On February 7th, 8th and 9th of this year (2022), all of us here at Growmotely – plus numerous people in our extended ecosystem – came together (online) to co-create a forcefield of minds and hearts, where we explored, debated and conversed on everything related to building the future of business. Align Summit was what we called it, and we described it to the world as a global online event for forward-thinking entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders seeking to step into their greatness and play their part in transforming the world of work and business. And it rocked.
Andreea Gătin – our Events Manager – was the conductor of the orchestra, so to speak, and she left us all in awe of the music that was created. So. What exactly went down during this summit that left us all feeling so expansive? Who took part in these stimulating conversations? And: will there be another one next year? To dip into the answers to these questions (and more), keep on reading…
Our summit kicked off on Monday, 7th February with our beloved Founder and CEO, Sarah Hawley, delivering a Welcome Session (13 minutes + 52 seconds) to open things up and set the tone for the next few days. She invited us to drop into energetic resonance by taking three breaths together…and not long after she proceeded to share her vision for Growmotely and for the world. “Not only do I want my organization to be a place that is sustainable, I also want it to be regenerative. I want Growmotely to be a place where the people who come and the people who are involved, are actually regenerated. Where they’re revitalized. Where they’ve actually grown and expanded beyond what they were before by being involved with Growmotely. That is one of our deep desires here at Growmotely, and a deep desire I hope to see for the world.” Damn. ✨
She then welcomed our first guest – the CEO of Basecamp, Jason Fried. Basecamp rocks our world here at Growmotely; it’s our project management and team communication software, and we love it. Entitled ‘The New Remote Model’, this session (45 minutes + 50 seconds) – which was first out of the starting blocks – opened us all up to the possibilities that come with running a remote company, and having team members across the globe. Jason Fried emphasized his interest in optionality (the quality of being available to be chosen but not obligatory) when it comes to a remote versus hybrid model and both he and Sarah shared how Basecamp and running remote companies is an incredible path forward for those who are aligned with the vision.
Continuing on the theme of ‘The New Remote Model’, Sarah then transitioned into a conversation with three superstars on the remote model front: Betsy Bula, GitLab’s ‘All-Remote Evangelist’; Chase Warrington, who is ‘Head of Remote’ at Doist; and Anastasia Kryzhanovska – Mailbird’s ‘Senior Content Manager’. Here, we were able to hear reflections on the more-popular-than-ever ‘Head of Remote’ role that is popping up across the remote world, and we were able to listen to – amongst other things – the panelists’ personal stories around finding their way as a remote worker and the personal growth that is deeply embedded in each of their journeys. Click here to go on this 50-minute and 36-second ride with these incredible remote work pioneers.
About five hours later – still on the Monday (7th Feb) – Jess Rowe (our Partnerships Manager here at Growmotely) – kicked off the Era of the Sovereign Individual panel (55 minutes + 7 seconds). This star-studded panel featured the following thought-leaders: John Lee – Co-Founder of ‘Work from Anywhere’ (“We help solve tax complexity in a Work from Anywhere world.”); Lavinia Iosub – Future of Work advocate, and Managing Partner at Livit; Douglas Antin, Founder & Author at TSI Global Media (and the man responsible for The Sovereign Individual Weekly); Bryan Stewart, who is CEO at Hacker Paradise, and Sondre Rasch – Co-Founder and CEO at SafetyWing. What is a sovereign individual anyway? Doug offers this explanation of freedom and sovereignty as it applies to ‘the sovereign individual’: “What [it] really means is the ability to live the life you want to live anywhere in the world, while minimizing outside influences.” Sondre broke freedom down into two categories: ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to’ – and the increase in freedom in both of these categories skyrockets as we envision and step into a future of work that is full-to-the-brim with sovereign individuals. What does this potential future look like on the tax front? And on the social-safety-net front? The answers to these questions – and others – were addressed and explored.
Second day of the summit! Tuesday, 8th February. Growmotely’s Creative Writer, Vanessa Kettner, introduced us to the incredible panelists on the ‘Conscious Culture and Heart-Led Leadership’ panel (1 hour + 4 minutes + 11 seconds): Sarah Hawley (Founder and CEO of Growmotely), Justin Foster (Co-Founder at Root + River) and Barbara Mutedzi (Conscious Leadership and Wellbeing Coach). What ensued was a soulful conversation around what it means to be a conscious leader and how each of these trailblazers are challenging traditional ideas about leadership, and how authenticity, consciousness, vulnerability and self-awareness can create thriving company cultures. “What are you doing to create a safe place for others to experience your soul? What are you doing to create those spaces in your company?” asks Justin. (!) Click here to watch this heart-opening conversation.
