Nova Campfire: Regenerative Economics, Finance, and Marketing for Health of People and Planet

Exploring Models and Mindsets for Restorative Business

There is a growing call to reorient and rebalance financial and market systems to support regenerative economies with more mindful, compassionate, cooperative worldviews. This includes purpose-driven business and strategies to mobilize sequestered capital and stagnant wealth for community benefit, with a greater focus on fairness and restoring well-being of individuals, societies, and natural systems.

In collaboration with the Garrison Institute, we explore the role of policy, institutional mindsets, consumer attitudes, cultural value systems, and the pressure of social movements in transitioning from destructive, hyper-extractive economies toward practices that support flourishing. 

Program and Panelists

A brief welcome from Brian Berman, President and Founder of the Nova Institute for Health, was followed by an opening meditation from Rick Scott. Susan Prescott, Director of the Nova Network, chaired the meeting. Community discussion followed short presentations from industry leaders and pioneers. 

See the full event recording below or scroll down to see individual presentations.


portrait of nova institute founder brian berman

Professor Brian Berman, MD, is President and Founder of Nova Institute for Health and Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he was Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine. 

He is one of the most highly funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers in the field of integrative and complementary medicine. A pioneer in the field and founder of the first U.S. academic medical center-based program for integrative medicine in 1991, he received two Bravewell Collaborative awards in leadership and service. He continues to conduct NIH-funded research at University of Maryland and promote a broad vision of health through leadership at Nova Institute for Health.

Introduction: Mobilizing Sequestered Capital and Stagnant Wealth for Community Benefit Requires Ethical and Cultural Transition

headshot of professor susan prescott

Susan Prescott is Director of the Nova Network. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at University of Western Australia, Director of the ORIGINS project, Editor-in-Chief of Challenges, and a Scholar at the Nova Institute for Health in Baltimore. 

She is internationally recognized for cutting-edge research into early environmental determinants of health and disease. Her global work promotes awareness of the interconnections between personal and planetary health in a way that inspires wiser, creative, integrated approaches, grounded in reciprocity, for social and ecological justice and flourishing futures. She is also an artist and award-winning author. 

“My passion is connecting people and ideas to create new opportunities.” 

Purpose-Driven Capitalism Requires Social and Spiritual Transformation

Rebecca Henderson is a Harvard University Professor, a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and fellow of both the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

She has more than 25 years of major public board experience. Her research explores the degree to which the private sector can play a major role in building a more sustainable economy. Rebecca’s latest book, Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire, was shortlisted for the FT/McKinsey 2020 Business Book of the Year Award.

“My passion is connecting people and ideas to create new opportunities.” 

The Important Role of Marketing Narratives for Restorative and Regenerative Business

David Webb is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia Business School (Marketing). 

He is a social psychologist with primary interests in the domain of macro-marketing focusing in particular on the interface between marketing and quality of life, self-determination theory, and the psychology of consumption. He has held numerous international academic and industry positions in Germany, the Far East, the United States, and the United Kingdom together with an executive position at a customer satisfaction management consultancy firm in South Africa.

Nurturing Compassionate Leadership in Finance: Mindfulness-Based Leadership Skills Within the Financial Industry to Transform the Sector into a Force for Good

Sander Tideman is Program Director of Compassionate Leadership in Finance (CLIF) at the Garrison Institute, New York, and serves on the faculty of the Rotterdam School of Management and Mobius Executive Leadership. 

Holding degrees from the University of Utrecht, London School of Economics, and School of Oriental and African Studies, his work integrates insights from Eastern philosophy, neuroscience, psychology and systems science with practices of management, finance and economics. He is an author, consultant, and coach in sustainability leadership, organizational change, and investing. He worked closely with H.H. the Dalai Lama in translating insights from Buddhism into business, economics, and leadership, laid down in the book Business as an Instrument for Societal Change (2016). His most recent book, Triple Value Leadership, describes a new leadership theory and practice for sustainable business transformation.

Restorative Economics: Stewarding Shared Assets for Shared Prosperity in Vulnerable Communities

Nwamaka Agbo (first name pronounced “Amaka”) is the CEO of the Kataly Foundation and Managing Director of the Restorative Economies Fund (REF). 

In her roles, Nwamaka collaborates with the Kataly team to lead the foundation’s day-to-day operations, while holding the community-centered strategy and vision for the REF. With a background in community organizing, electoral campaigns, and policy and advocacy work on racial, social, and environmental justice issues, Nwamaka is deeply committed to supporting projects that build resilient, healthy, and self-determined communities rooted in shared prosperity.

The Role of Education and Inner Development in Creating the Enabling Conditions for Socioeconomic Transition

Kate Rudd, from the The Conscious Food Systems Alliance (CoFSA), recently graduated with her Masters in Regenerative Economics with distinction from Schumacher College (UK). 

Her dissertation involved research in four languages across six countries in the Global South and Global North to understand the enabling conditions for scaling deeply regenerative agriculture. 

“I believe in food systems transformation, innovation, and education as pathways towards peace and social and ecological resilience. My mission is to secure a brighter future for people and the planet, through supporting the regenerative work of organizations and innovators.”

