Guru Giving Back: Seeds that Feed

August 14, 2019 / no comments

We believe whole-heartedly in reducing the suffering in this world, and giving back to our collective community is central to Guru’s mission. As such, we encourage each member of the Guru Crew to engage in their local community and require that each person takes paid time off to volunteer at a non-profit of their choice.

Anna VanHorn, a talented Guru copywriter who is based in Northwest Arkansas, shares how she spent her volunteer time with Seeds that Feed. Read on to hear from Anna in her own words.

Seeds that Feed is a nonprofit organization that was dreamed up on a front porch by friends who shared a common urge to address the needs of our Northwest Arkansas community. Many nights were spent brainstorming how to help feed the food insecure in our area with not just food – but with fresh, healthy and nutritious foods, and in the process, reduce food waste. And while I can’t take any credit for the brilliance that is Seeds that Feed, I was a frequenter of that front porch and I’m proud to call those innovative thinkers and problem solvers my friends.

So how do they do it?

Seeds that Feed collects fresh produce from Farmer’s Markets, local farms and donors to distribute fresh, healthy food to those who need it. This allows food that would otherwise end up being thrown away or unnecessarily composted to instead go to those who need it the most.

In our area, along with the rest of the country, there are countless households who can’t afford to adequately feed themselves or their families – much less gain access to fresh, nutritious foods. As stated on their website, “Food insecurity, food waste, barriers to healthy eating, and ultimately a misallocation of resources, are problems that are present in nearly every community. Seeds That Feed was created to help bridge these gaps and grow a healthier community through our efforts.”

To date, Seeds has distributed nearly 130 thousand pounds of produce and in 2018 alone, they donated 31,588 pounds of fresh food to those who need it! There are 44 different hunger relief locations that they serve including a Seeds that Feed “mobile pantry.” Aka – a box truck that they drive around with donations to high-need areas where people can “shop” for what might not be available to them otherwise. Seeds that Feed also partners with 71 local farms.

Guru gives each of our team members paid time off to volunteer with the organization or cause of their choice. It was a no-brainer when it came time to choose where to focus my efforts. Rather than grabbing a bin and helping to distribute food, the Seeds that Feed folks said that my volunteer time would be most valuable to them by helping with their marketing strategy.

During our time together, we focused on their immediate goals of gaining the attention of more donors in order to expand their reach, as well as reaching out to new volunteers and donation recipients. We were able to create a simple marketing plan that focuses first on social media and PR, that will be easy for the organization to execute within their resources. We’ve also brainstormed some fundraising events and PR activations that will help garner the attention they need to reach their audiences and achieve their goals.

To continue my service to this organization, I am going to personally commit to creating content calendars for their social media needs and will be writing a lot of their preprogrammed social media content. And, I’m excited to announce that I will soon be joining the Seeds that Feed board of directors!

Thank you, Guru, for giving me the opportunity to use company time to help this organization that means so much to me! It means so much to work for a company that nurtures the individual passions of its employees and makes it easy for us to give back and contribute to efforts we hold dear.

You can learn more about and/or donate to Seeds that Feed at www.seedsfeed.org or by visiting them on social at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CareCropping/ and Instagram @SeedsThatFeed.

What It Means To “B” (a certified B-Corp)

August 6, 2019 / no comments

We are so “B”-eyond thrilled to announce that Guru is now a certified B-Corporation® (B Corp), joining a global community that is redefining success in business as a more inclusive and sustainable economy achieved through commitment to the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

The Guru Crew works hard to catalyze the legacies of our heroes. And our heroes are the purpose-driven, conscious, sustainable brands, nonprofits and movements who are sparking transformation for the greater good in every sector of business today.

In fact, many of our clients are B-Corps themselves. Or members of 1% for the Planet, or the Climate Collaborative. In short, we’re in good company. And, our hearts—individually and as a Crew—are swelling with pride in this moment.

