Past CEO Summit Speakers
With over three decades of proven executive leadership across consumer lifestyle goods and destinations, Jim Alling serves as chief executive officer of TOMS. Joining the company in April 2015, Alling is focused on furthering TOMS’ mission of improving lives through business utilizing the company’s pioneering One for One business/philanthropy model.
Before joining TOMS, Alling served for five and a half years as COO of T-Mobile USA. He had direct line responsibility for all customer-facing activities for a subscription base of over 44 million users and the 34,000 employees who directly served them. During his tenure, he was integral in helping transform T-Mobile from the fastest declining into the fastest growing wireless carrier in the industry, increasing its share of new customer additions from 12% to 27% over seven quarters.
From 1997-2008 Alling served as an executive with Starbucks, originally joining the Seattle-based company to lead the launch of its coffee into the grocery channel. Over eleven years he was promoted into a series of roles with ever-increasing scope and responsibility, eventually becoming president of Starbucks Coffee USA with over 10,000 retail locations, sales of more than $7 billion, and direct line management of 125,000+ employees. Alling also served as president of Starbucks International, where he was responsible for more than 5,000 stores across 45 countries and achieved revenue growth of 30% year-over- year.
In 1985, Alling began his career at Nestle, he was promoted through a series of packaged goods marketing assignments before becoming the youngest VP/general manager at Nestle USA. Among his achievements, he led the turnaround of its Coffee-mate brand into a $325 million franchise, with domestic sales currently exceeding $1.5 billion.
Alling received a B.A. as a double major in Economics and Spanish from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, going on to earn a Master of International Management degree from the Thunderbird School ofInternational Management in Glendale, Arizona.
An avid sports enthusiast, Jim Alling is the proud father of three boys – Zach, Brett and Nick – and husband to his wife of 26 years, Annette. Both Jim and Annette Alling are originally from the Midwest, with Jim born in Evanston, Illinois and raised in Decatur, where his first job was “detasseling corn” in the fields. The entirefamily actively volunteers with the March of Dimes as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Jim Alling has also served as a board member on various non-profit and for-profit companies including the national youth literacy organization Jumpstart, Eastside Catholic School, Sahale Snacks, and MOD Pizza
The Center for Workforce Excellence
Trudy Bourgeois is a former senior sales and marketing executive with more than 35 years of experience transforming companies into high performance organizations. Trudy has extensive sales operations, talent management, strategic planning and marketing expertise. She is known for developing next- generation leaders. Trudy’s commitment to excellence, forward thinking and strategic skills led her to become the first African American female appointed to the VP level at Brown & Williamson Tobacco. Dollars and Sense Magazine honored Trudy as one of the “Best and Brightest Women Leaders.”
She was tapped by the CEO to spearhead B&W’s first multicultural marketing strategy. Trudy launched a pilot program targeted to the Hispanic population resulting in more than $55 million in incremental sales. During her corporate career, Trudy compiled a proven track record for serving as a leader who could create and sustain high-achieving teams based upon her three-prong approach — focusing on the customer first and foremost, developing and optimizing talent, and looking to the future to maintain relevancy and sustainable value. She also co-created the company’s first women’s employee resource group. This group was credited with partnering with the marketing department to enhance the female consumer experience.
The focus on creating a culture where every employee was treated fairly and afforded equal opportunities led to a reengineering of B&W’s talent management strategies. These new strategies enhanced the company’s ability to upgrade talent and to be recognized as a great place to work.
In 2001, Trudy founded The Center for Workforce Excellence and is CEO of the company. CWE is an in-demand leadership development company, with service offerings that include training, coaching, and consulting. CWE specializes in workplace transformation through organizational cultural change. CWE develops leaders who can create inclusive cultures that produce better business results.
A renowned and respected authority on leadership development and diversity and inclusion, Trudy is a bestselling author of four leadership books. She is coach, speaker and trusted advisor to C-suite executives. A featured blogger for The Huffington Post, Trudy has earned a reputation as a respected truth-teller who combines candor with humor to foster courageous conversations necessary for change to take place. She also writes for numerous magazines and digital publications including The Washington Post and Harvard Business Review.
Trudy has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Loyola University in New Orleans and has served on several nonprofit boards, including the Network of Executive Women, Southwestern University, Dallas Chapter of WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) and The University of North Texas PLP (Professional Leadership Program) and numerous committees focusing on Special Olympics. She currently serves on the advisory committee for WOCIP (Women of Color in Pharma) a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the representation gaps for women of color in the pharmaceutical industry. Trudy recently accepted an appointment to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council for Conscious Capitalism and to the Global Consumer Goods CEO Pledge Committee in conjunction with LEAD (Leading Executives Advancing Diversity).
