Business Forum Looks at Corporate Consciousness

Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey, who will be keynote speaker at Friday's (Oct. 16) Tulane Business Forum, created controversy in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece that proposed free-market alternatives to healthcare reform. The article was vintage Mackey, combining his beliefs in the power of capitalism and the importance of social responsibility in business.

Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey will be the keynote speaker at the Tulane Business Forum on Friday (Oct. 16). (Photo from Whole Foods Market)

Mackey will be in New Orleans for two Tulane events. In addition to his Friday talk at the 2009 forum, which this year focuses on the theme of corporate consciousness, he also will speak on the uptown campus on Thursday (Oct. 15).

"The whole idea of corporate consciousness goes back to the basic business fundamentals of doing things in an ethical manner and being responsible and purposeful in how you gear your business," says Tom Spiers, a 2001 Tulane alumnus and board member of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni that organizes the annual forum. "We thought this would be a good way to focus on how to return to core values and how certain large organizations are doing it and succeeding at it."

In addition to Mackey, other speakers addressing corporate consciousness, ethics and social responsibility include Mark Quartermain, president of Shell Energy North America; Alan R. Yuspeh, senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer of HCA; and Gary Jay Saulson, director of corporate real estate with PNC Financial Services Group.

The forum also will feature a panel discussion on alternative energy and financing. The event is at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Tulane faculty and staff members interested in attending the forum can register at the special reduced rate of $75 by e-mailing Rhonda Earles or calling 504-862-8470.

Thursday's talk by Mackey, which is free of charge and open to the public, will be at 4 p.m. in the Freeman Auditorium at the Woldenberg Art Center. Because of limited seating, reservations are recommended. Mackey will speak on "Social Entrepreneurship and Conscious Capitalism: Creating a New Paradigm for Business."

Mark Miester is the editor of Freeman magazine for the A.B. Freeman School of Business.