We asked members of the Guru Crew what it “means to B” (a certified B-Corp) and here’s what they had to say:

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Gagan (Jared Levy), Founder and CEO

“For a long time now, we have been a purpose-driven creative collective devoted to increasing joy and reducing suffering on this planet through the work we do in catalyzing our heroes, who also happen to be our clients. We are and have absolutely always been committed to being a triple bottom line company caring not just about profit, but more importantly, about people and planet. It brings such joy to my heart and such ease to my mind to now be officially accredited for the way that our agency shows up in the world utilize our business as a force for good.”

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Cheryl Eaton, Managing Director

“Being associated with other companies that have worked hard to act with integrity and commitment for the well-being of people and the planet – and have proved it – is both an honor, and earned proof of our own integrity and commitment. I look forward to working with and learning from this amazing cohort of companies and leaders.”

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Jennifer Meyer, Director of Finance and Operations

“Becoming a B Corp shows our official commitment to being a force for change in our world. Doing business differently and in a sustainable way (for our planet, employees, and greater communities) is important for me personally and I could not be more proud of our B Corp certification.”

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Brianna Graves, Director of Marketing and Development

“This certification recognizes who we already are: an organization dedicated to the highest standards of responsible business, putting people and planet before profit. We are so proud, however, to be in the company of thousands of companies—including a number of Guru’s clients—who are taking a stand to say that the way we do business on Planet Earth is as important as policy.”

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Cavan Chasan, Director of Connections

“To me, it means that we are recognized for our mission, principles and priorities – all of which are squarely focused on impacting our world for the better.”

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Amanda Kauffman, Project Manager

“Guru becoming a B-Corp validates what I have always known and loved about this agency – it cares about its people and the planet more than profit. I am so proud to work at a company that is helping make this world a better place!”

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Anna VanHorn, Copywriter

“B-corp was a new premise to me before Guru. I’d worked for companies with a defined CSR and even a few that provided paid days off to volunteer. But largely, these efforts felt tacked on, or seemed to be implemented to aid in promotion of the business. Guru’s work and commitment to becoming a B-corp shows me the genuine intent of this company to deliver on our mission and values and that we agree to be held accountable. This is not an afterthought, it’s not ‘just a good idea,’ or ‘what you do.’ It’s not a marketing gimmick. This is a promise to our people and our planet to do better.”

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Ash Loper, Art Director

“I can rest easy knowing I work alongside like-minded folks – we are all moving toward a happier and healthy future through the work we do together.”

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Brian Mullins, Art Director/Studio Manager

“It demonstrates a strong desire to think and act like our clientele, who have taken a great deal of time and effort to attain B-Corp certification. It’s not an easy task to become B-Corp certified and it shows that Guru truly cares about not only talking the talk, but backing it up by walking the walk.”

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Nicole Zinn, Project Manager

“Guru disrupts the ordinary way in which services impact our world, so becoming a B-Corporation will increase my daily value because I know that I am contributing, as is every person on the team, to a better business and planet.”

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Rachelle Johnson, Designer

“It brings that much more fulfillment to the day-to-day work because I know I’m a part of a community that is redefining business as a force for good.”

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Renee Wang Brown, Account Director

“For Guru to become B-Corp certified means I get to be part of an organization that believes in something greater than profits. That as a collective, alongside other B-Corp certified organizations, we are thriving to make an impact for good. Which is something a lot of agencies can ‘talk’ about, but not be able to prove.”

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Sarah Cocina, Project Manager

“I feel proud to contribute to, and be part of, a company that operates which bases decisions on what is best for employees and our planet, not just profits.”

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Press Release: Guru Earns B Corporation® Certification

August 6, 2019 / no comments

SAUSALITO/BURLINGTON – August 6, 2019 – Guru—a bi-coastal creative agency that catalyzes the heroes; purpose-driven, conscious, sustainable brands, organizations and movements who are sparking transformation for the greater good—is proud to announce that it is now a certified B Corporation® (“B Corp”).

