Nathan Hurd, Chief Growth Officer at The Oxford Club, joined our Senior Leader Network in July of 2021. During his time at The Oxford Club, an independent financial research publisher with a mission to help its clients invest in their definition of a “rich life,” Nathan leveraged the impact of leading and investing in higher purpose and values to best support the company’s stakeholders and grow as a Conscious Leader.
Early beginnings as a “subconscious Conscious Capitalist”
During his first 10 years with The Oxford Club, Nathan’s primary focus was business development. It was in that role that he first began implementing some of the Tenets of Conscious Capitalism before fully discovering the movement even existed—he was a “subconscious Conscious Capitalist,” as many in our movement like to say. In his role, he participated in thousands of individual conversations with clients around the world and discovered the ways empathy and connection allowed him to form meaningful connections with The Oxford Club’s stakeholders.
“It was deeply impactful as I heard about their worries, fears, hopes, and dreams,” Nathan shares. “It made me realize the opportunity and responsibility we had as an organization to support them in a deep and personal way.”
With that realization, Nathan dove into both Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business and Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity through Business as introductions to a new way of doing business and, later on, Whole Foods Market’s former CEO John Mackey, one of our movement’s founders, joined The Oxford Club as a keynote speaker at one of their conferences. It was there that everything came together regarding how Nathan had felt in his heart about finding a better way to do business.
“As [John] gave his talk to our customers, it all clicked. Conscious Capitalism is what we had been striving towards all along.”
Pursuing different metrics of success in business
Conscious Capitalism is pillared by the belief that free enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. While Nathan fully ascribes to this notion, he also regularly considers the impacts of excessive consumption and the imbalance created with profit and growth as the primary motivators in business.
“I worry that what seems to be the mainstream definition for success—quarterly earnings growth and zero-sum competition—leads to bad incentive structures,” he argues. “And that none of this has led to greater fulfillment for humanity.”
As a Conscious Capitalist, Nathan advocates for additional ways to measure success in business, especially because, in over 30 years of studies, The Oxford Club has seen that companies that prioritize purpose and impact excel above their peers:
“It’s been so wonderful to increasingly see that companies which adopt a more conscious approach to business—emphasizing their customers, investors, partners, and employees equally—have also produced superior earnings and profits and have been great investments.”
For Nathan, Conscious Capitalism represents balance and equanimity in business and beyond, providing a framework that allows leaders and businesses to innovate and create value while balancing both profit and purpose.
“It’s a way to reframe ‘success’ entirely and help to raise the consciousness of humanity to restore balance in capitalism and the forward progress of mankind,” he says.
Maintaining a commitment to higher purpose even amid uncertainty
The Oxford Club’s commitment to helping its employees and clients achieve a “rich life” permeates every aspect of the way Nathan and the organization’s other leaders and teams do business. This Higher Purpose underpins their business KPIs, their leadership and goal-setting, culture and employee development, and the focus of their stakeholder relationships.
As uncertainties and fears around the U.S. economy and political landscape have grown and evolved in recent years, The Oxford Club has made even more of an effort to keep to its Higher Purpose. In making difficult business decisions during the pandemic, like company downsizing, rather than focusing on the worst of those circumstances, Nathan adopted a personal mantra: “How can we look back on this moment and view it as one of the most valuable of our lifetimes?”
Though a difficult time, Nathan learned a lot about leadership and human-centered business and the importance of both, especially in trying times.
Nathan’s advice to fellow Conscious Capitalists
For Nathan, the best thing Conscious Leaders can do is surround themselves with like-valued peers: “When you are surrounded by other entrepreneurs on the same journey, it’s so much easier to find your way.”
Joining our Senior Leader Network presented a unique opportunity for Nathan to join in community with others on a journey similar to his. The Network, a peer-to-peer engagement experience, has provided multiple opportunities for Nathan and leaders across industries, backgrounds, and geographies to support each other in their individual journeys to elevate humanity through business.
“Before I found Conscious Capitalism and the Senior Leader Network, I had no idea that a community of such thoughtful, diverse, and driven entrepreneurs existed,” Nathan said. “It’s been deeply enriching to navigate various business and personal challenges with the support of such a wise, caring, and supportive community.”
For Nathan, leading at a conscious business hasn’t always been easy, but having a close network of support and re-defining success on his own terms has guided his steps for the better. Once he realized the impact that The Oxford Club could make on the world “and that profits without that impact wasn’t success, everything else flowed from there.”