ebbf's 29th annual conference #rethinkmaterialism

ebbf’s 29th annual conference

ethical business building the future

rethinking materialism


You aim for a balance between material and spiritual wellbeing in your work and career but you are surrounded by a materialistic work environment.

During this, ebbf’s 29th annual conference, we shifted the debate from the traditional materialistic concept of “stuff” and the focus on “more or less stuff”;
instead we centered our attention on the means that are required for progress to occur.

What are the underlying assumptions that sustain materialism?
How can we transition our organizations to a healthier work environment?
How can we and our organizations reach the dynamic coherence between the material needs of any company and its sense of purpose, its spiritual essence, in order to allow ethical business, our businesses, to build the future?


ebbf milan 2017

The practical experiences of the global diverse group of participants attending, together with elevated conversations that open our minds and break down old patterns to what is possible, provided the ingredients to the art that ebbf has crafted over its 30 years of experience in creating these learning-leading-to-action experiences.

“I come to ebbf to refresh my thinking, to create a new level of energy and to find new and much needed ideas and processes that I can then go an implement in my organization the following week.”


event contributors

ebbf international annual conferences are unique because of the role of participants, an elevated group of people who are designing the future of business, actively exploring the present and future role of their workplaces. Speakers and participants share an equal role in inspiring the thinking and shared learning that allows you to benefit from both a practical useful set of ideas that you can implement next week in your organization and elevated thinking that helps you re-think your role and that of your organization on a wider level.
“By far the most challenging, thought provoking, yet supportive and empowering event. The only place where diversity has an impact … from undergrads to CEOs everyone having meaningful conversations that lead to concrete actions. Unparalleled.” Ralph Blundell, past event attendee.

Below some of the first confirmed contributors ( we look forward to update the list soon, with the rest of the contributors)
Some of the people who will inspire your thinking and actions at this specific event:

Enrico Giraudi
Professional Counselor. Corporate Consultant. Author and Speaker.
With twenty years of experience in the world of brand communication and with assignments related to strategic planning, business development and innovation (Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, JWThompson), Enrico Giraudi is now involved in consulting in the field of organizational counseling and human resources, with particular reference to the themes of identity, change and innovation of organizational systems. Systemic, transpersonal and mindfullness disciplines represent a constant reference point for his work and his research. He is the author and speaker and will soon publish his book “Technologies of Intuition”Here a recent interview he offered to ebbf on the theme of the event

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.

Jose Soto
José is the President of IS Corporation, founded in 1977 and Co Founder at OPTIMO Gestión Empresarial. It´s core business revolves around services and consulting in the areas of energy management, educational technology, document management services, cybersecurity and business applications. Jose makes explicit the foundational principles that make his company successful listing: Unity in diversity, Work as a means to serve others, Integrity and responsibility, Honesty and transparency, Justice and fairness amongst others.

Rhonda Gossen
Rhonda is Senior Policy Advisor, Political, Rohingya Crisis, Bangladesh Desk at Global Affairs Canada | Affaires mondiales Canada.

Over 30 years’ progressively responsible experience in international development, humanitarian and post-disaster recovery and reconstruction and peace operations programming primarily at the Canadian International Development Agency, UNHCR, Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia on human security and conflict; and consulting assignments with World Bank, UNDP & UNICEF.  She has been o Canadian diplomatic assignments in Asia and Africa, recently Pakistan and Afghanistan for the World Bank, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP assignments in Pakistan, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, South Sudan and Southern Africa.
She is also a r
egular contributor to Digital news media on OpenCanada.org

Laurent Burst

Laurent is a photographer and entrepreneur. He wants to understand how the world works since he can remember and has founded several companies. As photographer he works for publications such as Monocle, Wall Street Journal or GQ. His current ventures Herr Rizzi and Coffaina are reshaping the soft drink world in Switzerland and Berlin. He also is a founder of Republik and Project R where he was responsible for the business model and the purpose structure of the company.

Roya Akhavan
Dr. Roya Akhavan currently serves as Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Mass Communications, St. Cloud State University. In addition to research and publication in the field of international mass communication, Dr. Akhavan has maintained a research and teaching interest in peace studies. Her most recent work is a book entitled “Peace for Our Planet: A New Approach” (Calumet Editions: 2017). She is a frequent speaker at national and international forums on gender issues, social justice, and spirituality in the 21st century.
Dr. Akhavan’s organizational experience includes serving as Vice President for International Marketing at CVSC, a Chinese State-owned Company in Beijing. In addition to extensive international travel, Dr. Akhavan has lived and worked in four different cultures; Persian, American, Japanese, and Chinese.

