I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, and pay my respects to their elders both past and present.
Good afternoon, welcome, and thank you – thank you for joining us here today, on what is a very exciting day for the Public Sector Network.
For those that didnt get the memo, we just recently became certified as a B Corp, join ing a global community of over 3500+ businesses that are committed to balancing purpose with profits.
Before we explain how we arrived here – and what it means for us and you moving forward -I wanted to quickly recap how and why we started the business just over 5 years ago.
Many of the founding team come from a commercial events background, and what means – to be blunt – is that we worked for companies whose primary goal was to generate as much cash as possible from a particular topic or industry, before moving onto the next big thing.
To be honest, this didnt feel ethical or sustainable especially when it came to the public sector.
Government as an industry is technically non-complete and what I mean by that is that theyre all on the same side! Unlike banking, mining, retail or many other sectors, the government could – and should – openly share their successes and failures, and certainly shouldnt have to pay a premium to do so at a conference, exhibition or trade show.
Im sure we can all agree taxpayers dollars could be much better invested elsewhere.
Given this, we decided to collaborate directly with public servants to help them network, benchmark and establish best practice at no direct cost. The net result of this goodwill was a large and engaged community, which allowed us to solve the other major challenges with events – providing key industry partners and sponsors with a credible and cost-effective way to get their message across.
Most companies we spoke to were willing to invest marketing dollars on the basis that they would see a return on investment, and our network has become a great place to engage and educate the right profile of decision-makers.
Since then, we have gone on to set up and work with the NZ, Canadian and US governments and – now that Brexit does actually mean Brexit! – this year the UK. I would like to just take a moment to thank the people who supported us in the early days and made this journey possible. Whilst I dont have the time to name every individual, I would like to mention NSW Government for believing in a small Sydney start-up, and companies like Macquarie Government, Equinix Infor, Oracle, SAP, and Mulesoft for their ongoing (and growing!) support.
Now, back to the moral of the story; doing well by doing good
In the midst of doing all this great work, we realized we wanted to fully commit to having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on our community, our customers and our employees.
It turns out that theres a way to do that, and that is to become a B Corp!
For those that dont know, its a lengthy and quite intrusive process which involves being assessed across 5 key areas:
- Governance ensuring a transparent financial (and strong legal) framework
- Customers guaranteeing competitive pricing and value-for-money
- Community donating time and helping NFPs, charities and other at-need groups
- Workers providing staff with opportunities to grow, develop and give back
- Environment reducing our carbon footprint, and minimizing unnecessary wastage
In order to qualify, you need to score highly in all areas and meet a minimum threshold.
What the last 12 months have taught us is that whilst we were doing a lot of good already, small significant changes could have a big impact and Id really like to thank the PSN team for being so willing and open to change for the greater good. Thank you.
Its very easy in the modern world to think that you cant make a difference, or that its somebody elses job to fix it – the problem is that when everyone does that, nothing gets done.
Speech delivered by Ross Ashman, Co-Founder, Public Sector Network on 5th February 2020