After attending a Leadership Gathering on Necker Island with Richard Branson last summer, Amber Kelleher-Andrews was inspired to not only strive to make a bigger impact through Kelleher International, but also to try to influence those around her to look at the triple bottom line of people, planet and profits. Kelleher International was founded on the principle that connections and relationships make a difference in the world.
We are fortunate to work with many influential people all over the world and are excited to be able to apply the same principles we use to find a soulmate to also discover excellent causes for our clients and fans to support. Using the same skills that make her a successful matchmaker, Amber brought together a group of individuals with the potential to make real change and encourage them to work together to, in Branson's words, "Screw Business As Usual." As such, it makes perfect sense that Amber should curate the Leadership Gatherings in cooperation with Virgin Unite in 2014.
Amber recently stated in European CEO Magazine:
What Richard is doing is showing people how to leverage their influence as a force for good and really change the way they do business. By putting philanthropy before profit you're achieving something worthwhile; those who work for you will be prouder to do so and, of course, you're going to end up making more money in the process because people would rather lend their custom to a responsible business.
While I'm doing good in my business, I represent thousands of people that aren't, and that's when the light bulb went off and I said, I need to get my clients on this island. Most of these people own the company, are a chairman or sit on the board, and invariably have a great deal of influence in their company's dealings. While it seems like a small thing it actually has a big impact, and that is how it began.
Both the January and May gatherings that Amber co-hosted and curated were very successful. Poet David Whyte, author of The Three Marriages, gave a reading of his poem "Start Close In," which describes the most difficult part of making a change - the first step. Other speakers in attendance included Jose Maria Figueres, the former President of Costa Rica and the current President of the Carbon War Room, Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom, and Maria Eitel, the President and CEO of the NIKE Foundation. Attendees included social entrepreneur Ernesto Arguello, entrepreneur and junior league mentor Tarryn Franco, musician Tom Higgenson, actor Ian Somerhalder, Human Needs Project founder Connie Nielsen, Levi Strauss President JC Curleigh (who even made Richard Branson a denim tuxedo in the style of Bing Crosby!) and, of course, Richard Branson himself.
"This is 2014, everybody wants to do good whether it's recycling or building green homes. The problem is that so many of these big corporations are lacking in this department and are refusing to change with the rest of the world. I do believe that if we continue to only focus on the bottom line then not only will the planet perish but so too will its people." - Amber Kelleher-Andrews
Conversation throughout the week on Necker Island always seemed to return to the ways that leaders can actively change their habits right now to create lasting and meaningful change. Something as small as going paperless or becoming a financial supporter of a humanist cause can become the first step in leaving a legacy of generosity and courage for yourself and your business.
"It's a big project to take on but I'm really passionate about it because, not only can I introduce people to the love of their life, but maybe I can influence different sectors of the business world and in part rid their obsession with short-term profits."
Leveraging the firm's position as a professional contact for the world's most influential leaders, Kelleher International is asking clients to follow Virgin Unite's lead when it comes to philanthropy. Amber Kelleher-Andrews and Virgin Unite intend to host another Leadership Gathering in Morocco next February and have so far raised $800,000 for charity. If you would like more information, please contact Kelleher-International today.
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