NameCloud-Top 100- Social Capital IBT Top 100 CEOs 2021: These business leaders have seen firsthand that respecting their customers, their employees, the members of their communities and all those they do business with results in greater prosperity for them, for all those others and for the greater good of society in general. Photo: IBT Graphics

It’s been said in more than a few ways and by more than a few people that the business of America is business. That’s why it’s more important in this nation than any other that business be done right -- with respect for humanity being the top priority for how to do it.

In a nation and society where so much of our lives, our resources and our efforts center on business, if that world is not also focused on respecting each other, then we will all spiral down a dangerous and destructive path to greed, human degradation and the eventual disintegration of our capitalist society to the point where critics will quickly and justifiably look for a replacement.

In fact, one look around at the pulse of political and popular opinion and we can already see that happening. That’s because our capitalist system is being threatened from two sides. On one, by those who applaud its failures in hopes of replacing it outright with socialism or communism. And on the other, by crony “capitalists” who aren’t really capitalists at all but greedy, self-centered narcissists hell-bent on lining their pockets and their power base at the expense of the prosperity and profits that should be available to all in a truly free, fair and fully functional capitalist system. These industrial tyrants will do anything they can get away with to maximize their profits and the bottom line regardless of the wholescale pain and suffering it might cause.

But, clearly, none of the people on either side of this societal squeeze-play even begin to understand what capitalism is about. They have clearly never read much by philosopher Adam Smith, often referred to as the father of capitalism, whose book “The Wealth of Nations” is the practical bible of capitalism. Even for those who have read this famous tome and are familiar with his concept of maximizing self-interest as the route to prosperity for all in the long run, most do not fully understand what he meant by that. In another of his books, “The Theory of Moral Sentiment,” he writes that, “How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.”

Smith goes on to explain “self-interest” is not so simple. In the long run, it means the complex “interests” all humans have. We not only want to be prosperous but want to enjoy living in a community where our families, our friends, our neighbors and our fellow citizens are happy and prosperous as well. And at the end of the day, that is actually what capitalism can and should achieve.

Now all that heady philosophy put aside, for our Top 100 Social Capital CEOs, they have seen firsthand that respecting their customers, their employees, the members of their communities and all those they do business with results in greater prosperity for them, for all those others and for the greater good of society in general. And they feel darned good seeing all that happiness happen because of the way they do business.

That’s a pretty incredible achievement and a powerful mission. And that’s why we call them heroes.

Because, if not for them, we face the possibility of a dark and lonely world filled with people lost in greedy self-service where the dreams of the many are all too often vanquished for the sake of the few in power.

Or, possibly even worse still, the loss of the potential American dream altogether when it’s tossed aside for a world of collective control where none of us will ever be able to achieve any of our dreams of happiness.

So, thank God for our 100 Social Capital heroes. Keep fighting the good fight.

