Fran O'Leary, Co-Founder & Director, Client Services, tells her Founders Journey for Lodestone Communications.
When Martha Dalton, David Wild and I first set up Lodestone 10 years ago, we knew we wanted to provide a better level of service for clients alongside a more authentic approach. We wanted to work with good people, on good projects that could do some good for society and the environment.
Like any start-up, we were moving at pace, and there wasn’t much time to stop, think and reflect on the kind of business we really wanted to be. In the early days, I was really lucky to get to work with some inspiring people who made me think more about business strategy and purpose.
Mark Britnell, then Chair of KPMG Global Health, and a much-valued client, highlighted how a business platform can be used to carry a message that is bigger than business as usual. In his case, he used global speaking engagements, op-eds in the Times and his books to advocate that health services in different countries can learn from each other and in doing so we can help tackle health inequalities – that we all have something to teach and something to learn.
We also had the opportunity to work closely with purpose expert Victoria Page, a Lodestone associate and part of our community who is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on purpose and strategy. And during those years the challenges we face as a society on the environment, social justice and other issues have become more urgent and better understood.
Since then, as a business, we have had the opportunity to work with investors, developers and academics who are innovating to create green energy and tackle climate change. We have worked with health services and healthcare providers who have played their part in tackling Covid-19. We have supported tech companies, charities and organisations that are dedicated to tackling digital inequality, online harms and ones which are dedicated to ethical AI and tech for good. We have worked with universities and education providers who want to re-skill the nation, support social mobility and promote responsible business. And we have also had the opportunity to support a wide range of charities, organisations and causes through our pro bono work.
For us this isn’t just about doing good work – it’s about doing good work for clients who want to have a positive impact on the world, speaking truth to power, challenging ways of working and raising the bar. It’s about going beyond business as usual for our clients and supporting them to achieve their objectives for their organisation, society and the environment, to the benefit of all.
As our thinking developed further, we chose to become a B Corp because we wanted to be part of a global community of businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. The opportunity to share insights, collaborate, maximise impact and engage with other businesses who are taking the road less travelled were all important to us. We also hoped that by becoming the UK’s first specialist public affairs consultancy to become B Corp certified, we would send a signal out that would help to attract new clients, team members and partners who share our goal of wanting to find a better way to do to do business.
I’m glad to say that since achieving certification, we have been able to do just that, with new purpose-led clients, new hires, new award wins, new partners and new pro bono projects underway including our Action Academy.
We’re on a journey and we still have improvements to make to our business. But going through the process of becoming a B Corp has helped us have more clarity on how to take these steps, how to measure our efforts and hold our selves accountable. We’re grateful to the B Corp community, to our clients and everyone we get to work with as we experiment, innovate and continue on this path.
If you would like to hear more about our journey to B Corp certification, our services, our partnerships or career opportunities please get in touch.