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Good morning again from New York, where yesterday Fortune and Time hosted the first CEO Initiative, a one-day event built around a community of business leaders dedicated to the notion that business can be a force for good.
This group of CEOs demonstrated a quality not often associated with the corporate world: idealism. Their ideal is that the tension between profits and purpose is false. Businesses must pursue both if they are to thrive in the marketplace with consumers and employees who demand both.
One of the most passionate defenders of this 21-century notion is Tom Wilson, CEO of Allstate (all), a savvy corporate leader (and new head of the old-guard U.S. Chamber of Commerce), who argues that business leaders must find the courage to articulate that profits aren’t all that matters. I moderated a panel on “inclusive prosperity” with Wilson and Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani, who has put his money where his mouth is by giving 10% of his private company’s stock to employees.
Leading with purpose-driven organizations is very much current-century notion. Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel (intc), made the case for why artificial intelligence will enhance the lives of workers rather than eat their jobs. Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, sees technology as an augmentation to current healing tools—but not a replacement for human kindness, an integral part of healthcare.
Our long day ended with an inspiration plea for bipartisanship and courage from Gov. John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio.
We held our meeting at the bottom tip of Manhattan under bright sunshine and with a stunning view of the Statue of Liberty, her torch shining brightly. In a frightening, uncertain and troubling time, it was all enough to give one faith in capitalism and democracy.
That’s not a bad day.