Three Insights for Balancing Profit and Purpose with Tammira Philippe — Virtual Gathering Recap

On February 17, 2021, Tammira Philippe, President and CEO, and Tamla Wilson, Director of Institutional Relations, at Bridgeway Capital Management joined us to share how leaders at Bridgeway guide the company and how other conscious professionals can ensure profit for their businesses while simultaneously honing in on their Higher Purpose.

Referencing the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer survey as a key source of insights for conscious business leaders, Tammira offered her take on the importance of servant leadership, fostering a culture of stewardship, and maintaining unwavering company core values. Here are our three biggest takeaways from the conversation touching on how conscious businesses can strike a balance between profit and purpose.

1. Give back—and be transparent about where, how, and who you give to.

Bridgeway is founded in the practice of relational investing, a statistical, evidence-based investment approach motivated by a passion for servant leadership and global impact.

Bridgeway puts this practice into action by donating 50% of their earnings to organizations making a positive impact for humanity. Bridgeway is noticeably open about this fundamental part of their business and Tammira illuminates a crucial reason as to why transparency and consistency are so important: consumers, investors, and our communities, are paying more attention than ever.

Tammira said: “There’s huge interest, demand, [and] higher standards among investors for public companies, and private companies, to do a better job and also communicate better about what we’re doing on [DEI, ESG, and other social issues.]”

Touching on the Edelman survey, Tammira illuminates that a very large majority of stakeholders are looking to businesses to make a meaningful impact on the world: “What are people expecting of businesses? … 81% of the respondents in that survey said they expect that CEOs need to do a better job of communicating what their companies are doing to have a positive impact on stakeholders beyond making a profit. So, what is your company doing to benefit society?”

2. Determine how you can most meaningfully build trust among your team, clients, and community.

The Edelman survey was just recently released and Tammira repeatedly referenced the survey to drive her point that trust can make or break a business.

On the this year’s Edelman survey, Tammira explained, “They’re asking people globally, ‘Who do you trust the most?’ and they break down institutions into businesses, non-governmental organizations, and the media, and among those, business … is the most trusted at this moment in time.”

Because it’s so clear that stakeholders, internal and external, are looking to business as a source of credibility, it becomes especially important that conscious businesses are upholding high standards of integrity through their words and actions—and for good reason. Among the majority of respondents that stated they trust business the most of all major institutions, 52% of that majority still said that business can do more harm than good, according to Tammira, so she cautions that, “Clearly, we have some things we can do better and there’s some room for improvement.”

“Clearly, we have some things we can do better and there’s some room for improvement.”

Tammira prioritizes trust at Bridgeway by living up to the individualized formula she created for herself based on how she defines Conscious Leadership:

“I think about breaking down trust into: character—your heart has to be in the right place and you have to take action in line with that— … credibility or capability … and the third, communication. And that’s the area that I think applies comprehensively across all organizations and is so crucial to the Conscious Leadership element of the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism.”

Tammira recommends all conscious leaders build and live by their own formulas for building trust among their teams, clients, and communities.

3. Embrace a culture of stewardship.

Companies that prioritize stewardship have clearly defined values and they encourage and empower employees to embody those values to preserve the organizational culture.

At Bridgeway, Tammira pushes for stewardship, which creates a cycle where all can benefit and thrive:

“One of the ways that we think about stewardship at Bridgeway, we talk a lot more about stewardship than ownership and we really try to cultivate that. It’s having the passion and the discipline to care for an asset for the benefit of others. … The others, of course, are our clients, but for many of our people, the way that becomes very personal is that they see their family background in the clients that we serve, for example, and they also see that, because we’re striving for profit and purpose, if we do a great job for clients than those profits come to us and everyone at Bridgeway… so if we generate great outcomes for clients, then we earn more profits, and we share in those profits as individuals, and then the others that we’re stewarding these assets for, in addition to clients, are our families, our communities …” and the cycle continues.

To get the full conversation, watch the recording of this virtual gathering.

Our Virtual Gatherings are designed for business leaders, investors, and advocates who are looking to level-up their practice by learning from and connecting with Conscious Capitalists around the world.