Key note speaker Chuck Fowler's Commencement address

Key note speaker Chuck Fowler's Commencement address

Posted 6.4.07

Thank you, Dean Reddy

Congratulations to Dean Reddy on his recent appointment to dean of Weatherhead School and I personally think it was a great choice and a turning point for Weatherhead and Case Western Reserve University.

Congratulations to our graduates.

Welcome to family and friends who are here to share this day with us. I am pleased to have my partner for life and family members here with us.

We at Fairmount Minerals are committed to have all of our people return home safely and healthy every day. We begin every meeting and presentation with a safety item.

Safety: You should always know your surroundings and what to do in case of an emergency, alarm sounds or announcement is made, we may be required to orderly exit through the doorways marked exit. Meeting place will be the grass mall. Ushers will assist us.

Alternatively, we could sit quietly and wait for FEMA to arrive.

Health: This is not new news that the best way for you to live a healthier life is to be free of tobacco. Our company has been tobacco free for over 15 years. Along with your health, you help your company in its efforts to reduce long term medical costs. Standing outside the front door in the winter is not a good career move.


I sat in your seat in 1990 as a graduate with an EMBA from Weatherhead. I do not remember the speaker or the subject. My purpose today is for you to remember the subject and practice it in your careers.

My subject is Do Good. Do Well.

Social Entrepreneurship and Business as an Agent for World Benefit are missions that we strongly support. Entrepreneurship and commerce are the lasting and most effective means of improving lives around the world and reducing poverty. At last fall's Business as an Agent for World Benefit (BAWB) conference, many companies showcased their successes and the consensus was that we needed a collaborative effort from business and business schools to make this happen.

I participated in a discussion with CEOs and business school leaders and we focused on the lack of Social Entrepreneurship content in the curriculum. The CEOs were told that until businesses are willing to pay for graduates with this exposure it won't happen. Paying by hiring criteria, differentiating hires by classroom and personal exposure to social entrepreneurship and increasing the starting pay. CEOs at the table were surprised by this and came up with ways we might make a difference. We felt that everyone would benefit from inclusion of social entrepreneurship in business schools' curriculum.

Weatherhead's curriculum is better than most and you heard Dean Reddy's comments that focused on just that.

We, Fairmount Minerals, decided to do something about that and help Weatherhead move to best in class in the area of social entrepreneurship, social responsibility and becoming a world center for BAWB. We have funded a chair for social entrepreneurship at Weatherhead and are suggesting social entrepreneurship content be included throughout the courses offered.

We have also put up the seed money to establish the BAWB Center at Weatherhead. These efforts will enhance Weatherhead's status, your status and the effort to reduce poverty in the world.

We, Fairmount Minerals, decided to do good so the greater we could do well. We made an investment in the future of our business school.

Our Company, Fairmount Minerals, headquartered in Chardon, Ohio, believes in social entrepreneurship and social responsibility and we follow the 3Ps of people, planet and prosperity. Some call it the triple bottom line. Every decision is made with the 3Ps in mind and all 3Ps must be satisfied. We have a list of principles, with ethics as number one, that we live by. We have a mission statement:

We, the Fairmount Family, are united in our commitment to exceed all expectations while fulfilling our economic, social and environmental responsibilities. Our motto is: DO GOOD. DO WELL.

I repeat, DO GOOD. DO WELL. We are adamant about Do Good. Do Well. Many of our country's great benefactors, it could be said, are examples of Do Well. Do Good. Today's world, including you, does not have time for Do Well. Do Good.

I am here to convince you that you can do good and do well. It is your way to be social entrepreneurs and to practice the 3Ps.

Businesses are understanding the value of doing good. Employees prefer working at a company that practices Do Good. Do Well. They are empowered, get more done, customers respond positively and their communities embrace the efforts. Social entrepreneurship and Do Good. Do Well. pays rather than costs for you and your future organizations.

I came to Weatherhead in 1988 to see what academia was saying and researching in modern management. What I found was a program that had a strong focus on the people part of management and we know it as OD, touchy feely, EQ and AI, as examples. I had an advantage because I was already the president of our company, so implementation of these great ideas was simplified.

We became believers in appreciative inquiry, AI. We drank the Kool-aid of appreciative inquiry. For those in the audience who may not be acquainted with appreciative inquiry, let me give you a short introduction and please ask your graduate to embellish my explanation later.

Appreciative inquiry is a positive change process developed by David Cooperrider and others of Weatherhead. AI focuses on the positive of a situation or organization and builds on the strengths and the good rather than the weaknesses or what's wrong. The value of getting everyone in an organization focusing on the dreams and what could be is incredibly magnified. In AI we ask questions like:

What was happening around you when you felt most engaged?

What would you want the organization to look like in 15 years? Dream.

Appreciative inquiry works and works great with the 3Ps, social entrepreneurship and Do Good. Do Well.

How can you use Do Good. Do Well. in your career? You have a head start because of your education at Weatherhead and your exposure to AI. Many of you have expressed your desire to get out in the world and make a difference. You want to begin today to Do Good. You are concerned that the business careers you pursue will hinder that make a difference desire.

A recent survey of U.S. businesses conducted by the Business Civic Leadership Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed that 86 percent of respondents identified sponsored volunteerism by their people as the leading way the business sector invests in its community. Businesses are getting it. Do Good. Do Well.

You have an opportunity to differentiate yourself in the career of your choice by practicing Do Good. Do Well. Positive actions are met with positive change. You and your new company will WIN with Do Good. Do Well.

There is an old saying about being in the right place at the right time as an explanation of success in business and in life. My advice is for you to improve the odds of winning by adding "the right person" to the phrase. Be the right person at the right place at the right time.

A very positive way of making you the right person is to Do Good. Do Well.

I am the CEO of our company. You are new MBAs, EMBAs, and doctorates. We can differentiate ourselves by Do Good. Do Well. It is the right way for us to do well in our businesses and careers.

My father was a farmer and his advice that I most remember and have put into action is:

Return whatever you borrow in better condition than you received it. We are borrowing this planet, and we need to return it in better condition than we receive it. You can join in this by practicing Do Good. Do Well.

Another piece of advice he gave me was to take care of the tools of your trade so they can serve you better and longer. Your tools are your character and those ideas you take from Weatherhead and the people you will work with to implement those ideas. You have the tools to Do Good. Do Well.

Now for your final -- final!

You are about to embark on your journey to success. You are going to exceed expectations while fulfilling your economic, social and environmental responsibilities. You are going to:


Do Good. Do well.

Dean, I recommend an A.

Thank you.

Interested in learning more about Weatherhead programs? Request more information or apply now, or register for one of over 70 open enrollment courses through Executive Education.

Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.

News Archives: