The Collegeville Institute’s Multi-Religious Fellows gathered on May 6-7 at the Minnesota Humanities Center for a stimulating, impactful session dedicated to the local economy and “making work human.” Religious leaders, research suggests, rarely if ever have opportunity to engage the business community in sustained dialogue. The Fellows program seeks to remedy this by inviting outstanding representatives of the business world to meet with faith leaders.
Roberta Bonoff, President of Greater Good Kids, Ronald James, recently retired president and CEO of Center for Ethical Business Cultures at University of St. Thomas, and Jonathan Weinhagen, President & CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, shared their vocational journeys with the fellows, including important business and personal challenges they have faced. Whether as CEO of a major business serving millions, or one guiding a more locally focused clientele, the presenters stressed the continuing need to focus, not only on the “why and what” of business, but even more on the “how.” Each emphasized that best practice requires not only keen attention to the strategies for growing the company and rewarding the stakeholders, but principles that exemplify care for customer, employee and community.
In an afternoon session, Christopher Michaelson, Professor of Business Ethics and Social Responsibility at the University of St. Thomas, led the fellows through his research on meaningful work. At the heart of his message was the importance of providing a work environment that can lead to fullest self-realization, coupled with service to others.