The SEEN Helps Build Local Connections

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Tompkins Weekly – July 26, 2010
by Bob Rossi
The SEEN Business Card Exchange TableWhat does success mean to you?  Perhaps it means happiness or achieving specific goals.  Perhaps it relates to your business, family, or sport.  Now take a moment to consider what your best path to success might be.  Most likely you cannot travel this path alone.

We are social beings.  Our individual success depends on the participation of those around us.  This holds true for where we live, where we work, and how we spend our time in between.

This concept of interdependence is central to a new business network called the SEEN.   The SEEN stands for the Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneur Network.  It is a growing community of businesses, organizations, and individuals working together to achieve ecological, social, and financial success.   This approach – known as the triple bottom line – has been shown to increase customer loyalty and generate stable profitability.

The SEEN hosts monthly events open to the general public with presentations on topics such as marketing, greening your business, youth in the sustainability movement, selling sustainability, and building a green city.

The SEEN provides much more than education along these topics.  By bringing dozens of local businesses and organizations together around sustainability, SEEN events have become a perfect place to make new connections and strengthen old ones.

New Earth Living LLC is a local development company dedicated to creating small, urban eco-villages that are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable.  Sue Cosentini, president of New Earth Living, recalls her first SEEN event.  She had barely entered the room when she met a potential collaborator. “It became immediately apparent to me the energy in that space.”

Jennifer Dotson said Ithaca Carshare has had a similar experience. “We’ve focused lately on two very different areas, carsharing for businesses and making sure our membership reflects our local racial and income diversity without leaving anyone out.  At SEEN events, I’ve connected with a wide spectrum of people. It’s helped Ithaca Carshare move toward both of these goals.”

SEEN events are attended by business owners, elected officials, community leaders, investors, farmers, educators, students… in one room.  The synergistic potential is evident from the buzz of conversation.   For many, the SEEN events are a way to keep in touch and remain part of that conversation.  Sue Cosentini points out that “in the green revolution, things are changing all the time. As the ground shifts under our feet, the SEEN gives you an opportunity to stabilize.”

PPM Homes is a local property management company and a proud new member of the SEEN.  Jesse Hill of PPM found the July 12th SEEN event to be full of “an enthusiasm for dialogue and change.”  Jesse went on to describe the SEEN as “a place where it’s ok to think outside the unsustainable box.”

Although most SEEN events are open to the public, the SEEN is a member-based network.  Members pay annual dues, which not only support event programming but also provide them with shared marketing, presentation opportunities, and triple bottom line guidance.

Joining the SEEN is not simply about immediate returns. SEEN membership is an investment in our shared future.  By joining the SEEN, you can help educate businesses about the triple bottom line and educate consumers about products and services that lead to a robust and sustainable economy.  Throughout the SEEN is a sense of being part of a greater solution.

To learn more about the SEEN, contact the Green Resource Hub:

Bob Rossi is a volunteer and founding board member of the Green Resource Hub.

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