  • SOCIAL CAPITAL: WHAT is it? DO you have it? HOW do you earn it? (September 2020)
    Featuring:
    Cheryl Bachelder , US Foods Holding, Chick-fil-A
    Sara Blakely, Spanx
    Pat Gelsinger, VMWare
    Robert Glazer, Acceleration Partners
    Tony Hsieh, Zappos
    Jill Koziol, Motherly
    Peter McGuinness, Chobani
    Elizabeth Tenety, Motherly
    Steven Williams, PepsiCo Foods North America
  • 10 Of America's Top CEOs Talk with IBT's Social Capital About How To Be Authentic (October 2020)
    Featuring:
    Laura Alber, Williams-Sonoma
    Dan Bane, Trader Joe’s
    Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines
    Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss & Co.
    Jamie Cygielman, American Girl Brands
    Doug McMillon, Walmart
    Craig Menear, Home Depot
    Brian Niccol, Chipotle Mexican Grill
    Brian Scudamore, 1-800-GOT-JUNK
    Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo.com
  • The POLITICS of EMPOWERMENT in American Business (November 2020)
    Featuring:
    Austen Allred, Lambda School
    Bruno Aschidamini, Sand Cloud
    Rachel Romer Carlson, Guild Education
    Steven Ford, Sand Cloud
    David Heath, Bombas
    Roger C. Hochschild, Discover Financial Services
    Brandon Leibel, Sand Cloud
    Jamie Ratner, CertifiKID, Macaroni Kid
    Brandon Rodman, Weave
    Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble
  • Social Capital: The Ultimate Gift To America (December 2020)
    Featuring:
    Austen Allred, Lambda School
    Cheryl Bachelder, US Foods Holding, Chick-fil-A
    Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines
    Robert Glazer, Accelerated Partners
    Brian Niccol, Chipotle Mexican Grill
    Brian Scudamore, 1-800-GOT-JUNK
  • How America’s Top Social Capital CEOs Can Teach Us the Power of Kindness (January 2021)
    Featuring:
    Neil Blumenthal, Warby Parker
    Mike Brady, Grayston Bakery (formerly)
    Kenneth Chenault, General Catalyst
    Alex Friedman, LOLA
    Dave Gilboa, Warby Parker
    Herve Humler, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
    Jeffrey Jones, H&R Block
    Jordana Kier, LOLA
    Mark Murphy, Green Bay Packers
    Davis Smith, Cotopaxi
  • The New Revolution: Access (February 2021)
    Featuring:
    Bob Chapman, Barry-Wehmiller Companies
    J. Lyell Clarke III, Clarke
    Soraya Darabi, TMV
    Marshall Goldsmith, MarshallGoldsmith.com
    Kristin Groos Richmond, Revolution Foods
    Marina Hadjipateras, TMV
    Steve Huffman, Reddit
    Hubert Joly, Best Buy (formerly)
    Alexis Ohanian, Reddit
    Kirsten Saenz Tobey, Revolution Foods
  • The Power Of Knowledge – And The Leaders Who Spread It (March 2021)
    Featuring:
    Robin Berzin, Parsley Health
    Eric N. Friedman, Fitbit
    Stan Hoody, Qooore
    Bill Maher, “Real Time with Bill Maher”
    James Park, Fitbit
    Joe Rogan, “The Joe Rogan Experience”
    Igor Sheremet, Qooore
    Tim Tkachenko, Qooore
    Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia
    Alyson Watson, Modern Health
  • Leading In A Pandemic: CEOs Discuss How They Helped; What They Learned (April 2021)
    Featuring:
    Bob Chapman, Barry-Wehmiller Companies
    Robert Glazer, Acceleration Partners
    Kristin Groos Richmond, Revolution Foods
    Brian Niccol, Chipotle Mexican Grill
    Jamie Ratner, CertifiKID, Macaroni Kid
    Kirsten Saenz Tobey, Revolution Foods
    Brian Scudamore, 1-800-GOT-JUNK
  • Family Matters: 10 CEOs Who Support Our Most Important Institution (May 2021)
    Featuring:
    Aron Ain, Ultimate Kronos Group
    Craig Boyan, H-E-B Grocery
    Robert B. Ford, Abbott Laboratories
    Jim Goodnight, SAS
    Richard Hays, Alston & Bird
    Penny Pennington, Edward Jones
    Tim Ryan, PricewaterhouseCoopers
    Matt Sause, Roche Diagnostics
    Colleen Wegman, Wegmans Food Markets
    Walter White, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
  • Frontline CEOs — Who Aren’t Afraid to Get Their Hands Dirty (June 2021)
    Featuring:
    Philip Bowers, JGBowers, Inc., Advanced Cabinet Systems
    Angelo Falcone, U.S. Acute Care Solutions/Dignity Integrative Health Solutions
    Fred Hassan, Warburg Pincus
    Kenneth Lin, Credit Karma
    Bill Marriott Jr., Marriott International
    Talia Mashiach, Eved
    Lynsi Snyder, In-N-Out Burger
    John A. Solheim, Karsten Manufacturing/PING
    John K. Solheim, Karsten Manufacturing/PING
    Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health
  • Social Capital: Changing The World By Changing How The World Does Business (July/August 2021)
    Featuring:
    Eric Artz, REI
    Philip Behn, Imperfect Foods
    Lorna Borenstein, Grokker
    Nikki Boulukos, Benjamin Talks
    Shawn Conway, Peet’s Coffee
    Ken Fisher, Fisher Investments
    Tim Harsch, Owler
    Ernie Herrman, TJX
    Jonathan Keyser, Keyser
    Danny Meyer, Shake Shack Bill Nash, CarMax
    Carissa Jordan, Benjamin Talks
    Jorge Perez, The Related Group
    Linda Rendle, The Clorox Company
    Joth Ricci, Dutch Bros.
    Carlos Rodriguez, ADP
    John Schlifske, Northwestern Mutual
    Stu Sjouwerman, KnowB4
    Tristan Walker, Walker & Company Brands
    Sarah Paiji Yoo, Blueland