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Best for the World: Participate Learning and B Corps
Participate Learning is proud to be recognized as a certified B Corporation (B Corp) since 2011. B Corps are leaders in the global movement to use business as a force for good, with a focus on prioritizing people before profit.
Participate Learning was recently named one of the Best for the World for the eleventh year since 2011 (no award winners were announced in 2020). This means we have achieved the highest scores in the five impact areas evaluated on the B Impact Assessment—governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.
To celebrate the B Corp Awards, we interviewed Kerrie Frederick, workplace experience manager, and Ranya Hahn, chief human resources officer, about their work leading the B Corp efforts at Participate Learning. Read on to learn about Participate Learning’s B Corp journey and its impact.
How are you involved in our B Corporation efforts?
Ranya: Our B Corp score is a key measure of our company success and a metric we track as part of our company strategy plan. I work closely with Kerrie, our workplace experience manager, to look at the categories and questions on the B assessment and ensure we are continuously improving our efforts to make an impact and be “Best for the World.” As the human resources leader for Participate Learning, the decisions we make, the policies we add, the changes we make, all these are influenced by our B Corp values and goal to continually improve our B Corp score.
Kerrie: I am what some refer to as our “B Keeper.” This is an internal B Corp champion charged with keeping track of our certification status and facilitating our periodic recertification. I also lead internal efforts to amplify our impact and improve our B Corp score. We have a B Corp committee that reviews the assessment periodically and looks for ways to improve. Since there are always innovations and new tools to measure our impact, it is important that we keep an eye on this.
What made Participate Learning pursue becoming a B Corp?
Kerrie: I think that if the B Corporation movement existed when we were founded in 1987, we would have been first in line to join. From the beginning, our mission has been to make a positive impact on the world. Over the years, and especially as we have established our status as a leading B Corp, we have been able to create a clear structure that demonstrates our commitment to our larger mission of uniting our world through global learning.
How do you think being a B Corp has a positive effect on employees?
Ranya: Employees know we prioritize people and the planet right alongside profit. As part of our B Corp commitment, one of the important measures of the success of our business is the positive impact we make on our employees. We do this by offering interesting, challenging work in a collaborative, flexible, and open culture, and encouraging employees to pursue their professional and personal passions.
What does the B Corp evaluation look like?
Kerrie: The B Corp assessment is no joke. It’s long, detailed, comprehensive, demanding, rigorous, everything you would want in an assessment designed to measure impact and ensure accountability. And it’s not just the assessment itself, it’s the process—answering the questions is just the beginning. Applicants are also required to submit supporting documentation. The assessment team reviews all responses closely, along with supporting documentation. If anything is unclear, they request additional documentation. Finally, the assessment team and our internal team have a call to address any questions, clarifications, etc.
How does being a B Corp impact company culture?
Ranya: I recently read the quote from Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, “Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with passion.” This really resonated with me and our culture at Participate Learning. Our employees are passionate about global education and the impact we have on students, communities, and educators. We are equally committed to how we execute our mission by using business as a force for good, considering all internal and external stakeholders and the impact we can make locally and globally.
What does it mean to you for Participate Learning to be recognized as one of the Best for the World in the Customers category this year?
Ranya: It means the world to me! B Corp standards are very high, and to be in the top 5% is an amazing achievement. Best for the World while uniting our world is a winning combination for employees, customers, stakeholders, and the planet.
Kerrie: This recognition is validation, proof, and affirmation that we are achieving our mission. It is the outcome of a lot of work by a lot of people who want to make the world a better place. Our customers are people and communities made up of all kinds of people, and the positive impact we make has ripple effects that reach the far corners of the earth. I am proud to be a part of this organization and the B Corp community.