Right on the heels of our panel on conscious culture was our ‘Achieving Diversity Through Global Hiring’ panel – hosted by Sarah Hawley. Once again, a star-studded cast. Toby Mildon, Diversity & Inclusion Architect at Mildon; Meggie Palmer, Founder at PepTalkHer; and Lorraine Charles, Co-Founder of Na’amal all came together to engage in a rich and mind-expanding conversation about what it means to have and build a diverse team. The diversity conversation being “one of the most important conversations of our time” unfolded to explore (amongst other things) remote work for refugee talent, how to close the gender pay gap, and how the notion of ‘culture-first hiring‘ can sometimes be used in unhelpful ways. You can take it all in here. (1 hour + 1 minute + 28 seconds)
Day three. Wednesday, 9th February. Carlos Cole was the host for this panel. The topic? ‘Cryptocurrency and Global Pay’ – featuring: Jeff Pulver, CEO and Chairman at Jeff Pulver Entertainment; Lavinia D. Osbourne, a Blockchain, Fintech and Welltech specialist, consultant, and thought leader; and Austin Floyd, Founder and Growth Marketer at ATTN Labs: Data Driven Marketing for Mindful Brands. Carlos kicked off this panel with the following question: “How would you explain blockchain technology to a 5-year-old?” And from there, the conversation moved to the current challenges of global payments, and what role cryptocurrency plays in solving them. An animated discussion from three considerably diverse players in the space, this panel served to whet our appetite for hopefully more exchanges to come. You can watch this session – and learn from our panelists! – here. (1 hour + 1 minute + 8 seconds)
Inching closer towards the summit of the summit (!), the next (mind-blowing) conversation up to bat featured the venerated Richard Rudd – author of The Gene Keys: Embracing Your Higher Purpose. This panel was hosted both by Sarah Hawley, and our Chief Brand and Marketing Officer, Theodora Gatin. Amongst other things, the conversation explored the concept of prosperity (as opposed to wealth) – and how this can translate into the business world. Gene Key 45 – the shadow of dominance and the gift of synergy was explored. What might the future of business look like if we were all to take the leap from the shadow to the gift frequency? This session – entitled ‘Business as a Force for Good‘ (47 minutes + 16 seconds) – blew us all away and left us all wanting more when it comes to all things ‘Gene Keys’.
To conclude, our final panel (50 minutes + 28 seconds) – also under the ‘Business as a Force for Good’ umbrella – brought Maxine Cunningham (CEO of Pick My Brain) and Laura Trotta (Senior Sustainability Engineer at GHD) into the fold of the conversation – joining Richard, Sarah and Theodora. What does it mean to build companies that are good for people and good for the planet? And: why do we believe that this is the only option moving forward for the survival of humanity? We encourage you to take the time (if you have it) to soak up all the wisdom and soul of this panel of entrepreneurs, teachers and creators.
The ‘ending credits’ of our expansive Align Summit saw Sarah Hawley recognize the winner of our inaugural ‘Conscious Culture Award’ – Ash Bent, the Founder and CEO of Sketch & Etch. Crushing it on all of the various ‘company culture’ fronts, Ash accepted his award and shared some of the secrets of his success with our Founder. Click here to watch! (8 minutes + 48 seconds)
Our first-ever Align Summit was a massive success, as we see it, given the rich conversations on the panels, and the thought-provoking exchanges that followed. Part of our vision here at Growmotely is to re-define work for humanity, and we saw this summit as being a terrific inaugural event that adds value to this vision.
What did you think of our summit? Are there any people who you would love to see on our panels next year? (Yes! We absolutely would like to orchestrate a ‘Year 2’!) We would love to hear your deepest, most authentic thoughts, reflections, and feelings on it. Not least, so that you can join us in co-creating the 2023 edition of this event.
We think the Future of Work is bright, and we would love for you to join us on this journey of making it as beautiful as is possible. ✨🙏🏻