employee engagement


Awakened Leaders Vlog – Part 3 in an Interview with CEO of New Resource Bank

Awakened Leaders Vlog – Part 3 in an Interview with CEO of New Resource Bank 1698 1131 Catherine Bell

Vlog Series – Awakened Leaders

Our current guest on our vlog series on Awakened Leaders is Vince Siciliano, President and CEO of New Resource Bank . This is part 3 of 8 in our interview with Vince, and we’ll release the rest of the interviews with Vince over the coming weeks.

In this interview, Vince shares his thoughts on practices to cultivate great relationships in business.


About New Resource Bank

New Resource Bank is a mission-oriented bank based in San Francisco. As a result, they use money and banking to do good.

They advance sustainability with everything they do. From the loans they make to their commitment to using deposits for good, they work to transform banking and create a better world. Read more here.

About Vince Siciliano

A longtime environmentalist and finance leader, Vince has lead several financial institutions. Because of his leadership, 1st Pacific Bank of California was named the best-performing de novo bank in California.

Vince has been a member of the board of governors of the Savings and Community Bankers of America and the National Trade Association for the savings and loan industry, as well as a board member of the California League of Savings Institutions. He serves on the advisory board of the American Sustainable Business Council and is chairman of the board for the Ken Blanchard Center for Faith Walk Leadership.

Siciliano is a graduate of Stanford University and earned a master’s degree in environmental planning from the University of California at Berkeley. He lives in Millbrae with his wife and is a proud father of two sons. Read more here.

We welcome your thoughts and feelings to this video. Please leave a reply below.


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unlimited vacation

Should Your Company Have An Unlimited Vacation Policy?

Should Your Company Have An Unlimited Vacation Policy? 2000 1351 Catherine Bell

Unlimited Vacation

Unlimited Vacation

Article originally appeared in Women of Influence by Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell is the founder of BluEra, an executive search and team transformation company—that has successfully implemented its own unlimited vacation policy. She’s also the best-selling and award-winning author of The Awakened Company, a thought-provoking read that explores how treating businesses as communities can transform them for the better, and how trusting your employees sets them up for ultimate success. Catherine speaks around the globe and The Awakened Company’s services help your team awaken!

By Catherine Bell

Take a moment to contemplate the idea: unlimited vacation. What words does it conjure up in your mind?

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s certain to garner mixed feelings. On the one hand you’re probably thinking, wouldn’t that be nice? So nice, in fact, it may sound too good to be true. How could a company function if its employees were allowed to take off whenever they pleased? Wouldn’t it be a logistical nightmare?

If your thoughts on unlimited vacation quickly moved from blissful to disastrous, keep reading—I’m about to tell you how, why, and when it can work.

Unlimited VacationIt may sound farfetched, but unlimited vacation is actually a proven concept. It’s a policy that has been offered successfully by large corporations, including General Electric, LinkedIn, and Netflix, as well as small and medium businesses, like the company I co-Founded, BluEra.

We have been offering unlimited vacation to our employees since 2013. Our decision to institute the policy came after we realized there are better ways of working together. We had great people working with us—sixteen passionate, motivated, high-performers—but we recognized that burnout could become a serious problem, and trust is one of our core values. From a broader picture standpoint, we didn’t want our company to have a sweat-shop mentality. We value our employees as stakeholders in our business.  In addition, we can easily measure success in our business.

The announcement was made to our team at our annual strategic session. SInce then, we’ve managed the policy using an online spreadsheet. All employees have access, and they are free to block off any days they plan to use for vacation. We don’t ask for advance notice.

I was initially worried people wouldn’t take enough time off.  Our experience since then has been the same as what many other companies with the same policy report: nobody abuses the system, they take about as much vacation as we would have “officially” allotted them, and they are respectful of deadlines and busy periods. In fact, it has brought about more accountability and collaboration. Our team members support each other so that everyone is able to take time off.

And the greatest benefit of unlimited vacation? It may not be what you think. Yes, it’s a great perk for attracting and retaining highly skilled workers, but the concept goes much deeper than that. It’s a sign of trust. Empowering our employees to be in charge of their time off shows that we believe in their ability to manage their responsibilities, workload, and results.   We also believe in the power of the pause and this gives people the time to regenerate themselves.
Many policies were created with the worst employees in mind, as a means to keep them in check.  We want to work with rockstars. Do rockstars want unnecessary boundaries put on them?  This approach of giving freedom to employees and expecting the best of employees encourages them to be just that – the best.

Will it work in your organization? I’ll answer that question with a few more: what kind of culture do you have, and what kind of culture do you want? Do you want your employees to be leaders, or followers? Do you want them to feel accountable to their results, or just punching a clock?

With the right team in place, unlimited time off can help your employees focus on the work they are doing and the results they are achieving, and feel empowered by the trust you have shown you have in them. So evaluate the idea based on the message you want to convey, rather than how much vacation you think you can afford to have your employees take. You may find you need to encourage them to take their allotted time off (yes, companies with unlimited vacation policies have reported this phenomenon), and if you have an employee that immediately books a month-long getaway, they probably aren’t a great asset to your business anyhow.
At BluEra, we have found that our unlimited vacation policy has been a positive and important element of our company culture. It is a way we live our values. And a happier rested person is a more productive and engaged person. Of course, this won’t work at all companies, but it’s certainly worth taking into consideration.

Ready to awaken your own business? Get your copy of The Awakened Company, hire The Awakened Company, and learn how companies are achieving a new standard of success. A best-seller within a week, one of Eight of the Best Business Books of 2015, and a Nautilus Silver Medal Winner for Best Business Book for 2015, it explores a new way of doing business: incorporating mindfulness and wisdom traditions to ultimately benefit companies, those involved in them, and the planet itself. It has earned praise from business leaders and industry experts, and is the blueprint for the successful executive search and team transformation company, BluEra.


Our Corporate Bubbles – VW’s Cheating Ways

Our Corporate Bubbles – VW’s Cheating Ways 1920 1282 Catherine Bell

With the recent news of Volkswagen’s cheating, I wonder how we can do better and I remembered my conversation with Otto Scharmer.

Otto is the author of Leading from the Emerging Future, Theory U, and Presence. He is a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He is the founding chair of the MIT IDEAS Program, that takes leaders from civil society, government and business from Indonesia and China on a nine month action learning journey in order to co-create profound social innovation in their communities. With the German government (GIZ Global Leadership Academy) and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan, he co-founded the Global Well-being and Gross National Happiness Lab, which brings together innovative thinkers from developing and industrialized countries to prototype new ways of measuring well-being and social progress. He has worked with governments in Africa, Asia and Europe and led leadership and innovation programs at corporations such as Daimler, Alibaba, ICBC, Eileen Fisher, Google and PwC.

Here is one of his comments during our interview:

“So we all live in bubbles. In each organization, the more successful you are as a leader of the organization the more you are in a bubble. And, the CEO is the bubble king, so to speak, because anyone around you is, you know, faking some stuff, right. It’s, kind of, sorting out the information that they think you don’t want to hear, so you live in a fake environment that is projected onto you because people think that’s what you want to hear.” Otto Scharmer

What kind of bubbles do you think possibly existed at Volkswagen?

What bubbles exist in your organization?

How can we be more truthful with one another?

We would love your thoughts.