The Curious Capitalist – Grand Canyon University (Conscious Capitalism Arizona)

Join us for this fascinating episode of The Curious Capitalist where we meet Provost, Dr Randy Gibb from the Grand Canyon University and find out more about their journey and their emphasis on ‘Business for Good’.

Hosting the episode is Amanda Cosme-Reddie the VP of Community Operations for Conscious Capitalism Arizona who is also a GCU Alumni.

Dr Randy Gibb LinkedIn

Amanda Cosme-Reddie LinkedIn

Conscious Business Collaborative

Conscious Capitalism Arizona

Red Rock Branding


Claire: Welcome to the latest installment of The Curious Capitalist. Brought to you by the Conscious Business Collaborative Board in Connecticut. The Curious Capitalist is a series of podcasts where we take the opportunity to speak with a wide range of guests, including board members, business owners, and startups.

Claire: Our purpose is to engage, educate, and inspire business leaders. At all stages in their careers to think and work more collaboratively and sustainably. Please subscribe to this podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from. Welcome along to the latest episode of the curious capitalist brought to you by the conscious business collaborative or the CBC.

Claire: On this episode, we head out. We're going to be speaking to Dr. Randy Gibb from the Grand Canyon University with Amanda Reddie, the VP of Community [00:01:00] Operations for Conscious Capitalism Arizona, firing the questions. So guys, welcome along to the Curious Capitalist podcast. Without further ado, Amanda. It's over to you.

Amanda: Thank you so much, Claire. It is a pleasure to be here with both of you, but especially you, Dr. Gibb. As you know, I'm a GCU alumni myself, and it's full circle for me to be joining this conversation with you. I do understand that you lead the College of Business at Grand Canyon University, and the questions we're going to go through today are Around the work that you all are doing at Grand Canyon University.

Amanda: So let's start by if you could provide an overview of your personal philosophy on conscious capitalism and how it has influenced your approach to business and leadership. Well, thank

Dr Randy Gibb: you for having me on. Here we are in sunny Phoenix, Arizona on a Friday morning. Just to clarify from 2014 to [00:02:00] 2022, I was Dean of the Colangelo, Jerry Colangelo College of Business.

Dr Randy Gibb: I'm now the provost. We've hired John Katis to take over as Dean of the College of Business. And then Allison Mason is the senior associate dean. So the two of them are now leading the college, but certainly in my new role, I'm still all in to what we've started in the college of business. And even more so as, as the provost, I feel like we can even influence more and.

Dr Randy Gibb: Further promote the principles of the free market system and conscious capitalism, you know, around higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, developing a conscious culture. And of course, conscious leadership that we've kind of put our own spin on it and call it servant leadership, which many people are familiar with.

Dr Randy Gibb: Yeah. So our university, Grand Canyon University is we're a private Christian university and we're also an. That would be a whole nother discussion, but we're the other half of kind of how we approach from faith and free [00:03:00] markets is, uh, free market concepts and principles of, uh, really right. Love the phrase business is a force for good, helping people create and capture value by solving problems for society at scale.

Dr Randy Gibb: That's what business can do. And so we're really excited to share some of our thoughts and our journey here at Grand Canyon.

Amanda: I love that and I truly resonate with the servant leadership aspect and how that brings it all together. I've told you before that, you know, GCU inspired me to really recognize and appreciate the servant leadership qualities that I have.

Amanda: And that's, you know, me throughout my courses and my educational journey at GCU. So I am proof, if anything, of the work that you all are doing there. As we proceed, I'm interested to dig a little deeper. How has conscious capitalism shaped your career trajectory, especially in roles as the provost and [00:04:00] chief academic officer?

Dr Randy Gibb: That would be more so on. The serving leadership aspect, right, is, is being humble, understanding your role as a steward, that an organization has been around long before me, it'll be around long after me. It's just my time. I'm charged to serve others and, and be a good steward, look under rocks, try and solve problem, create a culture of.

Dr Randy Gibb: Of healing another kind of conscious capitalism phrase that a book out of Raja Sodhi. I just love what he, his approach and his way to just articulate because people can be blessed within the organization they work as well as having this higher purpose serving others. But if we can all become the best versions of ourself by working for an organization, So let's say that, you know, the three of us can become better by working together also as we serve others.

Dr Randy Gibb: I mean, that's what every organization I would think would [00:05:00] strive towards. So that kind of mentality of how to become this healing organization, how to take care of others. In education, we truly have a higher purpose. We're not a business per se, right? But as a non profit university, we want to still promote the ideals of having a higher purpose, taking care of all of our stakeholders.