Svenja Rüger
Svenja is a facilitator and designer of large scale collaborative sessions. Her passion lies in building resilient communities and facilitating collaborative processes to solve complex challenges on a systems level. She cares a lot about the challenges the world is currently facing and wants to support connecting the dots in order to create impactful, meaningful solutions. She promotes listening to understand, not listening to speak, and holds the space for what is trying to emerge.

She took on lead design and facilitation roles for international engagements with the World Economic Forum, LEGO Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, International Red Cross & Red Crescent, INSEAD Business School, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Berlin Civil Society Centre, and many others
She believes in servant leadership, and that facilitation is all about making it easy.

Silvia Ferlito

Silvia Ferlito is a Business Economist by education and has 15+ years of finance experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Her work in finance was always accompanied with her interest to deeper understand human behavior and change patterns. This led her to study and become a Stress & Mental Coach and Trainer, supporting people in finding their strengths, releasing stress and activating hidden resources.
In her work she can combine both backgrounds and introduce initiatives around mindset change, Capacity Building and trust based communication.
After her graduation Silvia spent one year in Australia and New Zealand and has since then traveled the globe. During a sabbatical she spend some time in South America and engaged in a humanitarian mission in Cochabamba Bolivia. Her high level of drive and energy leads her to find new projects to inspire and support people as well as find places to explore and learn from.

Gigi Alford
Ginous “Gigi” Alford leads the Sport and Human Rights strategy at UNI Global Union’s World Players Association. She also coordinates the Sport & Rights
Alliance, a global coalition of leading NGOs, sports organizations, and trade unions, which she represents on the interim governance committee of the new Geneva-based Centre for Sport and Human Rights. Previously, Ms. Alford
served in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights,
and Labor, where she facilitated the first Sporting Chance Forum. She also
worked stints as a sports reporter and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and San Diego Union-Tribune and in policy advocacy on human rights, governance, and development with Freedom House and the Baha’i International Community.
Gigi holds degrees from Oxford University, the University of Alabama, and
Loyola University in New Orleans, and is a former Knight Foundation Fellow.

Arlette George
A writer and educator with a background in theatre-making & directing.
Received a social innovation award in Edinburgh in 2013 to promote design principles and regeneration in a rural business. Moved out of London with family to Scotland in 2015.
Mottos: “Where there is love there is always time, and nothing is too much trouble.” – ‘Abdu’l-Baha and “Yes, let’s!” – Keith Johnstone.
Curious about how pervasive business culture can be helped to get out of its narratives of conflict: what materialism reveals about the human side of a culture of conflict? Primary interest is to invite creativity and human dignity into forming basic patterns for prosperous behaviour.

David Menham
Currently owner/director of Education and Language Solutions Austria, supplying a unique blend of language training, translation services and text correction. 30 years experience as a qualified Teacher/Tutor/Lecturer in colleges , private training agencies and the school system in Austria and the UK.
Last six years spent working for the Vienna Education Board as a native English Teacher. Former Teacher Trainer for Helen Doron Early English Austria. Former Peace Studies Graduate at Bradford University.
Active member of EBBF, International Environment Forum, Meetup Austria, SERVAS Austria, Plastic Planet Verein Austria.

Randy Vaucrosson
Randy is a certified professional Co-Active coach (CPCC) from Coach Training Institute (CTI), and Associate certified coach (ACC) from International Coach Federation (ICF). He currently works at the Nancy Campbell Academy as a residential assistant.
He enjoys facilitating workshops with his wife.

Dan Makoski
is a design executive who leads innovation by design.
He is Chief Design Officer at Lloyds Banking Group, leading a multi-disciplinary human-centered team with the singular goal of helping Britain prosper through empathetic and courageous design.
He was Head of Design at the Fortune 1, started Project ARA at Google, designed the original Surface at Microsoft, led design research globally at Motorola, and was the first VP of Design at Capital One. Dan began his career at the world’s top design agencies, and even started his own at one point.
The common thread across his career is the belief that design is most powerful when it’s an expression of humble service, and innovation is most impactful when it fosters openness and inclusion.

Sahba Sobhani
Sahba Sobhani is a Global Programme Advisor-Private Sector in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS). In this capacity, he provides programme support and policy advice on private sector development issues and technical oversight for UNDP’s multi-stakeholder initiatives including the Business Call to Action Initiative, the Connecting Business Initiative and the G20 Global Platform on Inclusive Business. He designed the first in the world mobile money-enabled housing repair initiative for early recovery in Haiti and the successful setup of a national CSR Center in Egypt and a global center in Turkey.  He has been the principal author and content manager of all 5 major UNDP-led reports in the area of private sector in development, including Making Business for the Poor, 2008 Global Growing Inclusive Markets Report: Mr. Sobhani was the managing editor of the African Stock Markets Handbook. He has also worked in the private sector at Idealab in Palo Alto and Newscom Limited in Singapore. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Fletcher School of Diplomacy

Kate Cacciatore
Kate Cacciatore is a Sustainability practitioner with 15 years of experience working to inspire and transform the business community in the electronics and financial sectors. With a PhD in French Renaissance moral literature (focusing on a theory of divine inspiration) from UCL and training as a Medium at the College of Psychic Studies in London, Kate has been infusing her work on Sustainability with her underlying passion, which is to help individuals and organisations tap into Collective Intelligence in the service of Meaningful Work. Next on the horizon: continuing to support the evolutionary shift to “Teal” or self-managed organisations and finding new, inspired ways to catalyse a global movement to enable people to achieve greater Meaning in their lives.