“Certified B Corporations®,” as described on the website, “are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”

Guru—a collaborative crew of experienced big agency expats, impact, purpose and brand strategists, design and systems thinkers, connection-creators, artists, writers and designers — catalyzes its heroes by mining for the core purpose that is true to their brand, organization or movements, resonant to their consumers, distinct from their competition and aimed at supporting a thriving world. 

Guru helps its clients to build a legacy around this purpose through smart strategy, creative marketing solutions and innovative programs and campaigns activated through engaged networks of advocates.

Guru clients, past and present—many of whom are also B Corps—include: Patagonia Provisions, REBBL, Clover Sonoma, KeVita, organicgirl, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI), 1% for the Planet, Social Venture Circle, the Love Serve Remember Foundation (Ram Dass’ foundation), Goddess Garden, Bring Change to Mind, and more. 

“For a long time now, we have been a purpose-driven creative collective devoted to increasing joy and reducing suffering on this planet through the work we do in catalyzing our heroes, who also happen to be our clients,” said CEO and Founder Gagan (Jared Levy). “We are and have been absolutely always been committed to being a triple bottom line company caring not just about profit, but more importantly, about people and planet. It brings such joy to my heart and such ease to my mind to now be officially accredited for the way that our agency shows up in the world utilize our business as a force for good,” he continued.

“Being associated with other companies that have worked hard to act with integrity and commitment for the well-being of people and the planet – and have proved it – is both an honor, and earned proof of our own integrity and commitment,” added Managing Director Cheryl Eaton. “I look forward to working with and learning from this amazing cohort of companies and leaders.”

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About B Corporations®

Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. To date, there are more than 2,500 B Corps in 130 industries and 60 countries around the world.

About B Lab®

B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for goodTM. Their initiatives include B Corp Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation. B Lab’s vision is of an inclusive and sustainable economy that creates a shared prosperity for all. 

PRESS CONTACT

Brianna Graves
Director of Marketing and Development
brianna@weareguru.com
(415) 252-0700 ext. 3

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The Guru Way: Becoming Nobody

July 31, 2019 / no comments

Everyone’s busy being somebody. – Ram Dass

We are proud to support the Love Serve Remember (Ram Dass’) Foundation (LSRF) and the Be Here Now Network. Not only through our Founder and CEO Gagan (Jared Levy)’s guidance as a member of the foundation’s Board of Directors, but because of the foundation’s mission to preserve and continue the loving teachings of Neem Karoli Baba and Ram Dass through online courses, blog content, films, podcasts, vast social network channels and collaborative projects with conscious artists and musicians.

Guru’s most recent opportunity to show our love for the Love Serve Remember Foundation—this time, in partnership with Google Empathy Labs—has been through the marketing and promotion of the soon-to-be-released documentary, Becoming Nobody, directed by Jamie Catto, produced by Raghu Markus and starring none other than Ram Dass (with Jamie Catto).

The intent behind the film is to introduce people to Ram Dass’ life and his teachings, and in particular Dass’ philosophy on, “…what I call ‘somebody training,'” Dass says in the opening voiceover of the trailer.

The Becoming Nobody website goes on to explain, “We come to understand how our old roles and disguises become increasingly burdensome. The film captures a loving man full of joy, wit, honesty and wisdom, at ease in conversation while sharing his considerable pains and pleasures. The life experiences that have freed him from the attachments of his ‘somebody-ness’ have transformed him into the radiant soul who now inspires a new generation.”

With this inspiration in our hearts, the Guru Crew set out to develop the marketing and promotional strategy, as well as the art direction for promotional materials that would not only spark interest in the film, but catapult viewers’ interest and involvement in the Love Serve Remember Foundation to continue their learnings from Ram Dass.

In addition to its online courses, blog content, films, podcasts, vast social network channels and collaborative projects with conscious artists and musicians, the Love Serve Remember Foundation sponsors retreats led by Ram Dass and featuring other esteemed spiritual teachers on the island of Maui (where Dass lives).

