Written by: Josephine Eugene
I took a class this past fall called Creating Value in the Global Economy, and it really opened my eyes to the different approaches that a business can take in its aims and underlying missions. Conversation regarding internationally known firms and banks seem to be ceaseless, especially at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. However, after taking this class, my fellow students and I discovered businesses that have underlying social and environmental missions. One of these businesses was Patagonia.
Patagonia is a fascinating company; it has managed to vastly grow its operations and its profit upon being founded. Their aim was never profit; rather, they upheld the idea that with approaching their business the right way, profit would be a natural result. The company donates 1% of their sales to their initiative “1% for the Planet” every year, rather than profit, even if this means potential losses. Patagonia stands as an exemplary company for others, while their CEO, Rose Marcario leads the pathway to success.
After seeking out my new interest in Patagonia and what they do, I came across the incredible work of their CEO, Rose Marcario. She had worked in the traditional business sector, including private equity, tech, and so forth, but after 25 years she came to work at Patagonia. In an article from September 2015, Fortune Magazine stated that “It all seemed, to her, to fuel a level of greed and poor decision-making that was not just unethical but also bad for people and the planet.”
“I felt myself more and more divided from my values,” Marcario said in the article. She sought out a new path for herself and met with the brilliant founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard. Marcario was hired as CFO, then transitioned to COO, and was promoted to CEO in 2013. Ever since, she has been making decisions in adapting to new ways for Patagonia to utilize its returns to give back to the environment. Simultaneously, she has managed to put Patagonia on the path towards incredible financial success. The company is hoping for their most successful year yet, in reaching almost $750 million in sales, and is continuously increasing in both the annual growth rate and profits.
Marcario represents a woman who has made a name for herself in the financial world and has sought out aligning her own values with a company she works for. She has led Patagonia in edging out other companies to seek success in profits all while giving back to the environment and the community. Not only is she a woman whom I look up to tremendously, but she also personifies the mindset that we should all have in approaching success while keeping the future of our world in mind.