Carlos Cordoba
He is the founder of OPTIMO Gestión Empresarial, A Costa Rican national, Psychologist by profession with a Masters in Business Administration, he held management positions in companies with national and international coverage. He is the founder and director of the company HUMANTECH, and is the International Tutor of training processes in human resources management by competencies for the ILO.
He is also an Associate Consultant of the Research and Training Center in Public Administration of the University of Costa Rica, and Associate Professor of the Master Programs and Degree in Human Resources of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica.

Moneshia Zu Eitz

Moneshia is co-founder of “toAccompany”, an organizational capacity development consulting practice focused on raising talent and well being from a material, social and spiritual perspective. Her method draws on leadership assessment and development, coaching and cultural integration experience impact on company performance based has 25 years of experience in mergers and acquisitions and partnering at IBM and Philips. This human centered approach to growth and performance also draws from on the ground experience in India, Africa, Europe, Japan and the US . As part of bringing people and processes together in pro-bono she also worked in economic justice as part of IBMs Executive Service Corp in Taiwan, and Michael Porter’s Forestry sector team in Venezuela.

Moneshia completed her MBA at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania and is also an active mentor and is co leading the weAccompany program for ebbf. More at: www.toaccompany.com

Matthew Weinberg
Matthew Weinberg served as Research Director of the Bahá’í International Community, in Haifa, Israel, and led the initial work of the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity in contributing to international development discourse. He was a senior analyst with the United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment, in Washington, DC, where he directed studies in the areas of environmental and technology policy. He currently serves as director of the Baha’i Internet Agency.

Nadja Schnetzler
Nadja is an innovation, implementation and collaboration expert. She co-founded BrainStore with her partner in 1997 and helped over 1’000 companies, organisations and individuals on five continents to develop and implement great ideas. In 2012, she founded Word and Deed where she focuses on supporting teams and groups in having meaningful conversations and reaching robust decisions.
She is also a co-founder of Republik and Project R, which have the purpose of building a new model for independent journalism in Switzerland and where Nadja helped shape the early team and its collaboration and co-creation processes between 2015 and 2018.

Carmel Khalilian
She is presently the director of Planning Vision a company that provides comprehensive town planning advice to property developers and private individuals, as well as concerned residents and community groups. The key aim is for all stakeholders to fully understand the interdependencies of urban planing, involving all affected parties and creating a truly holistic and effective resulting architectural framework.
She also directed two other creative companies promoting sustainable architecture and responsible events. She brings work experience over ten years across cities including London, Myanmar, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Gibraltar.

Ilona Surgaile
Born in Lithuania, part of Soviet Union at that time, emigrated to US in 1996, crossed the vast ocean of ambiguity and unknown – adapting to the new country, new culture, economic system, language barrier and healed the pain of leaving home country behind… Ilona always considered herself a world citizen and believe that there is one human race on earth; united in diversity, strong in one faith and aiming for the betterment of the world. Through her observations and experiences, she learned something very important: If we are clear on vision, united in efforts and embracing each other’s differences we can reach our personal, professional and organizational dreams. It is possible to transform every end into a new beginning. It is not easy, but it is worth living!

Executive Leadership Coach at Leading Visions, Inc., Ilona specializes in career & life transitions and cross-cultural complexity, effective communication supporting diversity and inclusiveness. Insightful and effective organizational and relationship systems coach, Ilona works with clients on mindfulness to be open and receptive to reality and its gifts permanently honing thinking and behavior patterns that impact business and personal relationships, creativity, and conscious decision making. She has assisted individuals, teams, and organizations in developing the knowledge and skills to create long-term, productive relationships and work satisfaction. Ilona has run various workshops for diverse audiences helping people to excel self and social awareness as well as cultural sensitivity in order to navigate effectively in this ever changing intergenerational and multicultural world.

