day I ended up interning for them last fall, which was incredible to the women. They’re like incredible love and all. Yeah, so that was that was my experience. And then last semester, I worked with Luke’s lobster. We worked directly with Ben. And he was like, also just incredible. And again, I’m a big energy person and his energy and Luke’s Lobster, their whole company’s energy was like tangible. And they’re like they’re out there like on the ground with fishermen. And, you know, they’re really like, put in the work and they’ve built an incredible business. Our experience with them is very different because they were recertifying. So it was it was interesting to see, you know, Ben, I knew how it worked. He knew how the BIA worked, and I think I was actually able to grow a lot from that experience because the foundation was laid and from there, we could just like kind of skyrocket with potential. So I’ve really learned a lot more about the BIA that semester. And yeah, so again, very different companies to because fashion companies seafood company now media company, and I’ve gotten so much out of every single one. And every time I’m like I hope I get a super different company every time because there’s so much that can be learned from all different types of companies. And it’s really just inspiring to see like, you know, companies from any fields can can do their part and be better no matter what you’re doing.
Eric Berry 34:11
Like Katie, my, my semesters in the clinic have been pretty different. Last semester, I worked in the Stonyfield, the yogurt and dairy producer, and that was definitely an experience. If, if anyone who’s listening doesn’t know stony fields, it’s like a number two dairy producer globally. So it was it was a relatively large company and I picked the main reason I picked Dirigo was because it’s much more relatively smaller than Stonyfield. And then the semester before that was Piscataqua Savings Bank and Portsmouth. All three experiences have been very good, very different, which is great. I picked Dirigo, a media company because I thought it’d be different from my last two experiences and it was but all three of them. I’ve been much, much more different from each other. And I’ve learned a lot from each one.
Benn Marine 35:05
That’s awesome. I’m curious, Denise and Gabi, how has this been your first clinic? What was it like? Like, what kind of expectations did you have? And what was it like acclimating?
Gabi Sott 35:18
I would have to say I saw my roommate go through it a little bit. So I kind of had a preview to what it looked like, relatively, I did feel like we were kind of thrown to the wolves a little bit. But I mean, that’s what consulting, I feel like when you’re in the consulting fields, you just have to act on the fly and be ready for anything. But I would have to say the textbook did help me address what a B Corp is kind of the the backgrounds that goes into becoming B Corp certified. And like Eric said, I know when I got that email of like, you need to build a BIA account, I was like, What is that I have no idea what’s going on. And then once you get into the site, and you start understanding why all of the questions matter and breaking it down for your company, you start to realize a little bit more, but it’s a self teaching process, which is why I think it’s such a monumental experience to be a part of. And I feel like more people really need to be aware of the B impact clinic here at UNH, and, you know, all universities across. But definitely, it’s it’s such a monumental experience to be a part of, and I’m happy that I’ll be continuing in the fall as well.
Deniz Kayhan 36:38
Yeah, I, I loved how there was no structure, even though I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Like That was my favorite part I just loved like, exploring on like on the BIA page and seeing what other resources we can use, or just reading the textbook or the other resources that the cohort provided us with. And yeah, I just, I really liked discovering these things through, I guess, personally. And being just really immersed in the meetings and kind of just listening, I tried to like, Listen most of the time, and just see what other people were saying and taking notes. So I think that’s like the best way that I learned from it. And yeah, just exploring, and I think that was a really fun part of it, honestly.
Benn Marine 37:33
That’s awesome. And I’m curious where you all will be entering the workforce, you know, relatively soon, some sooner than others. What are you what are you looking for in a job? Or in an employer? Have you kind of started looking for jobs or started thinking about that, like, or that do you have like a criteria in your head of like, okay, not doing it unless XYZ boxes are checked.