Dr Randy Gibb: Our president of the university, President Brian Mueller, talks about conscious capitalism. So we have leadership from the top supporting the principles of free markets. We're constantly trying to solve gaps. For society help adult learners, the 18 to 24-year-old, younger adult learner. So that is our approach in everything that we do.

Dr Randy Gibb: My first month on the job in 2014 as Dean of the College of Business, we bought a hotel. So then we started a hospitality program and companies would reach out to us and say, Hey, we'll manage that hotel for you. And I was like, well, thanks, but no thanks. We'll figure it out ourselves. [00:06:00] We're not going to split revenue with somebody else.

Dr Randy Gibb: We're going to generate the revenue, have our students learn how to run a hotel, learn hospitality management, and then we're going to keep that revenue here at the university. And that's one of many ways we've been entrepreneurial to not raise tuition in 16 years. Awesome. That's incredible. I

Claire: was

Amanda: just about to say, what a great example of driving business as a force for good.

Amanda: Like that is the, that is the perfect example. So thank you for sharing. And I know you brought up Raj Sasodhi as well. I'm also a huge fan. I know you. We know a lot of, uh, key influencers. You, you and I have talked about, you know, the Ted talk from Rick Warren emphasizing on one's gifts to make the world a better place.

Amanda: How do you see the principles of conscious capitalism aligning with this concept?

Dr Randy Gibb: It's kind of what I alluded to before is you've got a number of books that have been written. You've got speakers [00:07:00] all over. And so we've just tried to take the principles and fit it to who we are as a university. And when I speak to business leaders all over the Phoenix Valley, we're the fifth largest metropolitan area in the country.

Dr Randy Gibb: So we're blessed to be here and have this access to business leaders and jobs, internships, hiring pathways for our students. You know, I challenged them to say, you have to live out your values as a company. If you want to hire these amazing young men and women, you, they're looking for companies with value alignment.

Dr Randy Gibb: They're looking for companies that just don't have a slogan on the wall. They're living that out. So if you talk about community service, a good portion of this stakeholder orientation, stakeholder alignment is if, if you're supporting this cause that. It's your mission. Then by God, let's make sure we're doing that.

Dr Randy Gibb: And if you are, you're going to attract these young men and women who are passionate about, they want, of course, you know, let's say be accountants, be finance experts, get their CFP, their, their SIE exam, their [00:08:00] series seven. But you know, if they're going to work for one of these financial management firms, they also want to be part of a culture that respects and understands what they want to do and they want it.

Dr Randy Gibb: pay it forward in a sense to society.

Amanda: Absolutely. And you know, I, I think that that is a great segue to actually into. Understanding a little bit more about the educational piece that GCU plays here within conscious capitalism. We've talked a lot about Raj Tassodia and other leaders and, and to your point, you know, the developments you all have had, but I'm curious even more to dig into the challenges.

Amanda: So what challenges have you encountered in championing conscious capitalism within the academic and business environments and how have you overcome them? Right.

Dr Randy Gibb: Great question because I've been speaking with a number of educators and a number of business people. Again, we're lucky and blessed because our president, Mr.

Dr Randy Gibb: Jerry Colangelo, who puts his name on our Colangelo College of Business, my role now is the [00:09:00] provost. We have total support of teaching business. It's just good business is all we're promoting is guess what? You can make more money if you live out your purpose. You know, no one is an entrepreneur says, I want to make money.

Dr Randy Gibb: No, you want to solve a problem. You want to provide a good, a service, a product for society. And the better you do that. The more money you will make. And then as an entrepreneur, it's your decision how to reinvest that money. And we trust our entrepreneurs to write who took the risk. And if they want to invest more in their, their product, they can, if they want to, you know, the R and D aspect, well, they also might have a personal passion and an interest to serve society.

Dr Randy Gibb: Maybe there's a local public school down the street that they want to support that school because it's part of their neighborhood. What is it? Mark Benioff at Salesforce said, you know, how can we be successful in a neighborhood that's unsuccessful? We need to have everybody come up together. So what we've been able to [00:10:00] do is get support from our faculty.

Dr Randy Gibb: And then we, we meet in the middle. So we have organic support of our faculty and this whole university wants to wrap their arms around this kind of approach to education. We're even trying to integrate free market principles in every college across the university. So an engineer just doesn't be creative.