“Ram Dass is one of the greatest wisdom teachers of our time and this film is an artistic homage to his impact, teachings and legacy,” said Gagan, who led the creative team behind this work. He continued, “The core theme is about rethinking our conditioned paths or our grasping to become ‘somebody’ and seeing the potential deeper happiness and contentment in ‘becoming nobody.’ We wanted to bring this theme to life with artistic funk and reintroduce the world to Ram Dass’ face, teachings and love. And the inspiration to include the trees came from the following insightful quote, which certainly plays out in the film!”

“When you go into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees… and some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens and some of them are – whatever. And you look at the tree, and you just – allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is, you sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way, and you don’t get all emotional about it, you just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

 

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that, and you’re constantly saying, “You’re too this,” or “I’m too this,” or – that judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees, which means appreciating them just the way they are.” – Ram Dass

As Dass ages, he remains the most important spiritual teacher in the West. This film will pull viewers into the humor and lightheartedness of the real Ram Dass as he clowns around with his unique, no-big-deal approach to life.

In an age of spiritual bypass and fleeting spiritual truisms, we believe that Becoming Nobody will allow others to discover and ground themselves in the “basics” of the timeless wisdom of Ram Dass.

Spirituality isn’t about identity. ‘Become nobody’ and recommit to an authentic spiritual practice through the West’s greatest example—and the OG—of a life dedicated to awakening.

Guru Art Director Baha Fenerci

Becoming Nobody opens on September 6, 2019. Click here to find the location nearest you.

 

 

Imagining the Future of Museums

July 22, 2019 / no comments

Guru has been the digital agency of record for the National History Museum of LA (NHM) and La Brea Tar Pits for the last 3 years. You may know us from the “How Do You Museum?” campaign we built in collaboration with the NHM team and our talented comrades at Imaginary Forces.

Our campaign strategy was to customize the museum experience by focusing on how each visitor interacts with the museum. We enrolled influencers like Will Ferrell, who dressed up as Dr. Will Ferrell (a fake paleontologist comedically answering museum-goers questions) and visionary artist Gary Baseman, who brought his iconic character Toby along to tap into the inspiration that fuels his imagination. 

As we look to the future, we seek to tackle a new question: How do we re-imagine the La Brea Tar Pits?

The Tar Pits are an anomaly, tens of thousands of years old, in the center of Los Angeles. Long before L.A. became the city it is today, the Tar Pits looked like little lakes tucked away in a valley of grass and trees. They were expert deceivers, taking hostage any animal who dared to tread too carelessly. Today, paleontologists have pulled out dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, ground sloths, and dire wolves (4,000 to be exact) from the pits. The Tar Pits serve as the perfect time capsules for capturing our world from 10,000 years ago. 

Open to the public, anyone who visits the Tar Pits will be greeted by a sculpture of a family of wooly mammoths. One parent is stuck in a tar pit while the rest of the family helplessly stands on the shore. Inside, a museum displays different animals from the Tar Pits, including a dire wolf skull wall. There’s also an area called, “The Fish Bowl,” where new fossils come out every day.

The amazing thing about the La Brea Tar Pits is that you can witness the entire paleontology process from start to finish, from finding fossils in the tar, to pulling them out, cleaning them, organizing them, understanding what they are, putting them back together, labeling them, and finally, putting them on display. 

The Tar Pits offer an end-to-end experience; the only museum in the world where everything happens on the same grounds: From discovery to display.  

Opened more than 50 years ago, the La Brea Tar Pits is now reimagining itself. The NHM team asked us how, with the incredible technology we have at our fingertips, we could re-imagine the Tar Pits experience.

To start this thought expedition, big thinkers and influencers, including Guru’s Founder, CEO and Chief Creative Office Gagan (Jared Levy) and legendary creative director Peter Frankfurt from Imaginary Forces, convened at the historic El Rey Theater, along with paleontologists and a cross sector of individuals from entertainment, government, nonprofits and marketing.