Oonagh Vaucrosson
Oonagh has been a Virtues Project enthusiast since 2014. In addition to facilitating workshops to share the virtues with others, she works at the Nancy Campbell Academy in Stratford, Ontario. Her professional history is an eclectic mix. She has worked as a prosecutor and defence counsel in Bermuda, a dorm parent at the Townshend International School in the Czech Republic, assisted in creating national Standard of Service certification for the Bermuda tourism industry and a coordinator for community building activities.. She views her professional history as a collection of bountiful opportunities to better learn to connect with people and meet them where they are at and offer life tools to navigate the inevitable peaks and valleys that may perhaps reorient their frame of reference.

Anila Hussain
Driven by a strong business mindset since childhood, Anila, a national level gymnast, was raised in Karachi, the cosmopolitan fashion hub of the East. Her zest for knowledge led her to become a Montessori International Educator, settled in Geneva, Switzerland. Alongside her teaching role as a Montessori educator, Anila’s formative years were spent pursuing fashion styling consultancy in Switzerland.

This led her to create SHENANNZ an international brand of couture collection across fashion events and platforms such as Montreux Moda Switzerland, London Fashion week, House of iKons, Swiss Fashion week Manor, Vevey and Globus Geneva.

Anila is committed to emancipation and empowerment of impoverished women, by fostering their creativity to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families. Her dream is to spread the message of gender equality through entrepreneurship and education, across the world.

Click on the image below to download the final program learning guide

that will be handed to you at the registration desk, together with the welcome pack



Before we can start to Rethink Materialism, we need to first understand what we wish to cover, what do we mean by this concept.
We don’t want to limit ourselves to creating a definition of what is, but rather open our minds to new ways of seeing this term and its consequent attitudes and actions. This fundamental part of the program is where we start to break down assumptions and create new thinking.


16:30 – Registrations Open


17:00 – Start of the Conference: Welcome and opening introduction to the event
Why are we all here? What do we aim for in this four-day leaning experience?
Setting the scene for an immersive learning experience.

18:00  – Setting the tone Keynote: Sahba Sobhani, opening minds, rethinking materialism
Rethinking Capitalism: How the UN’s Sustainable Developments Goals provide a better model for people, prosperity and planet.

 – First meaningful conversations, inspired by quotes and Writings we start a dialogue to make the theme relevant to me and to what I wish to achieve in my workplace and in my areas of influence.

19:00 – Dinner:
 enjoying those informal yet insightful first conversations


20:30 – A World Cafe Style experience where we will all address:
What does materialism mean to me? Why should we rethink it?



21:00 – Check out reflection time, with a great question that will emerge for the night




09:00 – Start of DAY 2, today we start to dream the future, what can you expect, what are the key elements of the day?


09:30 – Dreaming Keynote with Enrico Giraudi

SPIRITUAL “MAKING” by Enrico Giraudi
An attempt to reconcile materialism with spirituality.

For years we have understood materialism as the antithesis of spirituality, cultivating a dualistic and often conflicting vision of these two dimensions of the human being.
If we conceive materialism and spirituality as life “models”, it is indeed very difficult to conceive of their peaceful integration.
But if we think of spirituality as a “source”, as the warehouse of our best intuitions, like that wavelength that puts us in tune with the “divine” and we think back to materialism not as a lifestyle but as our attitude to bring into being and make concrete in our daily life what is within us intangible and impalpable, then we can get a glimpse of the potential collaboration and benevolent, functional alliance between the two.
Our soul that inspires our hands, our being guiding our doing. Materialism seen as the ability to give tangible proof that our spiritual intuitions can generate change, can build new worlds, can leave their mark in our daily reality.


10:00 – Creative session – dreaming the ideal future we want:
Dreaming the ideal future we want , what does 2030 look like?

Inspired by Writings, quotes and new ideas, we will dream the future we are aiming to create, visualising what our workplaces, the organizations we work in, the economy and our own careers will look like in 2030.


11:00 – Coffee Break


11:30 – Parallel Sessions Part I
Choose one of six parallel sessions, to go deeper and learn more about what you need and gather new ideas, insights, processes and inspiration you can then apply to your working life. ( see description of sessions below )


13:00 – Lunch


14:30 – Purpose for the future
After the creating session of the morning the need for focus, for personal focus and ways to make clearer the future we aim for will be high on our priorities and that is what we will address and then be introduced to the afternoon parallel sessions available for you to choose from.


14:45 – Parallel Sessions Part II
Choose one of five parallel sessions, to go deeper and learn more about what you need and gather new ideas, insights, processes and inspiration you can then apply to your working life. ( see description of sessions below )


16:30 – Keynote with Matt Weinberg

Technology, Spiritual Values and Remaking our Reality

Moving towards more conscious and purposeful patterns of technological innovation depends on both practical and spiritual awareness.

