Earlier this year, I joined E4E Relief as the organization’s first-ever chief product officer.
It was one of those opportunities that rarely come over the course of a career. I joined a passionate, innovative and talented team of people committed to supporting employees around the world during times of need. Every day, I have the chance to support the growth and scale of an organization making a profound impact around the world. And both the role and the organization fall directly in line with my core values, which have, for some time, been grounded in Conscious Capitalism, Inc.
Conscious capitalism is a movement and an evolution towards better business practices – one in which companies strive to think beyond the bottom line and support stakeholders in the process of making their businesses successful. I see it simply as good leadership, and although it certainly isn’t new, it is more important now than ever before: Companies that take care of their various stakeholders are winning in the race for talent, business, sustainability and success.
Those stakeholders include customers, shareholders, employees and the community a business serves. Employees are arguably the most vital, and it stands to reason that the most vital asset to an organization is worthy of its wholehearted support.
This philosophy lies at the heart of our work at E4E Relief. We were founded in the months after 9/11 to support the families of employees lost in the tragic and devastating attacks. Twenty years later, our mission has never been more relevant: We support companies in providing financial lifelines to employees during times of hardship and disasters. Over the years, those crises have included Superstorm Sandy, Hurricanes Ida and Maria, Southern Winter Storm Uri and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this work, we see the impact of conscious capitalism firsthand. When our clients support their employees during times of need, employee engagement rises. Productivity increases, and loyalty grows. Those benefits all have direct bottom-line impact, illustrating the value of conscious capitalism in action. Employee relief proves that doing good is good for business.
As we look to the future of E4E Relief, we are exploring ways to support a broader range of stakeholders as we also look to provide relief for an ever-increasing range of crises. At the same time, it’s important to remember how far our economy has come in recent years. Although a growing body of leaders believe conscious capitalism is the right path forward for business, it wasn’t that long ago a very different doctrine prevailed, one espoused by Milton Freidman. Just 50 years ago, the Nobel Prize-winning economist proposed that businesses should operate with the sole focus of generating profits. Now, we know better so we do better.
Conscious capitalism isn’t the only way forward. As I’m learning in reading “Tomorrow’s Capitalist” by Alan Murray, there are similar movements gaining momentum in the current economy. Harvard Professor Michael Porter coined the term "shared value capitalism.” Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II co-founded "JUST Capital,” and Lynn Forester de Rothschild created The Council for Inclusive Capitalism. The sheer number of voices advocating for a change to the status quo tells us just how necessary that shift has become.
At E4E Relief, our role in this evolution is to support conscious, compassionate companies that want to take care of all stakeholders, including their employees. At the same time, we espouse the values of conscious capitalism within our own organization: We have a purpose that goes beyond our bottom line. We support all stakeholders, including our employees. We have leaders who inspire, foster transformation and bring out the best in those around them. And we have a culture fueled by a deep connection between our people and our purpose.
This is the work I’ve always wanted to do, and the work I’m thrilled to be doing now.