ebbf – Wilmette partnership webinar series


July 11, 2020 13:00 Eastern US Time

Success depends on our ability to bridge the inter-generational gap




Speakers: Avah & Mary Darling

What are the views of a 16 year old and of her mother on how we can achieve it together?
How can we progress from a dualistic and often conflicting vision of whose responsibility it is to create a better future, Avah will share her insights into a new way to integrate experience, passion, joy and effectiveness to create new models of exploration, learning and action.Moving from divided and divisive assignment of blames and responsibility to a new model of integrated action and reflection.




Avah Darling

I am a 16 year old Canadian who is interested in the state of the world and how we as a society could be thriving in diversity, actively exploring the ways in which we can come together and unite towards common goals. I strive to create projects and dedicate what I do towards improving ourselves and changing our mindsets so that we can have the tools to create better communities starting from the grassroots. Recently I have been travelling around the world, interviewing people on the topic of a reform of the UN, new forms of global governance and finding out how the world works. I enjoy projects and the arts, specially music, acting, writing, trying to use all these things to explore and interest others in co-creating purposeful projects. I strongly believe that youth has a role to play in dreaming and applying new forms of success and that right now the world has not find a way to connect with the youth, to make them part of the solution.
I aim to explore and present at the conference ways to build those bridges and create common paths of understanding and action that include youth.

Mary Darling

Mary Darling loves to collaborate creatively in all things. She is the co-founder of WestWind Pictures, and has written, directed, produced or executive-produced a string of documentaries on topics ranging from art and religion to children and divorce. She also produced hundreds of hours of lifestyle programming including such hits as This Small Space and Designer Guys. Her television comedy, Little Mosque on the Prairie, is a good example of the kind of content she is interested in exploring “content that can stir hearts towards understanding while laughing”. That series has aired in over 100 countries. She has eight beautiful children doing their part to contribute to the advancement of civilization.


DATE:  18th July at 13:00 Eastern

TITLE:  How should global organizations be managed in a world of justice?

Presenter: Douglas Henck



Douglas Henck will share and compare his decades of experience in the corporate world with the ideas and principles of his position as CFO at the Baha’i World Centre. When bringing together the Principles of the Faith and Corporate reality, what would he suggest shape the successful global organizations of the future – a future where corporations fulfil their inherent responsibility to contribute to a more just society? What is the kind of leadership that allows such a values-drive organization to prosper? What did he discover to be the obstacles with doing business ethically in different countries around the world? What is the best approach to create a global unified culture of values in a multinational organization?

Douglas Henck is non-executive board member of several organizations and was previously the CEO of AEGON Asia. Before that, he served as Chief Financial Officer at the Baha’i World Centre from 2006 to 2009. Prior to moving to Israel, Doug was President, Sun Life Financial Asia and a member of the corporation’s senior executive team. Earlier in his career he was Senior Vice President of the AIG Life Division of the American International Group after spending 23 years with the U.S.-based Aetna, Inc., the last ten years as the senior executive in Asia working out of the regional headquarters in Hong Kong that he started in 1987. Mr. Henck joined Aetna in 1974 after graduating with a B.S. (Mathematics) degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Mr. Henck qualified as a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1978.


DATE: 25th July at 13:00 Eastern

TITLE: Transforming companies into communities

Presenter: Oscar Rosa


How can we foster unity in diversity, collective action, social justice and liberating structures? What are the Teachings that can guide our present and future? What is the evolution of companies and human-centered leadership?
Sharing the fundamental concepts of Learning organizations, organizations where people continually expand their capacities, new thinking is nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.

Oscar Mendez Rosa is founder of soul.com. His work has always been guided by two fundamental concepts: the spiritual reality of men and the inherent nobility of human beings.
At an early age, Oscar has been dedicating his energies to building communities and contributing to collective well-being and prosperity. He has worked in over 40 countries in four continents and has interacted with people from different cultures. He has been trained in The Netherlands in communication and design and has more than 20 years of experience in business and large corporations.
His passion is to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of transforming companies into communities and how this comes about. At soul.com he is, therefore, carrying out research in different fields of knowledge, including religion, philosophy, business, social studies, and economics. Oscar loves to help people elevate their view on reality so that their inner volition is unlocked to contribute to a more prosperous and just society.