Trudy has been married to Mike Bourgeois for 38 years and is the proud mother of two children, Adam and Mary Ellen. The family welcomed a son-in-law (Ryan) in 2017. Trudy resides in Prosper Texas.
Chief Executive Officer, Shipt
Chief Executive Officer, Shipt
Kelly Caruso is the Chief Executive Officer at Shipt, a leading online same-day delivery service. Under Caruso’s direction, the Shipt team and its network of more than 300,000 Shipt Shoppers deliver to millions of American households each week. She is a seasoned retail professional with vast experience in retail merchandising, technology, and sourcing. She’s a purpose-driven leader, focused on the company’s strategy and developing diverse talent.
Caruso’s experience in the retail sector spans 25 years with companies such as May Merchandising, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Target. Prior to joining Shipt, Caruso was the Senior Vice President of Merchandising for Hardlines at Target. During her time at Target, she led numerous merchandising teams within Apparel, Accessories, and Home. She also led a multi-national team responsible for the global sourcing of Target’s Owned Brands in Apparel, Accessories, Home, and Hardlines.
Respected for innovative thinking, courageous decision-making, and building long-lasting partnerships, she always earns her seat at the table. Kelly currently serves on several Boards of Directors including Prosper Birmingham and Birmingham Business Alliance. Kelly’s merchandising, operations, and sourcing background – paired with product and design expertise – uniquely enable her to drive innovative customer solutions that lead to revenue and profit growth.
Caruso is an alumnus of the Studio E Entrepreneurial Leadership program in the Twin Cities and received her BA from the University of North Dakota. Kelly and her family live in Birmingham, Alabama - the Magic City.
Impact America Fund
Kesha Cash is the Founder and General Partner of Impact America Fund, a social impact venture capital firm investing in high-growth companies that enhance the economic well-being of marginalized communities in America. Kesha was recently named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and is the subject of a 2016 Stanford Graduate School of Business case study on how to form a successful impact venture capital firm.
She has nearly a decade of experience and leadership in impact investing, previously at Jalia Ventures, a $5 million fund that she co-founded with Josh Mailman to invest in mission-driven entrepreneurs of color, and as an investment associate at Bridges Ventures in the UK. Kesha has also worked as an operational consultant to small businesses in inner-city Los Angeles and as a mergers and acquisitions analyst at Merrill Lynch.
She currently serves on the board of directors of Eileen Fisher, Inc. Kesha received her M.B.A. from Columbia University and her B.A. in Applied Mathematics from UC Berkeley.
Melanie’s mantra is “Grow, baby, grow!” That’s exactly what she’s done for over 25 years as Torani’s first outside CEO. Torani, the fiercely independent flavor maker and B-Corp, has averaged double-digit, year-over-year growth in that time, flavoring cafés and kitchens around the world.
Unconventional in approach, Melanie and the Torani team think of the company as a 94-year-old start-up. They’re especially passionate about Torani’s purpose of “Flavor for All, Opportunity for All.” It’s a palpable part of the culture, with a focus on building opportunity -learning, development, growth – for their internal team, customers, and within the community.
Melanie earned a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She happily serves on the Boards of Torani, social impact company Traditional Medicinals, and SHE-CAN (Supporting Her Education – Changes A Nation), mentoring and supporting young women from Rwanda, Cambodia and Liberia.
Melanie resides in her home town of San Francisco, recently rejoined by her daughter, Sammy, who has just begun teaching elementary school. Her current favorite flavor is Balsamic Fig.
David Escobar Arango has been the Executive Director at Comfama since 2016. Comfama is a social enterprise whose purpose is to consolidate the middle-class workforce. The organization also actively promotes the conscious capitalism movement and regenerative rural development.
David is passionate about reading, poetry, nature, art and culture. His life’s purpose is working for youth, education and sustainable development.
He has completed undergraduate studies in Engineering at EAFIT University and has an MA in Public Administration from The Kennedy Government School at Harvard.
He worked several years in the public sector at a local and regional level. He was director of Interactuar,an organization that promotes and supports entrepreneurial development in Colombia.
The Motley Fool
Tom Gardner co-founded The Motley Fool with his brother David in 1993. He now serves as its Co-Chairman and CEO. In 2014 & 2015, Glassdoor ranked The Motley Fool the #1 place to work in the U.S. for companies with between 250-1000 employees. Tom serves as the lead adviser on Motley Fool One — the company’s all-access service. He manages The Everlasting Portfolio, committed to holding every investment for more than five years, and has beaten the market soundly since its inception. Tom is a graduate of Brown University.
