Business For Good tried something new last November. We hosted our inaugural (Doing) Business For Good Summit. Our Managing Director and all-volunteer team planned, plotted, and produced to deliver an authentic event with valuable takeaways.
The result? According to our attendees, a remarkable success. (Whew!)
Fueled by ideas and inspiration from our first Summit, it wasn’t long before BFG dove right back into preparations for the next one.
On November 9, 2023, our 2nd annual (Doing) Business For Good Summit is happening at the same location as last year: Bread & Salt and The Athenaeum in Logan Heights.
The day-long event promises all the education, fun, and insight of the first Summit but with a broader focus.
While our main goal remains to equip San Diego business owners with the fundamentals they need to run successful values-led brands, this year’s Summit also includes panels geared toward helping nonprofits and interested individuals create more impact in our region.
Join us at the (Doing) Business For Good Summit for a unique conference experience that blends casual, friendly vibes with actionable takeaways for creating real change in San Diego—for good.
What to expect at the (Doing) Business For Good Summit
A no-pressure general networking session comes next, giving attendees space to interact at their own pace.
“We wanted to create intentional networking opportunities at the Summit,” said Rachel Cross, BFG member and owner of Rachel K Group. “How do we cater to the introverts in the room and make everyone feel included?“
Three rounds of deep-dive breakout workshop sessions will follow, with lunch included.
As with last year’s Summit, each breakout session features a panel of local leaders in purposeful businesses, nonprofits, and the public sector. Sessions are divided into three focus areas:
- Operational—The fundamentals of how to run a profitable, purposeful business that takes care of its employees and the planet; how to become a B Corp; and the vast benefits of “high road” employment. Operational sessions are perfect for new and established business owners who want to take their impact to the next level.
- Aspirational—How to do good in business, stay in business for good, and help shape public policies that benefit all San Diegans. Topics include how to be transparent and address greenwashing; shop your values; and build an actual policy campaign—live at the Summit!
- CommUNITY—How to engage with like-minded local individuals, businesses, and organizations to drive more meaningful change together, faster. Sessions include how to support local, quality media and journalism; build a sense of community through intentional events; and sustainability of our local resources.
“What makes the BFG Summit different from many other ‘green’ or ‘purposeful’ conferences is that it brings together individuals who are actively engaged in this type of work all year long,” said Sam Mazzeo, BFG Housing & Homelessness Committee Chair and owner of Better APC. “It isn’t a situation where it’s thrown together for optics or for any reason other than a genuine desire to make positive change.”
Learn how to build an actual policy campaign—live at the Summit
The core mission of Business For Good is to connect San Diego’s business community to educate and advocate for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable policies that improve the lives of all who live here.
But unless you’re a politician or a seasoned activist, the idea of shaping (or even working on) public policy can be very daunting. How and where does one even begin?
We hear you, and we’ve got you. At this year’s Summit, BFG co-founder and Board Chair, Mikey Knab, will present the breakout session, “How to Build a Policy Campaign—Let’s Do It Live!”
Along with co-host Emily Wier—VP, Chief Policy and Strategy Officer at SDRPIC—Mikey will take attendees through a step-by-step, actionable blueprint on how to advocate for a policy’s successful implementation.
Throughout the day, attendees can connect more deeply with businesses and nonprofits that have exhibitor tables. It’s a great way to meet fellow Summit participants and learn about the specific ways purposeful organizations in San Diego are making a difference.
After-Summit Mix & Mingle
The no-pressure networking vibe continues with a happy hour after the Summit at Mujeres Brew House, right next door to Bread & Salt. Cap off the exciting day with a cold drink (alcoholic or -non) and a delicious taco flight, and keep the meaningful conversations going (or just sit back, relax, and take it all in).
Why the Summit is worth your time
Time is the only true finite resource we have. We all feel pressed for time, and we constantly wonder if we’re making the best use of it.
If you didn’t attend last year’s (Doing) Business For Good Summit, you’re probably asking yourself right now: is the Summit worth my time?
We believe so, and here’s why.
Business For Good is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with only one paid staff member, our Managing Director. Therefore, the (Doing) Business For Good Summit is run entirely by BFG members who volunteer their time to do so.