Together, we brainstormed on the opportunities. One idea was to focus on the tradition of rock concerts, education, and music for a more hip environment. Think DJ’s playing while visitors grab drinks at the Tar Pits. Another stream of thought was activism-based: considering the current climate issues we are facing, how we can see our future by looking back? We imagined the asphalt as carbon boiling up, creating an opportunity to educate visitors on what they can do to fight climate change.

This would reimagine the purpose of museums

Such a think-tank required all of us to ask important questions of ourselves and of the Tar Pits. Museums have long been used to lay out unbiased data and science. But if a museum starts talking about sustainability and climate action, how does that work? At this point, do we care about climate deniers? We know the science and we know that human intervention is what’s causing this serious issue. Could museums play more of an activist role and help illuminate and provide potential solutions? Can museums show the latest inventions and solutions starting to help with climate actions? 

We have a big opportunity to go beyond

Another idea focused on the integration of technology. There are viewfinders in every major city to enable visitors to look at the skyline of high rises, so could we create one leveraging augmented reality for the Tar Pits? Could we make a visitor see woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and what that landscape looked like back in time? Can we imagine the world of people and animals that lived here?

This beautiful day of re-imagination sought more ways to pull out emotion through storytelling. One human has been found in the tar: how do we tell their story? Or is the story told through the paleontologist’s perspective: The Rockstar of the Tar Pits (literally and figuratively). Similar to the notion of “celebrity chefs,” we can certainly demonstrate the badassery of the paleontologist’s processes, no? Or is the story told through the eyes of the woolly mammoth stuck in the tar? Who is the storyteller and who is the protagonist? There’s clearly more than one way to tell this story. 

At the end of the day, we have more questions than answers—which is a fun place to be—but we are honored to be a part of this world-renowned institution.

It is such a unique place and it brings the Guru Crew immense joy to re-imagine the future (and the past) of the La Brea Tar Pits. 

Who’s Who in the Guru Crew? Introducing Amanda Kauffman

June 4, 2019 / no comments

(We are) Guru is a collaborative crew of experienced big ad agency expats, impact, purpose and brand strategists, design and systems thinkers, connection-creators, artists, writers and designers with an insatiable appetite for constant learning, growth and innovation.

“Who’s Who in the Guru Crew?” is a new series that will introduce you to the beautiful humans who comprise the “Guru Crew,” as we call ourselves.

We’re kicking off this series with Project Manager Amanda Kauffman. Amanda works closely with our heroes at REBBL, Clover Sonoma, The Love Serve Remember (Ram Dass’) Foundation, MAHA Global and Wee Yogis. She’s an extraordinarily talented woman who manages curveballs with grace and inspires teams to achieve more.

We are so grateful for the positive, can-do, joyful attitude that Amanda brings to every situation. And — spoiler alert! — we are very excited for what the fall will bring for her family this year.

You may have met Amanda here. But read on to learn more about this super woman.

CALLING

Guru: What drew you to your role at Guru?

Amanda: I love that Guru is more than your typical ad agency. It’s a collective of individuals authentically trying to do good in the world. Our core mission of spreading joy so closely aligns with my personal life mantra that I’ve felt at home here since day one.

Guru: What inspires you most about the work that we do?

Amanda: I am truly inspired by the people that surround me at work everyday, including Guru employees, partners and our clients. Their unique talents, creative thinking and strategic output all come secondary to the fact that every person I work with is a wonderful human being. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by colleagues who genuinely care for one another, others and a sense of greater good in this world.

Guru: The role of a guru is to be in service of others, and help them move from darkness toward light. What does this mean to you?

Amanda: I find personal purpose in bringing light into the lives of others and have always been inspired by the gurus in my life who have led from a place of servitude. (We are) Guru takes a unique approach to the world of business by bringing these values into the everyday workplace practice. This creates an environment where I feel deeply rooted in the work we conduct for our clients, which is always grounded in spreading light in the world.

EXTRACURRICULARS

Guru: What fills your human tank with inspiration?

Amanda: Exercise (there is nothing that gives me greater clarity or peace of mind than a long run), being outdoors, being with family… and desserts!

