Through Employee Ownership and B Corp Certification, Global Prairie Operates with Stakeholders in MindWhen family ties led to moves to two new cities, colleagues Anne St. Peter and Douglas Bell decided to seize the opportunity to build a new marketing consulting enterprise with what they call an “inside-out approach.” In establishing Global Prairie in 2008, they built an employee-owned firm designed to help clients identify their purpose and engage their stakeholders around it.
Now, with offices in nine cities around the globe — including their respective offices of Kansas City and Cleveland — St. Peter and Bell have further baked purpose into Global Prairie’s DNA by becoming a Certified B Corporation and adopting public benefit corporation legal status, both of which ensure the company is managed in a way that delivers value to all stakeholders. In its recent B Corp recertification, Global Prairie scored 168.4 on the the B Impact Assessment, and is now the fourth-highest scoring B Corp in the world.
“We believe it’s time for a global marketing consulting firm such as Global Prairie to become more engaged in the global dialogue about conscious capitalism, and about stakeholder value versus shareholder value,” St. Peter says. “This conversation has mainly involved investment firms, business journalists, and academia, but given marketing’s role in engaging stakeholders, firms like ours have an important voice going forward.”
From the start they incorporated purpose by consciously adopting a long-term vision of success rather than seeking short-term financial benefit, St. Peter says, and that foundation serves as a steadying force in an ever-changing industry. As part of my research on purpose-driven business, I recently spoke with St. Peter and Bell about Global Prairie’s history and their belief in doing meaningful work as well as building financial success for their entire team. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.