Charley and David,
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to communicate with the Blue Mass Group community, and I look forward to doing so again in the near future. (I also want to commiserate over the Brigham’s closings, which imperil our access to Mocha Almond!) [This is a matter of grave concern, which Mr. Grossman and your editor David share. –ed.]
Regarding your follow-up question: As the head of a fourth-generation, 100-year old family business, a leader in many civic and charitable organizations, and a political activist, I have tried my best not only to speak out on issues that are consistent with my progressive values but to take concrete steps to implement them. I am running for Treasurer to continue that commitment.
As I told you regarding my endorsement of “Say on Pay” legislation to allow shareholders to take a stand against inflated corporate compensation packages, I believe that the Treasurer should take an activist stance on corporate governance issues. We have not been a leader on this front. Massachusetts’s pension funds have approximately $40 billion in investments, much of that in common stock. Massachusetts should be voting our shares in accordance with the values of the Commonwealth’s citizens.
The Treasurer does not have unlimited authority on such matters. As we discussed, laws and regulations impose stringent fiduciary obligations on pension fund managers to protect the value of the funds’ investments. But, within those constraints, I will give serious consideration to using the Commonwealth’s power as a shareholder to influence corporate attitudes on public policy. My strong belief is that socially responsible corporations are also sound investments.
It is worth noting that precisely because I felt that many business organizations did not speak for me or for Grossman Marketing Group, I joined with other like-minded business leaders in Massachusetts to found an organization to promote progressive values in the public arena.
As one example of those issues, the environment and global warming is of paramount importance to me. I am a strong supporter of measures to clean up the environment, create “green” jobs in Massachusetts, and promote sustainable business practices. I have matched my rhetoric with action: Grossman Marketing Group invests in renewable energy certificates to offset our carbon footprint and we promote the use of wind power in the production of our printed products. We are a member of the Environmental League of Massachusetts’s Corporate Council, and we won Boston Business Journal’s 2009 Green Business Award.
Businesses and trade associations that fail to embrace sound environmental policies will suffer the consequences – as witness the recent defections of high-profile members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over global warming.
Another high priority matter for me is promoting progressive workplace policies such as paid family leave. I have testified on Beacon Hill in support of expanding family leave. It has been a hallmark of the way we do business at Grossman Marketing: A union worker who suffered throat cancer received full pay during the six months he was receiving treatment and unable to work. Another colleague received four months paid leave while suffering from a brain aneurysm. And a third received four months leave while adopting two children.
Our workforce is vital to the success of our company. They are why we have been able to stay in business for 100 years. Allowing generous leave to ensure that we empower, support and retain experienced and dedicated employees is part of my values – and it’s also good business.
I hope that you and the members of the Blue Mass Group community will join with me in my campaign to bring progressive values to the office of State Treasurer in 2010.
Please share widely!