On the second morning of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, I found myself sitting on City Hall Plaza amongst scores of conference attendees, about to embark on a meditation exercise with Deepak Chopra, a world renown guru and leader in the New Age movement. Deepak invited us to dabble in the discipline of meditation by closing our eyes, and silently asking ourselves a series of questions. At first the answer to the question “Who am I?” seems fairly obvious, ‘I’m Christina; I’m from Boston…’ (cue to Dory from Finding Nemo repeating “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”…). But as Deepak probed the crowd, the intention behind questions seemed to become more complicated – we were being asked to consider what amalgamation of values, strengths, and drivers motivated our answer. Sound like the beginning of a groundbreaking discussion about business? Absolutely. Let me explain.
The 30 Under 30 Summit was an invitation to each attendee to define our core values.
Each of the speakers in the star-studded line up shared a common ability to clearly, and concisely articulate the value proposition associated with their brand. On the face of the Summit’s speaking program, it was not immediately obvious that big names such as Michael Phelps, Jessica Alba, Bobby Flay, Maria Sharapova, actors from Hamilton, and the founders of theSkimm would share much in common. However, throughout the course of their presentations, it became clear that each of these individuals have catapulted themselves towards accomplishing lofty goals by defining a set of values to guide their efforts. In other words, each featured speaker was able to not only explain the value proposition that defined their endeavor, they were also able to articulate why that value proposition should matter – to all of us.
The goal of clearly stating a set of core values stands as the most important take-away from my experience at the Summit because the ability to do so successfully spans across industry sectors to separate iconic brands from the fray. In a business climate where we are often trying to communicate across multiple platforms to a varied audience, there is an inherent and persistent challenge to not only define these core values, but also adapt them to change spurred by innovation. Therefore, I am left with several questions to share with others: What are your core values? Why do they matter to you? And why should they matter to others? What can we do to help articulate and communicate these values?
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