WorldBlu - Freedom at Work

Our Story

Dear WorldBlu Friends,

I founded WorldBlu in 1997, after a series of life-changing events.

The first was during my senior year of college when I was asked to be the director of our student-run public affairs conference. I asked the student team working on the event to come up with a topic that was “cutting-edge” and would inspire “out-of-the-box” thinking. They came back to me after months of brainstorming and suggested we do the conference on democracy. My reply? “You’ve got to be kidding me, that is the most boring topic one could think of! Democracy means government and politics and I’m not interested in either!”

Needless to say, it was a bad leadership moment.

But they persisted and eventually I saw how democracy meant more than just government and politics. It was, at the core, a system that gave power to the people so they could individually and collectively realize their full potential. When I saw how closely this aligned with my personal purpose in life, I was hooked.

After the conference I headed off to Indonesia, where I spent my last quarter of college studying abroad. I was there in the spring of 1997 when then-President Suharto was being overthrown. It was violent, bloody and messy, and I experienced what it was like to not live in a free and democratic environment. The experience impacted me at a very deep level.

I then returned to the US and graduated from college and got a job at a Fortune 500 company. I was excited about my first “real” job and was ready to fully engage and make a meaningful contribution there.

However, my wide-eyed hopes were quickly dashed when I left work that first day feeling completely dehumanized and dejected. I quickly saw that I was not going to have a voice in the workplace. I was not going to be invited to engage or have any real decision-making power. After spending the last year of my life studying democracy, my new workplace was a perfect contrast to the ideals I’d come to love. I knew I couldn’t stay in such a toxic workplace for the next 40 years—and I didn’t think anyone else should either.

I then spent over a decade traveling the world, researching, studying, and interacting with top democratic workplaces and thought-leaders in organizational development and democratic management. My guiding question was, “What does democracy mean to you, and how can it be applied in the workplace in a way that benefits the people, the bottom-line and the world?”

WorldBlu is the manifestation of some of those answers and hopefully a place of support, encouragement and practical ideas for all those endeavoring to build more free and democratic workplaces.

And why the name WorldBlu? Blue is universally recognized as the color of freedom, so we decided on “WorldBlu” as a way to capture our vision in a word.

To learn more about the story behind WorldBlu, I invite you to watch the video here. Then, may I personally invite you to join our movement and help us achieve our vision of seeing 1 billion people working in freedom. It’s a huge goal, but with your help I know we will achieve it.

Ever yours,

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Traci Fenton
Founder + CEO