Sustainable Brands 2016 kicked off last night. It’s the 10th anniversary, making it a particularly special celebration. It’s also the last year the event will be held at the lovely Paradise Point in San Diego; next year we move to Detroit. When I registered yesterday, one of the questions asked was “how did you get here – drive or fly?” My answer? Sail.

Jeff Mendelsohn, founder of New Leaf paper and endlessly ingenious social entrepreneur, has been talking about sailing to SB for the last five years. This year he made it happen. He offered the trip to all the people on the SB Advisory Board, of which I am the outgoing Chair. It was broken into three legs – San Francisco to Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to San Diego. I joined, along with five others, for the final leg.

We met at the harbor in Marina del Rey on Friday at noon. Three of us traveling together had been charged with grocery shopping, so in addition to our luggage, we loaded in a supply of fresh fish, vegetables, cheeses, snacks and drinks. After a quick safety overview – good to know what to do if someone goes overboard – we motored out of the harbor and then set sail for Catalina.  

The 72 hours from leaving my home until arriving in San Diego were remarkable. This trip was a reminder of the vastness of our world and how much I love to explore it. It was about recognizing that the ability to respond in the moment is as important as planning ahead. And mostly it was about knowing I left the dock with six people I hardly knew and arrived with people I now consider life-long friends. Which is exactly what Sustainable Brands is all about.