We got married!

The last instalment in our her(story): what is ahead for tbd*?

von tbd* Team, May 1, 2024
Blumen Blatt

Last week we shared some of the changes that have been going on in the background of tbd* over the last few months. One of the most important drivers of these changes was Hedda, our dear (former) CEO. Hedda joined the team in 2019 and since then has transformed tbd* from a content and job platform into the leading voice on anti-discrimination, diversity and belonging in the non-profit and sustainability sector. Of course she has not been acting alone, and yet her unique vision and drive have been such important factors in getting us to where we are today. 

Last year she took the brave decision to tell the board that she would not carry on as CEO. As we mentioned in last week’s newsletter, “at some point the pressure, the clashing values and the cognitive dissonance got too much” and we had all got to the point that the business no longer felt sustainable with this ownership and funding/debt structure we had in place. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t fulfilling and it wasn’t aligned. Something had to change or tbd* would have to close. 

Enter stage left: Unlearn Business Lab.
Hedda and Naomi, one of our founders, had been working together with a group of other sustainable business leaders on something called Unlearn Business Lab (UBL). UBL (we love acronyms) is a think and do-tank for system change, a place in which businessy folks and others can dream and do a new way of doing business that is radically just, regenerative and collective. A place to deconstruct the patriarchy and the white supremacy and to replace it with something else. Basically a place to co-create whatever is coming after capitalism.

Unlearn Business Lab started out because there are hundreds of businesses facing the same challenges as tbd*. We are not alone in struggling to build a “successful” business in a system that rewards competition, financial growth, planetary and people-exploitation. Others were facing the same challenges and/or constantly finding themselves having to compromise, or shift their values. These companies included some of Germany’s most well known fairstainable businesses such as Wildling, Einhorn, Folkdays and Business & Soul School and together with them we dreamed of a space in which we could share knowledge and expertise and experiment with radical new ideas together. After we launched in 2023 we received hundreds of pledges of support and at the end of the year we piloted an online community programme and a two-day event that gave us the feeling that we were onto something meaningful and necessary. 

And so, you guessed it, we decided to marry them:

UBL <3 tbd*

Slowly but surely we are integrating the two teams and activities within The Changer GmbH (our mother company). It just makes so much sense. And here’s why:

We are starting to understand that the key to unlearning everything that capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy has taught us about ourselves and other people is what tbd* has its core expertise in: anti-discrimination and belonging. Not just because this work teaches us the key relational competencies we need for the new economy but primarily because this (hard, hard) work *might*, if we are lucky, facilitate the inclusion of people who have, up until now, been excluded or marginalised and whose leadership we so desperately need in this transformation process. 

We are and continue to be incredibly grateful to everybody who helped us get to this stage, especially to Hedda, who has joined Employers for Equality as General Director but is still a great friend and partner in UBL and to Nicole, our dear friend and founder, who will be starting new adventures in the USA.

The rest of us, Nilay, Isabelle, Irmela, Jocelina, Verena, Naomi, Lisa, Corinna, Nancy (left to right) and Elisa, Julia are a small but diverse team of BIPOC and white cis-women*.

UBL tbd Team

Some of us were born into socioeconomic privilege, others were not, some of us come from the former East Germany, some from the former West and some of us have migrated to Germany. We have experience of chronic and mental health issues. And we have a large network of people that we work with who bring a multitude of perspectives to the table. 

Together we are already working with duvia e.V. on a BMBF funded Project, organised by Project Together, which aims to bring marginalised school-leavers together with sustainable businesses as potential employees.

We are reevaluating all of our core tbd* products - from the jobs board, to the purpose fellowship and deciding what can stay, what will go and what will, itself, be transformed. We want to focus our work on finding and promoting new ways of working together that are just, regenerative and collective and finding ways to include and centre as many people as possible from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. Honestly, we have no idea if any of it will work. But we are determined to give it a try. 

We would love to hear from you if any of this resonated with you. If you want to share your feedback or your ideas with us, please send us an email to hello@tbd.community or hello@unlearnbusinesslab.com!

We will try to be as transparent as possible with you on our journey. You can follow us here and here. But don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from us for a couple of weeks. While we do this work we are taking a break from some of our daily business to preserve our energy and give us a chance to focus on the future. But we’ll be back. Probably. Hugs.

Want to support us in our journey? Book your job ads here.