Technological change is an inherent aspect of material progress and a dominant fashioner of everyday reality. Technology is something we create, but it also recreates or redefines us. Over the past few years, public discourse has increasingly focused on how technology can have unexpected social impacts and be misused in a way that leads to insecurity, social disunity and dissonance. This presentation will explore how individuals, communities, organizations and institutions can become active agents in making technological choices that align with more holistic goals of human flourishing. We can no longer be passive in relation to the design and deployment of technology. This requires building capabilities of all kinds, at all levels of society, in assessing how particular technologies affect personal, social and spiritual well-being. In this regard, practices of consultation and knowledge generation informed by spiritual values are precisely the mechanisms required to make technological choices that foster human connection and constructive action.


17:00 – A Meaningful conversation opportunity
Sit on the table that will cover the questions most relevant to you; addressing the key ideas from the keynote that you find most interesting.


17:30 – Personal Reflection and Relaxation

By now many ideas and many questions will be filling your mind, this is the time to reflect in a relaxed atmosphere on what is emerging.
Getting you in the ideal state of mind to harness what is useful to you.


19:00 – Dinner


20:30 – keynote and art with Mary Darling

How can we help us and those around us to … rethink ?
how can art, movies, campaigns and the media help us and society change their perceptions and consequent actions?


21:30 – Check out and one last question that will emerge, to nurture our night’s thoughts: what do we now need most to make this future happen?




09:00 – Check in & Feed forward, what happened yesterday? What do we want to see happening today?


09:30 – Keynote Carlos Cordoba
Transforming a Commercial Business into a Social Enterprise
Is the future already here?
The case of a real life business that is learning through action how to reconcile materialism and spirituality.
How did the initial idea come up?  How were individuals working there involved? What was the role of the community they aimed to serve?
The personal experience of transforming the leadership, structure and objectives of a family business into a manager-less incubator of social enterprises.


10:00 – Open Space Session Part 1
The time to voice what are the burning questions that I want to discuss with this community, taking into consideration the work and ideas that have emerged in the past two days, what do I now need most to Design the Future?
Identifying key elements, gathering like minded people to explore them, getting practical ideas and elevated concept to help us progress.


11:15 Working Coffee Break


11:45 – Open Space Session Part 2
Going deeper
what are the projects that have emerged and that are most alive right now and that I want to explore with the community?


12:30  Plenary Sharing of Open Space Outcomes
what key design features will we be putting in place to design the future?


13:00 – Lunch


14:00 – KEYNOTE Kate Cacciatore

Moving from the head to the heart: a personal journey leading to an inspired collective perspective that supports meaningful work.

Many of us have been through or are going through personal crises such as “burn out” as a result of working in mainstream organisations that still function according to the old paradigm. We yearn for greater purpose and meaning in the work we do and the way our organisations are run. But how can we concretely transform these traditional organisations? What can we learn from leaders who have successfully “liberated” their companies to move towards a “Teal” or self-managed organizational model? How can we bring about larger-scale systems change that reflects the evolution of human consciousness that we are already experiencing? What concrete techniques and solutions can we use to tap into our collective intelligence through personal authenticity?


14:30 – Meaningful Conversation: what stands out for me from that keynote and approach? What is useful?


15:00 – Parallel Sessions Part III
Choose one of six parallel sessions, to go deeper and learn more about what you need and gather new ideas, insights, processes and inspiration you can then apply to your working life. ( see description of sessions below )


16:30 – Coffee Break


17:00 – ebbf Annual General Meeting

what has been and will be the role of ebbf to accompany you forward?

approving last year’s annual report / voting the ebbf governing board / sharing plans and practical tools created for you launching in 2019


19:00 – Dinner


20:30 – Inspirational Keynote 

Dan Makoski – Chief Design Officer at Lloyds Banking Group

“Rethinking the concept of Prosperity”


21:30 – Getting into action … Bollywood Style ( the highlight of the event for many )
Designing the future is exciting but delivering it is a challenge, how can we learn to stand up and express ourselves, together?
with Anila Hussain



We want to maximise our influence next week, next month, in the coming years. In this last day we will be bringing together all our learning are rethinking that we enjoyed over these last few days together and harnessing all the new resources, ideas, connections to make our return to our workplace a strong and impactful one. This will be another fundamental pillar of this four day learning-leading-to action experience.

09:30 – Fast Forward of what we have put in our (virtual) bag so far, harvesting ideas, learnings and actions.


10:00 – So what am I now missing to get into action next week, month, year in my workplace?
A highly designed session aimed to bring into focus my next actions and to multiply the opportunities to bring my learning to my workplace


11:00 – Coffee Break


We end with one last keynote to see us going forward, giving us the energy and focus to help people around us join us in rethinking and redesigning materialism


12:00 – Who will we now walk this path with? Harnessing the ebbf accompaniment

Our last opportunity to connect with the people, the main source of inspiration we will want to reciprocally accompany and be accompanied by , over the next period of our lives.


