I Love Being a B

Guest Blog Post by Karen Tumelty, Office and Cultural Development Manager

It’s pretty easy to love working at a Benefit Corporation. Really, it’s pretty straight forward. I get to spend my days working for a company with a legal corporate structure that holds us accountable to a triple bottom line—people, planet, profit. Not so bad really.

I could go on and on about hundreds of years of economic theory. I could quote Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall and Warren Buffet but it just doesn’t seem right. Although they, among so many others, are the parents of modern economic thought, B Corps are the upstart children who have taken their parents ideas and blazed a new trail. You can learn more about the certification and the legislation here. I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it will challenge you to think about business in a new light.

But, really, that’s not what this post is about.

Being a B. It’s really cool. And you have really cool friends. If you take a look at the list of B Corps you’ll see plenty that you expect (a lot of the companies have the word “Enviro” in their name) but you’ll see just as many that will surprise you. Yeah, I saw Ben & Jerry’s waving their B flag from miles away but others like Etsy and Warby Parker made me sit up and pay attention.

And at some point, being a B becomes personal. It happened to me this past weekend. You see, I love biscuits. Always have, always will.

When I was a little kid (seven or eight) I got myself a box of Bisquick and started baking biscuits every weekend morning.

I made drop biscuits that I baked in a muffin tin. I don’t really remember if I didn’t have the coordination to roll out the dough or if I was just lazy but every Saturday and Sunday, my whole family ate drop biscuits with butter and strawberry jelly.

At that time, we also spent a lot of our summer vacations in New England. We would drive up to Maine, rent a little cabin for a few weeks, swim in the lake and eat lobster. And I would bring along my trusty box of Bisquick.

One morning, the woman who owned the place where we were staying dropped by and looked at that ubiquitous yellow box with horror. She marched back up to her own kitchen and brought me back a tin of white powder. It wasn’t baking powder or baking soda but a magic powder that apparently was the key to a perfect biscuit. She was right. Oh, oh she was right. For the next few years, every summer we would stop at the store and buy more to bring to home to Yonkers. My drop biscuits became the stuff of epic poems, culinary legends and ancient myths. At least in my mind.

As I got older, my interests changed and my weekly biscuit making became a thing of the past. I occasionally would knock a pan or two out but nothing like my youth.

When I was in my 20s I got a craving for my good old biscuits and went on a hunt through my mother’s kitchen for the little tin of magic powder. I didn’t actually think it would be any good but I figured I could just go out and buy a new can. I remembered pretty well what it looked like but had no idea what it was called.

It was gone. No one would cop to throwing it out and they all said they “sort of vaguely” remembered it. I would like to be very dramatic and say I went on a Quixotian quest but it really wasn’t that exciting. I kept my eyes open every time I was in a market in New England (in my mind this was a regional thing) and I occasionally asked a friend or two if they knew what it was. Once in a while someone “sort of vaguely” remembered their grandmother using something like that but no one had any details.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with Benefit Corporations? Has she lost track of her point here?” Well, you must understand that in this wonderful world of social media, it has become very easy to keep track of all your B friends. I follow quite a few of them on Facebook and Twitter (I’m too old for Tumblr) and keep up on their comings and goings.

This past weekend I saw a post on Facebook from King Arthur Flour and, I kid you not, the angels sang. A bright white light shone on my computer screen and glinted off a shiny tin of Baking Cream. My magic powder has been found and my biscuits will rise again (insert rim shot here).

And for me, this is what being a Benefit Corporation is really about. Yes, there are grand sweeping changes that are happening because of the B Corp movement. Alternative energy, Fair Trade certified food, fair wages and benefits, and on and on. But those grand sweeping changes lead to the little things. The little things that touch our hearts, our minds and our souls. The little things, like a childhood memory of really good biscuits, that make me want to feel that way again. I was so proud of those biscuits. They were really good and they nourished the people that I love.

Working for a Benefit Corporation gives me that same feeling.