ASI Keynote Speaker Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Says Business Is ‘The Greatest Value Creator In The World’

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey urged entrepreneurs at the ASI Dallas trade show to recast the media-driven narrative of business as greedy, selfish and exploitative and instead consider it “the greatest value creator in the world.”  Business has the power to create “win-win-win-win” propositions for leaders, employees, investors, communities and society as a whole, said the outspoken entrepreneurial capitalist, who co-founded a natural foods supermarket in 1980 and helped grow the Texas-based chain to a $16 billion enterprise with 450 locations worldwide.

“I think love is the most underrated quality in business in the 21st century,” said Mackey, 63, who was named one of the Top 50 CEOs in the world by Fortune magazine. Mackey champions “Conscious Capitalism and Conscious Leadership,” which calls on businesses to create good in the world. “Business,” he said, “has a great potential for a higher purpose.”

Mackey’s thoughtful, understated message resonated with the audience of over 150 at ASI Show® Dallas (#ASIdallas), hosted by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) based in Trevose, PA, the largest member organization in the $22.9 billion promotional products industry.

“The keynote this morning was beyond awesome,” said Tina Goss, of Studio Graphics Inc. (asi/338425). “It was great to hear someone talk about spirituality, loving people and the positive side of business, instead of the dog-eat-dog world. Now in my business, I’ll think differently about people, and instead of viewing them as a dollar sign, I will get to know them and make it a joint positive experience instead of just positive for me.”

ASI’s Dallas show took place in the country’s No. 1 region for promotional products, with Texas alone scoring $2.6 billion in sales in 2015 (the latest available figures). According to ASI, businesses and organizations across the South led the nation in money spent on promotional products, for a total of $7.8 billion.

The show featured 61 Texas-based companies, 40 women-owned companies and 57 minority-owned businesses. In addition, 15 companies chose Dallas to host large sales meetings.

The show attracted coverage by the Fox 4 TV news station in Dallas, with Emmy Award-winning Consumer Reporter Steve Noviello reporting on ASI and the industry’s hottest products. And a reporter from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dallas Morning News (circulation 271,900) spent two days on the show floor interviewing suppliers and distributors about creative products like custom socks, leather drink sleeves and T-shirts that come with writeable chalk boards.


Timothy M. Andrews, ASI president and chief executive officer, said he was encouraged by distributors’ willingness to learn the latest sales strategies and master new sales tools like ASI’s all-new ESP® platform, which includes the recently launched ESP CRM and Orders.

“A successful trade show experience boils down to a willingness to go outside your comfort zone, introduce yourself to new ideas and business contacts and make the most of your time on the show floor,” said Andrews. “There’s no better recipe for success than determination and an open mind.”  MORE INFO