A Brief Review of the 2012 Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit

Jeff Klein

Jeff Klein

Jeff Klein

Jeff Klein

The sold out Summit received rave reviews from the 160 participating CEOs and other business leaders. The presenters, presentations and practicums were exceptional and the overall program structure was extremely effective. And while all of this was wonderful, ultimately, the most satisfying and encouraging aspect of the Summit was the energy, enthusiasm and engagement of the participants, the warmth and depth of community and the indications of the accelerating emergence of the Conscious Capitalism movement.

I was fortunate to be present at the birth of the Conscious Capitalism initiative, when in August 2006 upon seeing a presentation I had put together for a Peace Through Commerce Program, John Mackey (co-CEO, Whole Foods Market and fire starter for Conscious Capitalism) said, “I want to do one of those on Conscious Capitalism.” A year later we convened our first Conscious Capitalism gathering – 35 people at The Crossings in Austin, Texas. The following year was the first CEO Summit, now in its sixth year.

In the spirit of the conscious in Conscious Capitalism and reflecting the commitment to individual and collective learning, growth and development, the leaders participating the Summit – presenters and others – clearly continue to mature in their understanding, embodiment and articulation of the principles of Conscious Capitalism – Higher Purpose, a Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture. As I experienced in many conversations and witnessed in many others, it is apparent to all involved that something profound is emerging and this community has come together to celebrate and express its emergence.

A few highlights…

  • Whole Foods Market’s other co-CEO, Walter Robb, brought the house down with his presentation on Conscious Culture, filling the room with the feeling of the Whole Foods culture. Walter highlighted that culture is the glue that binds people together in a business or any human ecosystem, and culture is the core differentiator between companies. A Conscious Culture, that supports individual and collective learning, growth, development and expression fosters creativity, loyalty, productivity and resilience.
  • John Mackey’s presentation on Conscious Leadership and the Hero’s Journey resonated deeply. John’s reflected the essential role of doing our ongoing personal development work plays in cultivating a resilient, adaptive Conscious Culture and Conscious Business.
  • Zappos CEO Tony Hseih’s inspiring presentation on the evolution of his purpose from selling shoes to building community, and his vision (in action) for the transformation of downtown Las Vegas, radically expanded our sense of what is possible and essentially set a frame that indicate you can’t think too big – there are no limits to what we can conceive, pursue and realize.
  • The Gardner brothers of The Motley Fool playfully and profoundly brought money into the room and validated the solid bottom line benefits of a Conscious Capitalist orientation to business and investment – a message that was reinforced by various other successful CEO presenters.
  • Life is good co-founder and Chief Optimist Bert Jacobs evoked roaring laughter and tapped into deep emotions with his stories of customers who’s lives have been touched and transformed through the energy of Optimism, which is the Purpose of Life is good.
  • Practicums by Danny Friedland (The 4 x 4 Framework for Conscious Leadership), Rand Stagen (Leaders Get the Organizations They Deserve) and Barry Johnson (Polarity Management) were particularly well received.
  • And everyone seemed to appreciate the comfortable setting at the Lost Pines Resort outside Austin and the opportunities to connect during meals and free time.

Emerging out of the Summit is a steadily building flow of new members, chapters and roundtables, enthusiasm about the April 2013 Conscious Capitalism Spring Conference in San Francisco and high demand for the 2013 CEO Summit.

Personally, the 2012 CC CEO Summit was deeply fulfilling. It was the first Summit that I could be fully present for every presentation, and as co-host, I was able to serve as an integrator, continually weaving presentations, segments and themes together. As an activator and process facilitator, who has been involved with the movement and organization since its inception, I felt much as I often do as a father as I witness and experience my teenage daughter coming into her individuated self – delighted with the potency, clarity and beauty of her presence. Conscious Capitalism is a beautiful expression of the human capacity to apply Conscious Awareness for individual and collective benefit. And it is increasingly manifesting its potential as a principal human orientation. This is inspiring and exciting!

About the Author

Jeff Klein, a s CEO of Working for Good,  activates, produces and facilitates mission-based, Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns and Conscious Culture development programs.

Jeff is a trustee and member of the executive committee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and producer of Conscious Capitalism events. He authored the award-winning book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, and the newly released book It’s Just Good Business: The Emergence of Conscious Capitalism & the Practice of Working for Good. Jeff also serves as executive director of, a project of the Baumann Foundation and Executive Producer of Being Human Events.

Jeff was one of the visionaries and driving forces behind Private Music, the career of Yanni, Spinning, Seeds of Change, ChiRunning, and FLOW, and has consulted for the Esalen Institute, the National Geographic Society, GlobalGiving, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, among others.

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