12:30 – Final Lunch and good byes


Choose between these parallel sessions



You can now choose between these five interactive parallel learnshops:

. Enrico Giraudi  – SPIRITUAL “MAKING” by Enrico Giraudi
An attempt to reconcile materialism with spirituality.

An opportunity to deepen the key points from the keynote where we will see how we can shift materialism as the antithesis of spirituality, cultivating a dualistic and often conflicting vision of these two dimensions of the human being, towards a new view.
If we conceive materialism and spirituality as life “models”, it is indeed very difficult to conceive of their peaceful integration.
But if we think of spirituality as a “source”, as the warehouse of our best intuitions, like that wavelength that puts us in tune with the “divine” and we think back to materialism not as a lifestyle but as our attitude to bring into being and make concrete in our daily life what is within us intangible and impalpable, then we can get a glimpse of the potential collaboration and benevolent, functional alliance between the two.
Our soul that inspires our hands, our being guiding our doing. Materialism seen as the ability to give tangible proof that our spiritual intuitions can generate change, can build new worlds, can leave their mark in our daily reality.

. Ilona Surgaile – Leading Through Changing Times

The intention of the workshop is to engage the participants to share their knowledge and experience. Educate the hearts by taking a holistic view of change where the core is being clear, open, honest and authentic. Encourage to take an action, coming up with few doable and practical action steps on how we can be committed leaders through these changing times when the world paradigm is shifting. This program will blend group exercises and discussions with intentional reflection time upon emerging themes, values, co-creating commitment and actionable steps.

. Arlette George ‘To be or not to be, that is the question.’-Hamlet

Because enslavement and freedom are essential to understanding the ideas that underpin materialism we will start with a ten minute slide presentation on the impact of Queen Victoria’s abolition of slavery in 1833. Be assured, some of it will surprise you.  We will also examine how the rights of every man, woman and child on the planet are intrinsic to rethinking materialism. From the big picture we will then turn to everyday habits:

As you know, our beliefs, and what we think, drive our behaviour: We will play some games to discover a little more about ourselves. Games are helpful as they allow us to, safely and freely, examine different conversations and negotiations in the light of understanding.

What are we really doing in a negotiation? When are we buying our freedom at someone else’s expense? Do we ever enslave ourselves too? Can we make technology our slave instead? What’s the answer? Is there ever a way out? What does it mean: ‘to be’ without negating the others/ourselves?

What kind of environment frees the will of mankind?  What does the independent investigation of reality mean? How is our work an expression of the relationship between ‘being’ and ‘doing’? What is service to humanity? What’s the relationship between service and true freedom? What’s that got to do with business and prosperity?

. Silvia Ferlito – AYNI – Discover the Power of Reciprocity

Ayni (gifting in Quechua) is the Andean principle of reciprocity, respect and the mutual flow of giving and receiving. It is a creative process based on the reality of abundance. It starts with the genuine need of a person, responds with a generous spirit of another and is based on a long lasting trust based relationship to accomplish more than one person or group alone could manage alone.
Reciprocity and collaboration is an innate trait that humans developed through a long process of evolution. It is based on mutual relations and has existed in one form or the other in many societies.
Let’s discover the power of Ayni and how in times of increasing materialism and individualism concepts like Ayni can bring back the sense of community.
Let’s explore on actions how to improve our organizations and shift the mindset from I to WE, from pure monetization (more cash) and materialization (grow bigger) to building relationships based on trust, respect, generosity, care and justice that are the base to more effective, sustainable and creative organizations with happier people.

. Carmel Khalilian – SMART way to rethink materialism

“SMART” is a management tool used to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound. During this interactive workshop we will learn more about this system of goal setting with the intention of helping one another set our next steps in the path towards balancing out materialism in our day-to-day lives with a specific focus on the workplace, your career/ business goals, and drawing from your network (both old and new) to aid in the process.

This is a useful exercise no matter what stage of business development you are at and will help facilitate critical thinking when it comes to the struggles of grappling with the intersectionality of businesses and interests following the remnants of the old world practices and in working to establish new foundations for responding to modern-day spiritual realities and requirements. It also aims to help you recognise and draw from your current support systems and help you establish new ones too!.



You can now choose between these five interactive learnshops

. Arthur Dahl and Maja Groff Re-thinking Global Governance

A range of countries around the world seem to be questioning global institutions at a time when global crises – requiring global solutions – continue to intensify at an alarming rate. On climate change, youth around the world have recently started coordinated action to hold their governments to account, while the international community struggles to meet agreed targets. Global citizen groups have also recently mobilized to achieve a new international treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, adopted in 2017, yet arms races between major powers seem to be re-starting, putting us all at risk. Wealth inequality and rampant materialism seem to dominate in all quarters of the world. Against this backdrop, what opportunities are there to build unity among populations of the world to design bold new global governance institutions, equal to confronting our current global challenges? Within an environment often dominated by competition, skepticism and disintegration, is significant UN and global governance reform even remotely possible? What “ceaseless endeavor” and “indomitable determination” is required? What conversations can we start, actions and attitudes can we bring, to contribute to a process of “worldwide reconciliation,” creating renewed global institutions that safeguard the security and prosperity of all? The presenters will discuss these and other questions in relation to involvement in the New Shape Prize competition and on-going work (see: https://globalchallenges.org/our-work/the-new-shape-prize/awardees).

