the community for impact

Why We Exist

Real Leaders Founder, Mark Van Ness, credits his past CEO advisory groups to being the biggest source of support throughout his career. Mark grew one of the leading commercial real estate services businesses in the world with the unique strategy of collaborating with his competitors and serving underserved communities. 

In the 90s he discovered social enterprise and began investing in Microfinance, and businesses like Better World Books, SOCAP, change.org, Beyond Meat, etc. 

In 2010, Mark founded Real Leaders, a Certified B- Corp to inspire the world with stories of the REAL leaders of today, to show over 30,000 CEOs how they could do well by doing good. 

But what was still missing in the ecosystem for purpose driven leaders was the community for impact, where values-aligned  leaders connect and collaborate to address their unique challenges for exponential growth.

When the pandemic hit, Mark recognized that now was the time to invite the leaders of the impact movement to join forces as the Real Leaders Impact Collaborative.

Today, over 72 Founding Members are receiving monthly support from their CEO roundtables and Real Leaders media (see video). And even during the pandemic, the average member has doubled their impact business!

How It Works

The Real Leaders Impact Collaborative meets virtually with topical resources and interactive sessions with your fellow purpose-driven leaders via Zoom periodically. 

In person events are available in conjunction with industry events where Real Leaders is a media sponsor. 

Peer Group membership is also recommended. Groups of 8 to 10 impact CEOs meet once-a-month at a predetermined time via Zoom for 90 minutes and walk away with at least one action item to address their most important obstacle or opportunity.

What Will Your Experience Be?


"Real Leaders has been instrumental for our visibility and growth."


"We push the boundaries in each other’s thinking to ultimately make a stronger difference, together.”


"I realized I need to not let my mission overtake my life."


"Each meeting I walk away with more clarity on the items I need to work on."


"I feel like I'm in a rut and this group helps throw me a rope and pull me up every time."


"Increased my resilience through vulnerability!"


"My Real Leaders group makes me a better CEO."

Candidate Requirements

  • Impact-oriented CEO, Founder or comparable leadership role within your organization

  • 10+ years of executive leadership experience

  • Desire to leave the world far better than you found it 

Receive More Information About the Collaborative


Have Questions? We Have Answers!

Founding Member Media Benefits

One Tree Planted Advertisement

Full Page Advertisement in Real Leaders

Impact companies need to penetrate mainstream media in order to reach conscious consumers and influence business leaders.

Real Leaders magazine is the most read sustainable business and leadership magazine on the planet and is delivered to 15,000 CEOs every quarter and seen in flagship locations such as Hudson News, Barnes & Noble, Delta Sky Lounge, and more.

Total magazines in circulation: 35,000

Appear on a Top 100 U.S. Business News Podcast

All Founding Members are invited to share their impact story on the Real Leaders podcast. 

The podcast receives an average of 1,800 downloads a week on streaming services alone and is great for SEO, referrals, and increasing your thought leadership among our community.

Total Episodes: 250

Custom Member Media and Badges

Receive custom Real Leaders Impact Collaborative member media and badges (logo) to use on your site, LinkedIn and email signature – a visual symbol of your commitment to a higher purpose.

Lead Member-Only Workshops

What value can you provide to the community? 

Upon joining as a Founding Member, lead a 60-minute member-only workshop via Zoom to add value to the community, increase referrals, and participate in a confidential discussion.

Impact Collaborative members Melanie Dulbecco, CEO of Torani (left) and Michael Whelchel, Co-founder of Big Path Capital (right), host an event to help members find the right capital partner.

Build Credibility

We only bring on members worth talking about.

For members who need media before a capital raise, book launch, or speaking engagement we’ve got you covered.

All-Access App

Take your membership on-the-go.

New Real Leaders mobile app is now available on both Apple and Android stores, allowing you to connect with other impact leaders, read real leaders, attend member-led events, and watch online courses.


Who will I be associated with?

We place business leaders in groups based on their revenue size, growth, experience, and impact goals.

85% of our impact collaborative members are also Real Leaders Impact Award winners, a ranking of the Top 200 Impact Companies based on 5 year revenue growth, 2020 revenue, and their certified B-Score.

We do not place competitors in the same group for obvious reasons.

What is the commitment? Annually? Quarterly?

Our membership is month-to-month. Members are allowed to cancel with no hidden fees.

90% of members remain on after 3 months.

I’d like a co-owner or business partner of mine to be involved in my group so we can switch out, can they join too?

We recommend that members of the same company be placed in separate groups so that freedom of expression and confidentiality is maintained in the group.

How many members are in the groups?

8-10 impact CEOS.

What if I have to Miss the Meeting?

Most groups expect full participation at each meeting but in the rare case that something happens you will need to contact your group moderator to plan around.