The Noble Profession of Business: Steve Reinemund Delivers Chamber of Commerce Keynote Address

10.24.2012 Article, Faculty News

WFU business dean: companies need to achieve 'nobility'
Reposted from Winston-Salem Journal | by Fran Daniel

Making a profit is important to companies but not enough to achieve the "nobility of business," Wake Forest University's dean of business said today during the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.

"As we see in so many mission statements, it is the commitment to excellence in the products and services; in hiring, nurturing and building great teams of people; and in adding value to our communities," said Steve Reinemund, the dean of business and professor of leadership and strategy at Wake Forest University.

The chamber held the meeting in conjunction with the Winston-Salem Rotary Club.

Speaking before 840 people, primarily from the business community, at the Benton Convention Center, Reinemund mentioned several local companies he believes are noble and changing lives.

They include Brenner Children's Hospital, which provides a prom for patients, for example, and Flow Automotive, which is known as a great place to work, Reinemund said.

The journey toward a noble business can be tough, he said.

"The pursuit of nobility in business is often littered with experiments that fail and with successes that are not appreciated or rewarded," he said.

But, Reinemund said, the journey is worth the effort because the successful businesses make the world a better place.

John McConnell, the chamber's chairman, said that last year, local businesses in Winston-Salem created a net of more than 6,000 new jobs.

"And we expect that number to be even bigger this year because we are hearing from our members that business is beginning to pick up," McConnell said.

Two Winston-Salem business owners and their companies were honored during the meeting.

Claudette Weston, the president and chief executive of Weston & Associates Inc., received the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award. Weston & Associates is a meeting management and special events company.

The award honors individuals or groups that make a difference in their communities or places of work by using their time, talents and compassion to positively impact the lives of other people.

Wildfire, a marketing company, was presented with the Truliant Small Business Award. The company was started by Mike Grice and Brad Bennett in 2002. The award recognizes small companies for their success and contributions to the community.

People who attended the meeting called Reinemund's speech inspiring, especially his examples of how companies are helping their communities.

"It was right on target," said Rebecca Whitney, the director of finance and operations for The Bloom Agency. "It made me proud to be sitting with the group here from The Bloom Agency because I felt like even though we are very small, we reach out to the community in some of the same ways."

Carl Carney, the president of Davie Construction Co., said Reinemund did a good job of letting people know that business is more than just dollars and cents.

"Business gets a bad name sometimes," Carney said. "This reminds me of the good things it does in the community."

Chamber organizers did not reach the 1,000 people they had expected but were pleased with the turnout.

"I'm getting really good feedback from both the awards and the (keynote) speech," said Gayle Anderson, the chamber's president and chief executive.