How People Can Create Authentic Work and Relationships During COVID-19 with Lorna Davies


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Lorna Davis has served as President of multinational consumer goods companies for 20+ years, in Danone, Kraft and Mondelez. Lorna has been a key leader in Danone’s purpose journey and is a Global Ambassador for the B Corp movement. In 2017, she served as CEO and Chairwoman of Danone Wave (now Danone North America), where she established that $6 Billion entity as a Public Benefit Corporation and achieved B Corp status in 2018, making it the largest B Corp in the world. 

Lorna is a member of the Social Mission Board of Seventh Generation, the Integrity Board of Sir Kensington (both Seventh Generation and Sir Kensington are owned by Unilever)the Advisory Board of Radical Impact and the Board of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

She has lived and led businesses in 7 countries including the UK, France and the USA and served on the Global board of Electrolux for 6 years.

Lorna was also based in Shanghai, China for 6 years where she was the CEO of the merged Danone and Kraft business.

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Here’s the timestamps for the episode: 

(00:00) – Introduction

(01:37) – When people ask me how I’m doing i noticed that the answer is only relevant for this moment. I’m variable like everybody else and I’m trying to just take it one moment at a time really. 

(04:17) – What we will also come out of this with is a really good understanding of ourselves, which will be very important for the next phase of the world. We’ll be more self aware and hopefully more compassionate and more loving leaders in the future.

(06:31) – Work out how to calibrate, how to be supportive, but now how not to be helpful. Because being helpful is a pain in the neck, nobody wants to be helped. But how can we really provide support for each other at a time when people are still trying to work out what support they want. 

(09:24) – Very interesting to see how businesses are pivoting. I’m loving the innovation that’s coming out of this and I’m also loving the new relationships, new collaboration, new interdependence that’s coming from this.

(13:26) –We’re going to see things that we have never seen before. And we’re also going to see a complete reshaping of traditional blocks of time. This sort of neat disruption of the day is challenging for some people. These fixed boundaries between these periods of our lives have dissolved perhaps forever. We’ll be easily able to segue away from laying on the couch, reading a book to getting up, to do a yoga class, to doing an hour of work, to going to learn the tuba. There’ll be fun. 

(17:27) – The inclusion of people who are shyer than others. With that hand raising function, people who would otherwise struggle to fight their way into a conversation can put their hand up. These are all things that will enhance intimacy and connection that I hope we hold on to when we go back to more in person meetings.

(21:50) –  It was unthinkable before that you and I might build this kind of relationship and never meet. And people have old fashioned ideas about how people need to be face-to-face to really build a relationship. I don’t think that that’s true.

(30:25) – The big question is if you really want to solve the climate challenge, countries need to work together and they need to have a line of legislation on carbon reduction. They obviously need to sign up to agreements and they need to have a shared view that the world has a problem that the world has to solve together. 

(33:22) – There will be stories that as human activity slows down, natural activity will rectify itself or come back to life. And hopefully we will fall back in love with the world, fall back in love with nature, fall back in love with the universe really. And that’ll give us a new sensibility. It is a better, more grounded place to act from when you are in love with other humans and in love with nature than when you’re frightened, angry, defensive, and think that your money is going to save you, which is kind of what, has been predominant in parts of the world recently.

(35:58) – The water will deliver us into common ground, or intercommon waters, and then we’ll be able to find our ground. Everybody knows that it’s chaotic. Nobody can pretend that it isn’t. So it is, so let that be.

(41:50) – Women’s ability to deal with ambiguity and complexity and interconnectedness is better than men’s. This time of ambiguity, complexity, multitasking is the time for them to really step up.