Billionaire Heiress: Doing Good is Good Business
Imagine you're a billionaire heiress. You're the daughter of a well-known Israeli businessman who made his fortune building an internationally successful cruise line, and now you not only have a major stake in that cruise line, but also a large bank, and an infrastructure company. You are rich and busy. It would be easy to get caught up in the pursuit of growth, achievement, or wealth, to the exclusion of helping others. But you don't get caught up in that, and you don't see those things as mutually exclusive.
Shari Arison is that billionaire heiress; in fact, according to Forbes, she is the richest woman in the Middle East. There's no doubt that Arison is doing well, but more importantly she is doing good. She is the owner of several philanthropic organizations and strives each day to make the world a better place. Her mantra is: "Doing good is good business." She says: “I don’t know why people think that 'doing good' and 'good business' are separate and distinct. Doing good business—being ethical, being transparent, being caring, implementing values in your business—makes a difference, and you make money at the same time."
How has Shari Arison put that mantra into practice? She has invested in an environmentally friendly shopping mall; started a company that maximizes the efficiency of large urban water systems; helped guide the Ted Arison Family Foundation—which each year contributes to hundreds of nonprofits involved in health, education, disabilities, and research; wrote a book, and launched an international Good Deeds Day to advocate for community service. That special day, celebrated every March 9 for seven years now, has grown to include more than 250,000 "good deed doers" in more than 50 countries across the globe.
Of course, Shari is not the only person who has realized that doing good in the world is both mutually beneficial and mutually dependent. Many have discovered that service is something that becomes much easier when done with other people, and we cannot help but feel better when doing it. Our Mom It Forward community includes women such as Robin Smalley, Stacey Pearson, Jessica Burns, and so many more who strive and succeed at making a difference. We all have different areas of influence and opportunities to serve, and one is not necessarily better than the other. Shari recognizes that her circumstances are unique, yet knows that her responsibility to serve is great.
"If we want to see positive change in the world, then we need to connect to good," says Arison.
The desire to do good is in all of us; we just have to clear out whatever baggage that prevents us from acting on that desire. Not only that, but we need to realize that goodness is already out there, in the form of sites like RandomActsOfKindness.org and nonprofits for almost every need under the sun. We don't have to re-invent the wheel, we just have to connect with what's already there.