Roxann Stafford




Rethinking society after a pandemic
Speaker: Beppe Robiati


What are the key elements of a successful society and economic system?
Everything that is happening around us makes us understand that humanity must evolve towards world unity, this applies at all levels of our lives and organizations. What are the deeper implications of this concept of unity?
How can I rethink life and business with a new purpose, bringing unity to the centre of my relationships, of our relationships?


Mr. Robiati has spent his lifetime combining his business activities with a parallel educational and spiritual role which aims to bring the concepts of a new world order into business. A combination of publications and lectures delivered in a number of countries around the world has allowed him to deliver his growing experience and expertise to an ever wider circle of business people, civil society, professors & academics, students, baha’i meetings. Applying his principles of ethics , of the management of human resources as the mine of gems that they are, of a business model that looks at the benefit of the stakeholders and the spiritual principles of Baha’u’llah , has allowed his entrepreneurial career to prosper whilst setting a practical example of actions meeting words. Working with a team of collaborators he has built an extensive curricula spanning a wide range of business issues as listed in the attached CV, his pillar remaining the entire concept and definition of ethical behaviours both as a vision in a new world order and as practical instrument in the business and socio-political scenario. He became baha’i at the age of 16 years from a catholic background. He served the National Spiritual Assembly of Italy since 1973.


In Pursuit of Hope in a Time of Crisis

Speaker: Arthur Dahl








As COVID-19 sweeps the world, fear and panic are natural responses. The world was already in a mess, and now mass suffering is impacting everyone. For young people, their future already overshadowed by the climate catastrophe, hope may seem impossible. Yet this cloud does have a silver lining giving hope, which we can explore together. My recent book “In Pursuit of Hope”, suggests ways to arm ourselves for the environmental, social and economic challenges we are now facing and those still to come. At the individual level, all the great spiritual traditions speak of trial and suffering as paths to spiritual growth and refinement of character as we fight our inner battles. From the perspective of systems science, in a globalized world in which human organization has to adapt to a new scale of functioning, a process of rapid and often chaotic change is necessary to sweep away old institutions no longer adapted to the new reality, allowing a new and better system to emerge bringing justice and sustainability. Join us to see if you leave this discussion with more hope in the future.

What is the role of companies and entrepreneurs during and after a crisis?


Speaker: Daniel Truran








What is the role of companies and entrepreneurs during and after a crisis? Can business become the solution instead of being the problem?

Many companies are addressing current crises, trying to mitigate risks to the business and to its reputation. What could be another way and attitude that allows companies to go from being the problem to becoming the solution that we expect from them? We will share the extraordinary success that the best companies in the world are achieving during these weeks of economic crises. We will see how they manage to motivate, engage their staff and connect with their communities in a sincere spirit of service, by marshaling innovation and moral values required to lead the necessary change without limiting themselves to just “managing risks”.

Topic: From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Moral Excellence


Speakers: Nabil Elias and Jean Parker

Many corporations have adopted corporate social responsibility (CSR) to reconcile the profit motive with “doing good”. They saw CSR as an application of enlightened self-interest. However, many CSR applications tend to be stand-alone programs tangential to core business activities that themselves may not be socially responsible. Some have lamented the failure of CSR incrementalism. We will explore an alternative based on elevating organizations to higher moral ground such that all their core activities are motivated by spiritual values. We will contrast assumptions underlying the current business model with those drawn from the Baha’i Revelation and invite discussion of what each of us can do to support this emerging new paradigm in business.

