Jim Collins, author of Good to Great once said, “In a truly great company, profits and cash flow become like blood and water to a healthy body: They are absolutely essential for life, but they are not the very point of life.”
In today’s business climate, people are demanding businesses stand for more, and people aspire to work for purpose-driven businesses.
While corporate social responsibility has long been an underpinning for businesses like Patagonia, Honest Tea and TOMS, who were early adopters, at Bonvera we are laying the groundwork for an innovative and unique approach to social responsibility that will guide our future strategic direction.
This is what is remarkable: While businesses have an impact on society, what our leadership believes is that business owners and leadership have an even more tremendous impact on the culture at large through their values and impact.
“One fact that is interesting is that corporate leaders have up to 40+ hours of influence in the lives of their team each week,” said Dickie. “In an era of political dysfunction, companies have massive power and leverage to do good in the world and force change by their actions.”
It’s not just the social responsibility of companies that is crucial, but the personal pledge of leaders to be responsible for more than just profits, but also their daily interactions and decisions that inspire and galvanize their people and stakeholders.
The leadership’s vision for the company and strategic direction for the future weren’t always in place. In fact, Bonvera was a very different company several years ago when it was founded than it is today. To fully understand Bonvera’s distinct business model and its role in social responsibility and global change, it’s important to go back to how it all began.
The History of Bonvera
In 2004, an idea was born when a group of successful business owners working together in a successful enterprise started to dream of a new way to do business and help others have entrepreneurial success. Their goal was to fix an entrepreneurship system that was broken and inaccessible to many.
Bob Dickie, a United States Air Force Captain, was recruited to transition from the military to the private sector to become the CEO of a leadership development and e-commerce company. There, he partnered with key leaders who were having tremendous success driving sales over $300 million in North America working with a multi-billion dollar network marketing company. During this time, these leaders began to feel that although there was financial success, there was something missing: a higher purpose.
This core group crafted innovative foundational principles for a field-owned and led company. Their vision is that success shouldn’t be so hard, that entrepreneurship should be in reach for everyone and that incredible life-changing products should do good for the world. Finally, at the heart of it all, was serving people and making a difference.
This dream took many years to realize, and in 2016, this group of industry leaders came together and formed Bonvera which means “good faith”. At the time, Bob Dickie was the president of Crown Financial Ministries and helped consult early on. He then joined Bonvera full-time as CEO and co-owner on May 1, 2018.
Bonvera is blessed with a diverse leadership team that includes leaders that are industry icons with decades of experience and success. Since May 1, 2018 this team has relaunched the company in what Bob refers to as “Bonvera 2.0.” “This is a totally different company from where it started just two years ago,” Bob says. “We have new ownership and board, new leaders, new products, new compensation plan, we moved the headquarters to Knoxville, TN, we have an industry leading distribution and warehouse facility and top consultants from around the country all focused on helping Bonvera be “best in class” and provide world class products and services to our customers. We couldn’t be more excited! We have truly transformed this company.”
The leadership team’s desire is to make a difference in the world with their business and to create a company that goes further than generating shareholder value. The company, and the values of the leadership, seek to create positive change throughout the entire supply chain, ensuring every touch point with society is making a beneficial difference.
“A passage of the Bible that had a life changing impact on me is Matthew 25 and the final parables that Jesus tells his disciples. The three parables highlight stories of lordship, stewardship, and generosity with the final story of Jesus telling his followers that “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” In essence, his final request was for people to take care of the poor, needy, forgotten, and marginalized in society. The leadership team at Bonvera wants to live out this command to help those in need.” -Bob Dickie, CEO
Bonvera’s Dedication to Transparency and Purpose
Today, Bonvera is still in the midst of change, but has made considerable progress. We are currently considering a B Corporation certification. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. A B Corp accelerates a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. By harnessing the power of business and leadership, B Corps use profits and growth to a greater end: positive impact for employees, communities and environment.
At Bonvera, we have a community of leaders that seek to drive a global movement using business as a force for good. Our values and aspirations are embedded as we pursue new initiatives we’re proud of.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, we’re partnering with Foundations for Farming on a solution to poverty called “I Was Hungry.” The African moringa farmers are trained to steward their land and harvest through agricultural skills and financial training to bring an end to hunger, dependency and poverty. Bonvera purchases products directly from the farmers and a percentage goes to Crown for the I Was Hungry Project.
Another initiative we’re proud of at Bonvera is Thrive Farmers Coffee in Latin America. Thrive Farmers sources all of its coffee beans directly through farmers in Guatemala and Costa Rica. The Thrive-Direct model creates sustainability for the farmers and helps them constantly improve the quality of their farms, their products and their lives. Instead of commodity pricing, the farmers receive fair trade pricing. Thrive Farmers provides a premium product and a majority of the profits go back to the entrepreneur training centers in those countries.
While we believe in global impact, we have not forgotten about our own country. In the United States, we are supporting childhood intervention programs for malnutrition with “Moments Matter.” Phyzix MD Just For Kids Multivitamins and donations benefit this early childhood program.
Bonvera and the Future
“We hear so much talk about stewardship and taking care of planet earth which is very important but I believe the most abused resource on the planet is people. We see it all around us. Governments that abuse people, corporations that abuse people, people that abuse others, all from lack of empathy or worse yet willingly doing so as they chase profits or a political agenda. At Bonvera, we strive to create a system where people can thrive. We strive to create products and services that help people live their best lives and help the planet and others in the process. We believe that stewardship should be a business concern of every business and tracked as the real bottom line. Business should not just be about profits but about a purpose much higher. Making a difference in the world and being good stewards of all the resources around us is what we are striving to do.” – Bob Dickie, CEO
Our initiatives have only just begun. Human beings should never be sacrificed for a purpose, and in all we do we will seek to continually improve lives at every touch point both now and in the future.
We encourage you to follow Bonvera online and on social media. You’ll notice the sweeping changes taking place and the emergence of “Bonvera 2.0”. It’s an exciting time, and we’re eager to share our new products and the initiatives tied to them. We encourage people to join us on this journey and to experience what it’s like to do work that serves a higher purpose and greater good.
To learn more about joining Bonvera as an entrepreneur, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (316) 260-2225.