Dr Randy Gibb: An engineer should solve a problem and use their creativity. And then how would, you know, we have a great pre med programs. We have 26, 000 students here on our campus in Phoenix, Arizona at the undergrad level. And so we want to make sure that a A pre med major, a pre vet, a pre health, a pre dentist has some business principles so that when they start their practice, they can lead a successful practice.

Dr Randy Gibb: They don't want to just be an expert doctor, dentist, veteran, but they also want to run that successful business. But I want to give some props to Scott McIntosh, who's led the Arizona. Conscious capital's movement for, for years and years. He's finally stepping back now on like the third time he's tried to retire, [00:11:00] but the team here in Arizona has always been very supportive of, we want business, but we also need education and we've done a number of efforts to promote.

Dr Randy Gibb: Colleges working together and have conscious capitalism pitch competitions. We were very lucky in 2015 early on to have Rasha Sodia come to campus. He spoke over at ASU. He spoke here on campus. We had faculty come, ask questions, learn how to integrate the curriculum. So a number of events early on. To really generate the momentum of cow, there's, there's Raj himself speaking.

Dr Randy Gibb: And then more recently we had Bob Chapman come and talk about everybody matters and culture of caring and the, the privilege of leading somebody else, leading people on your team. And so that goes back to the. Healing organization, love and care for the people that you're in charged and responsible for as leaders.

Dr Randy Gibb: And then that event was all, sorry, I'm covering a lot. Um, we have so much great content to share. And then that event was paired with [00:12:00] our good friend, Nathan Havey, who had beyond zero, and we had a movie premiere of 2000 people and beyond zero is about leadership, culture, change, technology, sustainability, how can a publicly traded company make this kind of investment?

Dr Randy Gibb: It's a phenomenal business case study. And so as educators, that's what we'd like to have more of are these business case studies to bring it to life, to students. No, I

Amanda: love, I absolutely love your passion for what you do. And, you know, I think it speaks volumes when you have so many different stakeholders that are on board and involved and want to collaborate with you to make this happen, right?

Amanda: Because that is how we serve the greater good, essentially. And, you know, you brought up Nathan Havey. I. I have to, you know, ask because I listened to that podcast, the 10 things you should know about stakeholder capitalism podcasts with him and Amanda Roman specifically regarding bags fly free Southwest.

Amanda: Do you want to speak [00:13:00] on that a little bit? Yeah,

Dr Randy Gibb: there's 10 different series. They're like 22 minutes each. They're very well produced. It's just that's right about a time on a podcast. Hopefully we stay that right time on this podcast. But yeah, Blake's bags fly free is one because everyone's familiar with Southwest Airlines and that's their whole campaign.

Dr Randy Gibb: And they were told you'll make more money if you charge for bags. That's what the whole industry is doing. And Southwest stayed true to their stakeholder orientation and they're like, no, let's do it. Treat our customers this way, our flyers, and over time we'll gain more that way than by charging them and it panned out.

Dr Randy Gibb: So, you know, sticking to the principles of their stakeholders, plus the, you know, they did their own data assessments and push back on what the trend was. And so it's just, it's just a great story of using those principles of conscious

Amanda: capitalism. Yes. That's great. Great story. And I know one faculty.

Amanda: Question [00:14:00] conscious capitalism thought it was just good business and, and they were right, you know, however, a new narrative is needed and framing free market capitalization in the right way, given some of the aspects of society pushing back against it is going to be really important. And so I want to dive more into this free markets perspective with you.

Amanda: Tell us the ways you're promoting the free market system within GCU and its impact on future plans for Students, faculty, and the wider community.

Dr Randy Gibb: Yeah, it just goes back to, I think, kind of what I was alluded to before that we need to solve where are the gaps. What are the gaps in society that we can help?

Dr Randy Gibb: So our approach in everything we do is we're trying to meet the students where they are. We don't say, I mean, we're a startup university in many ways. Grand Canyon University has been around for 75 years, but really the last 15 is where we've really exploded with our growth by serving students. So we put the [00:15:00] student first and then what are their needs?

Dr Randy Gibb: We could say, this is who we are. If you like it, come to our campus. Well, that's not what today is. It's a multimodality world. We need to meet. There's more adult learners trying to get their college degree than there are. Lovable 18 year olds out of high school. We have an enrollment cliff happening of, you know, fewer people were born 18 years ago.

