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Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University

Conscientious Capitalism Initiative:
Inspire & Teach


Santa Clara University is at the center of the most innovative commercial region in the world. Our geography is our laboratory to explore the elements of business success, helping students discover and leverage their own ingenuity. In the Leavey School new business leaders learn to balance economic, social, and ethical consequences of their decisions. They need to understand the values that guide our society and employ those values when making decisions. These principles are at the core of the Leavey School of Business curriculum.

Conscientious Capitalism Student showing Classroom Leadership

Conscientious Capitalism is the application of personal virtue, purpose, and accountability to individual leadership of business organizations and to the critical decisions that inspire employees and companies to drive innovation, market leadership, and profits by serving employees, customers, stakeholders, and the community.

The Conscientious Capitalism course was created to Inspire and Teach students to lead themselves and others in a world undergoing dramatic and increasingly rapid change.

Inspire: Learning directly from the personal stories, success, and challenges of successful and conscientious leaders in today’s business world along with the unique virtues and leadership frameworks each leader used in their respective journeys.

Teach: Students will actively engage in small “Leadership Development Teams” led by an experienced mentor, where each student will use tools to explore lessons from their own life stories as well as discern their unique values, priorities, and purpose they will bring to leading themselves and others.

We are proud to partner with Chip and the Center for Conscientious Leadership!

Conscientious Capitalism Course

The course, Conscientious Capitalism, was designed to prepare students for the lifelong journey of personal leadership as well as leadership within organizations as they advance through their lives and careers. Students will develop a perspective, framework, and foundation so they can lead from a place of purpose, virtues, priorities, and accountability.

The Course: Conscientious Capitalism
An initial cohort of 21 seniors have been accepted into the course and will engage in 10 weeks of inspiring guest lectures, provocative case studies and intensive personal leadership development.

Course Description

Personal virtues have always driven leadership in business as in all walks of life. We decide, act and lead from our core beliefs, deepest values and priorities. How effectively we act and lead then depends on our skills, experiences and attributes as we advance through our lives and careers. Conscientious Capitalism is the application of personal virtue, purpose and accountability to individual leadership of business organizations and to the critical decisions that inspire employees and companies to drive innovation, market leadership and profits through the serving of employees, customers, stakeholders and community.

Conscientious Capitalism Students in Group Discussion


This course is designed to inspire and teach students to lead themselves and others in a business and social environment undergoing dramatic and increasingly rapid change. We will accomplish this first through an understanding of the principles and outcomes of democratic capitalism as presented in case studies of important events. Students will develop their own perspectives on democratic capitalism by exploring the decisions and the underlying values that drove innovation and advancements that benefited stakeholders and society. Further, students will evaluate outcomes within Democratic Capitalism where decisions and different values took advantage of our “free” system for personal gains at the expense of stakeholders and society.

Additionally, students will gain insights from the personal stories, successes and challenges of successful and conscientious leaders in today’s business world along with the virtues and leadership frameworks each leader used in their journey. Finally, students will bring these learnings and perspectives into small “Leadership Development Teams”, led by an experienced mentor, where each student will use tools and a framework to explore lessons from their own life stories, as well as discern their own unique values, purpose and priorities.

This course only begins the journey. The goal of the course is to inspire students to commit to a lifelong journey of discernment, action and more powerful leadership of themselves and others.

This course will count as five credits and is open to seniors in a business related major or minor.



Technological advances, an integrated global marketplace and a seismic unleashing of entrepreneurial creativity have created enormous advances in how the world works, lives, and plays.  

But these forces have put extraordinary pressures on companies to perform exceptionally, innovate rapidly, and produce more immediate results. Under these market pressures, many leaders and companies have lost their ability to invest for the longer term, in turn yielding devastating effects to their company culture, and ability to sustain their competitive position against new and nimbler competitors.


At no time in history has the pressure on each of us to perform at our highest level and at any cost been greater. Deciding, acting and leading ourselves and others have never been more difficult. Given modern social infrastructures and other information technologies, business is a 24-hour a day game and to win the game, we must out-think, out-create, and out-hustle our competition in timeframes that were unimaginable only one generation ago. There are few rules in this competitive world, no playbook on corporate and personal boundaries and few 'norms' of personal behavior that guide the hours we spend in relationships versus in our own tasks, our expectations of the results of others, and, chiefly, our expectations for how we live our lives.  This relentless focus on producing results affects C-suite, managers, and shop floor alike and leaves little time to unplug and think, DISCERN what are our real PRIORITIES, and discover what is our PURPOSE.

Within this rapidly changing environment, new ways of working, communicating, innovating and leading are developing; many are healthy, some are not. But from earliest history, throughout periods of disruptive change, are also some principles, ideas and virtues that do not change but help us adapt while preserving our ability to connect with ourselves and with others.


Students investment in the Leadership Development Team (LDT) process is THE critical focal point of the Conscientious Capitalism Course. It is work within the LDT’s where each student learns two critical life skills required for Conscientious leadership:

Conscientious Capitalism students on the beach in California


  1. Discovering, sharing, developing and living their authentic Virtues, Purpose and Priorities.
  2. Sharing and supporting the Virtues, Purpose and Priorities of others.