Climate Change, Coronavirus, and One World; The Choice is Clear
Speaker: Gary Reusche
Climate change, the coronavirus, and other global challenges will not be mitigated without a global effort. While the connection between climate change, environmental sustainability, global governance is clear in the Bahá’í Teachings, the idea of global governance is rarely considered in the wider community and is often dismissed outright. The reaction by governments and societies around the world in the face of existential threats is incomplete as global governance is not receiving the attention that is needed to resolve world problems. To the rescue come youth activists around the world who are challenging the status quo. The possibility of engaging in discourse about global governance opens up when people are concerned with solving existential issues like climate change and strategies to deal with pandemics. In this webinar, we will explore how to hold family, neighborhood, and community together in a way that establishes unity and supports youth activists. There is also more reception of meaningful discourses about global coordination in different professions that have unique expertise to support coordinated global actions based on unity. We will explore how to create a unified vision based on guidance from the Bahá’í World Center to adopt a posture of learning and engage in genuine social discourse.








Collaboration through Consultation: A Powerful Tool for Building Community


Speaker: Sara DeHoff








Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one thing, what comes next another. What do we need to be able to rebuild? Humanity is facing an incredible challenge of collaboration and coordination at all levels and among diverse populations. Consultation is an essential tool for this effort. By aiming to understand the truth of an issue, consultation enables participants to transcend their own points of view and, together, chart a wise course of action. Come join us and learn the basics of this vital approach to problem-solving.

Rethinking Materialism from a Feminine Leadership Perspective
Speaker: Roya Akhavan
As the world goes through an unprecedented new phase of economic upheaval, a deeper analysis of materialism as the root cause of the extremes of wealth and poverty has taken on new urgency. Such an analysis involves two fundamental questions. First, what is the difference between “materialism,” which is hazardous, and “material prosperity,” which is a worthy individual and social goal? And, second, what is the most effective mode of leadership for moving society beyond materialism and facilitating the achievement of true material prosperity? It may be argued that the best mode of leadership in pursuit of shared material prosperity would be one that reflects compassion, caring, nurturing, communal behavior, and effective communication, all of which have traditionally been associated with the feminine aspects of the human society. The participants are invited to reimagine new leadership models in the context of the emerging consciousness of the need to balance the feminine and the masculine in all areas of human endeavor, including the creation of more equitable economic system.

Building Economically Cohesive Communities in the Time of the Corona Pandemic
Speaker: Jean Parker
At this time of uncertainty, humanity is experiencing both horror and opportunity. At the center of it all, are pre-existing economic disparities which are being amplified by current deficits in leadership and planning, and newly created economic inequalities that are expanding due to current questionable institutional responses.








This session will highlight the ways communities are building cohesion through their response to the crisis with ingenuity, creativity, mutualism and solidarity. We will briefly discuss the economic factors that threaten community cohesion then explore significant current trends that are enabling communities to innovate and transform economic vulnerability into economic cohesion. There will be plenty of time for discussion.


Climate Change & Materialism: Challenges for an Ever-Advancing Civilization


Speaker: Gary Reusche.


Even before the devastating effects of the coronavirus on human daily life, the emergence of a global civilization has been characterized by the twin processes of integration and disintegration. Interwoven global threats such as ecological degradation, uneconomic growth that overshoots the Earth’s biocapacity, income and wealth inequality, consumerism, and the rapid erosion of agri-food resources contribute to the breakdown of the world’s social and ecological order. This session will explore how to reduce anxieties about the future through discourse by individuals and communities. Technical solutions that mitigate such problems exist but must be administered within a new world order animated by the spirit of unity that reflects the vision of Bahá’u’lláh. This session aims at understanding the current issues and their cultural roots so that individuals and humanity as a whole may gain greater capacity to contribute in effective ways to social discourse and social action leading to transformation on an unprecedented scale.


