Exploring Regenerative Leadership with Laura Storm
A conversation between Laura Storm and Daniel Wahl
On January 8th I finally managed to connect with Laura Storm who I have been wanting to talk to for quite some time but wanted to do so in a spacious way when I had time. In the end we did this 90 minuted recording and then continued for another 90 minutes off record. The very fact that our first conversation turn out to be 3 hours shows how much Laura and I resonate with each others work, passions and calling.
We started off exploring whether we had actually been in the same room during events at COP 15 in Copenhagen and that lead us to reflect on the UNCCC process from the catastrophe of COP 15 in 2009 to the Paris Accord in 2014 and our hopes for how COP 26 might finally coordinate the kind of bold actions that would have been urgently needed already 20 years ago.
Laura shared her experience in the hard background work of these conferences and how difficult involving the business community in the dialogue actually was in the run-up to COP15 in which she was centrally involved as the Head of the Copenhagen Climate Council.
I asked Laura about her work with Sustainia that evolved out of her 2010 book called ‘Guides to Sustainia’. She managed to get Christian Figueres, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gro Harlem Brundtland involved in support of this organisation aimed at catalysing more excitement in the business world about getting on with the task of transforming business as usual.
About 6 years ago Laura suffered a minor traumatic brain injury that forced her to live almost entirely in silence and isolation for a year and a half. Laura shares some of the deep learning she took from this very difficult period in her life and how transformative it was for her whole way of being and seeing.
We speak about the crucial importance of heart-nourished work in personal and collective transformation, and how critical this also was to the (partial) success that Cristiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac managed to facilitate in the run up and during the Paris conference.
Laura and I had a very personal conversation about our somewhat different journeys into the now shared role of bridge-building between business, civil society and the public sector. We share our experience of how radically the business world has not only woken up to the need for net-positive, biologically/ecologically informed and regenerative business practices, they are actively searching to learn more and get involved in the ReGeneration rising.
Laura, as a WEF Young Global Leader, has been involved with the World Economic Forum and the Davos process for years. We explore how despite all that willingness to understand regenerative practice more deeply the big elephant in the room at such event is still the lack of willingness to revisit the question of appropriate scale — the question: are many global corporations simply too big not too fail? and is there a need for more bioregionally focussed businesses adapted to the uniqueness of culture and place — globally networked in collaboration?
We talk about how in particularly family or privately owned companies are much more agile in moving toward regenerative practice through transformative innovation, while publicly owned companies find it much harder. We also address that ‘regenerative business’ is a direction of travel and an aspiration — at best a new way of working with place sourced potential — and that those companies who make a claim to already be regenerative might be overstating.
Laura eloquently shares her passion for helping businesses and business leaders to enter into this process of profound transformation at a level of personal insight and as agents of change in their organisations. …
We also explore the need to build alliances between those active as advocates and practitioners of regenerative development and move on to explore how Laura met with Giles Hutchins and they decided to co-author the book ‘Regenerative Leadership’ (2019) together. We also talked about the Regenerators Journey Laura co-created and co-facilitated with Jenny Andersson which ran twice during 2020 and had more than 175 people from all over the world attend. Laura shared about the structure and flow of the programme and how the programme evolved from its first and second edition.
I share a bit of my own personal tension in deciding where to put my effort in the coming years in the work with fractal place from my local neighbourhood community, the island I live on and the more nationally and internationally work, as well as the tension between working virtually and working in place with people with the hands — literally in the soil … and Laura and I deeply agree that we need “a deep tap root” of custodianship of place. … we go deep.
Here is the recording:
More about Laura and her work:
Book: Regenerative Leadership by Giles Hutchins & Laura Storm https://www.regenerativeleadership.co
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Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.
Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures
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