Katie Roscoe 37:54
I know for myself, I, I really thought I knew was going like the direction I was going. This semester, I actually took a marine policy class, just to serve as one of my electives for the sustainability dual major. And it really opened my eyes to, you know, the whole a pillar of government that, you know, we don’t really talk about within business school within the equip clinic. Because the whole the whole idea is that, you know, this was the first forget. And obviously, we do acknowledge that there are so many forces for that, and individuals themselves are can be forces for good. But it really, it showed me the intricacies of what goes on in Policymaking spaces and, and why it’s so important that we are staying aware and staying active in those spaces as well. So I don’t know I have like this drive to hold everyone accountable for what they’re doing. And I love B Corps because the hold themselves accountable. And it’s great. And it’s just this positive energy. And it’s it’s like they are truly the leaders and the trailblazers for a better world. I do I have like grappled with the fact that there’s also there’s also other forces that you know, we don’t want to forget about. And so that has been really eye opening to me, because that’s something that I haven’t been really exposed to in my college years so far. So that also kind of threw me for like a master election to get a master’s degree now Should I investigate these other interests, but I do think as far as working for a company, I don’t know that I would want to have for a company that wasn’t a B Corp. Unless they were like interested in me helping them become a B Corp like that would be great. Not necessarily that they need to be B Corp certified, but that they’re doing everything right and with the best of intentions. That’s what really matters to me. So I mean, it’ll definitely be on my radar when I am kind of in the job search. Just because I know that I know now the standards that companies can be held to and I almost kind of expect that out of them now,
Deniz Kayhan 40:04
I guess what I always look for in my internships or any job that I’ve worked for is the people and the energy. And that’s, that’s why one of the reasons why I chose Dirigo, but I think that makes such a difference in the work that you do and the work produced like by the whole team too. But I guess, and those people usually also have more of a purpose in everything that they do. And that’s what I really appreciate in people like that. And those people that have that purpose, probably have an even bigger purpose working for that company or initiative or anything like that. So I would love to be part of that like minded group of people, I guess, I’m just always interested in learning different things. And I love absorbing all of these things. And just like kind of putting it all out there into the world. So whether it’s through educating others, through companies, or movements, like the social or environmental movements, or just actually teaching other people about it through schools, and things like that, I would love to gain all of this experience with the things that I’m interested in social and environmental movements, and just put it out there out into the world. But not only for people to learn about, but for people to take action on. So I guess picking those two and then putting them together,
Eric Berry 41:34
when I look for a job. Unfortunately, beggars can’t be choosers, and you know, coming out of college with not a whole lot of experience, you kind of have to take what you can get and what I value most it wouldn’t be experienced and learning. So learning new skills, you know, potential to move up and promotions have more responsibilities and gain more experience. Of course, I am getting sustainability dual major. And obviously I do care about sustainability. It’s unfortunate that not every company is like a dirigo or Luke’s lobster or Jack’s pizza. But usually it only takes one or two people, you know, to keep petitioning within or inside the company and say, Hey, this, we should really start taking a look at this, we really got to start cracking down on our impact. And maybe I can be one of those people if I you know, get a job with a company that isn’t necessarily concerned with their impact. So I would definitely say when I’m looking for job, I value experience. Of course, when I’m older, I would like to have a higher level position that, you know, really deals with impact, especially on like, specifically the sustainability. But as of right now coming fresh out of college, I would value a job with experience potential for learning and also working for a company with a great mission.
Gabi Sott 42:56
I think in the past, I’ve always tried to find an internship or a job where the energy is high like Katie and Denise both said, but and again, that’s another reason why I really wanted to work with you, Benn, just because of that first presentation, you brought so much energy to the table. And I knew it would be a great experience just working with your company as a whole. But in my past couple internships. The company culture has been so incredible at talent retriever and the homeless center for Strafford County, where I was an intern for them. But just being surrounded by like minded people who want to make a difference is so monumental in just your day to day life. Because if the people you surround yourself with in your job, wants the same things as you and wants to make a difference in this world and make a positive impact in some way or another, then it’s going to encourage you too so I think in the future, I would love to be a part of a B Corp company or a benefit corporation. And like Katie said, if they aren’t one that I might encourage them slash maybe forced them to try. Just because I mean, Benn, I feel like you have seen how impactful the B Corp community already is for you. And you just tried certifying. So just being a part of that community opens the doors to new suppliers that have the same outlook on things as you do or just new connections that you could possibly use in the future and just to make those connections for the long run. So just being a part of a company that wants to potentially be good or is already having those morals is super important to me.
Benn Marine 44:40
Awesome. Thank you all for sharing that. I’ve got just a couple quick questions. If you could do it again. What would you do differently?
Deniz Kayhan 44:51
Um, I mean, honestly, I really loved this experience for all of the challenges and the successes. I think that’s what made it Such a great experience. But if I were to do the B impact clinic again in the fall, which I can’t, but if I could, I would just want to choose a different company that’s not a media company. So then I could learn about how other companies approach this like B certification too, just to get a different perspective.
Benn Marine 45:22
That’s awesome. Also, you all kind of mentioned that there was a textbook that went along with it. I’m just curious what what was the textbook, cause I’m thinking it might be helpful for folks.
Katie Roscoe 45:33
I think it’s just we call it a textbook, it’s like, it’s kind of like, it’s bigger than a pamphlet but smaller than a textbook. It’s like this little book that we get. And I believe they call it the B Corp Handbook, or the B Corp handbook. And I will admit, I haven’t done a deep dive i did i read some of it that first semester, because I was just looking for, like any resource at that time. But I mean, as you know, to like, the more you go through the BIA, the more you find these little tiny rabbit holes that bring you exactly where you needed to be all along. So there’s a good chance that those are reading the pages of the handbook. But we just chose to kind of learn on the fly.