June 27, 2020 13:00 Eastern US Time
Impact Experience and ways to create climate justice, racial justice and building bridges in marginalized communities.
Speaker: Jenna Nicholas


.With inequality plaguing communities around the globe, there’s fierce urgency to invest in change from the ground up.
How can we build bridges and deep relationships between impact investors, foundations, entrepreneurs, artists and local leaders to co-create solutions with marginalized communities?
How can you tap into the expertise of each individual in minority areas to generate innovative solutions that accelerate a community’s transformation and create concrete action plans that get partnership commitments?

Impact Investments is a fresh new way to create a more just, racially balanced flow of finance towards projects and companies that are good for the environment and for the people. But how can these elements be embedded in a much wider sense in the financial systems of today and tomorrow?
What are the key elements of successful impact investing? What can wealth create and what can it destroy?


Jenna is the CEO of Impact Experience which facilitates convenings that build lasting relationships between investors, philanthropists, innovators, and leaders of marginalized communities — linking vision with action and directing investment to the most vulnerable communities. Some of these issues include generating employment in marginalized communities such as retraining former coal miners in Appalachia; attracting greater pools of capital to minority and women run businesses and addressing health disparities. Jenna is also President of Phoenix Global Impact, a firm that specializes in impact investing, social entrepreneurship and strategic philanthropy. Through her firm, she has project managed Divest-Invest Philanthropy, a coalition of philanthropic foundations, divesting from investments in fossil fuels and reinvesting in new economy solutions. Jenna spoke at TedX Portland about the Divest-Invest work.

Jenna has also worked with the World Bank Treasury on green bonds and other sustainability projects and with Toniic helping to support an impact investing community. She has worked closely with the Calvert Special Equities team and is an advisor to the Nexus Global Youth Summit and Ethic, an online impact investing platform. Jenna graduated from Stanford University with an International Relations Honors Degree during which time she also read International Development at Oxford University. Jenna is a Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA graduate, is a PD Soros Fellow for New Americans, recipient of the Stanford Social Innovation Fellowship and an Echoing Green Fellow. Jenna has also been selected as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Jenna has special links with China and co-taught a course at Tsinghua School of Economics and Management on Business Ethics, Sustainability and Impact Investing. She is an active member of the Bahá’í Faith.

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The music featured in the podcast was kindly created and donate by the Licata Brothers


Episode 17: design processes that enact social and organizational transformation


Today, we’re discovering more about design processes that enact social and organizational transformation. Stephanie Akkaoui-Hughes utilizes her work as an architect to promote a variety of ongoing and adaptable human interactions. She practices architecture in a way that promotes social transformation by deliberately creating incompleteness, impermanence and imperfection to invite collaborative participation of people. The design process she uses can be adapted to create anything transformative.

But first, Jelena Hercberga is a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Bristol in the UK. Her work focuses on perceptions of difference contributing to the larger question of how society can organize itself to embrace ongoing encounters with difference. She says an organization or individual doesn’t gain self understanding only by knowing oneself. Rather, the greatest self knowledge comes from deliberately interacting with those who are different than we are in some way. She also believes that goals like justice or diversity must be redefined as we progress and are never fully completed.

Episode 16 – The Difficult but worthwhile path towards new meaningful careers


In this episode we discover key decisions one should address when you are about to make a career change.
Two ebbf members also share the struggles and how they lived through their personal career transitions in their professional and personal life.
Enrico Giraudi made the shift from a career working for marketing goals of mutlinationals to working for the wellbeing of people. His path from knowing “this is not my place any more” to the fear of moving away from a stable job and one’s fake identity. “The challenge is that you don’t move a step if you don’t know what you are moving towards and one often over estimates one’s current status”. What gave his strength was his feeling that “the first steps I took, gave me a sense of happiness and wellbeing worth pursuing”.
But first Dr. Graham Boyd has a PhD in theoretical particle physics. In a significant career change he left physics to work for Procter & Gamble and is now the CEO of Evolute Six a network of practitioners that promote work as a strategy for both professional and personal development “changing careers is most complicated than we might think and first coherence with the rest of one’s life”

Episode 15 – Can we achieve unifying leadership that goes beyond gender?


