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Why the SVN Conference Was Awesome

We recently sent our VP Dana Hagenbuch to check out the Social Venture Network Fall Conference. Attended by socially-driven businesses, impact investors, nonprofits and even a few yogis, the conference provided an inside view of a truly remarkable community. Dana shared her top four highlights from this unique event.

1) Attending a session on investing for impact. When asked about opportunities to invest in local communities, entrepreneur and panelist Dan Levinson summed it up by saying, “Walk out of the room, turn left, everybody needs help.” In this session, we also shared a bar of chocolate across an entire room of 50 people and there was enough for everybody.

2) Participating in a “Women’s Circle.” When I saw this session on the schedule, I was skeptical to say the least. I pictured a coven of ladies making offerings to the moon goddess. But it ended up being a really joyous way for the women of the conference to connect. And I learned a few new dance moves in the process.

3) Meeting social entrepreneurs who are making edible paint, developing a farmer-owned forestry industry in Kenya, building green buildings in Harlem, and saving the honeybee.

4) Hearing Van Jones not just deliver a speech, but completely rock the room. Former green jobs advisor to the White House, Van challenged the audience to think about the current social landscape, particularly the disappearance of movements of citizen action. Amongst the more powerful things he said was this: for the BP oil spill to happen, it took someone making a tiny decision to not purchase a $500K safety valve. This tiny decision—based on greed—resulted in irrational and catastrophic outcomes. Now what happens if you flip that? Take a tiny decision—based on hope and love—and think about the impact it can create. Irrational and momentous outcomes are possible as long as we act, even in small ways.

In short, attending SVN opened our eyes to a whole new side of social entrepreneurship. We hope to continue to be a part of this amazing community. In the meantime, Dana brought us back a can of edible paint to snack on.



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