I just got back from what may have been the best business conference ever, the Social Venture Institute at Hollyhock on Cortes Island. Besides the breath taking land, mountains, ocean and forests, everything about it was all good. The sessions were first class and their format succinct and relevant. Learning from experts in the fields of branding, social enterprise, social media, strategy, business development, raising capital, basically all the things you need to have together to build a successful social mission based business. World class particpants and up and coming super stars, I feel lucky and privilaged to have been a part of it. Business is a lot more than about making money and this conference proved it. You need to have it together to be successful and profit is only a piece of success.
Top 5 things I loved about SVI
1) Networking – there aren’t many places in the world where you can learn from multi millionaires, corporate executives, social justice leaders and budding entrepreneurs while kicking back in a hot tub looking out into Desolation Sound. I met so many amazing people, and not just trading cards, but really connecting, talking and learning from people I know I’ll stay in touch with.
2) The Food – Top notch, local, organic healthy tasty living. Enough said. Everything put in front of us was amazing. Nourished mind, body and soul. SVI has it sorted. When the chefs get a standing ovation you know you’re in good hands.
3) The Cortesians – It had been a few years since I’d been on Cortes Island while working on my MBA at the Bainbridge Graduate Institue (BGI). BGI has a great campus on this beautiful, quaint and remote island in the North Gulf Islands on the British Columbia coast. All the locals we met were super friendly, down to earth and leaders in so many ways. One of the leading Permaculture design schools is on Cortes – Linnaea Farm.
4) The Land – Beautiful big western red cedars, lush ferns on the forest floor, huckleberries, Sitka Spruce and fresh ocean air. Hollyhock is one beautiful place. Beaches for swimming, in the ocean or a nearby fresh water lake, everything was at our fingertips.
5) The buildings – green buildings left right and center. Inspirational learning spaces for the mind and heart. Besides all things business we nourished ourselves with massage, meditiation, yoga, you name it. Natural building at it’s best. Cobb houses, solar power, yurts and modern concrete post beam luxary homes. Did I mention the hot tubs! Damb, this place is a slice of bliss.