Dear Friends of the Center for Responsible Business,

It goes without saying that these are uncertain and trying times. I would like to begin by wishing each of you and your loved ones health and safety.

The beginning of the academic year is filled with excitement and hope.  This year is no different.  However, many of us also find ourselves filled with feelings of anxiety and deep concern.  On account of the California fires, the recent skies over Berkeley were orange like a sunrise from another planet; neighbors wear masks and children are kept away from schools because of a global pandemic; the injustices of deep-seated systemic racism in America are increasingly evident; and, we face very real threats to our democratic institutions and traditions in America. It can all feel so overwhelming; and, as I string these words together, I feel overwhelmed.

But I return to hope.  I always return to hope.

I return to hope because of our wonderful Berkeley students.  Our students bring their unwavering commitment to use their bright minds and caring hearts to build a better world.  As I virtually meet with our new and continuing students in our Coffee with the CRB and one-on-one sessions, I am repeatedly reminded that nothing is impossible for our incredible Berkeley students.

I return to hope because of the University of California, Berkeley.  Fiat Lux, “Let there be light,” is the motto of this great public university reflective of its unwavering public mission. In the face of attacks on our democracy and the very idea of knowledge itself, UC Berkeley is stalwart to protect and advance the common good.

I return to hope because of our Center for Responsible Business.  The CRB has a longstanding track record for almost two decades and our Stories of Impact are many.  Since 2013, the CRB has been part of the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI) at Berkeley-Haas to foster even greater coordination and collaboration across campus and beyond.  Recently, the IBSI leadership baton passed from Professor Laura Tyson to Professor Paul Gertler representing the next phase for IBSI and the CRB – one that will build upon the longstanding successes of the CRB while expanding in new directions to more closely engage and support ladder faculty at Berkeley-Haas.

I return to hope because I believe America is waking up.  I came to Berkeley six years ago from the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark because I believed then – and I continue to believe today – that UC Berkeley represents the single greatest institutional platform in America to foster discussions, debate, research, and knowledge production to reimagine capitalism in America.  I have drawn so many lessons from my experiences in the Nordics and the opportunity to deeply consider America outside of its borders.  I am convinced that a more equitable and sustainable version of America is possible where we can all realize greater freedoms and opportunities. 

UC Berkeley can play a leading role in America to realize the lofty ambitions and the CRB works to ensure that Berkeley-Haas and the business community as a whole does its part.  The current year and upcoming few years are challenging times for the university and will be challenging times for the CRB.  We need your support to further our mission to leaders who redefine business for a sustainable future.  Please give, if you can.

I am hopeful.  But I also recognize the incredible amount of work ahead of us.  So let’s get to work, together.  Should you have any questions or comments for me please do not hesitate to reach out at [email protected].


Robert Strand


Previous Meet Cindy Liu: 2020 CRB Fellow Next CRB Student Advisory Board 2020 Summer Experiences