Marketing Prosocial Consumption and Sustainability: Strategies to Promote Sustainable, Prosocial Consumer Behavior

Kate White is Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Science at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Canada. 

She is the Academic Director of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics and she holds a professorship in Consumer Insights, Prosocial Consumption, and Sustainability. Kate teaches courses in consumer behavior, consumer insights, social influence, marketing strategy, and sustainability/social marketing at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels

“I am interested in how we can shift people’s attitudes and choices for the social good by encouraging positive actions such as engaging in charitable giving and prosocial and sustainable behaviors.”


September 20, 2023


11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Healing is facilitated through safety, persistence, and trust.

  • Persistence: “People did not simply progress through this sequence and experience healing. The healing journey was a recursive, back and forth process. They found helpers, used the skills/resources that those helpers provided, found other helpers that provided more resources and used those skills and resources. As this process continued, people experienced a gradual amelioration of their suffering. Although many despaired at times, all demonstrated the quality of persistence—they refused to give up.”
  • Safety & Trust: “To connect to helpers, it was essential for people to feel safe in those relationships and able to trust that the person would be a helper and not a barrier to healing. Persons whose wounds included a violation of trust were especially careful about testing the safety of new relationships.”

Resources support us as we heal. They include reframing, responsibility, and positivity. “Making connections enabled participants to acquire and refine resources and skills that were essential in their healing journey. People also brought their own personal strengths to the journey.”

  • Reframing: “A particularly important skill was the ability to reframe—that is to look at suffering through a different lens.” This does NOT mean minimizing trauma or pain, but rather it often means the opposite: understanding what happened was wrong, unfair, or uncontrollable and that we are not to blame for it.
  • Responsibility: While we don’t have control over what happened to us, we are the only ones who can help ourselves heal. “A third essential resource that people acquired or refined was the ability to take an appropriate amount of responsibility for their healing journeys. They participated actively in the process of healing. Once again, some participants already had developed this skill, and some acquired or refined it from their helpers.”
  • Positivity: “Another resource that people acquired or refined during their healing journey was choose to be positive—that is to have some optimism about their situation.” People have varying predispositions to positivity. In the study, positivity was important in helping people heal. This doesn’t mean a toxic positivity, but rather simply finding some good in life and feeling hopeful about our situations.

“Connection to others was an essential part of all the healing journeys.” Humans are social creatures, and even the most introverted of us need close relationships. Friends and family add meaning and value to life and help support us, in good times and bad. 

When we experience relational trauma, relationships can feel scary, but reestablishing safety and trust in relationships is where the healing happens. (To be clear, we do not mean reestablishing safety and trust with abusers, but rather finding other healing relationships.) 

“When safety and trust had been established, people were able to connect with helpers. The nature of the behaviours of helpers that fostered healing ranged from small acts of kindness to unconditional love.”

  • “Moving from being wounded, through suffering to healing, is possible. It is facilitated by developing safe, trusting relationships and by positive reframing that moves through the weight of responsibility to the ability to respond.”
  • “Relationships with health professionals were among these but were not necessarily any more important to the healing journey than other kinds of helpers, which included family members, friends, spirituality and their God, pets, support groups, administrators, case workers and supervisors.”

Healing probably means different things to different people, but one definition that emerged from the study is: “The re-establishment of a sense of integrity and wholeness.” 

Healing was an emergent property that resulted from each individuals’ complex healing journey, a result of bridged connections between resources and relationships. “…they gradually found relief from suffering and began to exhibit emergent characteristics: a sense of hope, self-acceptance, and a desire to help others—the immediate precursors to healing.”

 In varying degrees, “they were able to transcend their suffering and in some sense to flourish.” 

  • Helping Others: We find meaning in helping others. “Understanding that suffering gives the strength and experience to help others in similar situations.”
  • Hope: We begin to have hope that we will not always feel this bad. A Crohn’s patient said, “I think gradually I realized that I was going to feel better. I did have days when I actually didn’t vomit, when I did feel better. And I think gradually I came to believe that maybe I could have a normal life again.”
  • Self-Acceptance: We see our inherent value and understand that we are not to blame for our suffering. A participant living with HIV said, “I’m really proud of myself. I think that now I still want to live. I don’t want to die, and I really love myself a lot. I have a lot of comfort in myself.”

Suffering is the ongoing pain from wounding. 

There is debate about whether or not one actually needs to experience suffering on the path to healing.

Wounding happens when we experience physical or emotional harm. It can stem from chronic illness or by physical or psychological trauma for which we do not have the tools to cope, or a combination of those factors. 

“The degree and quality of suffering experienced by each individual is framed by contextual factors that include personal characteristics, timing of their initial or ongoing wounding in the developmental life cycle and prior and current relationships.”

Characteristics: How predisposed someone may be to wounding/how many tools and resources someone may have to deal with trauma/illness.

Lifestages: Developmental timing plays an important role in the impact of trauma — young children often do not have the same resources as older adults.

Relationships: Relationships can provide solace and support for those suffering, while lack of healthy relationships can prolong suffering.