Co-Founder & CEO, Life is Good
Bert is the co-founder of the $100 million lifestyle brand Life is Good. When he and his brother John started the company in 1994, they had $78 in their pockets, lived out of their van, and sold t-shirts on the streets of Boston. Was this their way of avoiding the “real world”? You betcha. Did it turn into something much bigger? Absolutely.
It has been 25 years since they sold their first t-shirt, but Bert and John champion the same mission: to spread the power of optimism. On their journey, they’ve been inspired by a vibrant community of resilient optimists—people from all walks of life who identify deeply with the brand and who constantly demonstrate the depth and meaning behind the three simple words “Life is Good.”
But here’s the thing: While Bert and John believe life is good, they also know life isn’t perfect, which is why Life is Good donates 10% of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation. Through its signature Playmaker Program, the Life is Good Kids Foundation helps over 1 million kids overcome the impact of poverty, violence, and illness each year. In making their company a fully integrated for-profit/ non-profit model, the brothers hope to use their business as a vehicle to do good in the world.
As the co-host of the Life is Good Ping Podcast, Bert interviews some of the world’s most influential thought leaders about using optimism as a practical way to overcome adversity and lead a fulfilling life—all over a game of ping pong. Naturally. Guests include Ringo Starr, Katie Couric, Scott Avett, and more.
Because of his unique perspective that ties rational optimism to business, Bert has been asked to share his transformative message at a wide range of corporate and thought leadership conferences including Inc 5000, Morgan Stanley, SAP Sapphire, Discover, and more. He and John have been featured in Forbes, NPR’s How I Built This, CNNMoney, CNBC’s Business Nation, ABC News’ Nightline, NBC’s The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and Men’s Health Magazine, among others.
Emory University Goizueta Business School
Erika H. James has served as the John H. Harland Dean at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School since 2014. An award-winning educator, accomplished consultant and published researcher, she was the first African-American woman to be appointed dean of a top-25 business school and has paved the way for women in leadership both in education and corporate America. Erika has been instrumental in starting various Executive Education programs, including the Women’s Leadership program at Darden. As dean, Erika places an emphasis on what higher education, particularly business education, can do to be of service to industry.
Erika currently sits on the boards of SurveyMonkey, a California-based online survey company, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the foremost authority on business school admissions and manager of the GMAT exam and several Atlanta Community organizations that align with her passion for education and advancing women in business. Before her current role at Goizueta, Erika served as the Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at the Darden Graduate School of Business (University of Virginia). She also served as an assistant professor at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and a visiting professor at Harvard Business School. She holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges in California.
Cornerstone Capital Group & Pathstone
Erika Karp founded Cornerstone Capital Group to bring the disciplines of finance and economics together in pursuit of a more regenerative and inclusive form of capitalism.
Prior to launching Cornerstone, Erika was Managing Director and Head of Global Sector Research at UBS Investment Bank. She chaired the Global Investment Review Committee, served on the UBS Securities Research Executive Committee, and served on the Environmental and Human Rights Committee of the UBS Group Executive Board.
Her work has been featured by media including Bloomberg, The Guardian, the Financial Times, Investor Relations Magazine, and Forbes. Erika speaks on sustainable investing and finance at venues around the world including the UN Global Compact, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Clinton Global Initiative, the Wharton School, the NYSE, the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD), the Aspen Institute, the White House, and many other forums. Erika holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School.
Founding Board member, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
Advisor to the Humanity United’s Know the Chain initiative
Ambassador for the International Integrated Reporting Council
Member of CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative Advisory Council
United Nations General Assembly Speaker and Global Compact Board Advisor
Advisor to former Clinton Global Initiative Market-Based Approaches team;
plenary speaker at 2014 Winter Meeting
Served on World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Financing & Capital
Served on Program Design Advisory Council, Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program, Innovating for Sustainability
Has been named among the nation’s “Top 50 Women in Wealth” by AdvisorOne, one of the “Purpose Economy 100,” the “Good 100” and one of 50 “Conscious Capitalists” who are “Transforming Wall Street.” Named by Worth Magazine’s “Groundbreakers 2020: 50 Women Changing the World.” Received Babson College’s 2019 Lewis Institute Centennial Social Innovator Award
Whole Foods Market
John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, has led the natural and organic grocer to a $13 billion Fortune 500 company. With more than 370 stores and 80,000 Team Members in three countries, the company has been named by Fortune magazine as a “Best Company to Work For” for 16 consecutive years and the Number One Most Admired Food and Drug Store Company in the World in 2012.
