The atmosphere was electric the morning of September 12th at the Atlanta History Center. An American business legend was about to speak. The atrium of a big auditorium was filled with the aromas of fresh Perc Coffee and Whole Foods breakfast. A team of MBA students from the Emory Goizueta Business school was in place to greet guests. And a buzz was in the air about two somewhat unlikely organizations co-hosting the biggest event that either had ever held.
The Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta had invited John Mackey to speak as part of its prestigious Leadership Breakfast Series that has featured dozens of top speakers including CEO’s, United States Senators, and Atlanta Mayors. When the HBS Club asked Conscious Capitalism Atlanta Chapter Chair Chris Hooper to invite John, he said “I think that John will be happy to speak but I know that the main thing he will talk about is Conscious Capitalism. So why don’t we host a joint event with our local chapter.” That’s how the event was born.
The 395 registrations for the event exceeded all expectations, driven by the huge appeal of John Mackey, excellent promotion by both hosting organizations and great partnerships that the Conscious Capitalism Atlanta Chapter has built with The Emory Center for Ethics, The World Affairs Council of Atlanta and the Atlanta chapter of Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) who had 30 of their members in attendance. The venue held 400 and when the caterers and event planners came in to hear John speak, it was standing room only and the buzz in the auditorium was amazing.
John spoke about Conscious Leadership and Leading with Love, an important theme of a new book that he is writing, plus an overview of Conscious Capitalism. Of course, the Conscious Capitalism folks loved John’s message and so did the Harvard Business School attendees. “From a personal standpoint, I found John’s message on point and hugely inspiring” said the Co-President of the HBS Club Ali Ashurov. Tim Dodson, who heads the Leadership Breakfast Series said “John Mackey spread the gospel and gave an incredible articulation of the vision of Conscious Capitalism that truly inspired our 400 attendees.”
In comments opening the program, Chris Hooper pointed out that there is significant and growing common ground between Conscious Capitalism and Harvard Business School. “The capitalism aspect of Conscious Capitalism is much stronger than many people realize. And according to Dean Nitin Nohria, the role of business in society is now one of the top research topics among the HBS faculty.” Chris also noted that the forward to the yellow book on Conscious Capitalism was written by Harvard Business School professor Bill George.
Collaboration between the chapter and existing Atlanta business organizations is a key strategic goal; given the great success of this program, future events involving the Conscious Capitalism Atlanta Chapter and the Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta are sure to come.