Conscious Brands

Awakening Awesome

Awakening Awesome 2000 2000 Catherine Bell

Awakening awesome. At The Awakened Company, we want to highlight awesome and realness in business. Conscious Brands is up to some super juicy stuff in Calgary despite the current economic downturn. Take a peak.

AwesomeI recently had the opportunity to speak with Rob Sinclair (Founder & Sustainability Sherpa) and Matt Mayer (Sustainability Sherpa) to ask them about what they are up to. Here’s what they had to say:

How are you disrupting the status quo?

Conscious Brands’ core purpose is Activating Consciousness in Business. Practicing the new economy is at the core of what it offers to companies who are ready to do business differently, to do it better that fits the 21st century. It is also an incubator of the new economy by practicing on itself, living into its virtue of “how you do anything is how you do everything”.

Conscious Brands is disrupting traditional business models and practicing the new economy in several ways:

  1. Conscious Brands provides services that support organizations to increase their consciousness so as to be better. Disrupting business as usual is foundational to the services it provides and to the impact it makes to its clients, to the world and to future generations.
  1. It is a founding Canadian B Corp; a certification for companies that meets a higher level of social and environmental responsibility and transparency. Part of being a certified B Corp is amending its Articles of Incorporation to reflect its commitment to providing value to all stakeholders (i.e. environment, employees, community, shareholders, etc.) versus simply shareholders. Check out its public B Corp profile.
  1. Conscious Brands practices a management system called Holacracy that embeds distributed leadership and distributed authority in how the business is run. This means that there are no bosses and no managers, only leaders. Those who fill Roles at Conscious Brands fill multiple Roles and have authority to make decisions in those Roles that even the working shareholders don’t. Holacracy is a great way to honour the shift in power dynamics, high adaptability, evolving governance and learning-organization traits that the new economy is calling of us.

How has your company improved its bottom line during this time, and if not, what are you noticing?

Conscious Brands’ bottom-line is no different than any other professional services firm, it ebbs and flows. It is particularly dynamic because the new economy is emerging, demanding that the company be rapid, continuous learners and practicers in order to provide value to its clients. Due to this, the core purpose and Holacracy, it is constantly contacted for job opportunities from extremely bright and discerning individuals, of which, more opportunity will be available as it continues to generatively grow. Those who work with or for Conscious Brands are ambassadors, resonating with a level of professionalism and quirkiness in their approach that makes for strong relationships that tend to stick.

The company has never been as profitable despite the economic conditions in Calgary.

How is your employee retention? Speak to your experience with keeping great people?

In full transparency, in the last few months the two local employees at Conscious Brands chose to move on. The move was bitter sweet as the employees were exceptional people who grew as people and leaders tremendously in their time with Conscious Brands; it is always hard to spend less time with those kind of people. On the other hand, it was a gift from the universe as Conscious Brands was provided with a new opportunity to restructure when it was more needed that what was available to the naked eye.

Outside of this recent experience, Conscious Brands hasn’t had much engagement with employee retention because the model has been based on partnerships on a more project-to-project basis. Like its clients, these collaborators speak praises of collaborating with Conscious Brands and these bonds are durable and shared.

What practical practices would you suggest to other businesses in Calgary at this time?

  1. Check out and take the Quick B Impact Assessment (20-mins) or Full B Impact Assessment (~3hours).
  1. Enrol in the 30×30 challenge from the David Suzuki Foundation for the month of May. Participants pledge to spend a minimum of 30 minutes in nature each day for 30 days straight. The mental health research is jaw-dropping.
  1. Do a check-in at the start of every meeting, asking a question like “what has your attention right now?” so as to have people give context to how they REALLYare showing up to the meeting and what is currently distracting them from being present to the meeting. A check-out responding to a question like “what will you take away from this meeting?” is also a good way to bring reflection and an end-cap to the meeting so presence can be more seamlessly brought to the next endeavour.
  1. Consider utilizing a meditation app like HeadSpace which offers short (10-minute) meditations for free.
  1. Take as little as 5-minutes each morning and each evening to set intentions and reflect, respectively, on your days. This has incredibly useful benefits for leaders to live happier and healthier lives. A tool that we suggest is the 5-minute Journal.

This is a heart warming story of following your values and it pays off.

What suggestions do you have for Calgary organizations at this time?