In this episode we discover traits of emerging leadership styles. New strategies inspire new questions like:
how can we redefine success to embrace the true nature of humanity and challenge the predominant assumption that competition, exclusivity and individualism are necessary to be successful?
What would happen if we moved beyond diversity categories like gender and other under represented groups and instead viewed ourselves through a lens of coherence across the range of human identity?

As we evolve towards the achievement of the equality of women and other marginalised groups what questions are not being asked? ebbf board member Wendi Momen offers her thoughts on this and other issues.

Mary Darling the co-owner of Westwind pictures, executive producer of highly successful Canadian Netflix series Little Mosque in the Prairie, shares her ideas working in a male-dominated industry.
What happens when we bring feminine leadership into directing a movie or leading a workgroup?
How do we ensure that we really hear diverse voices when do we know when the right level of diversity is present to make the best decisions?

Episode 14 – What educational governance can build ethical leaders?


How can education prepare society’s change agents of the future?
How can educational institutions exemplify governance with high ethical principles?

We hear from Maelys de Rudder how a school in post-war Bosnia transformed itself from conflict to collaboration.
But first Vivek Nair is the director of the School of the Nations in Macau. Students fulfill the dual purpose of academic accomplishment and service to their communities and “this contributes greatly to their preparation as ethical leaders and collaborators”.

Episode 13 – Rethinking Education


Many aspects of who we are and how we live our lives arre determined by our experiences in the formative years. In this episode we explore how to introduce new forms of education that will create leaders able to shape a better future.

Later in the program we hear the first hand experience of Badi Shams who founded a school in India based on high ethical principles and what establishing a school taught him about learning. ( Badi Shams also offers this website as a source of information with an emphasis on the moral and spiritual aspect of economics where we will discuss spiritually-inspired ideas www.badishams.com )

But first Gordon Naylor, the director of the Nancy Campbell Academy in Canada, thinks deeply about what kind of education is needed to nurture tomorrow’s change agents and transformational leaders.

Episode 12 – The unusual values-based story of a French bakery in … New Delhi


In this episode we are taking you to India, where the dream of a Persian French family of taking to India the culinary pleasures of a very typical French Patisserie comes true. The Christine, Kazem and Laurent Samandari first share practical ideas on how to make sure such a dream can come true and then in the second part of this podcast we dig deeper into the values that are at the foundation of this very successful enterprise, planning to have over a 100 patisseries spread around India.

Episode 11 – The ethical challenge of an inclusive global governance for business


We’re discovering more about the ethical challenges of organizational governance: Douglas Henck presents the obstacles he was faced with doing business ethically around the world, Roxann Stafford offers her perspectives on inclusive governance and Augusto Lopez-Claros on what needs to change in corporate governance to better align with the interests of society?

Episode 10 – new financial, local and global trends pushing us to rethink governance


Sean Hinton is the CEO of the Soros Economic Development Fund at the Open Society Foundation. He is interested in the relationship between individuals and governance, pre-distributive ownership mechanism where wealth is more evenly distributed even before it is created. He shares ideas about inclusive growth and how we can move out of inequality moving towards more just and even distribution by building the capacity for active participation of wider groups in organizations’ governance.
First Jenna Nicholas CEO of impact experience exposes the impact investing trends that are being fuelled both by a new grassroots and mainstream level awareness and shares the consequent shift in power and trust that she has observed over the past few years

Episode 9 – Personal paths and tools to meaningful work and workplaces


On today’s program we are learning more about practical strategies some ebbf members used to find meaningful work or make their current work meaningful.
Alex Cabon explains how difficulties have prepared him to find meaningful work. Payam Zamani offers concrete examples of putting his company’s values into action. Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes on action labs, a methodology to interact explore and experiment with the application of meaningful ideas.

