The Emergence of Conscious Capitalism

By Karen Nowicki

Conscious Capitalism Conference

What would it take to get C-level executives from companies such as Whole Foods Market, Google, Zero Mass Water, The Motley Fool, Revolution Foods and The Container Store together with Arizona and Greater Southwest officials including Gila River Indian Community LT Governor Robert Stone, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Sonora Mexico Governor Claudia Pavlovich and GCU’s Colangelo College Dean, Dr. Randy Gibb? The Annual Conscious Capitalism Conference—held at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in April—did just that.

For three awe-inspiring days, government leaders, non-profit executives, private and public sector decision-makers, along with business owners and innovators from all over the world, gathered to help build a world of freedom, harmony, prosperity and compassion. Sounds idealistic? I challenge you to bench those thoughts for just a few minutes as you read on and consider the possibility of this global shift taking shape.

Business—and its Impact on Humanity

The paradigm of “profits over all” is not a good one. Many people still think of business as
greedy, selfish and exploitative. And yet, business is the greatest value creator in the world. The anti-business narrative will tell you that capitalists are only interested in money. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Conscious Capitalism members aim to change this conversation with a philosophy based on the simple idea that when practiced consciously, business innately elevates humanity. The methodology is rooted in a set of four guiding principles: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture.

Is there a higher purpose to business besides just making money? Can businesses create a
win-win-win-win among all stakeholders involved? What does it mean to be a conscious
leader, and how can we measure that? What risks are we willing to take, and where do we
draw the line? How do our carbon and economic footprints affect sustainability?
Questions like these are now being discussed and debated within companies and within the larger framework of society.

Good Business

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods and co-author of Conscious Capitalism, said it best in a CEO Exclusive Radio interview, “There are strong incentives for corporations to become
more conscious in their business practices, and those that can't change tend to go extinct. We are seeing more CEOs, entrepreneurial companies and mid-market companies following these principles with great success.”

It’s Just Good Business.

As Conscious Capitalism simply states: “Capitalism works. Period. Its power to positively
change lives is unparalleled. But misuse of capitalism’s power by some has led to negative
stereotypes such as greed, misconduct and exclusion. This inaccurate way of thinking about business seemed destined to be an unshakable narrative—until now. There is a better way to be a capitalist. A way that will create a better world for everyone. A way forward for humankind to liberate the heroic spirit of business and our collective entrepreneurial creativity so we can be free to solve the many challenges we face. Conscious Capitalism provides that path.”

Skeptics will argue that the words “conscious” and “capitalism” don’t belong in the same
sentence. Yet thought leaders and organizations around the world encourage a deeper
connectedness within ourselves, our earth and with each other. This is an invitation to live and behave with greater intention; an opportunity to improve life for everyone here on Earth. And that is what capitalism does best.

“Capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty and escape a brutal, subsistence way of life than any force on Earth. Capitalist reforms in China, India, and other developing nations have lifted over a billion people out of poverty in the last 30 years alone,” states the Conscious Capitalism website.

The Spread of Conscious Capitalism

Conscious Capitalism, Inc., builds and supports a global network of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and intrapreneurs dedicated to growth through conscious leadership. Here in Arizona, we are fortunate to have had Scott McIntosh, co-owner of MAC6 Communities in Tempe, establish the third Conscious Capitalism Chapter, after Chicago and Australia back in 2012. Since that time, 40 active chapters have spread across 14 different countries. As the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX, I had the honor of producing the “CEO Exclusive Radio Show with Soyini Cook” LIVE during this year’s conference. Cook interviewed 20-plus professionals, from several of the international speakers to Arizona “host” company founders and CEOs. The camaraderie was palatable.

Each on-air conversation shared a similar message: Treat people, including yourself, with
respect, love and dignity. Be conscious and honest in your business endeavors. Take care of material things. Take care of the earth. Be clear and concise with your vision and purpose, and enlist the help of others to that end. It is more than okay to be financially successful. It is what’s needed all over the globe. Right now, today.

Future Looking Bright

I’m proud to share that, as a host and producer for daily business-to-business radio shows with the Arizona business community, I see these same commitments from our local leaders. The emergence of Conscious Capitalism is alive and well, making a positive impact on the way we live, work and play. To learn more about the Conscious Capitalism movement and to get involved in the Arizona Chapter, go to www.consciouscapitalismaz.com.


For over 20 years, Karen Nowicki has been helping organizations and the people who lead them drive their business strategies more effectively. As studio partner for Business RadioX ® and host of the Phoenix Business Radio show, she has the pleasure of working with the most innovative, passionate and driven professionals in Arizona.

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