Ten Steps define the LDT Process:

Knowing Myself
  1. Discerning My Life Story: Creating the mural of People, Events, Experiences that shaped my life.
  2. My Autobiography-Listening to My Life: Discerning not only events, but the lessons learned from my life story.
  3. Who Am I Today? Identifying Virtues, Attributes and Disordered Attachments that are uniquely mine.
Developing Myself
  1. My Priorities: Identifying the most important extrinsic and intrinsic priorities that drive my life.
  2. Intentionality: Identifying the critical actions that will allow me to achieve my priorities.
  3. Accountability: Creating a clear, honest self-assessment to inform me and those supporting me on my progress.
Applying Myself
  1. Building My Support Team: Recognizing, using and honoring the power of others in my life.
  2. Why Me? Using my unique and authentic attributes and virtues in real life situations.
  3. My Purpose: Uncovering the deepest desire in my heart that instinctively drives my actions each day.
  4. Leading Myself: Committing to lifelong discernment, sharing and growth.

The goal of the case studies is for students to learn from the most critical business and policy decisions of our times by encountering real life situations, both individually and as a group, that confront their core beliefs and educate them to the real-world challenges they face in applying their virtues and priorities in leading others.

Harvard Business School Coat of Arms

Examples of Harvard Business School Cases used in the course:

“Howard Shultz: Building Starbucks Community” by Bill George and Andrew N. McLean

“Coach K: A Matter of Heart” by Scott A. Snook, Leslie A. Perlow, and Brian J. Delacey

“Coach Knight: The Will to Win” by Scott A. Snook, Leslie A. Perlow, and Brian J. Delacey

“Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs” by Stephen Bates

“The Fall of Enron” by Paul M. Healy and Krishna G. Palepu

“PepsiCo, Profits, and Food: The Belt Tightens” by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr. and Matthew Preble


Several the country’s foremost leaders in their field share their personal stories-describing what shaped them personally and professionally as well as how they responded to critical decisions in their lives. The intimacy, honesty and humility of each leader will inspire students to unlock their own stories, discover their own unique gifts and find the courage to be their authentic selves regardless of pressures in their lives.

Examples of Guest Speakers for the Course

John Donahoe, CEO of ServiceNow, former CEO of Ebay

Howard Behar, Former President of Starbucks

Admiral Eric Olson, Former Commander Navy SEALs and USSOCOM

Eff Martin, Former Partner-High Technology at Goldman Sachs

Nanci Caldwell, Former Senior Executive at HP

Scott Kriens, Former CEO/Current Chairman of Juniper Network

Mike Lee, Founder/CEO of MyFitnessPal

Kevin Mandia, CEO of FireEye

Payal Kadakia, Founder/Executive Chairman of ClassPass

David Krane, CEO of Google Ventures

Dick Boyce, Former Partner at TPG Capital, Former CEO of JCrew


MGMT 181: Conscientious Capitalism 2022-2023



Founder and President, Center for Conscientious Leadership

In addition to serving as President of the Center for Conscientious Capitalism, Chip currently serves as a Director of Under Armour, ClassPass, Anthos Capital and Morgan Stanley Ventures. He spent 25 years as Managing Director for Rosewood Capital until 2011, a leading private equity fund investing in growth consumer brands.

In addition to his Board Role at Under Armour since 2003, Chip also served full time at Under Armour between 2011 and 2014 as Chief Performance Officer with responsibility for developing the company-wide business strategy, human resources and organizational alignment and processes. Chip’s background also includes Bain & Co, Princeton University and Stanford Business School. 

What is the Center for Conscientious Leadership?
The Center for Conscientious Leadership is an organization founded by Chip Adams in 2015. With active participation from many distinguished business, military, clergy, academic and other leaders, the mission of the Center is to inspire the next generation to commit to a lifelong journey of individual discernment, inspired action and more powerful leadership of themselves and others.

What is Conscientious Leadership:
It is based on the principle that to lead others well, we must first learn to lead ourselves. Conscientious Leadership is the application of personal virtue, purpose and accountability to leadership of ourselves and more inspired and impactful leadership of others. And leading ourselves is a deeply personal and lifelong journey of discernment…of virtues, priorities and purpose…and also of ambition and bold action…always for better things.

Why Santa Clara University
“I can think of no better place than SCU to Inspire and Teach Conscientious Leadership and Capitalism.

  • Exceptional Students: Having worked with thousands of young people from over 100 schools, my experience is that SCU grads rank with the best in three things that matter most: capability, “can do attitude” and character.
  • Ignatian Tradition: The most inspirational leaders start with leading themselves. For over 450 years, Ignation principles have focused on personal discernment, bold action and accountability as cornerstones to life. The Ignatian Tradition not only supports Conscientious Leadership, it defines it.
  • Leadership at Santa Clara: I have deep roots at Santa Clara University and have experienced meaningful relationships with those in leadership positions. I know that President Michael Engh, S.J., Dean Caryn Beck-Dudley, Bill Mains, and many other university leaders are committed to developing people of character and leadership.
  • Location in Silicon Valley: At Santa Clara, we are at the global epicenter of technology and innovation. Changing lives through new ideas is not the exception but a given. And our ability to draw on conscientious leaders of change for inspiration is second to none.