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Leading for the Common Good

Posted: November 23, 2016

Developing strong character is the first step to becoming a social entrepreneur — a leader of enterprises devoted to the common good — advises Bill Brock of Straub Brewery.
Bill Brock of Straub Brewery speaks to students about social entrepreneurship Nov. 14 during GE Week Penn State.

Bill Brock of Straub Brewery speaks to students about social entrepreneurship Nov. 14 during GE Week Penn State.

Often, when there is a funeral in the small town of St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, the Straub Brewery sends two cases of beer over to the family home.

When a Straub employee brings an idea that benefits the community to Bill Brock, the fifth-generation leader of Straub — based in St. Mary’s — the answer is always yes, as long as the company can afford it.

Brock spoke about social entrepreneurship during a keynote address at Global Entrepreneurship Week Penn State in mid-November.

“Where some people like to make a lot of money,” said Brock, “some people like doing a lot of good. Some people do both and I think that’s possible.”

Watch the video of Brock's Nov. 14 talk.

zoom 0 from Lisa Duchene on Vimeo.

 

Students interested in enterprises to benefit the common good would be wise to study the traits of quality character. Social entrepreneurs must have honor, determination, an ability to forgive and generosity.

Studying those characteristics is the first step to successful social entrepreneurship, said Brock.

Social entrepreneurs should be self-managed and work is not measured by the clock, but rather is finished when problems are solved, said Brock. It takes weekends and it takes holidays.

He told his own story of serving in Alaska with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and then joining the family business.

The company is known for its generosity. It could make more money, for example by automating a lot of its production and lay off many employees — but it chooses instead to take care of employees and be profitable.