Guru: What is the most unusual extracurricular activity that others wouldn’t expect that you participate in?

Amanda: Every October I visit Salem, Massachusetts with my mom – home of the famous Salem Witch Trials. We walk the trails of witches past, go to group spell castings, get an annual psychic reading, and shop for crystals! It’s a tradition I look forward to every fall and makes me feel connected and grounded to the magical spirit of the world around us.

Guru: What is the one activity that is woven into the fabric of your identity?

Amanda: Surely smiling has been woven into the fabric of my identity since birth. I try to always maintain a positive attitude and uplift those around me.

PATH

Guru: What is one stop along your path (planned or unplanned) that helped shape the person you are today?

Amanda: The one stop along this life journey that I believe was woven into the destiny of my being to shape the person I am today stemmed from my life detour (three consecutive ACL tears as a high school athlete that changed my college soccer plans and led me to attend Franklin Pierce University), which is where I met my husband, Cody. He is the yin to my yang – and my greatest complement. We vowed to push each other to pursue personal goals and in our nearly eight years of marriage, that hasn’t faltered. He makes me better and I couldn’t be happier for our family to be expanding this fall when our baby girl arrives.

Guru: We are so excited for you! Describe an experience where you felt most free, alive, inspired and full of purpose?

Amanda: I find incredible inspiration walking along the beach in Naples, Florida in the early morning or mid-afternoon after a thunderstorm. It’s a full sensory experience and that sensation bridges this world and beyond for me. The setting in Naples allows me to disconnect from the usual everyday to-do list and feel a greater sense of belonging by focusing on the meaningful relationships in my life.

Guru: What is the best vacation you ever took, and why?

Amanda: When I was six years old my parents woke my brother and I early one morning and told us to come downstairs. When we got to the living room, it was full of suitcases and they said, “We’re going to Disney World!” We screamed for joy, laughed and probably even cried. When we arrived in Florida, the second surprise was that Nana and Papa were there to explore Disney with us! That vacation remains my favorite for two reasons: (1) The moment my parents told us about the trip was full of the magic that Disney represents for a young child – a spark of pure joy; and (2) I was able to share this “life-changing” experience with my loving family.

CURRENTLY LOVING

Guru: What is your number one, top movie or show recommendation?

Amanda: My all-time favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy. Although, my husband can’t understand why I love a show that constantly leaves me in tears, I seem to connect so deeply with the characters that I can’t help myself! Shonda Rhimes is just brilliant.

Guru: It’s summer time! What cocktail will you be rocking for the next few months?

Amanda: All mocktails for me this summer, which means a classic margarita with salt on the rocks … hold the Patron.

Guru: What is the one book that you will never take off your shelf? Why?

Amanda: NIV version of the Holy Bible. I love keeping my Bible on my nightstand because it reminds me that regardless of what chaos the world has shown each day, I can take comfort in the closeness of God.

Thank you, Amanda! 

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know a member of our Crew a little better (we certainly did!). Stay tuned for the next guru featured in the series.

Tending to a House on Fire: The Role of Business in Climate Action

March 27, 2019 / no comments

“I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is,” said 16-year-old climate activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg at the 2019 World Economic Forum.

The warning to mankind is clear: we have about a decade – maybe a little more, maybe a little less – before the damage we are doing to Mother Earth becomes permanently irreversible. And children across the world are now the ones delivering the warning.

We – the global, collective “we” – haven’t sufficiently listened to scientists. To engineers. To environmentalists. To citizens of coastal towns and cities like Beira, Mozambique. In short, we are neither heeding the words of those professionally qualified to issue such a catastrophic warning, nor the experiences of those on the front lines of devastating tangible climate disasters.

Despite clearly abnormal and frightening weather patterns, rising temps and melting glaciers, we still stand here today receiving a ‘last chance’ plea from our kids, their voices full of mistrust as they beg for their elders to act now.

