It can be lonely at the top. Here’s how One Step Closer (OSC) — a network of purpose-driven, values-aligned CEOs within the natural products industry — is helping executives stay connected to what matters most: their people and purpose.
- Cynthia Billops, Vice President of Operations and Memberships and Belonging at One Step Closer (OSC), says the CEO Action Initiative is a ‘safe space’ for CEOs to get together and share ideas.
- The CEO Action Initiative is a facilitated virtual program that helps bring together natural products industry leaders who are struggling to prioritize diversity and inclusion practices at their companies.
- Interested in learning more about the program and how you can become involved? Reach out to Impactful Search®‘s Executive Director Rhonda Taylor via email here.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is paramount to building winning teams. We caught up with Cynthia Billops, Vice President of Operations and Memberships and Belonging at One Step Closer (OSC), to learn how the CEO Action Initiative is helping executives in the natural products space make their companies more inclusive.
Read the full transcript (edited for clarity):
At OSC, we are an organization that collects CEO members, CEOs, founders, and organizational leaders. We build these vessels, which are opportunities for people to come together in a peer-to-peer learning education support environment and work on more diffuse questions.
You might all come together as CEOs and tackle the trucking issue or the shipping issue, but we want to make sure that it isn’t really just logistics — that we’re having these larger conversations about building toward a renewable, regenerative, non-extractive relationship between our organizations and everybody in the world we live in.
The CEOs that make up our membership tend to come together under OSC because they’re already thinking about these things. We’re building a series of vehicles for these conversations to happen.
Our CEO Action Initiative offers a focal point to talk about a particular, emergent theme that is topical. Our CEOs want to harness the power of individuals who are having different thoughts, experiences, and inputs than them so that we can grow their businesses forward together.
We want to make sure that we are bringing in people who have a variety of inputs and ideas and are able to innovate in ways that we have not yet thought about.
Our CEOs know this and are extra activated around the concept of J.E.D.I. (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), because it isn’t just identifying people who you would love to add to your leadership team, it’s about connecting with different kinds of people and then bringing them into your organization.
And if we’re talking about attracting the best and the brightest from anywhere then, maybe virtual work environments are going to have to be a regular new thing because maybe the best and the brightest don’t live in California, or on the East Coast. Maybe they don’t even live in the United States.
Finding different ways to access talent is key.
And then once you have that talent, you need to make sure that they feel empowered and that they feel agency to be able to bring new ideas forward.
So that’s where we get into the soft skills — that’s when we discuss ways to engage your team and how you, as a leader, can make connections that encourage innovation so that your company has a successful trajectory.
There are multiple layers of work and coming together with other people who want the same thing and who are trying a variety of different things is a great way to jumpstart the thought process, spark ideas, and offer a sense of safety and security.
At the CEO level, you’re pretty much alone. There’s loneliness there. You’re surrounded by people who, because of the inherent power of your position, are probably less likely to disapprove of a bad idea.
Having a peer group where you can have other CEOs help guide you is an incredible resource for growth.
The peer group is also incredibly useful for self-management, self-connection, and feeling like you can be wrong — like you can throw an idea out there and not have it have these devastating consequences.
Interested in learning more about the program and how you can become involved? Reach out to Impactful Search®‘s Executive Director Rhonda Taylor via email here.
Rebecca is the Senior Editorial Director at ForceBrands. She’s spent more than a decade on the editorial side of digital media, curating original content and managing social media audiences for impactful brands and businesses. She’s a natural storyteller with a love for connectivity and brand building.