Driving Change

I’ve always believed that government can play a role in helping individuals and communities thrive; that’s why I dedicated nearly a decade of my life to working in the public sector. That being said, government cannot—should not—approach some of the challenges we face today in a vacuum.
By working together with stakeholders, government can create the kinds of policies that lay the foundation for a stronger society which, of course, is only possible when businesses are growing and creating jobs. When business owners do well, great things happen.
Who would’ve ever thought that Carl Karcher, the founder of the last company I worked at, would take his small hot dog cart in LA and expand its presence here in the U.S. and abroad? Asides from creating jobs and revenues for government wherever a restaurant opened up, the company he founded did a lot of charitable work. During my time at CKE, I saw how the charitable work Carl undertook expanded thanks to the leadership of its CEO and the management team.
We supported Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Gang Youth Reduction Initiative by delivering delicious burgers to youth and providing scholarships. And, we continued that work with Mayor Eric Garcetti. I always enjoyed watching the smiling faces as our Star Diner would pull up to feed students. We also supported the Dream Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation, to name a few others.
This is a reminder that owners can do a lot of good for their communities if their businesses do well. So, it’s important to ensure that government leaders understand the importance of working jointly to create policies that drive job and economic growth. A business, like an individual, can always do more if there’s more money in the bank.
The entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and competition that drive businesses is something we should champion because we create a better society that way.
This past weekend, for example, I spent some time at the LA Auto Show and reflected on how far the automobile has come. While we do not see flying cars yet, there’s plenty of technology to enhance our driving. Carmakers like Toyota, Ford, Jeep, Volvo, Nissan and others are using innovation to make our driving more fun and keep us safe. As an avid driver and a consumer, I applaud this.
Increasingly, many cars feature a lot of the same features and technology. As a consumer, it may be harder to settle on one specific model given all the bells and whistles. But, before you get ready to drive off the lot, give some thought to the corporate citizenship that carmaker embraces.
Today, we want to feel like we’re making a difference not just in our everyday lives but also through purchases. In my opinion, a consumer should support good companies like they you would support policies that make their lives better.
Any company that is putting consumers in the driver’s seat for a great ride and is also making important contributions to our communities should be rewarded with higher revenues. That’s good for them and it’s good for us.