Author: Julian

Leaders’ Quest taps Regenerative business leader Kim Coupounas to join as core Partner

Leaders’ Quest taps Regenerative business leader Kim Coupounas to join as core Partner

Leaders’ Quest, a global social enterprise known for its pioneering collaborations such as TED Countdown and Count Us In, has appointed Kim Coupounas to its senior leadership team. During its 21 years of existence, LQ has built an engaged global network of exceptional people committed to cultivating wise leaders for a regenerative future for humanity and the planet. 

A seasoned business leader in both the private and public sector, Coupounas brings deep knowledge and understanding of global impact work and systems change and a profound commitment to mobilizing the power of business to shape a regenerative future.

“LQ’s work to cultivate courageous business leaders and foster game-changing collaborations to address today’s complex global social and environmental challenges is needed like no other time in our history,” said Coupounas. “LQ’s work is centered in both reality and optimism, and it is literally changing the course of the future. What an honor to be able to join this incredible global team to help forward their vision and work while leveraging my own deep passion for amplifying the power of business to advance an equitable and regenerative future for humanity and our planet. ”

“We’re absolutely thrilled that Kim has chosen to bring her exceptional experience, wisdom, passion, and reach to our global team,” said Lindsay Levin, Founder and CEO of Leaders’ Quest. “Kim is a powerhouse leader who will bring courageous, out of the box systems-thinking mixed with an entrepreneur’s spirit to our work of growing wise leaders for a regenerative future and tackling big global challenges. Kim is a highly respected leader within the global sustainable business community, and we can’t wait to see the magic she weaves as part of the Leaders’ Quest team.”

Coupounas is joining Leaders’ Quest at a moment of tremendous growth and opportunity for the organization. In her role on the senior leadership team, Coupounas will be a highly visible LQ Partner focused on furthering the organization’s game-changing collaborations and partnerships, design and delivery of LQ’s trademark leadership programs, client engagement, public advocacy, organizational leadership, and business development. 

Prior to Leaders’ Quest, Coupounas was an instrumental leader in the growth of the B Corp movement. She served as a senior executive at B Lab, the nonprofit behind B Corps, for over 8 years and focused on advancing stakeholder-based capitalism while activating business leaders and companies to operationalize sustainable and regenerative principles and to use their collective power and voice for systemic change. 

At B Lab, she co-led the largest mobilization of companies in history committed to Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Prior to B Lab, Coupounas served as co-founder and CEO of GoLite, a purpose-driven outdoor products brand that was one of the earliest Certified B Corps. Coupounas is also past Board Chair of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the trade association representing the $887 billion+ active outdoor recreation industry, during which she helped launch and lead that industry’s groundbreaking sustainability efforts. 

Coupounas earned MBA and MPA degrees from Harvard University, an AB with honors in Philosophy from Princeton, and attended Oxford University as a Rotary Foundation Graduate Scholar. She has received many awards, including being named Conscious Company’s “2020 World-Changing Woman.”

The inner game of leadership: Why it’s key to unleashing action for a healthy, sustainable world

The inner game of leadership: Why it’s key to unleashing action for a healthy, sustainable world

By Melanie Jamieson

In May, I attended ChangeNOW, the world’s largest conference for the planet aimed at spotlighting 1,000 innovative solutions over three days. It was a hive of activity. A glimpse into a fast-growing ecosystem of initiatives with the aim to reach a healthy, sustainable world with speed, scale and justice.

I was asked to share my thoughts on what’s needed to turn these creative solutions — alongside myriad commitments, pathways, and partnerships that are announced every day — into collective action at scale. 

I think we need an upgrade in our human software — in the way we lead, and how we collaborate. 

For millennia, human beings have evolved at a slow and steady rate that’s served us well. We’ve become good at working with people who look like us and think like us; on local issues that we can see, touch, and experience.

But this pace of evolution is out of sync with the rapid change we’re now grappling with in the Anthropocene — the period in which human activity is the dominant force of change on Earth’s ecosystems.

