John LeBoutillier, Lazaridis School of Business and Economic’s latest CEO-in-Residence and Unilever’s CEO and president, posed the question, "Can you do well by doing good?" to a captive audience of more than 260 students, professors and staff in February.
“People want to go to a job that’s meaningful,” said LeBoutillier. He provided many examples of Unilever brands that have a defined social mission to create more meaning in places of need. One example is Dove’s self-esteem project, which aims to help girls overcome beauty related pressures and realize their potential.
“These are issues young women are dealing with globally,” said LeBoutillier.
LeBoutillier discussed the importance of sustainability, considering a product’s impact from production to disposal, and achieving a triple bottom line – people, planet and profit. Uniliver has developed a Sustainable Living Plan, sharing their goals and outcomes freely in the hopes others will join or improve on them.
“We’re inventing a new way of doing business. If everyone isn’t benefitting, no one is,” said Le Boutillier. These efforts also have some financial success. As LeBoutillier noted, “Every business that has adopted a purpose-driven model has grown faster, at a higher margin.”
After the keynote, Unilever hosted a U-Connect networking fair for all Laurier students, complete with free samples and giveaways of popular Unilever brands like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Axe body spray and TRESemmé hair products. A number of Unilever Canada staff, who are Laurier graduates, were on hand to talk about career opportunities with the company.
“This event was a great opportunity to showcase the relationship we’ve had with Unilever over the years,” said Micheál Kelly, dean of the Lazaridis School. “Hosting CEOs like John are an amazing opportunity for our students to learn from those leading Canada’s top companies and excelling in business in unique ways.”
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