With everything happening in the world these days, it’s easy to lose faith in humanity. Scroll through your newsfeed and it’s enough to make you sprint back to bed and pull the covers tightly over your head. But there’s also a lot of good in the world, and much of it doesn’t get the spotlight it deserves.
Given this, I was delighted this past week to do my part to help spread the good word as moderator of a panel on “Harnessing the Value of Creativity for Good” at the WORLDZ conference in Long Beach, California. Joining me on stage was an all-star group of do-gooders: Thomas Kimber, co-founder of Karün, an eyewear company whose purpose is to inspire the world into reflecting on the question “What would the world look like if we understood that we are all nature?”; Kath Koschel, a former professional cricketer and Iron Man competitor who founded Kindness Factory after a series of devastating life occurrences; Bob McKnight, co-founder and former CEO and Chairman of the (surf)Board at Quiksilver; and Ryan Cummins, co-founder of Omaze.com, a platform that’s revolutionized charitable fundraising.
As you can imagine, the conversation was rich with inspiration. After I set the mood by sharing Edelman’s wonderful work for the WNBA, I gave each panelist time to shine. Thomas discussed how using recycled fishing nets and reclaimed wood from the beaches and forests of Chilean Patagonia ensures that Karün is as much about environmental harmony as it is about fashion. Kath talked about how even with breaking her back twice and suffering the loss of her partner to suicide, she found great comfort in the generosity of others, and is putting that back into the world through a million acts of kindness.
Bob shared his passion for protecting the oceans and mountains through Quiksilver’s support of important initiatives like the Seven Crossings Project, a 200-mile paddle by Jamie Mitchell designed to raise awareness of the delicate oceanic balance. And last but certainly not least, Ryan discussed how Omaze enables extraordinary human experiences and how that is the real currency of life.
There was not an open seat to be had at this session and appropriately so. In a world struggling to address important environmental and social justice issues, consumers are looking for businesses to stand up for what’s right and will support ones that reflect their own values. Luckily, we have people like Thomas, Kath, Bob and Ryan to make a real difference in the world by applying creative thinking to solve difficult challenges. And for that, we should all feel really, really good.
Andrew Simon is chief creative officer, Canada.