Want to learn more about building a better, more sustainable and successful business? Check out best-seller, The Awakened Company.


Catherine Bell Keynote at REAP’s Down to Earth Week Festival on April 15

Catherine Bell Keynote at REAP’s Down to Earth Week Festival on April 15 1854 2029 Catherine Bell


I am super excited to be the keynote presenter at REAP’s 8th annual Down to Earth Week Festival in Calgary on April 15. Join me at this event from 5:30-8:30 pm at Civic on Third (130 – 3 Ave SE) for an inspiring evening that showcases what it means to be an Awakened Company.

Click here to buy tickets.

Click here to find out more about the festival.

REAP Business Association, which stands for Respect for the Earth and All People, is a Calgary-based not-for-profit association for locally owned businesses that care about the community and the environment.

This festival is for social entrepreneurs and business leaders of all industries who are looking to take the next step in their sustainability journey. Come to network and support your fellow Albertans who are working hard to launch and/or grow their business, shape our local community and make a positive impact for people and the planet.

In my keynote presentation, I will make the business case for an awakened approach and a new economic model. Then five entrepreneurs, who are either starting or growing local businesses, will pitch their crowd funding campaigns on the BoostR Stage. You decide which of the presenters will get a boost of $1,000 from ATB Financial.

Dozens of displays will help you connect with local partners who can help you to advance your business for greater prosperity and community benefit. Your ticket only costs $56.28 and includes:

  • My keynote presentation
  • A copy of my best-selling book, The Awakened Company (Namaste Publishing 2015)
  • 5 pitches from social entrepreneurs running an Alberta BoostR crowd funding campaign
  • 4 judges who will give candid feedback to the entrepreneurs pitching
  • A vote for which pitch will receive a $1,000 boost from ATB Financial
  • Networking with 300 of Alberta’s brightest business leaders and social entrepreneurs
  • A seasonal, locally sourced dinner and cash bar

I hope to see you there!


M Tribe

Women of Influence and The M Tribe

Women of Influence and The M Tribe 1800 1200 Catherine Bell

I recently attended a Global Women of Influence Dinner and it was fantastic.  To have a room full of incredible people in an intimate setting was very meaningful.  To truly connect with people, we all need time and space for one on one conversations and this is what this event allowed for.

I had the opportunity to meet Women of Influence’s new co-CEO’s, Alicia Skalin (formerly VP Events & Marketing) and Stephania Varalli (forWomen of Influencemerly VP Content) and am excited to see what they have in store for all of us.

Here is a statistical overview of women’s involvement in the workplace. We can do better in regards to women’s advancement. In a recent White Paper with Thomson Reuters, Women of Influence suggest the following solutions to women’s advancement in the workplace:

  1. Women of InfluenceMake Gender Intelligence a strategic imperative
  2. Show conduct and character exemplary of a gender intelligent leader
  3. Embed Gender Intelligence into all hiring processes and practices
  4. Embed gender intelligence in all promoting practices including succession planning
  5. Declare your intention to be a gender intelligence organization
  6. Generate a strong female leadership pipeline
  7. Provide support, guidance, and leadership training for women
  8. Generate gender intelligent understanding and behaviours throughoute the organization
  9. Embed gender intelligence in all customer and client facing efforts.

Women of InfluenceWomen of Influence

M Tribe

M is open for business Women of Influenceand we want to let you know about it.  Their mission is to make the benefits of meditation available to every workplace leader, team, and employee.  The people involved in M are people like JP in Calgary, Alison Raby in San Francisco, and Rachel in Seattle. If you are interested in a 12 week meditation program, please check them out here and here.

Meditation is one key to awakening your self and a corporate meditation program is another key to awakening your organization. These are regenerative practices, which I discuss in my book, The Awakened Company.

Lessons on Awakening from Entrepreneurs

Lessons on Awakening from Entrepreneurs 800 800 Catherine Bell






Lessons on awakening were abound at The Awakened Company‘s recent pop-up book signing and interactive discussion at Calgary’s downtown Indigo bookstore.

BluEarth Founder, Kent Brown and Matrix CEO, Rob Pockar led a discussion of their first-hand, entrepreneurial experience in building and leading awakening companies.

Kent started off with lessons learned from BluEarth. He described his business as awakening vs. awakened – a process and continuous approach that results in a better company compared to “business as usual”. BluEarth grew from nothing to over $1 billion in value in less than five years.

