You are the company you keep

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO

Going back to my childhood, I recall my parents reading from an Aesop’s Fable that carried the moral: “you are known by the company you keep.” Many of you will remember that quote from your own formative years and of learning the importance of surrounding ourselves with persons of integrity.

In like manner, companies of all types also need to surround themselves with good company. Together we learn, support best practices and build sustainable communities. We recently learned that for the third year in a row, Goodwill Industries has again been named to Forbes “America’s 20 Most Inspiring Companies” list. On top of that, we have moved from 23rd (formerly a top 25 list) in 2012, to 19th in 2013, and are listed 11th in 2014. We are very proud that we have been recognized as one of our nation’s most inspiring organizations, and that once again we are the only not-for-profit charitable company that made the list.

As in the past, the list was based on survey results from Performance Inspired, Inc. The company collected 3,300 online questionnaires from respondents who were asked to imagine a fictitious inspirational company, write about its values, behaviors and attitudes, including how it would treat customers and the community. Then they had to name an inspirational real life company and describe how it measured up to the fictional company. Finally, survey-takers ranked how inspirational they thought the company was on a scale of one to 10.

To be listed again as one of America’s most inspiring companies is both humbling and gratifying. Most importantly, I believe that thanks to the amazing network of employees in Goodwill agencies across the U.S., Canada and around the world, consumers everywhere have come to understand that by donating and shopping at your local Goodwill store, you are investing in job opportunities and skills development training in our local communities.

This honor reaffirms our belief that people understand that by supporting their local Goodwill, the revenues we earn are invested locally and make a tremendous difference in the lives of people we serve; not charity, but a chance. Goodwill is able to fulfill our mission only because of you … the good company we keep.

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