Entrepreneur and impact investor Florian Kemmerich has proven that the butterfly effect – the phenomenon in which one small action leads to more, greater actions and ultimately impact – is in flight at YPO.
What began with a Kemmerich-led pilot project in early 2023, when YPO collected data on impact metrics from 68 YPO member-run companies, has morphed into a full-blown survey and the publication of YPO’s inaugural 2023 Global Impact Report.
The YPO members who participated in the pilot had attended YPO’s inaugural Global Impact Summit in Costa Rica in January 2023. Because each of these chief executives run their businesses as a force for good rather than purely for profits, it was no surprise that the data collected showed they outperformed global averages and leading targets on almost all metrics.
The pilot’s success sent Kemmerich, Managing Director at Palladium Group and Managing Partner at Bamboo Capital Partners, and YPO leadership on a quest to scale the work he and his fellow impact-focused YPO peers had begun.
The just-published report tells the stories of data collected from more than 700 companies of YPO members. Sponsored by EY, the report was also supported by impact data platform Proof, creating one of the largest databases for impact data of privately held companies, as well as Labrador, advisory, writing and design partner.
Profits with Purpose
Kemmerich leads businesses via his personal leitmotif, ‘impact lives, share profits,’ and has invested in and leads businesses that are considered both profitable and impactful. His five children have taken note.
“They’re all Gen Zers, between 15 and 25 years old,” Kemmerich explains. “They want to do their thing, they want to create their businesses, and they want to dedicate themselves to their vocation beyond a family and monetary success as business leaders.”
It forced Kemmerich to question whether YPO, which he joined in 2007 and where he finds inspiration and wise counsel as well as friendships, would remain relevant to his children as they pursued their own passions.
“The fundamental flaw of us boomers is our thinking that first, we make money, and then we do good,” he warns.
At first, Kemmerich’s approach on how to ‘do good’ might sound counterintuitive. You see, he does not want to help people. He explains, “People don’t want to be helped. Nobody wants to be pitied. We all want a chance to make it, to make a difference!”
Instead, he says, playing on a common adage, “Don’t give a man a fish; don’t teach him how to fish. Invest in his fishing business.”
That’s how you deliver a greater impact, and he encourages his peers to think big and ask what legacy they want to leave for people and the planet.
YPO as a changemaker
Kemmerich’s personal goal for this undertaking is to make YPO more relevant to the next generation of leaders.
He says, “We’re so much more than 35,000 members employing 22 million people around the world and whose companies generate USD9 trillion for the global GDP. The greater value of YPO as a peer organization is to become better leaders through lifelong learning.”
Kemmerich and a growing number of YPO peers are looking to scale the data collection and accompanying report even more next year. Collectively, their next goal is to attract 10% of the 35,000 YPO members to join to create the world’s largest global impact database. “We already see significant learnings for our members with data on geographies, type of businesses, and size of businesses,” he adds.
The success of this year’s report – and the promise of next year’s expansion – will attract chief executives to YPO looking for a community of changemakers and leaders, or at least that’s one of Kemmerich’s hopes.
“What we want to avoid is dividing YPO, saying ‘those are the do-gooders over there in a corner and these are, what, dark-side guys?’ No, this is aspirational. It’s not about philanthropy,” he explains. “At YPO, we ingrain business as a force for good into our learning. Our entire reason for being here is to embrace the greater good as we work to become better leaders through learning.”
He also notes that YPO members – not surprisingly – rely on data to make decisions. “Collecting this data is a way for us to learn where we are now; it gives us more tools to be even more successful.”
Understanding best practices with data translates into actions, learning and events, he explains.
Pointing to the last page of the report, which includes a picture of the YPO members on stage at the first YPO Global Impact Summit, Kemmerich says, “This is proof of concept. And now here we are with the official report. It’s aspirational; it’s contagious.”
Mostly, personally, Kemmerich says, “I can’t wait to show this report to my kids and say, hey, look what YPOers around the world do!”