Using a Triple Bottom Line approach to business, Kent’s focus has been to create a great environment and hold an aspiration that’s greater than profitability. Focus on values, culture and people, and the result will be a more profitable company.

BluEarth uses many of the practices described and advocated by author Catherine Bell in The Awakened Company. In this short video, Kent describes why BluEarth has been successful. The proof these practices work? In less than five years, BluEarth accomplished the following:

  1. Profit – not in spite of trying to be more awakened, it is because of this.  BluEarth met or exceeded all of its financial targets.
  2. People – engaged, happy, results driven, caring, no unintended turnover.
  3. Planet – being a renewables focused company is not enough – BluEarth’s team is driven to look for ways to have less impact on the planet.

Rob added to this with his experiences from Matrix, which from 1993 to today grew from 4 people to a team of 600 throughout Canada. Matrix’s underlying reason for being has always been to create a great environment for its people. To have an aspiration that is greater than simply a sole focus on profitability. The result of this aspiration? Happier and more engaged people, more meaningful work and, yes, a more successful organization. This short video discusses how.

With these first-hand, in-the-trenches accounts of Awakened Company practices in action, Rob and Kent were able to demonstrate that awakening companies make better companies.

Catherine espouses in her book and in her life how doing the smallest thing can make the biggest difference. What can you do to start?

You can start your journey of awakening today by reading our book, The Awakened Company.


Book Signing

Book signing Today at Indigo’s downtown Calgary location!

Book signing Today at Indigo’s downtown Calgary location! 800 600 Catherine Bell

Come and join us for a book signing for The Awakened Company and an interactive conversation TODAY at Indigo‘s downtown Calgary location @ 317 – 7 Avenue SW (TD Square), from 12-2 pm.

book signing



Catherine Bell - Book Launch

Watch our inspiring book launch recap

Watch our inspiring book launch recap 2560 1707 Catherine Bell


Watch our book launch recap from an amazing and inspiring night on October 22, 2015, hosted by Owl’s Nest Books. Thank you to the over 200 people who s

howed up and gave The Awakened Company its wings…

book launch

book launch


Book Signing

Join us for a surprising book signing

Join us for a surprising book signing 800 600 Catherine Bell

surprising book signing

A surprising book signing and interactive conversation will take place at Calgary’s downtown Indigo @ 317 – 7 Avenue SW (TD Square), from 12-2 pm on Thursday, November 26, 2015.

Learn what it means and what it takes to be an Awakened Company and how businesses can succeed in the end. Join Rob Pockar, CEO of Matrix, Melissa Pockar, Founder of MoreSo, Kent Brown, Founder of BluEarth, and Catherine Bell, Author & Founder of The Awakened Company and BluEra at THE AWAKENED COMPANY  book signing for an interactive conversation that will have you rethinking the way you do business in today’s difficult times.

Book signing begins at noon and the conversation begins at 12:30 pm. Come and join the conversation.



Lessons on Awakened Leadership

Lessons on Awakened Leadership 2560 1707 Catherine Bell

Many lessons on awakened leadership were discussed by the panel and audience at our BluEra book launch of The Awakened Company. Check out our short video that highlig20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_076hts some of this discussion and the event.

Fewer than 1 in 5 leaders in organizations are perceived as truthful. Yet organizations with high trust environments perform 300% better than those that do not. This is a call to action. We can and we must do better.

Awakening as a leader and as an organization is a recipe that creates the passion and energy people are craving at work and what we need to make the world a better place. A buy-product of awakened leadership and awakened organizations is better performance under any metric. Companies perform better not in spite of being awakened, but by the very fact they are awakened. And, I can tell you, they have a lot more fun along the way and create deep meaning in people’s lives.


The Awakened Company is a roadmap to better leaders, better companies, better communities and, ultimately, a better world. Isn’t that what we all want? We invite you to join us on this journey.

How are you going to do better? What lessons on awakening have you learned? Tell us by replying to this blog or posting a response on our social media. We would love to hear from you.