While devoting his career helping shoppers satisfy their lifestyle needs with quality natural and organic foods, Mackey has also focused on building a more conscious way of doing business. He was the visionary for the Whole Planet Foundation to help end poverty in developing nations, the Local Producer Loan Program to help local food producers expand their businesses, The Global Animal Partnership’s rating scale for humane farm animal treatment, and the Health Starts Here initiative to promote health and wellness.
Mackey has been recognized as Ernst&Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Winner for the United States,” Institutional Investor’s “Best CEO in America,” Barron’s “World’s Best CEO,” MarketWatch’s “CEO of the Year,” FORTUNE’s “Businessperson of the Year,” and Esquire’s “Most Inspiring CEO.”
A strong believer in free market principles, Mackey co-founded the Conscious Capitalism Movement (https://consciouscapitalism.org/) and co-authored a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book entitled Conscious Capitalism, Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business to boldly defend and re-imagine capitalism, and encourage a way of doing business that is grounded in ethical consciousness.
Mackey cut his pay to $1 in 2006 and continues to work for Whole Foods Market out of a passion to see the business realize its potential for deeper purpose, for the joy of leading a great company, and to answer the call to service he feels in his heart.
Cynthia ‘Cynt’ Marshall
CEO, Dallas Mavericks
CEO, Dallas Mavericks
Cynt Marshall has been a dynamic force for inclusion and diversity within the Mavericks organization and over a 36-year career at AT&T. When Cynt was hired as new the CEO of the Mavs in March 2018, she set her sights on a culture transformation. Her vision was for the Mavericks organization to become the NBA standard for inclusion and diversity, and brought transparency, trust and her values-based leadership style that evolved the company culture in her first 100 days.
Prior to her joining the Mavs, Cynt founded Marshalling Resources, a consulting firm specializing in Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion, Culture Transformation and overall optimization of people resources. Upon the company naming its first Chief Inclusion Officer in June 2017, Cynt worked with The Dow Chemical Company to develop and implement a strategy for institutionalizing an inclusive culture.
Cynt’s notoriety began many years ago as a young Officer at AT&T and grew exponentially when she served as Senior Vice President – Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T. There she was responsible for identifying and developing leaders, aligning employees with the company’s vision and priorities, overseeing major business unit HR support, performance development, employee engagement, skills transformation initiatives, EEO and Affirmative Action. Cynt also led the team that created a world class Diversity and Inclusion culture, landing AT&T in the top 3 on Diversity Inc’s 2017 Top 50 list of companies. She also spearheaded the work that for the first time placed AT&T on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list in 2017, one of only two Fortune 50 companies.
Before her SVP-Human Resources and Chief Diversity Office roles, Cynt served as President-AT&T North Carolina where she became the first African-American chair of the North Carolina State Chamber of Commerce. Prior to her North Carolina appointment, Cynt held a variety of executive line and staff, technical and non-technical positions at AT&T and its predecessor companies.
Widely recognized for her visionary leadership and ability to get things done Cynt is the recipient of several honors and awards. In March 2021, Forbes named Cynt one of 15 of the world’s most inspiring female leaders. Cynt received the 2020 Girl Scouts of America Lifetime Achievement award and was touted as one of Adweek’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports. In 2019, Cynt was honored with the Women of Power Legacy Award by Black Enterprise and was the recipient of the National ATHENA® Leadership Program Award. This annual award is presented by chambers of commerce, women’s organizations and universities worldwide. In 2017, Cynt was honored by The Network Journal as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business and was honored with the ATHENA® Leadership Program Award by the Dallas Regional Chamber, which recognizes exceptional women who excel in their careers, contribute to their communities and develop women leaders. In March 2020 and several times prior, Cynt was selected as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise magazine and named to Ebony magazine’s 2016 “Power 100” list. In 2014, industry analysts and members of the press conferred on Cynt the HR Executive of the Year - Best in Biz Award. For her efforts on behalf of the people of North Carolina, in 2013 Cynt received the prestigious Leadership North Carolina Governor’s Award, which honors just one citizen each year for lifetime achievements.
Cynt graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with degrees in Business Administration and Human Resources Management and holds four honorary Doctorate degrees. She has chaired a variety of non-profit boards and is currently on the board of Dallas CASA, Dallas Regional Chamber, Texas Women’s Foundation, Texas 2036, T.D. Jakes Foundation, and a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC). She is also on the Board of Directors of BGSF Staffing, JELD-WEN, and Blinkcns, Inc.
The fourth of six children, Cynt grew up in Richmond, California, and lives in the Dallas area. She and her husband, Kenneth Marshall, have four adult children.
