ABL Business Leaders’ Learning Project

 

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What is the Business Leaders’ Learning Project? ABL’s mission is to show that there is a business community that believes social responsibility and economic growth go hand in hand. The best way to do this? Have a bench of business leaders informed and ready to publicly make the case for issues through editorials, legislative hearings, meetings with legislators, panel placement, and more. The problem? Too often we hear from our members that issues, including housing, energy, education, transportation, workplace diversity, etc. are very important to the state’s economic future, but they do not know enough to make a well informed case in public discussions. The solution? ABL created the Business Leaders’ Learning Project (‘BLLP’), an educational series on hot topic issues in Massachusetts, as a way to engage, educate, and activate nontraditional business voices on progressive issues.

Each year, ABL identifies a topic that our members should not only know more about, but one in which our allies could use the support of business voices. We collaborate with our allies and experts from the field to develop a four session educational series over six months. We intentionally design programming to be interactive and provide resources to business leaders to understand the issue at hand and the tools to use their platforms to highlight it.

The end goal: ABL has a wealth of business voices to lean on when opportunities arise to highlight an issue and to create change. ABL does all of the work, we just need individuals willing to lend their voice or name.

Proven success:  In 2017, the BLLP series focused on the long term negative effects of the lack of workforce housing in Greater Boston. Over the course of six months, over thirty business leaders from various industries showed up to learn the 101 about the past, present, and future of the housing crunch. Participants included well-known companies, such as TripAdvisor, Microsoft, Partners Healthcare, and MassChallenge. During the final session, ABL ran a storytelling exercise, helping each business executive explain why the lack of affordable workforce housing will negatively impact business and the economy in their own words. To date, participants of the boot camp have attended local meetings on zoning reform, contacted their legislators in support of passing a historic $1.8 billion Housing Bond bill, and are raising their presence on the issue.

What is up next? ABL will expand its clean energy programming by hosting the first-ever Business Leaders’ Learning Project focusing on clean energy action in 2018 and into 2019.