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CREATIVE LEAPS - Journal of the Arts in Leadership and Organizational Learning

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Creative Leaps International Performs at Net Impact Conference in New York City


The performing artists of Creative Leaps International

Creative Leaps International, in association with the international organization Net Impact and the Columbia Business School, presented its renowned Concert of Ideas at the 12th annual Net Impact Conference on Saturday, November 13, 2004. Joined by the CEO’s of top national companies and conference presenter Frances Hesselbein of the Leader to Leader Institute, Creative Leaps International synthesized gathered insights from the three-day conference with a signature musical performance specially designed to communicate and celebrate conference issues through the performing arts.


Honored guest Harriet Fulbright, former Clinton Administration appointee and Goodwill Ambassador for the Fulbright Program, joined Creative Leaps in launching a special Concert of Ideas, “Part of Something Larger,” addressing Corporate Social Responsibility. Special guest Carol Ross of Carol Ross and Associates, LLC, was also present to read from her “Letter to a Corporate Citizen.” Interwoven with the spoken words of Fulbright, Ross, and other artists, the artists of Creative Leaps performed musical selections highlighting the importance of individual consciousness and responsibility, from Sondheim’s “Everybody Says Don’t” to Gershwin’s “Ain’t Necessarily So.”


What’s beyond the numbers and the ‘bottom line’?


Corporate Social Responsibility (or “CSR”) was one of the top issues of this year’s conference: a topic that led often to related discussions of personal consciousness and authenticity. Conference participants were thrilled that Creative Leaps’ “Part of Something Larger” addressed CSR from a perspective that most conference workshops leading up to the performance had not: specifically, what is the personal, non-dollar value of Corporate Social Responsibility? Why is consciousness and social justice important past revenue and the bottom line? “Part of Something Larger” offered creativity and the arts—a compassionate, creative approach—as a wealthy resource of integrity and personal commitment, emphasizing the importance of setting examples at a personal, not just an organizational, level. In the end, Corporate Social Responsibility begins with Individual Responsibility.


Following the concert, Net Impact co-founder and conference leader Mark Albion echoed the content of the Creative Leaps performance with three questions he often encourages businessmen and women to ask themselves, questions addressing the necessary development of both personal and individual values: “What is the biggest issue you see in the world? What needs to be done about it? And…What’s your role going to be?”


Personal/Professional: Where’s the divide?


Development of values was of special importance to this event, made up of nearly 1,000 young ‘corporate citizens’ at the beginning of their careers from business schools across the U.S. and U.K. Young entrepreneurs, most in their late twenties, lined Columbia University’s Lerner Auditorium to hear the special message delivered by Creative Leaps International, and to offer their observations, beliefs, and discoveries in a post-show discussion hosted by the artists.


Participant Decker Rolph of the University of Michigan Business School identified his struggle, as an individual, to adopt unconventional or creative approaches amidst the demanding atmosphere of an MBA program: “Two years of school is a short time. You’re focusing on yourself deeply. A personal charge doesn’t always come from the creative side as easily.” To which another unidentified participant immediately responded: “[Creativity and individuality] aren’t exclusive. You have to bring your whole self to whatever you do. Use that as a model of leadership.”


Net Impact is a global network of 9,000 MBA’s and professionals committed to using the power of business to create a better world. The annual Net Impact Conference allows members to learn and interact with business leaders representing the full range of progressive business practices, from corporate responsibility to social entrepreneurship. A turnout of more than 1,000 MBA students and professionals was anticipated at this year’s conference, representing over 100 business schools and organizations in the United States and United Kingdom.


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