To limit global warming to 1.5°C, we need an unprecedented level of collaboration across countries, citizens, corporations, industries, and civil society. This kind of radical collaboration is hard because it involves working across divides — borders, sectors and communities — with people who see and experience the world very differently from each other.

This ability to work effectively with difference is a leadership muscle that human beings need to evolve — and fast. So how can we speed up our own evolution?

At Leaders’ Quest, we’ve learned over the last 21 years that the fastest way to grow as adults is through experiential learning. Based on this philosophy, we take leaders on ‘Quests’ to immerse them in unfamiliar environments, and spend time engaging with inspiring changemakers driving impact across business and society.

We think of a Quest as a window to the world, and a mirror for oneself. Exposure to the forces shaping the future, coupled with time for deep reflection, opens the doorway to personal insight. It creates the chance to reflect on our ‘inner game of leadership’, as Bill Adams and Bob Anderson describe it.

Our ‘inner game’ is what we hold in our consciousness. In other words, it is our interior operating system — what drives us, how we define ourselves, what we believe. It’s what we use to make sense of the world. It informs how we act, and how we shape life around us. 

“Great leadership transcends skill, capability, and competence. It includes integrity, honesty, passion, vision, risk-taking, compassion, courage, authenticity, collaboration, self-awareness, selflessness, endurance, humility, intuition, and wisdom. These are qualities of the inner game.” Bill Adams & Bob Anderson

However, in a fast-changing world, there are fierce demands on our ‘outer game’ — our knowledge, skills and technical expertise. It’s the dimension that we spend much of our lives honing in education, training and leadership development. It’s also the one that leaders in sustainability typically focus on as they come to grips with how to transform their companies, cities and communities.

Yet our inner game RUNS our outer game. What’s happening on the inside shapes how we experience the world, and the actions we choose to take. This means that innovative technical solutions won’t solve the climate crisis alone. We must put equal focus on how we lead and collaborate (our ‘inner game’), so we can turn powerful ideas into implementation at scale.

For me, this means evolving our inner game in two key ways:

Firstly, we need to shift our mindsets to a regenerative worldview that puts life at the centre of all decision-making. Becoming regenerative is about asking ourselves how we can leave things better than we found them. It means “reimagining a world where the human economy and the natural economy work in harmony with each other”, as Futures Practitioner Bill Sharpe says. In practical terms, it means leading from a mindset of ‘doing more good’ (instead of ‘doing less bad’) in our companies, cities and communities.

Secondly, we need to develop inner qualities to work more effectively across divides. Adam Kahane, in his book ‘Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don’t Agree With or Like or Trust’ says effective collaboration alternates between the polarities of engaging and asserting. 

Through this lens, I see radical collaboration as a dance between building human connection and driving bold action. In practice, this means flexing our inner game across a spectrum of qualities that build empathy (respect, humility, generosity) and propel action (courage, purpose, resilience) to help people move forward together. It’s these ‘inner game’ qualities that we need to scale if we are going to step up to the challenges humanity is facing. 

So, as I looked out across the ChangeNOW conference, I was asked what small (or big) action everyone should take. The 1% change that scales if we all do it. 

My invitation is that we each build a bridge with someone who sees the world differently — perhaps even someone we don’t agree with, like or trust. Take the time to listen deeply, build empathy by sharing stories, and spend time seeing life through their eyes. Build a foundation of respect and connection — even if you don’t agree with everything you hear.

Climate action at scale requires wise leadership… and only by maturing our inner game can we build the radical collaboration skills to get us to a healthy, sustainable future for all.

Carbon credits should be one of our best tools to fight climate change — if we use them right

Carbon credits should be one of our best tools to fight climate change — if we use them right

The market for carbon offsets is booming, and a series of efforts have sprung up to define rules and standards that will tackle their often dodgy reputation. Global agreement on those rules is crucial to achieving a net-zero future and essential to helping avert the looming climate catastrophe.

