Sarah Holdeman and Rebecca Goldcrump, co-founders of the Impact Collective, join the BSuite podcast.

Episode 10: Mission-Aligned Business with Sarah Holdeman and Rebecca Goldcrump

In the Season 4 finale of the BSuite podcast, host Anne Richardson welcomes Sarah Holdeman and Rebecca Goldcrump, co-founders of the Impact Collective based in Portland, Oregon. Sarah and Rebecca share the importance of their company’s mission, how they prioritize and nourish their business partnership, how they lead their clients to amplify their social impact through B Corp certification and beyond. The two also discuss how they built an advisory board to expand upon their expertise and enhance their values.

It's not a coincidence that another definition for values is financial. If you are living in line with your values and putting money towards your values, that also has a financial value. That's my whole ethos for doing business for good. If you align what you do as a person in our capitalist society with your values, it's inevitably going to work out in the financials. You might not get as big of a profit for one person, but there will still be profit. It just goes more equitably.

Key Takeaways

Founding a Mission-Driven Business

For the Impact Collective founders Sarah Holdeman and Rebecca Goldcrump, their mission statement “to empower whole humans and whole organizations to actualize their vision of a better world” is everything. They openly admit, though, that it took them years of revising and updating to arrive at this final, concise statement, and that their journey towards founding their impact consulting business was an even longer road. Sarah and Rebecca first met as MBA students at Portland State University in 2015 where they were both pursuing certificates in social innovation and social entrepreneurship. Though they embarked on the same business-school trip to Bogota, Colombia, in 2017, it wasn’t until 2020, when both women participated in the Portland Business Support Project to help businesses recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, that they decided to combine their talents and launch the Impact Collective.

How Sarah and Rebecca Became “Business Soulmates”

Sarah and Rebecca credit their entrepreneurial success to their rock-solid partnership. Sarah explains, “I don’t really believe in romantic soulmates, but I do believe in business soulmates. I always think about our story like a little bit of a rom com. Like ‘Oh, they’re going to get together…no, no, no…they’re not ready yet.’” Rebecca jokes, “I’ll be honest. I thought Sarah was way too cool for me at first.” When the stars eventually aligned, bringing Sarah and Rebecca together to found the Impact Collective, they knew nurturing their partnership would be essential to their long term success.

They share that, “from the beginning, we’ve prioritized our relationship because we understand that the number one thing that will sink our business is if we aren’t aligned.” They appreciate each others’ complementary skill sets and routinely set aside time to work through their disagreements via a Weekly Rumble, a term coined by author Brene Brown. Rebecca explains, “We ask two questions: What are you grateful for? And is there anything sticking out in your heart or your mind?”

To B Corp Certification and Beyond

In addition to their strong business partnership, Sarah and Rebecca are big on community partnerships. The Impact Collective actively supports Portland State’s B Impact Clinic, and both women sit on the board of B Local PDX. In these roles, Sarah and Rebecca help new B Corps learn how to make the most of their certifications by networking and collaborating with other B Corps. As much as they are a valued source of advice for many, Sarah and Rebecca also recognize the importance of seeking advice in areas where they aren’t (yet) experts.

In 2022, they set up an advisory board for their business in order to bring additional expert voices and perspectives into their governance structure. “They have no voting powers,” Rebecca explains, “So as opposed to a board of directors, it’s much less formal. We just need people who are committed to what we’re doing, committed to our mission, committed to us as leaders in the community, to have our back and to help us grow.” Through the advisory board, Sarah and Rebecca continue to learn and expand their understanding of their own B Corp certification. Though setting up an advisory board wasn’t something they planned to do when starting out, the pair are now eager to share their process so other purpose-driven companies can reap similar benefits. As Rebecca muses, “so much of building our business is throwing out the business book.”