But the innovators – at least, those in attendance at the second anniversary of the Climate Collaborative’s launch at Expo West – are acting. The imperative for action was the talk of the expo, and Climate Day was truly a celebration of collaboration for change.

Lara Dickinson, Founder of OSC2, and Erin Callahan, Director of the Climate Collaborative, have brilliantly assembled community and inspired real change in business. The group has seen 360 companies make more than 1,300 commitments to act on climate in just two years—an average of one company committing every two days.

Next: to turn that commitment into action, and that action into consumer awareness and advocacy. That is where Guru helps.

During Climate Day, Guru’s Founder, CEO and Executive Creative Director Gagan (Jared Levy) led a power-packed panel of industry experts from Thrive Market, REBBL, Ben & Jerry’s and more, discussing how to engage consumers around climate action in the natural products industry.

“I was honored to lend my voice to this crucial discussion,” Gagan said. “This is an issue that many, if not all, of Guru’s clients face in their business models, supply chains and operations. To find an authentic route to action and then weave that purpose into our brand stories – without alienating consumers in the process – is a delicate-but-necessary tightrope for businesses today to walk. Inaction is no longer an option.”

It’s not a matter of if a brand is going to engage in climate action, but how. It must, increasingly, be at the center of everything a business does.

As Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and Guru client, Patagonia Provisions, said, “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” Chouinard also quoted David Brower as saying, “There’s no business to be done on a dead planet.” Even young Greta Thunberg warns of the same. Profits won’t matter if we don’t have a planet on which to enjoy them.

It’s really that simple. And it will require that we, as consumers, demand change and that we, as businesses, engage our consumers in conversation that inspires them to demand change. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Take Guru client Goddess Garden Organics, for instance, who makes reef-safe mineral sunscreens, natural facial care, pure essential oils and aromatherapy, and chemical-free perfumes.

Goddess Garden’s simple-yet-profound raison d’etre is to save the ocean. They fight this fight through the products they sell, and through their ocean preservation foundation, Protect Our Mother (POM).

POM Foundation supports scientific research and legislation, generating campaign support and engaging in sampling and lobbying efforts to raise awareness to help clean up our waters. The Goddess Garden team advocated for the legislation recently passed in Hawaii, banning chemical sunscreens (oxybenzone and octinoxate) to protect coral reefs. We are hopeful that their home state of California, with its 12,145 square miles of marine protected areas, is next.

Goddess Garden is also on a mission to affect climate balancing by increasing the plant life in the ocean that oxygenates our air and sequesters carbon. For example: Sea urchins are depleting kelp forests. Their main predators, sea otters, have been brought back from near extinction in the Monterey Bay area. By moving some rescued sea otters to urchin-heavy areas, the otters can continue to repopulate, while also controlling the urchin population. This will allow the kelp to grow and to help restore the natural balance.

But perhaps most importantly, Goddess Garden is manufacturing products that can replace the problem (chemicals from our skincare products polluting the ocean) with a solution that will make a difference (wonderful skincare products that do not pollute the ocean).

These are the kind of companies that Guru wants to work with, to ensure that their authentic, powerful work is known to every consumer. Not just to sell sunscreen and after-suncare products. But to make a difference that will increase joy and reduce suffering in the world and hopefully, save Mother Earth.

Top-down change requires policy change on the part of politics and commerce. Bottom-up change requires that every consumer is doing their part through everyday choices: from the food and beverages in our kitchen, to the products we use on our bodies, and the organizations we support and promote.

But all change will require overwhelming, unyielding demand by consumers and constituents with the urgency of a house on fire.

 

 

 

From Dark to Light, a Happy New Year to You

January 2, 2019 / no comments

Happy New Year, everyone!

I am starting the year off with a tone of gratitude harmonized with deep appreciation for all of the work that the Guru Crew (staff) and our clients and partners accomplished in 2018. I am also energized for the exciting collaborations we embark upon beginning today!

With the spaciousness of rest just before the new year, I was reflecting back on the inspiring achievements of the year and forward toward our North Star in the years to come.

