On October 18, the Acton Institute held the first Business Matters event, a one-day conference that brought together entrepreneurs and business leaders to explore the moral good that business does.
President and co-founder of the Acton Institute, Rev. Robert Sirico, gave the opening remarks, stating that in order to understand how people ought to conduct themselves in business, we should first seek to understand who the human person is, being made in the image of God and entrusted with a mandate. “He who has given us the talents to make the world better expects us to be intelligent, industrious and generous with those talents,” said Rev. Sirico. Through panel discussions, interviews and a luncheon lecture, topics such as the theological underpinnings of work, the role of the entrepreneur and innovation in business were explored.
The conference consisted of three panel discussions and a lunch presentation, with guests such as Phil Sotok, founder and president of DPMC North America, John C. Kennedy III, president and CEO of Autocam Medical and James Meeks, founder of MOVE Systems. “Work is one area where we can express our purpose,” explained Sotok. “When we go back to the beginning and ask ourselves who we are and what we were meant to do, it becomes about how we live our lives, and work is one part of it. It’s about the whole picture.”
During the conference, an episode of Acton’s short film series “The Good Society” premiered, which explores how the stationery and lifestyle brand, Rifle Paper Co., first began through creativity and innovation. Afterwards, the co-founder of Rifle, Nathan Bond, spoke with Acton research fellow and producer of the documentary film Poverty, Inc., Michael Matheson Miller, about entrepreneurship and leadership in business. “If an entrepreneur creates something in a better way than what’s been created before, people notice. Then it ups everybody’s game and it sharpens everybody,” said Bond. “An entrepreneur creates value for other people. And that’s a crucial part of being an entrepreneur.”