The Freedom to Build Business that Matters

The Fourth of July is especially meaningful to me as the leader of a small company. My grandmother was an immigrant and an entrepreneur. She built two successful businesses throughout the course of her life and to me she was an icon. She believed this was the greatest country in the world and that our freedom was critical to her success as a business leader.  

As we head into the holiday, I am incredibly grateful to live in a place where we all have the freedom to build businesses that matter. We are free, as far as our resources allow, to invest, to build, to fail and sometimes even succeed. Hamilton once noted that, “There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery.”  

As we head into the second half of this year, it would do us well to consider what kind of bravery our liberty requires from us and what it means to build businesses that matter. I have seen Hamilton’s principle play out among individuals who are indeed willing to use their freedom to take positive risks, while occupying positions of leadership at significant institutions. Many of these leaders are our clients, all taking on the challenges of markets and geopolitics all while successfully leading businesses that employ thousands and offer something of value to society. 

That is what I mean by building a business with meaning. This is not a soft ideal or a futile exercise. I believe it is our duty as leaders in the private to create lasting value and do so in sustainable and humane manner. Over the last 6 months, our team has been privileged to work on a number of incredible projects. A few highlights include:  

  • The 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop event in Davos, Switzerland, hosted by Forbes, in partnership with the World Economic Forum in January.  
  • The conversation around energy transition and redefining energy security with Columbia University, also at Davos in January.  
  • A dinner and discussion focused on accelerating the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors, held by Bank of America, in partnership with the Aspen Climate Institute in March.  
  • Pope Francis’s inauguration of a photo exhibition created by artist Lia Beltrami and photographer Asaf Ud Daula, titled “Emotions to Generate Change,” in May. It’s opening held in Vatican Square, alongside a gathering of partners and leaders to engage in discussions at the intersection of art, media, and social change.   

I am energized when I consider the brilliance, creativity and diversity involved in bringing about these experiences, and I am optimistic about the next half of 2023. As we head into these last six months of the year, I am emboldened by the memory of my grandmother. When she died, I found out she was an ally and advocate for all who wanted to enter her arena and try their hand at building something. Perhaps it is important that we all remember to do this, and how much more rewarding and effective it is to collaborate in our efforts toward freedom and prosperity, than it is to sit back and critique the efforts of others.