Mac Van Wielengen

Failure: Turning Lead into Gold

Failure: Turning Lead into Gold 2560 1707 Catherine Bell


20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_063The BluEra book launch took place Thursday, October 27th.  Thank you so much to the amazing BluEra Team for the sold out launch of our book, The Awakened Company, and to all of our clients for your support.  The President and Founder of Namaste Publishing, Constance Kellough, and her husband Howard, along with my collaborators Russ Hudson from NY and Christopher Papadopoulos from Montreal, and my sister Kim Bell, were in attendance. Calgary participants in the book are Rob Pockar, Mark Montemurro, Shawna Guiltner, Brett Wilson, Kent Brown, and Mac Van Wielingen.

Our morning was kicked off by my wonderful cofounder Shahauna Siddiqui. The panel was le20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_094d by the brilliant Mac Van Wielingen. Members of the panel included the incredibly dynamic Suzanne West,  the thoughtful Regan Davis, and myself. We addressed the ways in which awakened (or awakening) leadership is confronting. We also covered the importance of trust, the realitiesof today’s business environment, and how we can bring positive change to the community and wider society.

20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_003Underpinning much of the conversation were the invaluable lessons failure can teach us. The facts must be confronted: the majority of businesses die within a decade of their launch, while at the same time those who staff our workplaces are largely disengaged.

To draw on the words of Pema Chodron, we need to fail, then fail again, but fail better. This we can do only if we learn from our lesser failures, instead of requiring a massive failure to teach us—with the result that people no longer want to work with us, trust is eroded, and obtaining capital proves challenging.

Are we learning? A Watson Wyatt study shows high trust environments outperform low tr20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_053ust environments by over 300%. However, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, fewer than one in five believe their leaders are truthful. The reality is that trust is easily eroded and the social contract is being broken all the time in organizations. I recently heard of a company who turned off people’s IT before the employees knew they were going to be let go, and some were let go via a knock on the door. Organizations in which such inhuman treatment reigns continue rolling along—until the day they fail.

Imagine what could happen were we to unleash trust’s potential. As Stephen Covey says, trust is like a dividend, whereas low trust is like a tax.

We can do better. We need to restore trust in data instead of egoic opinions, heartfelt feelings instead of fear, action taken with integrity instead of from short-term expediency, relationships that are more than nominal, teams that draw out everyone’s creativity, organizationsthat can be believed in, and businesses that truly benefit communities instead of harming them.

It’s time to stop using people as a means to clean the balance sheet, instead laying people off only as a last resort after every other option has been exhausted. Research has shown a negative correlation between CEO pay and performance, so imagine what it would do to trust and performance were CEOs to publicly say they are going to sacrifice along with everyone else. At the same time, we need to have compassion for the burnout CEO who is doing their absolute best for their people.

The way we are going to solve some of our greatest challenges is by working more authentically together, which will greatly increase our effectiveness. To do this requires greater self-awareness, the ability to trust and be trusted, heartfelt commitment, ethical behavior, and clarity of purpose—20151027_CB_BellBreakfast_105each of which play a key role in sound decision making, innovation, engagement, and positive financial results.

We need to develop a regenerative economy—one in which shock absorbers are built into the organization so it can withstand and even thrive during downturns. For instance, organizations need to think regeneratively when it comes to profit and savings, seeing profit as a means to energize and sustain the future, not as a short-term windfall to be squandered. We urgently need to end our short-termism around profit generation, a move that would make a huge difference when difficult times arrive on our doorstep. We all want our organizations to be meaningful, interesting places to work, where we are each learning and bettering ourselves.  Let’s build on the mass of empirical evidence we have to this effect—indeed, on what we all also intuitively know to be true.

What an incredible week it was. Two successful book launches, and our book is already a #1 bestseller.  We are so grateful for all those who have supported our book and its important message. If you want to pick up a copy or e-copy of The Awakened Company, then click here. We have also launched an online store with sustainable products to support you in the awakening of your organization, team, community, our planet and YOU. Check it out here.

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sold out

BluEra Business Book Launch Sold Out!

BluEra Business Book Launch Sold Out! 2560 2438 Catherine Bell



The Awakened Company’s business book launch hosted by BluEra this morning is sold out and with a waitlist.  WOWSERS.  Thank you all so much for your tremendous support! We are so excited about and grateful for the great reception that we’ve had for our book.


Here is a quote for your to start your day off from Craig Kielburger of Me to We: “Whether you are in a for profit, social enterprise or not for profit, how are you measuring your impact?”.