. David Menham – Re-inventing Ourselves in  a Time of Turbulence and Tribulation

Is it time to start radically redefining materialism and solving some of the most complex issues of the age in which we are now living?

Could we learn to avoid some of the most deadly conflicts in human history by achieving the most urgent sustainable development goals of the UN and begin to transform the world for the benefit of all?

As part of this exploration to permanent peace and security we will also be spurred on to redoubling our commitment to constructive dialogue and action not just as professional participants in the world of commerce but also as part of our personal enrichment, building better communities for the betterment of all of our societies.

As an aid to our discussion and dialogue we will be examining some of the most dynamic and innovative examples of companies and organizations that have taken on the challenge of rethinking, reorganization and social transformation.

. Rhonda Gossen – developing universal protagonism and a vision of service in your workplace – Linking Business, international development and human rights.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has become a framework for action, not only for international development organizations and governments but also for companies to contribute to global prosperity. The UN Human Rights Council endorsed in 2011 guiding principles for an international standard for business and human rights. Such efforts have removed the false dichotomy between not for profit institutions and the world of enterprise in a universal vision for material prosperity and wellbeing. This session will look at examples where an integrated approach, bringing together international development, human rights and business is being applied. Canada recently announced the first office in the world of an ombudsperson for responsible enterprise to ensure that investment and trade work for the benefit of everyone. How are organizations translating into living and constructive action, principles such as human rights, labour, environment while contributing to global prosperity, happiness and wellbeing.

. Nadja Schnetzler & Laurent Burst

Over the last year Nadja and Laurent have developed a simple and powerful process to create a Personal Purpose with individuals who are interested and ready to investigate what they see as the true engine and compass of their lives.

The process currently has a duration of 90 minutes and produces a clear, well-rounded and positive phrasing of what a person wants to put at the center of their lives, the things they want to start working on or explore and the challenges they want to tackle.

It is a deeply personal yet very sharable process that involves two people as coaches and one person who wants to develop their purpose in collaboration with them.

The method has also already proven to be the smallest laboratory-setting to demonstrate what is needed for excellent collaboration in a team: the three people developing the purpose for one person have to collaborate well in order to produce a strong and meaningful outcome together. This makes the method a compelling teaching tool for teams and groups in organisations.

Nadja and Laurent have tested their method with around 45 people so far (with several individuals in Switzerland and with teachers and students at Bloom School in Sarajevo). They are now in the process of creating a community of Purpose Owners and Purpose Coaches.

Because Nadjas and Laurents common purpose is to «enable everyone to find and pursue their purpose» they would love to share the detailed method with you during this learn shop so that you can use it in your own workplace, community or family.

We believe that thinking about personal purpose is an important foundation for the challenges we face as humanity and therefore instrumental for a post-material society.

. Randy and Oonagh Vaucrosson – Consider materialism through a virtues lens

This Learnshop will enable participants to consider that perhaps it is our reaction to materialism, not materialism itself that determines how our lives will develop. Discover the Five Strategies of the Virtues Project to awaken the virtues within us and determine our reactions. An experiential adventure to connect with one’s self.

  • learning a new language to transform the manner of our communication, strengthening our relationships in the workplace, moving beyond the superficial to the meaningful
  • acknowledging and recognising the teachable moments that enable us to challenge our assumptions about materialism, identify the virtues that will propel us forward, adorn our characters to face future obstacles and learn new skills
  • developing new organisational structures requires strengthening our abilities to set clear boundaries around workplace needs and requirements, enabling the workplace to evolve to better suit learning styles and focus on the higher purpose of economic activity
  • Introducing spiritual goals as a component for personal achievement in the workplace, guiding organisations to promote a culture of honoring the spirit as a necessity for cohesive development and progress
  • using the art of companioning as a tool to navigate inevitable challenges that will be present in any human interaction as people learn to build community in the workplace, each playing his or her role with a common vision and awareness of the valuable contributions each individual makes to the whole.

We will be including activities that will enable participants to connect with these strategies and consider how it is we may forge a way forward to collective prosperity.



