Long-Term Capitalism

2019: Business & Society Program in Words, Images & Sound

December 30, 2019  • About Business and Society Program

It was a dramatic year for the Business & Society Program. In 2019, we celebrated our twentieth anniversary, made national front page news, and broke new ground with multimedia content. Take a month-by-month tour of the highlights in words, images and sound.


Herb Kelleher (Photo courtesy of Quartz)

As global elites head to Davos for the World Economic Forum, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink writes: “Around the world, frustration with years of stagnant wages, the effect of technology on jobs, and uncertainty about the future have fueled popular anger, nationalism, and xenophobia.” What should business leaders do? Writing in Quartz, Judy Samuelson advises them to consider the extraordinary example of Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines.


Questions are the answer. It’s the title, and key insight, of a book by Hal Gregersen, Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center. Fresh off the book talk co-hosted with EY, Nancy McGaw drives home the importance of making time to consider keystone questions: “They are the questions that help us make tough decisions in our lives. Sometimes, however, although these questions underlie the choices we make, we aren’t fully aware of what they are.”


The Business & Society Program celebrates its twenty-year anniversary with a dinner in New York City. The conversation reflects on decades of changing the conversation on business and society and looks ahead to the issues that will define the coming decades, with a panel discussion featuring voices from business, academia and journalism.


MBA Students from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business take home the 2019 Case Competition Award for their innovative proposal for the Connecticut Green Bank. The team is honored at a breakfast ceremony featuring Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.


The 10th class of First Mover Fellows meet for the third and final seminar of the year-long Fellowship. The year’s journey, culminating in these spring days is captured in video:


Members of the Aspen Leaders Forum for senior sustainability strategists gather for their annual retreat in Maryland. The program includes a visit to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and a trip into the Bay itself to learn about the environmental issues facing that ecosystem and the Foundation’s restoration efforts.

Also in June: The 8th annual undergraduate convening takes place at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.

Organized around the theme of “place,” the convening offers workshops for blending business and the liberal arts when teaching subjects like globalization and the geography of income inequality. From service learning in coal country to a GPS-enabled walk of the city of Boston, bold, innovative, and inclusive education is exemplified and encouraged.


Fresh from the first seminar of the 2019 First Movers program in Aspen, Judy Samuelson writes: “the business of business is changing.” The very next month will prove just how true that is!


When the Business Round Table (BRT) announces that it no longer defines the purpose of the corporation solely in terms of shareholder value, it makes front page news around the U.S. It’s also the result of years of dialogue and convening by the Business & Society Program.


A statement of purpose is a good start—but just that. BSP Senior Program Manager Miguel Padró identifies five stories worth watching to assess how lofty language measures against hard choices in the real world of business. The Business & Society Program convenes dialogues with Korn Ferry to forge new principles for executive compensation aligned with a broader sense of social purpose.


During the Aspen Institute’s First Movers Summit at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif. on Saturday October 5, 2019. Photo By David Royal

The First Movers Summit explores how intrapreneurs can rise to the occasion as business leaders are confront urgent challenges with no easy answer. The event, which takes place in Pacific Grove, CA, also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the First Movers Program. Nancy McGaw, creator of the Fellowship, reflects on this milestone and the lessons for changemakers learned along the way. Fresh from the summit, First Movers director Eli Malinsky considers what lies on the horizon.


It’s an anniversary of a very different kind: 20 years since the 1999 World Trade Organization protest known as the “Battle of Seattle.” To mark this date, BSP launches its first-ever podcast, Business 20/20, which seeks to find “foresight through hindsight.”

Always looking ahead, this month the Business & Society Program convenes leadership from academic centers located at ten top business schools at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.  Together the group discussed what an inclusive and sustainable capitalism might look like and how they can equip students with the necessary skills for this reimagined future.


The 2019 Ideas Worth Teaching Award Winners are announced! The ten winning courses are celebrated with a brand new website that encourages deep dives into their inspiration and impact.

Stay up to date with the Business & Society Program by following us on Twitter @AspenBiz Society and subscribing to our monthly newsletter and our new podcast, Business 20/20. Happy New Year!