In an Op-Ed for TIME Ideas, TED Global Curator and TED Countdown co-founder Bruno Giussani and Gabrielle Walker, founder of the climate consultancy Valence Solutions, highlight how carbon markets can bring about meaningful climate action.

Read the full article.

Leadership, truth, and wisdom: a conversation with Lindsay Levin

Leadership, truth, and wisdom: a conversation with Lindsay Levin

Things we see in the world that disturb or worry us and that we want to fix are in some way reflected within us. A recognition of this truth is what motivated Lindsay Levin to found Leaders’ Quest, an organization dedicated to developing leadership mindset, skills, and wisdom.

She joins RHR Senior Partner David Astorino in a podcast conversation about the value of spending time with different people, about being present, and about how we can allow space for others without limiting our own space.

Listen to the interview HERE.

Experiencing transformation with Chance for Life

Experiencing transformation with Chance for Life

A contingent of Leaders’ Quest team members and clients visited the headquarters of Chance for Life, a Detroit-based nonprofit that provides behavioral and life skills training to incarcerated and returning citizens. LQ met with several individuals whose lives have been transformed thanks to interventions by co-founders Tom Adams and Jessica Taylor, and their staff.

The visit coincided with Chance for Life’s From the Heart Fundraiser, a benefit dinner held May 19 that brought together philanthropists, policymakers, business leaders, and several returning citizens for an evening of inspiring conversation and celebration.

Visiting Chance for Life

LQ spent the next day with Adams and his team, starting with a tour of Detroit’s historic and diverse neighborhoods before visiting two Chance for Life facilities. The visit featured powerful, robust group conversation centered on Chance for Life’s mission and first-hand accounts from returning citizens about their journeys of transformation and resilience.

D’Angelo Rocklin Jackson, an entrepreneur now based in Los Angeles, shared a letter by his father, Everett Rocklin Jackson, a Chance for Life member currently incarcerated in Michigan, titled “Journey of a Father Behind Bars.”

The letter reads:

Hello, everyone. My name is Everett Rocklin Jackson, and I would like to share with you my experience of being a father while in prison. I have been incarcerated for the past thirty-five years; I was twenty-one years old when I came to prison. Parenting from behind bars has its own unique challenges, but is achievable with support from a strong network of loving family and friends — it certainly takes a village. My son, DeAngelo, is a wonderful example of what the collective power of a village can produce through love, encouragement, guidance, and lots of prayer. I am grateful he is there today sharing some of our story with you.

Two weeks before my son’s third birthday I was arrested for a drug-related murder. Eights months later I was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Locked up with plenty of time on my hands I began thinking about how my absence would impact my son’s life and the emotional and mental strain it would likely impose on us both. I wanted to save my son from feeling like I had when my father wasn’t around. I knew too well the challenges my son would face in my absence, and being present in his life would be the only way I could save him. And the only way I could save myself, too. Although my presence in DeAngelo’s life would eventually help shape him into a good man, his presence in my life had already begun to shape me into a better man.

Due to my family’s unconditional love and support I was always able to speak to my son by telephone and see him on visits. Our relationship would be built phone call by phone call, visit by visit, letter by letter, picture by picture, gift by gift, hug by hug, smile by smile, and occasionally tear by tear.

Celebrating birthdays and special occasions called for thinking up something that would deliver a lasting impact. I remember when DeAngelo was about five years old and I bought lots of candy from the prison store and sent it to him for Halloween. The candy box and other gifts became repeat practices each year. I would also send clothes and unique shoes I purchased for him. I began sending him various books, too. When my son was about twelve years old I purchased us twin dictionaries to study together.

During the school year I would write letters to DeAngelo’s teachers, explaining I was in prison but still an active parent interested in my son’s educational progress. I always received a copy of his report cards and would tell him how proud I was of him when he got good grades; or, if a grade was low how I expected an improvement the next marking period.