You can now choose between these six interactive learnshops


. Carlos Cordoba & Jose Soto – learning from a personal experience creating a balanced enterprise

An interactive opportunity explore how to transform your organization for a changing world. Learning to apply universal spiritual principles in any organization that wants to make a difference for a new world based on justice, reciprocity, and prosperity. Find your purpose, define the route map and plan for action.

. Kate Cacciatore – Application of the Wheel of Meaning to help rethink materialism and bring change to organizations

A practical exercise of what worked for Kate in her rethink of materialism in her own workplace.

. Gigi Alford – Sport for the coming post-materialistic age

A 90-minute interactive learnshop that will allow you to delve with Gigi into the question: What does sport look like in a world that has moved beyond materialism?

Sport at all levels has grown increasingly linked to the excesses and abuses of unchecked materialism. Citizens are rejecting their cities’ bids to host mega-games like the Olympics, families are evicted to build outlandish stadiums while construction workers toil under conditions of modern-day slavery, athletes are treated as commodities, and the sports federations, sponsors and broadcasters behind it all use aggressive tactics to maintain their control over the power, profit, and prestige of sport. Communities and institutions need to rethink sport’s values for an age that is beginning to reject materialism’s corrosive effects wherever they are found.

Five years ago, Gigi teamed up with a growing global movement to win back the humanity of sport. She invites you to join this learnshop to explore real world cases that will help us consider the questions: Are there values within sport that align with a more spiritual vision of a connected humanity? What would that look that and how would we get there?

. Roya Akhavan – Rethinking Materialism from a Feminine Leadership Perspective

Rethinking materialism involves asking two essential question, among others. 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?

Materialism is self-centered and views amassing personal wealth as the locus of human happiness. Material prosperity, on the other hand, denotes a state of shared prosperity within a system that seeks to provide sufficient resources for all human beings to fulfill their potential. As such, material prosperity views human happiness as being correlated with the ability to serve others while pursuing one’s own personal growth.

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.

This workshop will attempt to open a conceptually clear path toward rethinking materialism and engage the participants in reimagining new models for future leadership in the context of the emerging consciousness of the need to balance the feminine and the masculine in all areas of human endeavor.

. Moneshia Zu Eitz and Svenja Rüger – “to Accompany” to Global Prosperity

Accelerating shifts towards globalization and the mix in economic participants it needs to include, including life on our planet of all kinds, is raising questions on how we can raise “people” synergies that allow for collective action. How can we focus not only on what we do, bu how we do it, and learn to pivot together, towards fulfilling our highest collective aims.

Learn what accompaniment is, the potential impact, and have an experience of it using movement and coaching tools. Understand and consider first hand how it can foster
– inclusivity with diversity
-technology can be a force for good
– link the whole person to organizational goals and vice versa
– Rise of the ethical enterprise in developing all our faculties by virtue of the human and capital resources it yields and in shaping the global society in which it operates

In this interactive workshop will explore the relationship of the individual at work and in society, debrief on the ebbf weaccompany program and plan for further action based on our unique situation and vision.

. Sjoerd Luteyn and Oscar Rosa – ebbf company membership

How can the new ebbf company membership help you to bring to your organization and understanding and the most successful application of seven core values?

Pre Event Learning Sessions

ebbf has created for attendees and people not fortunate enough to be there, a series of six learning session that will start this December and continue prior to the dates of the ebbf annual conference.

You now have the opportunity to choose the problem statements that you feel should be covered.
Think of themes that are engaging, relevant and useful to you.
What would help you and your organization most, as you Rethink Materialism and move towards a more balanced dynamic coherence between material and spiritual needs.

Select your preference from the initial list below or add your own ideal topic.

Sign up and vote preferred topic here

  • Choose top three ideally or more if you really cannot leave some out.




Monday May 13th at 20:00 (Geneva time)
TOPIC: Interact with event speaker Sahba Sobhani understanding the implications and key underlying assumptions behind rethinking materialism

using ebbf’s zoom online video conference service link



MARCH – we Interact with event speakers Jose Soto and Carlos Cordoba on the case study of their company, that they transformed and brought to balance the spiritual and the material and creating three spinoffs from that.

APRIL – April 8th at 20:00 (Geneva time)
Interact with event speaker Mary Darling


FEBRUARY – We interacted with event keynoter Enrico Giraudi about Materialising spirituality in our workplace.

Here a recent interview Enrico gave to ebbf on this topic

What happens when you engage people in your workplace around the concept of rethinking materialism?
What works and what doesn’t ?

January 14th
What are the underlying reasons that push people and organizations to follow materialistic goals?

why should we rethink materialism?

A few initial views on why it is necessary and urgent to #RethinkMaterialism offered by registered participants coming to Geneva from around the world to share their views and explore together new ways forward, exploring the “what if” questions that will allow new paradigms to emerge and be implemented in our organizations.  You can comment your views in THIS POST HERE.