Benn Marine 46:16
Were there any other resources that that you all used or that were given to you that you’d recommend folks pursuing B Corp certification? Check out,
Deniz Kayhan 46:26
I don’t know exactly where but I just like, looked, I explored through the whole, like BIA website that we had with the dirigo collective like through the application. And there were a bunch of resources that they attached to the questions throughout the application that I would always look through. Because I mean, for example, for the carbon footprint, I was able to find those certain calculators for dirigo through one of the resources that the BIA provided, so I would just like try to look through all the holes and little nooks and crannies throughout the website, because they definitely have everything there that could really make your application even better.
Benn Marine 47:12
That’s awesome. And then I have one last question, actually, for you Deniz, I’m curious, as a political science major, what do you think some of the political impacts, and I’m sorry to put you on the spot like this, but what do you think some of the political impacts are? of, of the B Corp movement?
Deniz Kayhan 47:28
That’s a great question I say, and one that I’ve honestly been thinking about a lot. But I think what’s interesting about the B Corp movement is that it really focuses on like, democratizing businesses. So these businesses are focusing on what the workers need and what the community needs. And it’s such a like, niche focus on society that I think is so interesting from a political science perspective. And I guess from the impact that the B Corp movement does on the political economy, or society, from the political lens, is that it’s not just government that can make a change, it’s also business too and just as an individual, you can also be part of the change through this movement. And it doesn’t take I mean, yes, you can obviously, like, I encourage that to promote legislation that for issues that you care about. But you can also do it in so many other ways. And I think that’s what’s really valuable about this whole movement of the B Corp certification.
Benn Marine 48:42
Awesome. Thank you so much. Did anybody else have any thoughts on that, that they wanted to add?
Katie Roscoe 48:47
I was just gonna add quickly. I think what’s unique about B Corps too, is they kind of, they’re like, okay, we’re not going to wait for politics to keep up, we’re just going to go out there and make the change ourselves. And that’s something that, you know, that’s that energy we’re talking about. That’s so inspiring. It’s just so like, go getter. Because politics really do they can just get in the way and so things down. And I think that’s why there is this whole movement as business as a force for good because that’s something that we can really control as, you know, members of companies and owners of companies, so yeah, I think I think taking action yourself as opposed to waiting for someone to tell you it’s okay to take that action is very inspiring.
Benn Marine 49:39
That’s awesome. Any any final thoughts before we before we sign off here?
Katie Roscoe 49:44
I will just say that I really, really enjoyed the semester working with Dirigo Collective. I recently talked to a few internal employees at Dean’s Beans and I was reflecting on The time he came and spoke at our clinic and as a speaker, he was just super electric, he really just lit a fire under everyone. And I was talking to one of their employees. And I was like, you know, if every company was like this one, the world would be an incredible place. And I say the same about Dirigo Collective, I think if everyone had the drive to do better, and to make a better world, then we would have a better world. So thank you for like bringing that energy into the world.
Deniz Kayhan 50:31
Yeah, I that’s just like such a good point. I don’t even like want to take away from this. But I just wanted to say, thank you. And this has just been like such an eye opening experience to work with you guys. And yeah, your energy, I always talk about it with everybody that I talked about this internship with, it’s just amazing. And it’s so like, heartwarming to see that there are people like minded people like this in the world, and that this is what the future can look like. And yeah, I know, I’m gonna use what I learned in this experience in the future. So thank you for that.
Gabi Sott 51:11
And I hate to be repetitive. But it has been such a great opportunity to work with you and the company just because it’s enlightening to see a media company attack the B Corp certification just because I feel like that was one of the main reasons why I want to work with a media company just because it seemed like a challenge. And it didn’t seem like the typical roots of B Corp certification. It seemed like it could be tricky and have a lot of, you know, bumps along the way. But just seeing how we can attack it was something super intriguing for me. And just being able to have your entire team work with you every week to assess your goals and understand what the goals of your company is, I think is so monumental, especially for companies that are trying to certify right now, if you can meet with your team, once a week, you can better assess how people want to attack the BIA and to attack the future goals of the company. So that being said, thank you so much for a great opportunity this semester, it’s been beyond incredible. And the energy that your entire team brings has been monumental. So thank you.
Eric Berry 52:26
to be even more repetitive. I’d also like to say thank you. It’s not easy for companies to really implement this. And a lot of companies look at it as a downside or an unnecessary cost or, you know, just a loss of profit. But it really does have real world impact. And it really does benefit the company. And Dirigo, it really is setting an example for a lot of companies. And yes, I would like to say thank you, it’s been a great experience.
Benn Marine 52:57
Thank you so much for tuning into this bonus episode on our one year anniversary of the responsibly different podcast next week, really excited to be talking about conscious capitalism and the difference between B Corps and Benefit Corporations and navigating those waters. And I know today is Saturday tomorrow being the Fourth of July. And as you’re out, enjoying those Independence Day celebrations. Remember how truly interdependent all of us are. Till next time, be responsibly different. This is a production of Dirigo Collective Claire Clawson is our project manager Jeremy Glass is our writer. The music is an original score by our very own Kevin Oates and I, Benn Marine am your host and editor. To learn more about dirigo collective visit dirigocollective.com