Dr Randy Gibb: So that means fewer will go to college and sadly fewer graduating high school want to go to college. So, you know, this trend is only going to more so be highlighted with more adult learners. Well, adult learners have a family, have a job. So how can we fit education around them? So the thinking is how do we solve problems for other people and meet them where they're at?

Dr Randy Gibb: So that's that free market perspective of everything we do, led by our, our president, Brian Mueller. And the other clever ways that, you know, we start our own coffee company on campus. So the money stays here. We, we, we, we, we, we, we, we, we. Partner with [00:16:00] other areas that it's just, it's a unique approach to, to a university in all that we do.

Dr Randy Gibb: We, we, we help the local golf course. And so now it's not a city led golf course. It's people who work at the golf course. are now part of the university. So they have educational benefits for their children to come with free education at the university. We have a five point plan where we pour into our neighborhoods, Habitat for Humanity.

Dr Randy Gibb: We started a K 12 tutoring system. So we're focused on the university, but our stakeholder orientation is to our immediate neighborhoods. So rising all boats with, with our efforts with high tide kind of

Claire: concepts. I love the examples you give. You're doing it. and delivering it on campus with these students and changing the world.

Claire: I love it. I absolutely love hearing it. It's inspiring.

Dr Randy Gibb: Thank you, Claire. The joke is we don't do think tanks. We have do tanks. We do things. And, and again, I, not to get, you know, on, on as a Christian [00:17:00] university part, but people just want to live out their faith by serving others. So it's not about What people say or what people think it's, what are we doing?

Dr Randy Gibb: And so we're very action oriented in that sense.

Amanda: Love that. Love that. I also love the, the community part of it, right? Like outside of just the school, the students, right? The faculty it's, it's about the community. And then that is where you're making a huge difference when you reach a broader audience and your local community, I'm sure feel that from you all.

Amanda: So that's awesome. And I think even when you were talking about the correlation between life expectancy and income, you know, that's illustrated well, even through Rosling's data analysis of the free market and how that contributes to the development and wellbeing of societies. So a lot of very great information, as Claire said, this is the act of doing versus just saying what you all want to achieve, is there anything that you [00:18:00] believe will work?

Amanda: You want to touch on regarding the free markets and your future plans and visions that, you know, maybe we haven't covered just yet.

Dr Randy Gibb: Well, I want to make sure if we have listeners, I want to make sure they, they understand your reference because it's, it's a four minute video by Hans Rosling, who sadly the world lost an amazing.

Dr Randy Gibb: Human being when he passed away, but it's, it's four minutes of healthy and wealthy. And he goes through 200 years of history and it's just using data and visualization to show how free markets, international trade cooperation can help. You know, increase the standard of living and then people can live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Dr Randy Gibb: It's just a great video that, that he has. And if I'm correct, I think his son is continuing that legacy with data visualizations. In 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the CEO summit for conscious [00:19:00] capitalism in Austin, Texas. So one time I went. And John Mackey presented and spoke and he, he said, just had a great phrase.

Dr Randy Gibb: It's the issue is not an unequal distribution of wealth in our world. It's an unequal distribution of economic freedom. And the principles of economic freedom are around rule of law. You know, I have the right to start a business and fail. That's an amazing right. And that's what we want to keep in terms of free market.

Dr Randy Gibb: Principles is this whole ideals of entrepreneurship. Let's give it a go and let's not make it so difficult to start a business. Let's get out of a entrepreneur's way. And they need to follow rules, process regulation, of course, but let's not make it so burdensome that, that young, or it doesn't matter. I'm sorry.

Dr Randy Gibb: I shouldn't even say there's 50, 60, 70, whoever that person is. To let them. Help solve a problem in the world needs competition. You know, I always ask students, you know, what's the point [00:20:00] of, of an iPhone? And do they make a lot of money? Yeah. But because. They provide a service, communication. I could take a picture of us right now, send it to my friends anywhere in the world and it's communication, it's entertainment, it's, it's, and the better they do that, they will make more money, but then they have to reinvest it because of free markets competition.

Dr Randy Gibb: You know what, what happened to the Blackberry, right? They dominated the market, then they lost the market. So that's, that's what I love. And that's what we promote here is free markets and competitions.

Amanda: I love that. Thank you so much for expanding and you sent you through it out there. I'm going to just promote it as well, but there is a 2024 CEO summit coming up by the conscious capitalism organization.

