John Mackey

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Co-Founder & CEO, Whole Foods Market

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    John Mackey: Biography at a Glance

    • John Mackey, the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, has built the natural and organic grocer from a single store to a $19B Fortune 500 company that was purchased by Amazon in 2017.
    • Mackey has been recognized as one of Fortune's "World's 50 Greatest Leaders," Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Winner for the United States,” Institutional Investor’s “Best CEO in America,” Barron’s “World’s Best CEO,” MarketWatch’s “CEO of the Year,” Fortune’s “Businessperson of the Year,” and Esquire’s “Most Inspiring CEO.” 
    • He was inducted into the World Retail Congress Hall of Fame, which honors retail’s most influential representatives whose ideas have shaped retailing through the businesses and brands they have created, or by their skills in running the retail industry’s giants.
    • A strong believer in free market principles, Mackey co-founded the Conscious Capitalism Movement and co-authored a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.
    • He was the visionary for the Whole Planet Foundation to help end poverty in developing nations, the Local Producer Loan Program, which provided $25 million in low interest loans to help local food producers expand their businesses, and the Global Animal Partnership’s rating scale for humane farm animal treatment.

    Videos

    Biography

    John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, has built the natural and organic grocer from a single store in Austin, Texas in 1978, into a Fortune 500 company, which went public in 1992 and was purchased by Amazon in 2017. Today Whole Foods Market is a top U.S. supermarket with more than 500 stores and 95,000 Team Members across the U.S., Canada, and U.K.

    While devoting his career to helping shoppers satisfy their lifestyle needs with quality natural and organic foods, Mackey has also focused on building a more conscious way of doing business. He was the visionary for Whole Planet Foundation to help end poverty in developing nations, the Local Producer Loan Program, which provided $25 million in low interest loans to help local food producers expand their businesses, and the Global Animal Partnership’s rating scale for humane farm animal treatment.

    In 2022, Mackey was inducted into the World Retail Congress Hall of Fame, which honors retail’s most influential representatives whose ideas have shaped retailing through the businesses and brands they have created, or by their skills in running the retail industry’s giants. He has also been recognized as one of Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Winner for the United States,” Institutional Investor’s “Best CEO in America,” Barron’s “World’s Best CEO,” MarketWatch’s “CEO of the Year,” Fortune’s “Businessperson of the Year,” and Esquire’s “Most Inspiring CEO.”

    A strong believer in free market principles, Mackey co-founded the Conscious Capitalism Movement (http://consciouscapitalism.org/) and co-authored a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book entitled “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business” (Harvard Business Review Press 2013) to boldly defend and reimagine capitalism and encourage a way of doing business that is grounded in ethical consciousness. Mackey cut his pay to $1 in 2006 and continues to work for Whole Foods Market out of a passion to see the business realize its potential for a deeper purpose, for the joy of leading a great company, and to answer the call to service that he feels in his heart.

    Mackey has focused on returning to the company’s roots around healthy eating and lifestyle choices. A passionate advocate of healthy eating education, he laid the foundation for health and wellness programs for team members and customers. Mackey is co-author of The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity (Grand Central Life & Style 2017); and The Whole Foods Cookbook: 120 Delicious and Healthy Plant-Centered Recipes (Grand Central Life & Style 2018).

    Mackey is an avid backpacker and long-distance hiker. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife Deborah.

    Topics

    Conscious Capitalismarrow-down

    John discusses how a company's higher purpose can effect stakeholder integration, leadership, and culture... all for the better.

    Conscious Leadershiparrow-down

    How leaders can personally grow and evolve to, in turn, grow and engage employees and the company itself.

    Conscious Culturearrow-down

    John discusses how to create or evolve an organization's culture to become both highly innovative and productive.

    The Story of Whole Foods Marketarrow-down

    John tells the story of creating a company from scratch in 1978, and the following 40 years of interesting twists and turns that ultimately led to a merger with Amazon.

    The Whole Foods Market Healthy Revolutionarrow-down

    A detailed conversation about the healthy eating program that Whole Foods Market has implemented for its team members. This program reverses and cures obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and many auto-immune diseases. Over time this program will radically improve the health of a company’s team members, while significantly cutting the cost of corporate health care.

    Whole Foods Market’s Leadership Principlesarrow-down

    John discuss the 17 Leadership Principles that Whole Foods Market is built upon.

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    FANTASTIC! John was a hit with our audience and his speech was very engaging and he was SUPER nice and personable with everyone. Couldn’t have been better – the audience hung on his every word.

    Bellevue University
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