MO100 Ranking — CEO Stories

While all of the CEOs recognized on the list have made incredible contributions to the impact ecosystem, we have chosen to highlight 10 that have particularly moving stories. Check them out below!

Amy King

The Impact of Listening to Your Employees

Amy King, CEO of Pallet Shelter, never set out to launch a company that’s attempting to tackle the nation’s homeless crisis. But her willingness to give workers with a history of justice system involvement a second chance—and to listen to the opinions of those employees—led to the transformation of her business goals and the lives of countless families who typically fall through the gaps between non-profit low-income housing and for-profit market-based housing.

Sadie Lincoln

Reimagining Fitness for the Better

In recent years, the health and wellness industry has blossomed into a $4.4 trillion-dollar industry globally, and the United States leads as the largest market for consumer-focused wellness spending. For many consumers, the trending concept of “wellness” is often centered on improving one’s outer appearance.

But Sadie Lincoln, co-founder and CEO of Barre3, has been working to flip that narrative on its head. The Barre3 fitness franchise is focused on teaching people to be balanced in body and empowered from within – shifting the longstanding focus of group exercise from how you look to how you feel.

Jeanne David

Leveling Up Health, Leadership, and Ambition

For Jeanne David, founder and CEO of Outer Aisle, it’s all about leveling up.

Early on in her family’s own personal health journey, David came across cauliflower pizza crust while looking for ways to replace empty carbs in her family’s diet and improve their blood sugar levels. In that pizza crust, she saw an opportunity to level up her own health — and the potential to revolutionize an industry.

Stuart Landesberg

Scaling the Growth to Scale Impact

Every operator in the impact space, if they’re successful, will confront a choice at some point in their evolution — whether to accept outside capital and potentially sacrifice control or remain independent and avoid any temptation that might undermine a social or environmental mission. Stuart Landesberg, the co-founder and CEO of Grove Collaborative, is proof these choices don’t have be mutually exclusive.

Phoebe Yu

Tell us about ettitude’s products and the company’s mission.

We make sustainable and high-quality bedding, bath, and apparel using our proprietary clean bamboo fabric. Compared to cotton, it saves 99% of water and 38% of carbon emissions, so it’s really sustainable. It’s also really high-quality. The fabric is very soft and breathable, which customers love! 

To convince more people to choose a sustainable product, I believe the product has to work first. And if it’s sustainable and at a great price point, why wouldn’t they choose it? To make a greater impact is, first and foremost, to have a better product.

David Bronner

Impact can take many forms. For some, it’s about providing support that empowers the base of the pyramid; for others, it can be about investing in earth-friendly solutions to mitigate or reverse climate change. It can even be as simple as creating a vehicle through which to deliver a message of unity and hope. For Dr. Bronner’s, the third-generation family-owned soapmaker, the company tackles each of these issues and several more. But their most pronounced impact is still in their message. It actually encapsulates the Dr. Bronner’s brand, conveying an authenticity that remains unmatched and is arguably more distinct in an era of greenwashing and highly polished ESG affirmations from Fortune 500 companies.

Joe Kenner

For Joseph Kenner, CEO of Greyston, our country’s troubling employment numbers say it all.

The United States has close to 11 million unfilled jobs, 5.9 million people unemployed, and millions more people who have left the labor force altogether. Meanwhile, a Harvard Business School study suggests that there are 27 million so-called ‘hidden workers’ – people who have been excluded from employment because of hiring practices. Contributing to these statistics are large numbers of people who face barriers to employment, including people experiencing homelessness, disconnected youth, and formerly incarcerated individuals. 

Steve McDougal

For Steve McDougal, CEO of 3Degrees, the seeds of his calling to take action on climate change were planted in the most unlikely of spots: the municipal recycling bins in his hometown of Evanston, Illinois. Back in the early 1970s, McDougal recalls, recycling had not yet gone mainstream, but his environmentally conscious mother could not imagine trashing all their household waste.

Aseem Das

The concept of a “business decision” is fast becoming a cliché. Even outside of traditional corporate settings, the term has come to represent the more straightforward option when faced with difficult choices in which fiscal considerations trump all else. Think layoffs, store closures or any strategic initiative that might call into question one’s values.