Jo Mackness, CRB Executive Director, offers some reflections on CRB’s first 10 years and articulates a vision for the future.   

As I was talking to our keynote speaker for our 10 year anniversary celebration, John Viera at Ford Motor Company, I was struck by something he said. He noted that back more than 100 years ago when Henry Ford started the company it was all about creating affordable transportation for the masses. John went on to say that when they look at managing for the next 100 years, Ford still has the same core purpose; it’s just the business model that needs to change to meet the evolving needs of society.

His statement gave me pause to reflect: What if all corporate leaders knew and importantly, stayed true to their company’s purpose, beyond that of profit maximization? And what if all business leaders had what it takes to reinvent business models to fulfill that purpose? I’m proud to say that at Berkeley-Haas, we strive for this kind of leadership and the Center for Responsible Business (CRB) plays a critical role.

Blog header eventYou need look no further than our March 20 evening event lineup or CRB blog to see this kind of business leadership in action: Danae Ringelmann (MBA ’08) and Eric Schell (MBA ’08), co-founders of Indiegogo, created a better way to fund the world’s good ideas;  Kirsten Tobey (MBA ’06) and Kristin Groos Richmond (MBA ’06), co-founders of Revolution Foods, found a better way to feed our country’s underserved school children; Rob Kaplan (MBA ’07) and Erin Reilly (MBA ’04) are finding better ways to make Walmart and Google more environmentally sustainable.

As I think back on the CRB’s 10 years, I’m reminded that our core purpose hasn’t changed either. Our mission and tagline still highlight redefining business. But like Ford, and all innovative leaders, how we deliver on that promise continues to evolve.

One of our long-term goals is to increase capital in our Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund (HSRIF) to $15M. By offering phantom shares in the Fund, we plan to reach beyond the MBA training ground for which the Fund has become well known, and begin to more deeply engage the broader investment community. Assuming a modest return, our plan for the Fund is to yield enough yearly profit to support the Center’s operating budget and become a living example of a self- sustaining business model. We are excited about this opportunity to (borrowing from the words of Mahatma Gandhi) “be the change” we want to see in the world and invite you to join us in creating “HSRIF 2.0”, reinventing the CRB, and continuing to redefine business for a sustainable future.

Previous Spotlight on Charles Michaels, BS ’78, the Force Behind the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund (HSRIF) Next Join Sustainable Business Pioneers (from SustainAbility, Autodesk, Dow, Levis) + Leading Academics (from MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley) at ARCS Forum April 29th at Haas Business School