Episode 8 – Personal stories that shaped people’s meaningful careers
We discover how people find their own path to meaningful work, hearing three personal stories of ebbf members whose formative years set the stage to develop work that is meaningful and transformative for society: Dhairya Pujara shaping his views in his early days in India , Elsie Maio and her childhood memory that changed the whole course of her career in the US and Naysan Naraqi a global citizen inspired by what surrounded him growing up in Papua New Guinea.


Episode 7 – Collaboration, the shift from self interested competition   


In this episode we learn about collaboration, Leyla Tavernaro explains collaboration in the South African context and Vahid Masrour offers insights into how this is lived at Wikipedia. Michael Karlberg shares how it is necessary to change the culture of contest for collaboration to flourish in society.

Episode 6 – How can consultation evolve decision-making and other organizational processes?


In this program Françoise Le Goff will explain how she used consultation to implement a large, complex project involving hundreds of people, millions of dollars and many different personal agendas. And, Valerie Arnold poses the question, what biases do we bring to a consultative process and how can we keep them in check?

But first, the term consultation can be confusing. To many people, consultation means the seeking of advice from an expert or to have a discussion about a specialized topic. But consultative processes represents a paradym shift potentially affecting every aspect of society. In this episode we offer universal principles to create a more effective consultative process, inspired by the Writings of the Baha’i Faith. The success of applying these principles is not limited to taking good decisions, but more widely allows us to create fruitful learning experiences that fully engage the diversity of ideas and talents of all people involved.

Trip Barthel has worked for many years as a  mediator. He has developed nine stages of consultative decision-making he believes offer participants opportunities for personal as well as organizational growth. Here is how he defines consultation.

Episode 5 – New approaches to diversity as a key resource to your enterprise


In this episode we aim to understand more about the application of diversity in business. Payam Zamani shares his practical experience with various forms of diversity in his global tech startup company, Carl Emerson offers some wisdom about managing diversity in organizations. Arthur Dahl on what we can learn about human diversity from what is found in nature and the interconnectedness that we can harness.

Episode 4 – Transitioning towards the spiritual enterprise


In this fourth episode of ebbf’s ethical business building the future #discoveringhow podcast we hear more about the function of spiritual values in companies.
Douglas Henck gives us practical examples from his career for applying spiritual values in complex global business environments. Marjo Lips-Wiersma new mandates for corporations for responsible conduct as well as profit. First Maja Groff shares her views on justice as a core principle supporting spiritual values.


Episode 3 – The evolution of business: how it lost and now needs to regain its connection with society


In Episode 3 of ebbf’s #discoveringhow podcast we will hear how maverick playwright, best selling author, Fullbright scholar and business school professor Dorothy Marcic sees the evolution of business over time. Wendi Momen explains a practical case of how a company reacted to global changes, putting their stakeholders first and how it paid off.

Ralph Blundell reads ebbf member James Jennings’ article on how to integrate humanity into the operating system of a business.

Episode 2 – How can ethical business build the future? Transitioning towards the spiritual enterprise.


In Episode 2 of ebbf’s #discoveringhow podcast we hear from Marc Rivers on how he found himself wanting to use his position as CFO at one of the world’s largest Pharma companies to use spiritual values important to him in a way that would give meaning to his global team of financial controllers. Elsie Maio shares how the function of Spiritual Values in Companies’ can transform purpose, relationships and results.  Listen to how Marc Rivers and Elsie Maio work with the power of truth in finance, branding, writing, consulting and leadership.
We read Jenna Nicholas and Daryn Dodson’s insights into how spirituality is affecting and will influence in the near future the area of finance.

Episode 1 – meaningful work, how ebbf members view it and live it


In Episode 1 of ebbf’s #discoveringhow podcast we hear from Dhairya Pujara and how his need for meaningful work made him leave his job on day one and on the traits of meaningful work that Stephane Zahrai has experienced and suggests other enterprises live up to.
Finally Serge Thill offers an article with his own ideas on the principles behind meaningful work, read by South African ebbf member Tahirih Michot.

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