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An Open Letter to Larry Fink

Dearest Larry,

I’ll open with a sincere thank you. Thank You. One more time. Thank You.

Bernie Geiss, our founder, excitedly sent the Washington Post article about your annual letter to CEO’s to our team on Tuesday evening. It was the first email I opened on Wednesday morning before my customary workout. It was like Christmas and my birthday and a cold glass of water after a long, hot journey. I didn’t need Kanye or Kendrick to get me moving – it was you, Larry Fink, that had me running hard.

We know business has to pick up the slack and right this big ship. Business can move faster than both the government and non-profit sectors. Entrepreneurs are nimble creators capable of solving any problem. That’s precisely the reason Cove Continuity Advisors has opened an Impact Planning Division. We guide entrepreneurs as they identify their unifying purpose and use their businesses to solve complex problems. We help companies lead the charge and design a better world.

We know that we must do something to ensure the continuity of our way of life as we move into an uncertain future. Things are serious; between climate change, economic inequality, global conflict and the erosion of trust in our institutions, business needs to step up and lead.  Many people and organizations have been walking this walk for decades and I quietly thank those trailblazers every day. But it changes everything when the 6.3 trillion-dollar-man writes a letter calling upon CEOs to act for the good of the many rather than returns for a few.

Saving the world is about redefining value and that doesn’t happen by accident. We need to accelerate triple bottom line value creation and we need to do it now. That’s why your letter was like water in the desert. Everyone knows something has to change but they are waiting for someone else to lead. They want someone else to jump in the water and make sure it’s safe. They are waiting for someone to give them permission to manage their companies from a purposeful place. You just released the hounds, Larry. You just changed the game.

Your letter touched on so many important elements of triple bottom line business. You wrote about diversity in decision making, moving beyond the quarterly business cycle, expanded stakeholder engagement, long-term planning, investment stewardship and corporate strategic transparency. If I can offer one small criticism of your letter… all this amazing content but you forgot one crucial aspect of the change we must be – the excitement of this moment. There has never been a moment such as this when everything was hanging in the balance. It is frightening and exhilarating and the kind of moment when legacies are defined. Forget the railroad or the printing press – this is existential and everyone can feel it. In 100 years, your great-great-great-grandchildren are going to talk about Larry and how he changed everything.

The writing has been on the wall for years. We are headed in the wrong direction and people can feel it. Larry, your profile and the clarity of your letter is a game changer. You just said that thing that many CEOs have been thinking. You just shined a big, bright BlackRock spotlight in the sky. The Bat signal, Larry. Things just got real – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer real. 6.3 trillion dollars under management real. BlackRock real.  

Well played, Larry. Well Played.

Sincerely,

Kristy O’Leary

Director of Impact

Cove Continuity Advisors

 

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