Why do we need a new way of doing business?
I do not think it is new. Like everything else, “Everything old is new again”! The principles of doing well by doing good have long been recognized, but often forgotten in the quest to enhance the bottom line. The business community needs to be reminded that the impact of decisions and practices is enduring; advertising should reflect corporate citizenship and responsibility.
How have you helped make the world a better place?
My community work has evolved over the decades. From being a founder and president of Cornerstone, Inc (nka The Connection), a halfway house for high expectancy recovery from mental illness, and A founder and president of Fellowship, Inc, a therapeutic and social “club” for chronically mentally ill members who are provided with training in daily living and social skills, workforce development, arts and more. Both of those initiatives succeed in destigmatization and reintegration into the community.
More than 18 years were invested in the visioning, fundraising, and building of the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven, where I also served as President.
My most recent projects include funding construction and furnishing 18 apartments for women and their children will reside and receive counseling, training, wrap-around services, and job placement in sustainable wage career path jobs. The outcome is not only positive for the parent but changes the paradigm for generations to come. The second project is a halfway house for homeless youth (ages 18-24) in collaboration with Y2Y and Youth Continuum; this project has been less physically draining than the first but with no less impact. The youngsters will receive peer support and counseling from college students and wrap-around services from Youth Continuum. It is my hope that this diversion from potentially life-threatening, risky behavior to resources will have significant results.
I am also invested in and working with ‘r kids, specifically with a support program for adolescent girls in foster care. The suicide rate of that population is heartbreaking. Our efforts may be life-saving.
Another project is with a program at Southern CT State University where I co-created a Women’s Leadership Program for students at the School of Business. It offers speakers, training, and, most importantly, mentors from the business community. Most of the students have not had the benefit of influential family and friends to whom they can turn for guidance, support, and connections.
Most of the students are first-generation college attendees. A beta test the first year proved to be so successful in building confidence and self-esteem and job placement that I have endowed it as a permanent opportunity to “level the playing field”.
I am laser-focused on initiatives that will produce systemic and sustainable change.
What does Conscious capitalism mean to you?
In my role with the CT State Department of Economic and Community Development, the tenets of the organization are in concert with my personal and business priorities. Basic to Judaism is “Tikkun Olam”, the mandate to repair the world. Tikkun Olam underpins our religious way of life and perspective that works towards a time of peace – not just ending the war, but a time of prosperity, health, and justice for all. Pirkei Avot (literally, “Chapters of the Fathers,” but generally translated as “Ethics of Our Fathers”) is one of the best-known and most-cited of Jewish texts. Even those who claim to know little about Jewish literature are familiar with maxims such as “If I am only for myself, who am I? (1:14)” and “Say little and do much (1:15).” Popular Hebrew songs take as their lyrics lines such as “The world stands on three things: Torah, service, and acts of loving-kindness (1:2)” and “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it (2:21).”