Cory Ames and his wife, Annie, founded Grow Ensemble with a mission to make sustainable business and living the norm. In this episode of the Defy Convention Podcast, we talked to Cory about what it means to use business as a force for good, what can happen when our work aligns with our values, and how to separate life and work.
CORY: I worked my way up to the CEO position, which was, at the time serving like a hundred or so clients, and had a couple of million dollars in revenue. That position was really the point at which I kinda saw the curtain pulled back on exactly how this business was run.
It was a grind, it was a hustle, it was hard work, it was very stressful, and I invested so much time and energy and belief into all the skills that I was trying to cultivate. Then I came to this point of like, what does it even matter?
On its face, you’d look at the P and L and say: Oh, this is a very healthy, successful business. But at the same time, I was having conversations with the staff who were reporting to me, saying: We’re not making enough, we don’t have benefits yet, these sorts of things.
It felt so out of alignment. I certainly did not like the feeling of working with a team and feeling as if I’m different than them, that our statuses are different, that I am privileged to particular information or resources that they may not be, and feeling unequal in that way with the people that I worked with.
I really questioned: is there a way in which entrepreneurship and business can be done ethically—in a way that is a win-win for everybody?
Follow Cory’s convention-defying work:
Cory is the Co-Founder & CEO of Grow Ensemble, an impact marketing and media company on a mission to make sustainable business and more sustainable living the norm. He is also the host of The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast, where he interviews leaders in the space of better business and social impact.
Prior to leading Grow Ensemble, Cory was the CEO of a digital marketing agency, a position he earned at the age of 22. After leaving that experience, Cory began consulting on all things digital marketing & SEO exploring how he could more directly use his skills for doing good.
It was then, at the direction of his partner in life & partner in Grow Ensemble, Annie Bright, that Cory dove into the world of social entrepreneurship and using business as a force for good.
Soon after, Grow Ensemble was founded by both Cory and Annie as a vehicle to raise awareness of and inspire action around some of the world’s biggest problems and problem solvers. They blog, podcast, and publish videos on all things leaving the world a better, more just, equitable, and habitable place for all.
To keep up with Cory, Annie, and Grow Ensemble, visit growensemble.com and sign-up for their Better World Weekly Newsletter—their weekly discussion of building a better world with their community of change-makers and innovators for all sectors all over the world.