2020 marks the beginning of Savviest’s involvement with Torrey Project, an organization dedicated to promoting conscious leadership and using business as a force for good.
What is Torrey Project?
Torrey Project is led by David Ferran, a staunch advocate for multi-stakeholder focused organizations that balance the needs of the community, environment, employees, and others while maintaining thriving and growing businesses. His experience founding and leading companies throughout his career makes him particularly suited to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs, and we’re lucky to be able to work with him.
Torrey Project runs a series of one month bootcamps for new and growing businesses and not-for-profits who want to ensure their organizations prosper while remaining mission driven. The bootcamp is then followed by a year of direct mentorship by business leaders in the San Diego community.
What is a multi-stakeholder business?
An idea championed by the renowned economist and ethicist Ed Freeman, stakeholder theory promotes the idea that businesses don’t just have a moral imperative to take into account the needs of a wider group of stakeholders than their profit-seeking shareholders, but that organizations can grow and even outperform their peers by doing so.
Stakeholder focused businesses prioritize economic growth as well as their employees, communities, customers, environment, and social values. Such organizations recognize that there are many different groups affected by their operations, both internal (employees, owners, etc.) and external (customers, shareholders, local communities, and so on).
By incorporating ethics directly into the operation and management of the organization, a multi-stakeholder business becomes a driving force for innovation, value creation, and social good.
Not only does this approach support a stronger and healthier community, but it can lead to better business outcomes. Wendy Woods lays this out in her Ted Talk The Business Benefits of Doing Good:
[T]his rigorous analysis shows that social and environmental factors — total societal impact measures — are also linked to valuations and margins.… All else being equal, companies that perform strongly on social and environmental areas achieve higher margins and higher valuations.
Ed Freeman gives an in depth dive into stakeholder theory here, and should be required watching for anyone founding or working for a conscious, balanced organization.
How does a stakeholder focus relate to Savviest’s mission?
Savviest’s guiding principle, the North Star that makes this venture worthwhile, is promoting economic mobility for everyone.
This means not only do the people currently struggling to secure jobs find employment, but those already employed who yearn for something better but dread the difficult and chancy process of leaving have the chance to find and land jobs that fit well and leave them more satisfied.
The fastest and most direct mechanism for change in this arena is business, whose access to capital and other resources make it especially effective at driving change. We believe that we can pull these levers to not just re-invent the resume and the way that people find and apply for jobs, but change the process so fundamentally that job seekers no longer need to struggle to find and land the perfect position.
In doing so, and especially with the backing of Torrey Project, Savviest will focus on the ways we can further improve our communities and the lives of the people we touch.
How can I learn more about Torrey Project?
The energy and passion that the entrepreneurs in Torrey Project bring is inspiring. These are a group of people who have a vision for the future that is unwavering: there is no doubt their work will make the lives of the people around them better.
That doesn't mean it will be easy, though, and Torrey Project has the audacious goal of outfitting these entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to create successful, thriving, stakeholder-focused organizations.
All of the resources and support that Torrey Project offers wouldn’t be possible without the entire team, and Katy Sperry in particular has gone out of her way to enable Savviest and the other organizations in the program to grow and succeed.
Are you an entrepreneur who believes in this vision and wants to join the next group of businesses to go through the bootcamp? Torrey Project has applications open for their next cohort now.