Mars Pet Nutrition
Mars Pet Nutrition
Tracey Massey is the Global President of Mars Pet Nutrition, responsible for the division of the business that represents over 50 household pet care brands. With over 17,000 Associates around the world, Tracey oversees the strategy for growing the multi- billion-dollar Pet Nutrition portfolio in over 55 markets.
Mars Pet Nutrition has been in operation for more than 85 years and includes two of the top five pet food brands in the world – PEDIGREE® and WHISKAS®. Mars Pet Nutrition is also home to the brands NUTRO®, GREENIES®, SHEBA®, CESAR®, IAMS® AND EUKANUBA®.
With over 30 years of experience at Mars, Tracey previously served as President of Mars Wrigley for the Americas, where she focused on delivering exceptional customer service, consumer insights, and innovation across the company’s portfolio of confectionary brands. Here she introduced M&M’S Caramel to the U.S. market, the biggest innovation in the brand’s history.
Tracey has worked across a variety of roles for Mars, both in the U.S. and in Europe – serving as a plant director and financial planner for Mars Petcare, as well as the Global Chief Financial Officer for Mars Chocolate. Prior to that, Tracey held various positions in manufacturing and finance in the Drinks and Electronics divisions of Mars in Europe.
Tracey lives in London and is a proud Mom to Rebecca, Charlie and Daniel. She and holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Loughborough University in England and is a qualified management accountant in the UK, accredited through CIMA.
For more about her career, please see her article in Motto titled “Career Success Isn’t Just About ‘Leaning In’ and her feature in Bloomberg “How Did I Get Here?”. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Impact Entrepreneur, CEO, Investor and Former Chairman & CEO of Ashley Stewart
James Rhee is an impact investor, founder, CEO and educator who empowers people, brands and organizations to fulfill their true potential by marrying capital with purpose and truth across multiple systems. The acclaimed story of the remarkable transformation and re-imagination of Ashley Stewart, one of the country’s largest brands serving Black women, under his leadership as chairman, CEO and investor (2013-2020) has served as proof to millions of people, as well as the world’s leading businesses and organizations, that one can do better by being better. The reinvention of Ashley Stewart, which was facing almost certain liquidation in 2013, is proof of how trust and joy, grounded in math and amplified through digital excellence, can overcome impossible odds and fuel individual and enterprise-wide innovation. It is a tangible example of the power of diverse ecosystems, as well as a commentary on a potential way forward for achieving multi-stakeholder goals. At its core, it is also the story of an unlikely friendship between a son of Korean immigrants (who raised his hand to become the self-described “least qualified CEO”) and a predominantly Black female employee group who placed their mutual trust in each other, learned from one another, and then proceeded to quietly shock the world.
As a client of United Talent Agency, he is a frequent speaker on impact and ESG investing, multidimensional transformation, DEI operationalization through Kindness & Math™, principled leadership and the future co-existence of capitalism, humanism and technology. As a senior leader of two Boston-based private equity firms, Rhee helped manage billions of dollars of growth and distressed capital before ultimately founding FirePine Group, a platform that has stewarded the capital of some of the world’s most sophisticated investors.
Rhee is at the vanguard of making knowledge, opportunity and capital accessible to all. He holds appointments at both MIT Sloan School of Management and Duke Law School as a senior lecturer, where he teaches future leaders about organizational systems and deconstructed investment principles relating to money, life and joy. On March 31, 2021, Howard University announced that James would serve a three-year term as the Johnson Chair of Entrepreneurship, a Professor of Entrepreneurship and senior adviser to the newly endowed Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership, beginning with the 2021-22 academic year. Rhee is exploring the intersection of impact investing, ESG and financial literacy through a new venture called Red Helicopter.
Rhee connects seemingly disparate leaders and organizations that are unified in their goal to make investments and forge relationships that catalyze purposeful growth. He serves alongside global difference makers as an Advisory Council member of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways, a member of the Governing Committee of the CEO Action for Racial Equity and a Board Director of Conscious Capitalism. He is also a former member of the board of the National Retail Federation, where he served as chairman of the Innovation Advisory Committee.
His inspirational story has been featured in media outlets such as the Good Business Issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Thrive Global, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Women’s Wear Daily, Morgan Stanley’s Access and Opportunity Podcast, ABC News, National Urban League’s State of Black America, and the Huffington Post.
Rhee is a regional winner of the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the winner of one of five 2016 Power Player Awards granted by the National Retail Federation, and the recipient of the 2017 Black Retail Action Group Business Achievement Award, the 2018 Temple Fox School of Business Information Technology Innovator Award, the 2018 Essex County Urban League Centennial William M. Ashby Award for community building and a 2019 One To World Fulbright Award.
Rhee received his A.B. with honors from Harvard College and his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He lives outside Boston with his wife and three children. He is a former high school teacher. He is working on a book.