It’s a colossal undertaking. And the well-oiled machine that is the Summit is a testament to the pure talent and dedication of our BFG Summit Committee members.
We turned to four of our passionate Summit Committee members to explain why the Summit is worth every moment of your time.
Same energy and value as last year, with even more impact
“We got so much positive feedback from attendees last year that we were cautious to change anything at all this year,” said Rachel Cross, who works on marketing the Summit. “The quotes on our Summit event page really say it all.”
But Rachel notes that we did tweak a few aspects of the Summit this year:
- Broadened the focus and resources from local business owners to include individuals who work for other companies (basically, any San Diegan who is cause-focused and wants to learn more about that) and calling out nonprofits, too
- All new content—no repeats of sessions or panels from 2022
- More space and time for attendees to authentically network and connect with one anothe5
“One of the things that makes the Summit easy for me to promote is that I know we’re going to deliver a good experience, and I can feel authentic in the messages we’re putting out there about it,” Rachel said. “At last year’s Summit, I learned, I grew, I networked. BFG in general is a place where you can feel like you belong, no matter who you are.”
Representation and a strong call to action
“What makes the BFG Summit so unique is that we bring together local leaders from all different backgrounds and points of view,” said Erika Rodriguez, BFG member and owner of Nadi Marketing, who works on the sponsorship aspect of the Summit.
One common critique of conferences in general is that the speakers and panelists often don’t represent everyone in the room.
“Representation is top-of-mind at the BFG Summit,” Erika said. “People of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ leaders facilitate meaningful conversations at our sessions. There is a lively exchange of ideas, which naturally ends in a strong call to action: what will I take away with me, and how will I personally put it into practice to make a difference in San Diego?”
Erika also appreciates how the Summit feels accessible and approachable. “It’s so welcoming. There’s no intimidation or stuffiness. It just feels like people are there to genuinely listen, learn, and have a good time.”
Action-oriented and interactive
Lots of conferences present ideas, but few get people motivated to put ideas into action.
We’ve created the Summit sessions to be more interactive than in traditional conferences. We want folks to feel like they’re a part of the momentum—and recognize themselves as part of the solution.
“One aspect of the Summit that encourages people to act is our CommUNITY sessions,” said Sam Mazzeo, who works on Summit programming.
Last year, the Summit’s CommUNITY sessions were primarily networking opportunities. This year, they’re still interactive in nature but also have a clear throughline to action.
“We thought about how we could bring in panelists that host impactful events in San Diego and speak to how those events build a sense of community and action,” Sam said. “One of our panels features folks from Creative Mornings and TedX—local community builders who will give Summit attendees the clear steps they need to go out and build community themselves.”
Another key part of helping attendees feel empowered to make a difference is simply letting them know that it’s possible.
“For example, not everyone understands that as a business owner, you can absolutely operate with both profit and purpose,” Sam said. “The more we can help people understand that business owners can do good and do well, the more people will want to do that.”
Sam added that the Summit invited panelists who are actually getting their hands dirty doing the hard work and who could also share action-oriented, personal experiences on how we all can do things better.
“I hope that at the end of the day, people who come to the Summit feel less discouraged knowing that change is possible, and more inspired to take action because of that,” he said.
Recognizing business and policy are interrelated
“As a new BFG member, this will be my first Summit, and I’m stoked,” said Emily Renda, BFG member and owner of Emily Renda & Associates, who works on the planning side of the Summit. “People have raved about it. It’s a great group of people who want to make change now.”
Emily said she’s been struck by how dedicated BFG members are to making a difference, especially in terms of helping to shape local policy.
“Business owners don’t necessarily see themselves as part of public policy until it’s framed from a different angle,” Emily said. “We tend to think that policy is somehow separate from us—that it’s something only politicians or NGOs address. But in reality, there is a lot of local policy that affects us as business owners, and we should be involved.”
If Summit attendees were to take away one thing from the event, Emily hopes that it would be the interconnection of local business and policy.
“We have an abundant local business community in San Diego, and the Summit drives home how easy it is to do business well and do business for good,” she said. “There are so many simple ways to be a force for good in business.”