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The Business of Kindness

At The Business Download, we are dedicated to sharing real stories of companies, communities, and humans doing real things to make the world a better place — through innovations and pragmatic solutions that bring us together around a stronger economy and a more sustainable life. The work of building better companies, leaders, communities, and ultimately a better world is the work of love, regardless of whether you’re leading a Fortune 500 company in Detroit or a distillery in Denver. Kindness is a part of the culture. It’s the way we get things done.

As our publisher, Conor Gaughan wrote in our founding letter: “At this moment there are so many stories to highlight, whether it’s the tireless work of those on the frontlines, the Main Street businesses that have taken action, or the everyday individuals who offer their neighbors a helping hand. It harkens back to the days of enjoying friends and neighbors of all sorts who challenged our preconceived notions, not just a social media feed that reinforced or validated our world view. We are reminded of our shared potential and promise.”

On World Kindness Day, we bring you thoughts from a few of the shining Americans we’ve had the honor of featuring on The Business Download. From the head of North America’s largest climate-tech incubator to a trucker delivering vital relief supplies, to a Marine on a solar-powered mission, these voices explore not only what kindness looks like, but they remind us that a world could and very well does exist, where kindness is not relegated to a hashtag, but rather is infused in every action we take, in each encounter we experience, together.

Climate optimist Emily Reichart at Greentown Labs HQ in Somerville, Massachusetts. Photo: W. Marc Bernsau

Emily Reichart 

CEO of Greentown Labs, North America’s largest climate tech startup incubator.

“Kindness to me is all about respecting, valuing, and appreciating each other’s perspectives. We all have unique experiences and have something unique to offer. I think a great sign of kindness is to encourage others to speak up and have their voices heard!”

Read about how Greentown Labs Taps Big Energy in Texas.

Diego Saez-Gil in his element. Photo courtesy of Pachama. 

Diego Saez-Gil

CEO of Pachama, harnessing AI to drive carbon capture and protect forests.

“We started Pachama from a sense of kindness to all living beings. Forests not only hold a solution to climate change, but they are the home of millions of species. Protecting the planet for future generations might be one of the biggest forms of kindness and it’s really rewarding for our team to work in this mission.”

Read about Pachama, one of Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund Recipients. 

Captain Kathrine Lukes conducts unit training for cold weather conditions at Camp Fuji, Japan. Photo: Kathrine Lukes

Kathrine Lukes

Operations Manager at Icarus RT, Marine Corps veteran, Hiring Our Heroes Solar Ready Vet Corporate Fellow. 

“Kindness, to me, is giving to others and expecting nothing in return, whether you’re giving your time, money, or company.”

Read about Marine Powered Solar Success: Captain Kathrine Lukes and how The Sun is Shining on Veterans in Solar.

Reverend Charles Utley prepares to address the community. Photo courtesy of Reverend Utley.

Reverend Charles Utley 

Associate Director of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, bringing communities together for renewable energy. 

“Kindness is an expression of what is in the heart of an individual; it shows that you have a genuine concern for others, and it opens the doors to greater opportunities to share. Kindness is the key that can create a foundation to build a relationship on that will last a lifetime.”

Read about how with the help of Reverend Charles Utley, Augusta, Georgia, Is Going Clean.

Shelli Conaway on the road in the wake of a hurricane. Photo courtesy of Shelli Conaway.

Shelli Conaway

Founder and CEO of Trucks with Room to Spare, delivering relief to victims of natural disasters. 

“Kindness to me is caring for others. We should care for and help others in need — seniors, children, and also disaster victims (a group I care about greatly). While we all may be having difficulties in our lives, there is always someone worse off than you who would love to have your problems. Smile and say hi to someone — it will make their day!”

Read about Truckers on the Frontlines of Recovery and how Trucks with Room to Spare CEO Shelli Conaway Delivers the Goods. 

The Mad Priest crew united in purpose. Top (L-R): Michael, Vinnie. Bottom (L-R): LV, Ben. Photo courtesy of Mad Priest Coffee.

Michael Rice

Owner of Mad Priest Coffee, providing displaced people with housing, opportunities for education, and a career path in coffee. 

“Kindness to me is simply the Golden Rule…Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And that includes practicing honesty and clear communication, which goes a long way. This photo is our roastery team, and we practice kindness with each other every day.”

Meet the Mad Priest of Coffee

Whitney Bembenick smiles just thinking about kindness. Photo courtesy of Endangered Species Chocolate

Whitney Bembenick

Director of Innovation at Endangered Species Chocolate, protecting wildlife with chocolate.  

“Kindness, to me, is sharing the light within you for the world to enjoy!”

Read about how Endangered Species Chocolate Helps Protect Wildlife.


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