The Blanford Files: Business as a Vocation

blanfordFrom a regional coffee company to a major international player, Green Mountain Coffee has erupted into the global marketplace thanks to its past president and CEO, Larry Blanford. A lifelong Catholic, Blanford recently visited Benedictine College and spoke to the Gregorian Fellows about his leadership experience and business advice. Here are our top quotes from his talk:

1.  “Professionally, I am thankful for my Midwestern roots, Catholic education, upbringing and early career development. They are the core of any success I have had or will have in the future.”

2.  “My first important message here today is: When conducted by skilled and well-formed people, people from Benedictine, business is truly a vocation. Business contributes to God’s work of creation.”

3. “When you are using your talents to let other use their holiness, you are becoming a saint, which as Matthew Kelly says is just stacking up moments of holiness. You have that opportunity in business every day, perhaps every few minutes.”

4.  “Catholic Social Thought has a lot on business, often referencing the encyclical Rerum Novarum … Another encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno … calls for reconstruction of society based on the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.”

5.  “Communism fell because of its totalitarian nature and its neglect of the soul.”

6.  “The power of productivity and improved productivity through efficiency … or innovation … is the best way to improve the standard of living.”

7.  “Business is a vocation centered in Christ.”CatholicLeadersLogo

8.  “God is the ultimate creator, and man is a creature composed of body and soul made in the image and likeness of God. So it is natural we have a calling to create as he did. …  When practiced as God intends, business is a hugely creative process with far-reaching positive impact. Business can lift people – and the world – out of poverty.”

9.  “Many young people think that you have to check your faith at the door in the workplace. Not true. While you do not necessarily wear your faith on your sleeve, you draw on your faith in your interactions with every person.”

10.  “Business is about building economic prosperity and spiritual prosperity. Whenever your head and your heart are aligned, that is a very powerful position to be in.”

The Gregorian Institute is Benedictine College’s initiative to promote Catholic identity in public life by equipping leaders (the Gregorian speech digest), training leaders (the Gregorian Fellows), defending the faith (the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom), and celebrating Catholic identity (the Catholic Hall of Fame).

Eileen Wittig