Fair Trade USA
Paul Rice is Founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA, the internationally-acclaimed social enterprise and leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. He launched the award-winning nonprofit organization in 1998 after spending 11 years organizing farmers in the highlands of Nicaragua. There, he founded and led the country’s first Fair Trade coffee export cooperative, which introduced him to the transformative power of market-based approaches to sustainable development. Paul then returned to the United States to obtain his MBA from Berkeley Haas with the dream of bringing Fair Trade to consumers, businesses, and farmers and workers worldwide.
People called him crazy in the beginning, but Paul had a bold vision for Fair Trade: from his years in Nicaragua, he knew that farmers and workers could learn to navigate the global market and empower themselves on a journey out of poverty. He believed that business could become a major force for social and environmental change, creating “shared value” and sustainability with profitability. He envisioned a consumer awakening and recognition that everyday purchases can impact the world for the better. In short, Paul believed deeply that the Fair Trade movement would have a major impact on the world and also help propel a much larger, lasting shift toward Conscious Capitalism.
Twenty years later, Fair Trade has grown into a widely-known and increasingly mainstream consumer trend that is rapidly approaching an inflection point. Consumer recognition of the Fair Trade Certified label has reached 60% and U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade products grew to an estimated $6 billion. Paul and his team have enlisted the support of over 1,250 companies, including market leaders like Green Mountain, Nespresso, General Mills, PepsiCo, Whole Foods, Costco, Target and Walmart.
Fair Trade USA now certifies coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, coconut, fresh fruits and vegetables. Most recently, through groundbreaking partnerships with Patagonia, West Elm and Gap Inc., Fair Trade has begun certifying apparel and home furnishings to improve working conditions and incomes for factory workers. In addition, Fair Trade has begun certifying both wild capture fisheries and aquaculture farms.
Since its launch, Fair Trade USA and its partners have generated almost $610 million in additional income for farmers and workers in more than 75 countries worldwide, allowing them to keep their kids in school, care for the land and steadily improve their livelihoods.
Paul’s rich, first-hand experience over the last 30 years in the areas of sustainable agriculture, grassroots economic development, global supply chain transparency and consumer activation is unique in the certification world. He is now a leading advocate of “impact sourcing” as a core strategy for both poverty alleviation and sustainable business.
Paul has been honored for his pioneering work by Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist of the Year award (four-time winner), Ethisphere’s 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics, Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2012 Finalist) and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The Texas-native holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he is now an Executive Fellow. Paul has spoken at the World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, Skoll World Forum, TEDx and numerous universities and conferences around the world.
Ron Shaich is the Managing Partner CEO of Act III Holdings, a $300 million evergreen fund that invests in public and private restaurant and consumer companies that have the potential to significantly dominate their market niches. Ron is a frequent speaker on the dangers of short-termism and rampant investor activism and the quarter- to-quarter thinking it has inspired. “I believe a long-term perspective, a commitment to transformation and industry-specific experience remain the most important contributors to competitive advantage today. I want to help others realize that competitive advantage, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”
Ron is also the founder and former Chairman CEO of Panera Bread, a groundbreaking restaurant brand that today has more than 2,400 bakery-cafes, over 120,000 associates and nearly $6 billion in annual systemwide sales. Highly respected for his ability to recognize and capitalize on marketplace opportunities, Ron disrupted an existing industry paradigm and found new pathways to building companies of value and with values. The result: Panera generated annualized returns in excess of 25% over the last two decades of Ron’s tenure, and delivered a total shareholder return 44 times better than the SP 500 from July 18, 1997 to July 18, 2017 (when Ron led a $7.8 billion sale of Panera in what is the largest U.S. restaurant deal at among the highest multiples—18x EBITDA— on record).
Ron has been recognized repeatedly for his visionary leadership. In 2020, he was listed as one of Boston’s Most Influential People by Boston Magazine. In 2018, he was named Restaurant Leader of the Year by Restaurant Business. In 2017, he received the Legend in Leadership Award from the Chief Executive Leadership Institute at the Yale School of Management. He was also named the second most influential leader in the restaurant industry by Nations Restaurant News in its 2017 Power List. Earlier, he received the Nation’s Restaurant News 2011 Pioneer Award for being one of the most significant contributors to the history of the restaurant industry. Past winners have included Colonel Harland Sanders, Ray Kroc, Norman Brinker and J. Willard Marriott Sr. Ron was awarded IFMA’s Gold Plate Award for being the industry’s outstanding leader in 2005. And he twice received the Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award, recognizing industry leadership and success. In addition, Ron was named Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the New England region in 1998, Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Midwest region in 2003, and a finalist for the Ernst Young National Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.