In so doing, one must ask the self-reflecting questions: “Who are we?” and “What does the world need from us?” What kept coming up for me harkens back to the original reason I named the agency, “Guru.”

Guru means “sage” or “teacher” as a noun, and “from dark to light” as a verb. A guru does not necessarily hold the answers, but acts as a powerful mirror to facilitate the answers from within the student. We fully embrace this inclusive collective nature of the guru with the domain and handle “WeAreGuru” to showcase our business partners’ roles in their own and the world’s solutions.

We believe that business has an important role – perhaps the most important role at present – in increasing joy and reducing suffering on this planet. Moving businesses “from dark to light” and helping the impactful, conscious businesses we collaborate with to thrive will have a reverberating impact for generations to come.

So, that is who we are. And to further punctuate what the world needs from us, I reflect on one final aspect of “Guru,” which is that of holding the higher vision. Here at Guru, we hold the higher vision of increasing joy and reducing suffering for ourselves, our clients, our partners and our world. We see the potential and will relentlessly push to realize it.

I am excited to be on this journey with each of you!

Gagan (Jared Levy)
Founder and CEO

A Sacred Theory of Change with Sister Jenna and Gagan Levy

November 26, 2018 / no comments

“I feel so blessed that I have found this Satsang, this family, in this lifetime. Raghu and the rest have really taken me under their wing and brought me over to more of a bhakti path – a happy blissful path.” – Gagan (Jared Levy)

This week on The Mindrolling Podcast, Raghu sits down with Sister Jenna and Gagan Levy to talk about bringing a sense of sacredness and compassion to social action. This fascinating episode covers:

  • The Capacity of Consciousness
  • A Sacred Theory of Change
  • Simply Cynicism
  • Breaking Cycles of Suffering with Joy and Compassion

Mindrolling – Ep. 265 – A Sacred Theory of Change with Sister Jenna and Gagan Levy

Enjoy!

Allow us to introduce…

November 13, 2018 / no comments

We are dedicated to helping create a thriving world. We believe business is the key to getting there. Business has helped us make the social, environmental, and economic messes we’re in today – and it can be instrumental to getting us out.

“It’s just business” has been struck from our vocabulary. We’re calling each and every business into its responsibility to be a good citizen. And, we believe with our full hearts that this is possible without compromising profit. To think otherwise is just a failure of imagination.

Guru has built a reputation as an innovative creative agency. But as we approach a new year, we are excited to re-introduce you to our intent and services. After working at the nexus of business and impact, we’ve recognized a need and in 2019 are launching the world’s first cloud-based impact management system to more effectively and efficiently help brands to define, implement and expand their impact.

We call it MAHA.

MAHA multiplies and amplifies an organization’s impact efforts through:
  • Impact Strategy Documentation
  • Individual and Team e-Training and Certification
  • Values-Aligned Advocate and Influencer Connector
  • Impact Campaign Generator

Our focus at Guru has always been to stoke the fires of a passionately purposeful brand at the center of a business. We help organizations identify, crystalize and fan the flames of this beating heart at the center of their efforts.

We then use this purposeful brand as an organizing idea for managing an organization’s rippling impact through its spheres of influence. This is the purpose of our creative work, but we take it much further – to every decision an organization makes and every point of contact with customers and stakeholders.

MAHA’s mission is to empower and connect values-aligned brands, influencers and individuals to take action on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in service of amplified global impact – a natural extension of Guru’s vision to increase joy and reduce suffering in the world.

Together, Guru and MAHA believe in the power of business to create a thriving future on this planet. And we’re counting on purposeful brands to do the heavy lifting. But it’s going to take all of us. The large and the small. The established and the start-up.

As we look toward 2019, our products and services are scaled for both ends of the spectrum: from full-service purpose branding and acceleration services for those needing custom attention, to e-learning and campaign generator resources for those just starting out.

We’d like to tell you more.

Please reach out to us to meet the new collaborators in our mix and hear about how Guru, together with MAHA, is ready to help you and your business level up as a purposeful brand in 2019.