The Heart Series 2019: What's Going On In The Social Impact Space—And How Collaboration Is Key

Have Heart, Do Well In 2019

During a cold and rainy Los Angeles February, The Good Trade team found our hearts warmed and minds opened during this year’s time at The Heart Series. 2019 marks the five year anniversary of this 2-day conference for impact entrepreneurs and innovative leaders of today’s most impactful companies, and the conference was abuzz with newcomers and return attendees alike.

We gathered with hundreds of likeminded individuals who are making—or want to make—an impact with their work, and heard from some of our favorite brand leaders. It was even sweet to celebrate Valentine’s Day snacking on plant-based goodies and sipping on coffee alongside our teammates as we sat down to learn what’s what in the industry right now.

Here are some of our favorite takeaways from The Heart Series this year!


1. Good Can’t Be A Trend

In the opening state of the industry talk with Brad Haugen, the President of ATTN:, he reminded us that “Good can’t be a trend—it’s the future. It should be the cost of entry for all business.” It was a powerful claim and a reminder that sustainability and social impact have staying power. He also emphasized the role of honesty and transparency in this (and all) industries, especially as our country is changing. We also heard from other brands partnering with mainstream retail stores to gain a platform for their ethical messaging—and how these brands are the catalysts for global change. Leila Janah, the Founder & CEO of Samasource & LXMI reminded us that these small changes add up once they’re at scale, saying that “the greatest force in the world for good is the supply chains of large corporations.”

Good can’t be a trend—it’s the future. It should be the cost of entry for all business.
— Brad Haugen

2. Getting Clear On Your Goals—And Your Success

The panels that were sprinkled throughout the conference were full of tangible advice that resonated beyond business, and we heard a lot about how it’s essential to be precise with your goals. Holly Gordon, the Chief Impact Officer of Participant Media, broke down the ingredients of a successful impact-based campaign or project: Is the issue at a wide enough scale to build awareness around? Will the emotions spur action? Is the issue timely? Can you communicate it clearly? And finally, can your viewers or consumers take their own action easily?

We also were challenged with the questions of defining what success looks like, and came away with some clear action items on how to tell stories effectively and strategically.


3. Standing Out From The Crowd

We also heard from brands that have broken away from the fashion and lifestyle social impact business model, and are taking a more holistic approach to supply chains. Samasource, one of these companies, is a social impact tech service that connects companies with people in Kenya, India, Haiti and Uganda to help with their data needs. Genexa, a company on a mission to make traditional medicines healthier, is the first certified organic and non-GMO medicine. Both of these brands saw a better solution to existing problems—and made it a reality.

Our takeaway? We’re eager to learn more about the next wave of social impact brands across new industries, and even in the B2B sector.


4. The Future Is Built On Collaboration

Our co-founder, AmyAnn Cadwell, moderated a panel on Influence + Impact, where Joy Cho from Oh Joy, Helen Melluish from Omaze, and Ben Higgins from Generous Coffee shared their thoughts on using influencer platforms to amplify a message. This thread of collaboration being the way of the future was woven throughout the rest of the conference. From activating communities through outreach to finding brands and influencers that are excited by your ethics to work with, this values-based amplification is going to set the bar higher for businesses to do good. Share your values clearly with the right people, we learned, and you may just be paving the way to an exciting new collaboration.


Our team even took turns taking in some of the breakout workshops, where we explored more intuitive ways to work with Erica Stanulis, the founder of Follow The Sun, and how to make the right impressions using body language with Lisa Mitchell, the founder of Power Body Language.

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We left full of thoughtful conversations and found ourselves discussing how we can continue to not just do good, but do better for our world, ourselves, and our readers.

Here’s to another year of engaging discussions with The Heart Series! See you next year.



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Emily Torres is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her rabbits, or practicing at the yoga studio. Say hi on Instagram!