Ron chairs or sits on the boards of Conscious Capitalism, Clark University, Unite America, Farmers Business Network, Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), Cava, Clover Food Lab, Life Alive Organic Cafe, Tatte Bakery and Cafe and Level99. He formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University and on the boards of Whole Foods Market Inc., the Rashi School, the Lown Cardiovascular Foundation and the Alliance for Business Leadership. Ron is also a co-founder of No Labels, an organization that promotes bipartisan political problem solving and the development of a long-term strategic plan for the country.
Mr. Shao is a co-founder and Chairman of Evolve, a philanthropic investment firm composed of a foundation, Evolve Foundation, and an impact investment firm, Evolve Ventures. With an initial capital of $100 million from the Shao family, Evolve aims to support organizations that relieve inner suffering and facilitate inner transformation.
Prior to Evolve, Mr. Shao was a founding partner of Matrix China, a leading technology venture capital firm in China, which manages over $7 billion dollars and has funded over 500 companies, 50 of which have become unicorns. Mr. Shao is also a serial entrepreneur and co-founded EachNet, BabyTree, NovaMed, Nuance Biotech, and Parent Lab. EachNet became the dominant consumer e-commerce company in China under his leadership and was acquired by eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) in 2003 in a landmark transaction. BabyTree (HKSE: 1761) was the leading parenting community in China with over 100 million monthly visitors.
Mr. Shao was born in China and was a winner of national mathematics competitions over a dozen times during high school. He left China when he was 17 years old for Harvard College on a full scholarship, one of the first such scholarships Harvard granted to a person from mainland China. After receiving a BA, summa cum laude, in physics and electrical engineering from Harvard College, he worked for the Boston Consulting Group and Goldman Sachs, and received his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Mr. Shao is a recognized young business leader in China and the recipient of awards in China and abroad, including Young Global Leaders 2005 of the World Economic Forum and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003 by Asian Venture Capital Journal.
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
Jostein Solheim now in his sixth year as Chief Executive Officer at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. is not your average CEO. Solheim continues to champion the iconic ice cream maker as it navigates its next chapter in business history. The vision, according to Solheim, is that Ben & Jerry’s must continue to aspire to be a social justice company that just happens to make ice cream.
The native of Norway challenges the roughly 500 Vermont employees to practice the company’s belief to “love its fans more than they love Ben & Jerry’s,” both with new and innovative flavors and in creative ways to continue to give back to the community. In addition Solheim and his team work with Unilever, its parent company, to partner in 35 countries around the world to bring Ben & Jerry’s message of peace, love and ice cream to the masses.
Unilever is where Jostein has amassed two decades of business experience. The juxtaposition perfectly positions Solheim with a foot in each camp to be able to meet and exceed the expectations of both Unilever – responsible for manufacturing, distribution and finance, and Ben & Jerry’s independent Board of Directors who oversee the company’s Social Mission, quality and brand equity.
Jostein is proud to have the support of Ben & Jerry’s co-founders – Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen – especially as he continues the company’s focus on Social Mission projects such as values led sourcing, supporting Fairtrade, non-GMO labeling, being established as the first wholly-owned certified b-corporation and other progressive endeavors.
The Container Store
Kip Tindell is Co-Founder, and past Chairman/CEO of The Container Store — the original storage and organization store, which opened its doors in Dallas in 1978. Today, the company has 90+ stores across the country with over 10,000 storage and organization solutions designed to save customers space and time.
Over the years, the company has been lauded for its focus on its original concept, proprietary inventory mix and its unwavering commitment to its employee-first culture. The goal was never growth for growth’s sake. Rather, it was to adhere to the company’s seven, values-based Foundation Principles, which mirror the tenets of Conscious Capitalism. The Container Store’s quirky, “yummy,” servant leadership culture landed them on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” 19 years in a row, including #1 twice and #2 twice.
Tindell’s book, UNCONTAINABLE: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives, has become a handbook for similarly minded companies and entrepreneurs everywhere.
Over the course of his career, Tindell has been presented with numerous awards, including Ernst Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and the National Retail Federation’s Innovator of the Year and Gold Medal Award. Tindell was inducted into the Retailing Hall of Fame, the Dallas Business Hall of Fame, and the World Retail Hall of Fame.
Tindell passionately believes that retail is the best profession a person can choose. He is past Chairman of the National Retail Federation and continues to serve on its Board and Executive Committee.
He currently serves as Co-Chairman of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., and on the boards of Imperative 21, JUST Capital, the Southwestern Medical Foundation, and BrandStorm Inc.
