Entrepreneurs of Faith
In previous posts, we’ve mentioned health and wellness company Melaleuca as a business with Christian values. The main reason Melaleuca is the way it is has to do with the personal beliefs of its founder and CEO Frank VanderSloot.
VanderSloot grew up in a poor family that placed a great deal of importance on the Christian principles of faith and work. He attended two private schools owned and operated by a religious institution—the LDS Church—and is a practicing Mormon today.
Organizations are often shaped by their leaders’ religious or spiritual beliefs. At Melaleuca, a private company, prayers are said, Christmas is celebrated, and nobody works on Sundays. Family is a priority there, and employees are encouraged to put their families first.
Frank VanderSloot is just one example of an entrepreneur who is guided by his faith. Here’s a look at a few others:
• Indra Nooyi is a native of India and a devout Hindu. Nooyi is the CEO of PepsiCo, the world’s second largest food and beverage company. Because of her adherence to Hinduism, she does not drink alcohol. She is also a vegetarian. She has a statue of the Hindu deity Ganesha on her desk at work, and she has said that her faith helps her tackle the stress of office life.
• Donnie Smith, the CEO of Tyson Foods, Inc., grew up in a Christian family—specifically Southern Baptist. He not only attends church on Sundays, he also leads a Bible class. Smith has said that his faith influences everything he does, including the important business decisions he must make at Tyson. He describes his company as “faith-friendly,” and in the past 15 years, Tyson has hired over 100 chaplains to counsel, support, and encourage employees on the job.
• Pierre Omidyar is the founder of eBay and a practicing Buddhist. He is a follower of the Dalai Lama and has a foundation to help spread the religious leader’s message and cause. He is also an outspoken advocate of peace—a key tenet of his faith.