Amanda: It's actually happening October. 22nd through the 24th in Austin, Texas. So if anyone does want to check out the summits of this amazing organization of conscious capitalism, I highly [00:21:00] recommend it. I'll be looking to make it myself and maybe you'll be there as well. Dr. Gibb, who knows? I know you're a busy person.

Amanda: So as we wrap up here, you've given us a lot of great nuggets to work with, but you know, I want to make sure we, we have. At least a few key takeaways that you believe the audience should consider after hearing today's podcast session. I

Dr Randy Gibb: would encourage business owners, founders, CEOs, anybody in business to reach out to your local high school or university college, you know, wherever on the K 12 higher ed spectrum.

Dr Randy Gibb: And if you could, Get on campus and just share your business case study story of what you've learned. And when it comes round to what is the purpose of your company, that, you know, making money is not a bad thing. There's no charity without prosperity. All the nonprofits in the world that we love fundraise.

Dr Randy Gibb: Well, who do they fundraise [00:22:00] from? People who've generated in profit has a bad name. How about. Surplus or even better abundance. If you've created an abundance, then you have that right to pay it forward and share it with others as you deem, as you. You know, prefer based on your own personal passion, or maybe your whole team wants to, uh, embrace veterans or first responders.

Dr Randy Gibb: What, what a great thing. And so go for it. You've earned that rate, right? Because you've generated that abundance. So just get involved. I mean, we'll never turn anybody away who wants to come into a classroom and share their, their challenges, their story, their business, professional story, their business model, what worked, what didn't work.

Dr Randy Gibb: And the other thing I'll, I'll, Just share is that there's just great content out there that free to choose is a website. There's a video on, on Adam Smith on morality and markets. The pursuit by Arthur Brooks is a phenomenal documentary film that he put [00:23:00] together. Of course, Raja Sodhi as Ted talks. We've got Bob Chapman with everybody matters as I think it's a 37 minute documentary on his book.

Dr Randy Gibb: If you don't want to read the book, Do that. You already mentioned the podcast by Nathan Haby, Beyond Zero. There's great content out there to integrate at the high school level or the university level to continue the story that, that, yeah, business solves problems for the world. We need our government, but business helps in such a significant way, the creativity, the innovation, and that, right, that the line is business can be a force for good.

Dr Randy Gibb: And that's, I think that's what we're all about here.

Amanda: I love that you didn't just give us, uh, takeaways, but you gave us call to actions, and that's more powerful than summarizing, you know, the information that you've shared with us today, and it ties back to what you mentioned about, you know, we're doing this, we're not just saying this, we're doing this, and so you're, you know, Encouraging our audience to, to do the same drive [00:24:00] business as a force for good.

Amanda: Now you have some key takeaways and a call to action for how you can serve your, whether it's at a university, at your community, at your employer, you know, earlier in our conversation, I told you GCU has inspired me myself, right. After getting my master's and, and leadership with you all. And. Ever since I've been on a variety of professional and philanthropic endeavors that are in line with servant leadership and the work that you all are doing at GCU.

Amanda: I think a great example of that outside of, you know, Conscious Capitalism Arizona is I serve as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Jopwell, where we're advancing careers for Black, Latinx, Native American students and professionals. So we have all, all underrepresented communities that need support too.

Amanda: And, and it goes beyond the profit. It goes beyond, you know, hiring these folks. It's how do we retain them? How do we create [00:25:00] inclusive environments? And so I want to thank you, Dr. Gibb, not only for this session, but the gift that you have given to me, to this university and greatly appreciate your time today.

Amanda: I know you and I will connect more after, but. This has been a great session and, and Claire, thank you for your support as well, and helping us put this together. I wish you both nothing but the best and look forward to seeing more action from GCU and in the coming year.

Dr Randy Gibb: Yeah. Well, thank you. And thanks for hosting and Claire.

Dr Randy Gibb: Great to meet you. Appreciate what you do.

Claire: Well, an absolute inspiration. Truly. Thank you so much. And thank you for, uh. Not having a think tank, but a do it tank. That for me is my takeaway above all else. Do it incredible conversation. Thank you so, so much for your time today and being a part of the curious capitalist.

Amanda: My pleasure. Thank you.

Claire: Thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode of The Curious Capitalist. [00:26:00] If you'd like to find out more about the CBC, the Conscious Leaders Network, or even join us, visit the website, consciousbusinesscollaborative. org. That's consciousbusinesscollaborative. org. If you have enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share this podcast today.

Claire: This podcast was created and produced by Red Rock Branding,

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