These days, he devotes the majority of his time to shifting the paradigm of business from a shareholder supremacy model to a stakeholder-oriented model.
Hamdi Ulukaya is founder, Chairman and CEO of Chobani, one of the fastest growing food companies in the last decade and a pioneer for the natural food movement.
Raised in a dairy-farming family in a small village in eastern Turkey, Ulukaya launched Chobani in 2007 with the mission and vision of making better food more accessible. In less than five years, Chobani became the No. 1–selling Greek Yogurt brand in the U.S. with more than a billion dollars in annual sales. In 2017, Chobani was named to Fortune’s ‘Change the World’ list of companies, and earlier this year it was honored with a Salute to Greatness Award by The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
Ulukaya has always made helping people and having a positive impact on communities a priority for Chobani. From the beginning, the company has donated a portion of its profits to charitable causes, many of them in Idaho and New York where its products are made. Ulukaya implemented a groundbreaking profit-sharing program for the company’s 2,000 employees and took the rare step in manufacturing by instituting a six week, fully paid parental leave program for all mothers and fathers.
A devoted humanitarian, Ulukaya founded the Tent Partnership for Refugees to mobilize the private sector to improve the lives & livelihoods of the more than 20 million refugees around the globe. He also signed the Giving Pledge and committed the majority of his personal wealth to the cause. Ulukaya was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work on the refugee crisis and his innovative approach to business.
Ulukaya sits on the board of the Pathfinder Village and The American Turkish Council. Most recently, Ulukaya became a member of the B Team, a collective of global leaders working to inspire dialogue and business action for a fairer, greener and more human economy. A big fan of independent films and the Turkish soccer team Fenerbahce, Ulukaya lives in New Berlin, N.Y.
CEO, J-Crew Group
Libby Wadle is the Chief Executive Officer of J.Crew Group, overseeing J.Crew and Madewell brands, as well as serving on the board of directors. She has a proven track record of leading companies through periods of significant growth with a focus on customer-centric retail and building purpose-driven brands.
With over 25-years of experience in the retail industry, during her tenure at the J.Crew Group, she has held executive leadership roles across each of the brands, J.Crew, Factory and, most recently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Madewell. As a member of the Madewell launch team, Wadle has been an integral part of the brand’s growth, bringing it from start-up to a leader in denim retail.
She has dedicated herself to ambitious sustainability and social impact strategy for the Group. She pioneered a partnership with Fair Trade USA partnership, working with them to certify their first denim product. Her commitment to sustainability and building responsible brands has been a key focus for her. This October Madewell launched its first sustainability report which detailed their work so far and plans for the future.
Wadle is often looked to as a thought leader in the industry. She was named Fortune 40 under 40, Rivet 50 for denim leadership and Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business. She graduated from Boston College with a degree in Literature and now lives in Brooklyn with her family and two dogs.
Co-Founder, The Seat of the Soul Institute
Co-Founder, The Seat of the Soul Institute
Gary Zukav for years has conveyed the most complex insights in language all can understand. Over and over, he challenges us to see the depth of our potential in the world…and act on that awareness. His gentle presence, humor, and wisdom have inspired millions to realize their soul’s greatest potential. A master teacher and author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers, Gary is dedicated to the unprecedented transformation of human consciousness – an entirely new threshold in the human experience.
In 1979 The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics plumbed the depths of quantum physics and relativity, winning the American Book Award for Science. In 1989 the celebrated The Seat of the Soul led the way to seeing the alignment of the personality with the soul as the fulfillment of life and captured the imagination of millions, becoming the #1 New Times bestseller 31 weeks and remaining on the New York Times bestseller list 3 years. In 2000, Gary wrote Soul Stories, another New York Times Bestseller, and then co-authored two more bestsellers with his spiritual partner Linda Francis, The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness (2002) and The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice (2003). In 2007 he wrote Soul To Soul: Communications from the Heart, and in 2010 his revolutionary book Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power revealed the profoundly new relationship archetype of partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. His latest book, Universal Human (2021), guides us toward a human species beyond even the emerging multisensory human species.
Gary is the co-founder of the Seat of the Soul Institute with Linda Francis, a Harvard graduate with a degree in International Relations, a former US Army Special Forces (Green Beret) officer with Vietnam service, a member of the Club of Budapest, recipient of the World Business Academy Pathfinder Award for his Contribution to the Ongoing Evolution of Knowledge and Consciousness within the Global Business Community, and the Einstein Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for his Contributions to the Psychosocial Growth of Humanity.
His insights, warmth, and contagious enthusiasm have endeared Gary Zukav to millions of viewers through his 36 appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Six million copies of his books have been published in 32 languages.