Connected Business

by | Nov 29, 2017

I stood on the side of hill, in the Andes at 3700 metres altitude. There was a gentle rain falling, there was thunder in the distance. There were small homes nearby, homes that do not have running water, electricity or any of the comforts that I am used to in my Ottawa home.

I am standing in a field of recently planted organic quinoa. The soil is dark and fertile; there are plants, as far as the eyes can see. I am standing with two women, both in their 60’s, both members of a co-operative that sells their organic quinoa in the international market, ideally for fair trade and organic prices.

In their local indigenous language they welcome me, I am truly honoured to be sharing this moment with them, to gain the knowledge and appreciation for where the quinoa that I cook for my family in Ottawa comes from.

They share with me how hard they work to grow these plants. They share with me, how they hope they can sell their quinoa for a good price through their co-op. They share with me, how they wish consumers in my country would pay fair trade prices for their products, to enable them a better life. They smile, they laugh, they seem happy and if feels like their life is full of joy and hardship.

I offer one of the women my hand; she refuses saying her hands are too dirty to take my clean hand. Before I insist, I reach down into the cool damp soil and run my hands through the soil, then offer my hand to her again. We are the same, we are connected, our hands and lives may be different but we breath the same air, we share the same sorrows, we are one. This time, she accepts.

What would happen if we lived in a world where we all recognized that we are one, that each one of our actions has an affect on someone else? What if in deeply knowing this we were conscious about our decisions and we took good care of one another, the water, air and land.

Imagine the possibilities, trade and development that puts people and the planet first, business that values employees as part of the whole, not solely as workers who will contribute to shareholder benefit. Financial deals that are in the best interest of not just those who stand to make money from them, but come with a sharing of information that connects us back to our interconnections.

People say, I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

 Are you curious on what it may take to make your organization or company more connected? Reach out; I’d be happy to have a conversation.

Meet the author


Jennifer Williams


Experience Matters: Over 20 years in employee ownership.

Leadership: Held key roles in a 100% employee-owned company during significant growth and change (2003-2013)

Consultancy: Successfully guided over 40 businesses on employee-ownership and through their transitions to employee ownership, building a robust portfolio of satisfied clients.

Jennifer also owns a family business transitioning to employee ownership and has designed Firefly Insights as a worker-owned consulting firm to support business owners like you.