Freedom in the Workplace

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 Traci Fenton (C'97) was hired by a Fortune 500 company soon after she graduated from the College. Before long, however, she left that position, certain there was something fundamentally wrong in the workplace. Four years later she took another leap of faith, leaving her post at NASDAQ to pursue the development of WorldBlu LLC full time. By this point, she was convinced that WorldBlu, which she started in her dorm room her senior year, held the answers to the problems she had experienced with both jobs.

WorldBlu helps companies use democratic principles, such as decentralization and transparency, to redesign their organizations to operate from freedom rather than fear. “We live in a time of unprecedented voice and participation, thanks to social media,” Fenton says. “We have clearly moved from the Industrial Age to a Democratic Age, which requires a shift in the way we work.” With a freedom-centered, democratic approach, Fenton explains, employees are treated better and perform better, and companies are more innovative and improve their bottom line. Her goal is to see one billion people working in freedom and the global ripple effect that can result.

From its modest start in Lowrey House, WorldBlu now has members in over 80 countries, with client revenues totaling more than $20 billion. Zappos, BBC, and Yahoo! are all clients, and Fenton has been recognized in global media including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Forbes. Along with running WorldBlu, Fenton is writing a book called Freedom at Work (forthcoming), which outlines the WorldBlu 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy™ and how they can be applied in workplaces. Recently, WorldBlu also launched a new freedom-centered leadership-training program.

Despite all her successes, World-Blu’s founder and CEO is no stranger to trials. But throughout initial financial struggles, discouragement, resistance from others, and health challenges, Christian Science has been her bedrock. “When you’re doing something world-changing, fear is going to come up,” she comments. “But as you begin to see the patterns of how it works, you don’t get as intimidated by it—and it certainly doesn’t call the shots.”

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Principia Purpose.