Sunday, November 7, 2010

Invitation to SNC breakfast meeting, Saturday Nov.13, 9 a.m.

Dear Federation members and others,

We'd like to inform you of a rare opportunity to dialog with a remarkable and atypical local business leader who is also a firm believer in social responsibility, so we're passing along this invitation from SNC:


is pleased to have as our November 13th. Guest, Sally Jewell, CEO of REI,

You may wonder why a neighborhood group would have as a guest a woman who oversees a major US. corporation headquartered in Seattle, REI.  Her role is to manage a company whose sales and impact aren’t just local, but global.  What of value can she teach us that relates to our lives and neighborhoods here in the Northwest? 

First, we will understand that as an employer REI provides jobs to a wide range of employees many of whom are our neighbors and care as much about the quality of life as we do.  The products they sell are of exceptional quality and equip many of us and our neighbors as we explore nature away from our workplace.  We might understand why REI has been ranked by independent reviewers as one of the best places to work in the entire US. 

But, the reality is, that Sally Jewell carries a message that represents a very different way to think of corporate culture. Jewell has recognized and proved that success in the business world need not be the ruthless tactics and selfish dog eat dog culture that has earned some corporations a bad reputation.

REI is a Co-Op, responsible to it’s members, but financially it operates much like traditional corporations.  Profits from sales pays operational costs and returns to its  members a credit much as any other corporation would deliver dividends to a stock holder.

What makes Jewell so outstanding, besides understanding markets, management, finance, banking and making REI profitable, is that she believes that corporations can succeed and still respond to the greater society with an inherent social responsibility. REI from its inception has broken the mold as a corporate retailer, but Jewell has both led and legitimized the notion that a corporation can have a conscience and still be profitable.  

Make no mistake, REI isn’t a socialist enterprise.  They make money, take risks, are aware of the bottom line and work hard to be successful, but within the corporate philosophy is a deeper moral philosophy that asks it’s employees and the organization, to behave as a human being rather than an arrangement of financial processes.   REI has become an abstraction that functions in a way we all hope a good citizen would, to give back to the commons.

Sally Jewell is unlike many CEO’s.  She is amazingly well read in a wide variety of subjects.  Whether it be responding to environmental issues, to how we behave as a culture, she is intently curious how the lives of her employees and we, her customers, can be treated with respect that might enrich our lives.

Jewell is an outstanding speaker and her message is inspirational.  She has occasionally revealed some of her personal thoughts on how our culture influences the lives of our children.  It’s worth attending just to hear her thoughts.

Give some thought to inviting a special friend to share this very unique opportunity.  You may well leave this meeting inspired and optimistic about how good things can happen by giving back to your community.

Please join us for a delicious breakfast at the Salmon Bay CafĂ©, 5109 Shilshole Ave NW at 9:00 AM. Saturday November 13th. HERE’S A MAP.  

Note: Use of this meeting place is contingent on each of us placing 
an order. 
See you there.  

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