Friends who are in business are invited to contact PYM’s general secretary, Christie Duncan-Tessmer, to receive information about Friends in Business events.
Integrating The Golden Rule into Business Practices
Joseph M. Evans, Jr. recently spoke on the topic of “Friends in Business” at Cropwell Meeting, in Marlton, NJ. Now retired, Evans was founder of Awbury Partners, L.P. a family investment partnership. He is also a co-founder of PYM’s “Friends in Business” – a network of Friends who want to reflect their values in their work.
Evans began with the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, when there were many large and successful companies owned by Quakers such as Roundtree Chocolate and Barclays Banking. Friends’ business practices were grounded in principles such as integrity, continuing revelation, truth, transparency, flexibility and an understanding that the sum of the parts is bigger than the whole. Incorporation of Friends’ beliefs – including “There is that of God in everyone” and The Golden Rule – into their business practices enhanced their relationships with employees, suppliers, and service providers. Maintaining trust between employees and management was especially important, facilitating innovation and quick responses to rapidly changing markets and technology. Friends’ practice of having one price for everyone, rather than forcing a customer to negotiate each purchase, increased consumer trust in Friends’ owned businesses as well.
Some attention was given to the PQ Corporation, which started as a shop in Philadelphia specializing in soap and candles. Evans, a former director, noted that when PQ Corporation was sold to another company seven generations later, it was a global provider of ingredients for various kinds of soap and other products. Along the way, PQ Corporation extended profit-sharing, pensions, and other benefits to its employees.
Across the years, it was easier to maintain Friends’ values when businesses were small enough that managers knew all the employees personally. As companies grow into large corporations with many employees in multiple locations, it can be harder to implement some of these practices.
Joe Evans’ presentation and a discussion session afterwards can be found on the SouthJerseyQuaker’s YouTube Channel. He was introduced by Earl Evens, clerk of Cropwell Meeting. Videographer was Carleton Crispin.
Submitted by Linda Lotz, with SouthJerseyQuakers. Previously, she was a board member with the national organization, Interfaith Worker Justice and interfaith coordinator for Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE, LA).