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Uncovering the meaning of inclusion | Purposeful Connections

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When I was asked to give a keynote on inclusion at the Rise World Summit, it provided me with the wonderful opportunity to dive deeper into the meaning of the word. While the idea of "belonging" initially came to mind, inclusion goes much further - especially as a core element of DEI. I began thinking about how leaders can create company cultures that are meaningful, based on respectful interactions, and grounded in safe environments where people can disagree with ideas and directions. True inclusion means people can share counter-opinions and ideas with confidence, and without fear of retribution. Such diverse and inclusive cultures unleash greater creativity, innovation, and enable powerful collaboration. In these environments, solutions to challenges both big and small can truly blossom.

Buckling down on road safety.

Almost 50 companies and nonprofit organizations are joining the Department of Transportation in taking a stand against road fatalities. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a record-high surge in U.S. traffic deaths in 2021, which Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called "a crisis." Among the organizations supporting the DOT's "call to action" campaign are Uber, Lyft, Honda, and 3M. Each company is contributing in unique ways - like 3M and its partnership with state transportation agencies "to make road signs and lane markings more visible and reflective." // Fortune: Uber, Lyft, and almost 50 other businesses pledge millions in federal effort to cut road deaths after record spike in 2021 // U.S. Department of Transportation: Call to Action - NRSS

Right, left, or middle? It's easy to think that communicating about authentic, impact-driven purpose initiatives is a win-win regardless of audience. Yet, even the most feel-good efforts must cut through the reality of the political divide in America today. While 71% of Democrats report having a more favorable opinion of brands after seeing "purpose-driven ads, packaging, or messaging," only 54% of Republicans and 55% of Independents feel the same. Despite this divide, Sustainable Brands notes that all three parties show a significant positive response to purpose-driven messages, though certain political affiliations respond better to some messages than others. Read on to learn more about what kind of purpose and sustainability ads resonate most across the political spectrum. // Sustainable Brands: Politics and purpose: The US consumer response to purpose-driven marketing across the political spectrum

Barbie is an unlikely leader in representation. Mattel, the toy maker behind iconic Barbie dolls, has made several strides in recent years to ensure its dolls are more environmentally-friendly and representative of the millions of children who play with them. Its latest effort introduces a Chelsea doll with scoliosis, developed in collaboration with Dr. Luke Macyszyn, a neurosurgeon and medical expert. Mattel's new doll also features a removable back brace -- a common medical aid for the 2-3% of people in the U.S. living with the condition. // Medical Marketing + Media: Barbie debuts Chelsea doll with scoliosis

How will you Rise up this year?

Each year, the Rise World Summit convenes upwards of 5,000 people from around the world to discuss progress on the SDGs. This year, our own Carol Cone was invited to participate in the Opening Plenary session, where she gave a keynote address on the power of inclusion (the "I" in "Rise"). The next day, Carol moderated a dynamic roundtable with senior leaders from three of the biggest - and most respected - companies in India: Aditya Birla Group, Tata Consultancy Services, and Mahindra. In addition, members of the Purpose Collaborative joined the roundtable for an engaging conversation on purpose, peace, and profit, as well as how strong DEI commitments contribute to outsized business performance. Keep an eye on our social channels and website for recordings and insights from the roundtable. // Rise World Summit 2023: Learn more

Consider us inspired! We're delighted to share that Carol Cone was among the women leaders honored for their courage, creativity, and commitment to positive change. Campaign US honored Carol under the "Championing Change" category for 2023. Read more here.


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