Ethan J. Ung

Ethan j Ung

Why do we need a new way of doing business?

For humanity and for our planet, we must reimage the role of business in society to harness its transformative power for good. The potential of business to make a positive impact on the world is limitless, and the way we do business can be and should be about much more than delivering profits. As we confront a global climate crisis, rising income inequality, stagnant wages, lack of affordable housing, restrictive access to education and healthcare, rising healthcare costs, political, racial, and social unrest, and growing discontent with the status quo—in my opinion—the most consequential change agent available to us is business. While business alone cannot solve these problems, it must lead. Humanity and our planet depend on it.

How have you helped make the world a better place? 

In terms of advancing the principles of conscious capitalism, my journey begins here with the CT Chapter. I have spent a significant portion of my career working with start-ups, entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, and engineers who strive to make a difference, to improve human health, cure disease, or build life-saving devices. They all dream of creating a better world and profits always seem to be an afterthought. It is this spirit and yearning to make a difference that inspires and that moves us forward. I strive to be part of the solution.

What does Conscious capitalism mean to you?

To me, conscious capitalism seeks to revitalize the entrepreneurial spirit and the yearning to make the world a better place. It seeks to harness this energy to help businesses refine and achieve a higher purpose beyond profits, redefine their role in society and encourage businesses to be more inclusive, holistic, and mindful of their impact on society.

Jesse Imse

Jesse Isme

Why do we need a new way of doing business?

Our current economic system has created decades of innovation from landing on the moon to creating super computers that we can put in our pockets. However, within this system we have come to an inflection point. Our economic and political system of capitalism has fetishized unlimited wealth to a point where we have ignored peoples’ needs. This has led to the largest income disparities we’ve seen in our history, has furthered inequalities in opportunity, and has led us to down the path of environmental destruction. Our societal structures cannot sustain this way of doing business.

Why should we care? Simply put: We all do better, when we all do better. Our economy does better when everyone can participate. Whether you are a business or an individual, focusing on people-centered solutions, leading with purpose, and self-awareness about the impacts of decisions on all stakeholders involved will be the impetus for success.

Give us an idea of how have you helped make the world a better place? 

I currently serve as a Marketing Communications and Brand Management Consultant within Fortune 500, AECOM’s Design and Consulting Services group. I help lead all things marketing communications and brand management for my team’s main client, the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Projects focus on working with individuals and businesses to promote sustainable transportation and provide resources for equitable economic participation in Connecticut. I am proud to also hold the position of Adjunct Professor at the University of Hartford where I teach undergraduate coursework that focuses on wide-ranging topics such as public speaking, branding, and strategic communications.

As a passionate change agent within my community and Connecticut as a whole, I have twice been elected to serve on the Executive Board for Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), an initiative of the MetroHartford Alliance. HYPE is the largest young professional organization in the country, with a membership base of over 4,000 members. HYPE’s mission is to help young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities, and become ambassadors for the Hartford Region and Connecticut.

Further, I regularly independently consult nonprofit organizations, business leaders, and other stakeholders to enhance collaborations across the community and aid in their marketing communications for their organizations.

What does Conscious capitalism mean to you?

The concept and action of Conscious Capitalism puts purpose at the heart of how we do business. It is a recognition of inequalities and a willingness to accept a better way of doing business. Fair and equal competition sparks innovation, and we have a responsibility to foster an equitable economic structure that considers all stakeholders involved.

Alessandra Simkin

A Simkin Headshot

Why do we need a new way of doing business?

In my view, it’s less about finding a new way of doing business and more about striving for better, more personal ways to do business. Businesses touch so many lives – their employees, their customers and other stakeholders. For example, today many people rely on their employers for access to healthcare, and there are ways to make that relationship less transactional and more focused on improving whole health and wellness for individuals. It’s important for businesses to truly recognize the impact that they have on people and to look for ways to bring humanity into these interactions.

Give us an idea of how have you helped make the world a better place? 

Currently, I lead communications for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut. As the pandemic evolved, I recognized that my background in health communications could be a powerful tool to ensure people have access to information about healthcare, and based on this, I made the decision to join the team.

Ever since I was little, I looked for ways to improve the world around me. I actually petitioned my neighbors on the street that I grew up on to have our town install a “Children at Play” sign to protect the neighborhood children. My desire to help people through advocating for important causes continued to grow, and that’s what led me to join the board of Conscious Capitalism in Connecticut, as well as the junior board of the Food Bank For New York City this year. 

I studied international relations and communication with an aspirational plan to use my voice to make the world a better place. During graduate school, I became interested in health and realized that I could use the power of communications to help people improve their health. This realization launched my career in public relations, which I began on the agency side advising major pharmaceutical companies. I was drawn to advocacy work during this time, and projects that I found particularly rewarding were focused on breaking stigma and raising awareness of testing and treatment for infectious diseases and mental health. 

The idea of using business as a force for good became very clear to me in the next role that I took on, which was at Danone where I led external communications for several brands and supported the company’s mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible. Danone introduced me to the B Corp movement and from there I became committed to incorporating sustainability into how I do business, and in my personal life. I look for ways big and small to challenge myself to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. For example, I like to find brands that have their B Corp Certification because that mark represents a commitment to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

During the course of my career, which has been a priority for me in my life so far, I’ve worked with companies across varying industries to raise awareness of important health issues, and I plan to continue to do this. What I realized during my journey is that I enjoy the fast pace of the private sector, and for me, working in the private sector is not mutually exclusive with doing good. In fact, I believe if everyone in the private sector looks to infuse good into their work, that’s how we’ll achieve the ideals of Conscious Capitalism.

What does Conscious capitalism mean to you?

Conscious Capitalism is making our current system more sustainable. Whether it’s creating products with more sustainable materials or treating employees with more humanity, there are always opportunities to change the status quo and strive for better. The B Corp world often talks about the concept of using business as a force for good. This resonates with me because business is such a big part of American culture, and if business can come together as a force for good in the world – we have a real opportunity to create lasting change that leaves a better world for our children and future generations.