On the surface our story reflects a father behind bars who loves his young son and helps decode the world for him. Yet, unfolding beneath the surface of this shared human drama are the spiritual paths of a father and son. Our story is about transformation, healing, and learning important life lessons like patience, forgiveness, forbearance, and the true meaning of family.

Striving to be “present” as a parent while being incarcerated has helped me heal from my own childhood wounds and other past hurts. I’ve learned we can heal ourselves by learning to give to our children (and ourselves) what we were deprived of in our childhood. Being an active parent has been a double reward because I now see my son giving to his children the very thing he did not receive from me: the blessing of a father’s physical presence. DeAngelo showers his children with love, affection, and presence. His fatherhood experience is helping him heal from the childhood wounds created from my physical absence. Spiritually we are continuing to grow as a family.

I am also blessed to be a grandfather and I love my grandchildren with all my heart. I feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful family! God has been and continues to be so good to me! Parenting from prison is challenging, but its rewards are truly greater! Thank you for listening and may you be blessed!

What is Regenerative?

What is Regenerative?

Each of us has a vital role to play in ensuring society can thrive at every level.

But what if each of us could actively engage in behaviors that put life at the center of everything – where individuals only contribute to activities that have a positive effect on the patterns and systems of which they are a part?

In this video, we explain what Regenerative means, and the steps we can take toward leaving things even better than we found them.

For more information on Three Horizons, visit www.futurestewards.com/3h and download our 10 Tools for Systems Change.

Three Horizons: the three voices

Three Horizons: the three voices

In any conversation about the future, you’ll probably notice three voices showing up: the manager, who is responsible for the success of the current system and keeping things going as they are; the visionary who speaks for a radically different world; and the entrepreneur who is impatient with all the talk and just wants to put new ideas into action right now.

We call these the voices of the Three Horizons.

In this video, we explain how to recognize these voices and see the value each one brings, and how they might work together to navigate conversations about the future.

For more information on Three Horizons, visit www.futurestewards.com/3h and download our 10 Tools for Systems Change.

Three Horizons: an introduction

Three Horizons: an introduction

Three Horizons (3H) is a simple framework to help guide conversations about the future towards meaningful action.

The framework acts like a map, helping us work out where we are, where we want to be, and how to get there.

It charts Horizon 1, the dominant way things are done today that show signs of strain and lack of fit to the future; Horizon 3, our visions for how we want things to be in the future; and Horizon 2, the innovations we can establish to help make our desired future a reality. This introductory video explains Three Horizons using the food system as an example but you can apply this framework to any topic of concern.

For more information on Three Horizons, visit www.futurestewards.com/3h and download our 10 Tools for Systems Change.

Founding Leaders’ Quest and co-creating TED Countdown

Founding Leaders’ Quest and co-creating TED Countdown

Lindsay Levin joined the Money Espresso Podcast for a wide-ranging interview on leadership, founding Leaders’​ Quest, and co-creating Countdown with TED to find solutions to the climate crisis.

Listen to the interview.

Lindsay Levin on leadership, climate, and the invisible thread that connects us

Lindsay Levin on leadership, climate, and the invisible thread that connects us

Leaders’ Quest CEO Lindsay Levin joins the Morning Espresso Podcast.

LISTEN HERE.

Lindsay shares how she combined her fascination with people, leadership and travel, with a burning desire to use her business skills to help businesses do and be better. Lindsay has sat with prisoners on death row, worked with community leaders in the slums of Mumbai and brokered talks between Israelis and Palestinians. She eloquently describes our shared humanity.

She has seen at first hand the impact of climate change inspiring her to co-lead the launch of Future Stewards and spearheaded the launch of TED Countdown, a global partnership to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. If you are looking to be inspired, this is the episode for you.

Finally, Lindsay shares her best non-money purchases for around £30, and her Climate Pearls of Wisdom.