—by Wendy Baird, C3MD Board Member
We love seeing on-purpose companies in action! Recently, several members of the C3MD board had the opportunity to hear Donald Manekin of Seawall Development speak about his purpose-driven company at Leadership Howard County‘s member luncheon in March.
Manekin is the author of The Inside-Out Company: Putting Purpose & People First, a provocative challenge for leaders in every industry. We were especially inspired by his story of transforming the Remington neighborhood of Baltimore beginning with the H.F. Miller Building. The challenge? They had heard from many in the community and their partners—whether teachers or committed nonprofit professionals—that one of the biggest things holding them back from doing city-changing work was how isolated they were from each other. That even though many of them were working together to help underpin the success of the city school system, they were often in 30 different office buildings, paying rent to 30 different landlords, and ultimately, missing out on opportunities for connection and collaboration. That didn’t sound like the most productive way for nonprofits to serve the students and citizens of our cities. In addition, the very teachers that were serving the community didn’t have affordable or safe housing or service resources available to them.
Seawall asked the question: How can a community’s vision for a walkable, urban main street be realized, while honoring the history and needs of a neighborhood?
They made a point of talking with everyone — from legacy residents to families buying their first homes in Remington. Through hundreds of conversations, several projects that would thoroughly transform the neighborhood began to take shape. They were able to bring the retail and commercial staples that their stakeholders had been asking for to the building – like a bank, a dry cleaner, a multidisciplinary doctor’s office, a pharmacy – along with more than 100 residential units priced for the workforce below market rate.
The entire project is an incredible example of conscious capitalism in action.
C3MD Secretary Tanya Rapacz said about the event, “It was a great talk. I was inspired by the commitment Seawall made to their community. It’s always so energizing to learn about businesses that make people and community as important as profit.”
Section One of Manekin’s book is called Creating a Purposeful Company and emphasizes starting with a Higher Purpose. We are delighted to have been able to hear his take on running a conscious business. The information he shared will be a great example and talking point for next week’s Coffee & Collaboration when C3MD will focus on the pillar of Higher Purpose.
President Liz Richardson will lead our April discussion. “I was so grateful to have the opportunity to hear Donald share about the work his company is doing…I’m always encouraged and inspired by other business leaders and entrepreneurs in our local area who are doing great work and enriching the lives of so many through business.”
Pictured above: C3MD board members Alicia Jones McLeod, Tanya Rapacz, Wendy Baird, and Liz Richardson.
*Information about Seawall’s projects and processes was sourced from their website.
Join us for our next virtual Coffee & Collaboration in April, where we’ll focus on Higher Purpose, another of the 4 Pillars. Register here.