Connie Linder –and her radical plan to change how we shop

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Connie Linder: “It’s about taking care of business in a way that is respectful, and utilizing the best knowledge that we have in order to reduce toxicity and increase efficiencies to support positive social and environmental outcomes.”

Connie Linder, Founder and President of ‘Intengine’ that has created the world’s most comprehensive and relevant database of responsible businesses, is a proven and effective leader who upholds the elements of innovation and compassion in the workplace. She is an entrepreneur and business strategist who has the ability to cut through the clutter to gain results that are healthy and enduring. For her groundbreaking work, she has received numerous awards, including a leadership award from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, the Tech Green Award (individual) from the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, the Women of Worth Sustainable Living Award, a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Minerva Leadership Award, the BC Innovation Council’s New Ventures Award, and was named among Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women as a Trailblazer/Trendsetter. She was also the recipient of the RBC “Top New Supplier Award” as co-founder of Churchill Armoured Car. Connie’s success is a combined result of her talent, hard work, sincere dedication and her everyday regimens that keep her healthy and helps Connie realize her innermost potential. In routine, she is an early bird and likes to keep her days sorted. She regularly practices yoga and finds it really resourceful when she needs to clear her head and bring forward new ideas. Interestingly, Connie is also a certified counselor with training in spiritual development and Reiki. Outside her work and daily customs, Connie spends most of her time with her three daughters, and also enjoys reading being a perpetual learner who thrills to thought provocation by challenging her own mind. For this matter, she really admires Paulo Coelho’s books as they always have simple spiritual messages ingrained in them. In correspondence to Connie’s flair, her organization, Intengine’s database is also growing constantly. Their mission is to make environmental and social sustainability information easily accessible to consumers and businesses who care. Connie says, “With a simple search anyone can start taking the small, tangible steps that lead to transformative change. Intengine supports an effective, easy way to make a difference.”  

“Your vision must begin with attention to careful, unbiased research. Once you have done this work you can rely upon your decisions and persevere through any internal or external doubts. Don’t do it alone.”

Connie started working in sustainability even before it became a global subject. She shares, “At the time, often the environmental discussions were very anti-business and the business discussions were very anti-environmental, and they often called environmentalists, tree huggers and it wasn’t an endearing term. It was almost an insult to be considered a tree hugger. Yet, I felt that both sides needed to hear each other because I really believed, and still do, that the only companies that are going to have a social license to operate are the ones that actually do things to improve for humanity and for the planet.” Unsurprisingly, when Connie initially expressed her business idea openly, a lot of people annulled it and told her “You’re not going to be able to do it…. what you are trying to do is too big – pick a sector”. But she stood by her vision and eventually it worked out for the best. She mentions, “Even though it took longer to build and it took longer to have the buy-in and it was more complex, it’s also the reason now that I have the investors that I have, who are very big global thinkers, and also the reason I attracted PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) as a partner.”

Founded in 2010 Vancouver, Canada based Intengine (formerly known as GreenPages Directory) helps bridge the gap between shared social and environmental objectives, and the means and knowledge required to achieve their fulfillment. It is the world’s most comprehensive database for healthier living which connects conscious purchasers with environmentally and socially responsible businesses in their communities and around the world. Connie says, “I thought it was really important that we have a centralized resource that had global access to information, but you could apply it locally in your market. Through my work in sustainability, I realized there wasn’t such a resource. People need to easily access products and services that have metrics that allowed them to differentiate between something that was just a traditional product that wasn’t really centric to a social and environmental purpose and those that have some kind of improved, metric that allows it to be healthier for people and for the ecosystem.” To put it plainly, Intengine acts as a platform for facilitating healthier personal and professional procurement to assist well-intended people in taking steps toward implementing sustainable actions. “Our directory spans all categories and allows you to differentiate by quantifiable benefits that include certifications,” shares Connie. “We have the largest database in the world. It houses accreditation organizations with their standards, certification, and labels. We also have recently added ‘The Sustainable Development Goals’ as another metric that people can use to communicate. We have an extensive list of social and environmental attributes. Between all those different metrics, businesses are able to really express and communicate the good that they’re doing and the improvements that they’re offering in a way that’s easily sorted by the end-user.”

Connie Linder

Connie Linder, Founder & President, Intengine

Presently, things that concern Connie the most are potential health hazards due to upcoming 5G technology and polarization of attitudes with regards to climate change. But she believes there might be an easier way to tackle this than what we assume. Connie shares, “In this day of information overload, it’s very difficult to be able to compare and find the proper products and services that can actually help you be more sustainable. So, our goal is to make it easier for people so that they can make better decisions in their supply chain where 76% of emissions lie. Governments are not alone in their ability to tackle the immense issues that we have to deal with globally. The footprint that we all have through our purchases is the biggest impact on how we use our resources and how we take care of our waste, and how we deal with toxicity issues and things like that.”

“We want to provide that centralized place that functions beyond political polarization. We offer people that have spent the time to improve a product or a service to address the needs of the ecosystem and humanity a place to speak about it. We’re giving them a voice so that they can actually communicate and articulate things in a way that makes it searchable by the people who need their products and services. And we’re also enabling all of those businesses the benefits from the rest of our database which will help them improve in other areas because frankly, we can all improve and being green is a moving target,” Connie communicates. “Together we can improve the standards across all industries. One of the things that are really important to me, which our platform also addresses, is visibility to industry leaders, thought leaders and people that have done research that supports why we need to do business in a certain way. We all need to pay attention to what products are in our purchases and we all need to know which ones are more toxic and which ones are more efficient to make better decisions.”

For Connie, love is at the center of all her decisions. Therefore, she challenges the common notion of keeping business separate from your individual self in order to make better decisions. She asserts, “I challenge this by suggesting that to make thoughtful, smart decisions you need to be one person. Embrace the compassion only your personal side can offer. Keep your authenticity to steer your actions.” Hence, to all who aspire to be an accomplished entrepreneur, Connie has a piece of simple advice to offer, “Your vision must begin with attention to careful, unbiased research. Once you have done this work you can rely upon your decisions and persevere through any internal or external doubts. Don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with people to fill the areas where you are lacking in your skills or insight. If there are traits to nurture as an entrepreneur, they are vision, strength, patience, focus and perseverance. Compassionate entrepreneurs need to base their vision on a foundation of integrity and an intention for outcomes that benefit people and the environment. Face everything with a strong vision and the resilience to keep going despite challenges.” 

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Business leaders to watch in 2019

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