Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and CEO of Racine-based Johnson Outdoors Inc., was recently the keynote speaker at Marquette University’s June and Herman Loebl Women Business Leaders Speaker Series. Johnson-Leipold is the great-great-granddaughter of Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr., the founder of Racine-based S.C. Johnson. The company remains privately held and is still owned by the Johnson family. Johnson-Leipold’s brother, H. Fisk Johnson, is the company’s CEO, the fifth generation of the family to lead the business. Johnson-Leipold is a member of S.C. Johnson’s board of directors.
“The younger generation has called us out about how we think about things and is asking for change.”
“The leaders that are always focused on maximizing profit most likely aren’t in it for the long haul and are not working on creating a sustainable business. I do think taking profits for profits’ sake is a short-term play.”
“Our purpose is to keep our company healthy and thriving so we can continue to have a positive impact on the lives of more people in more communities for generations to come. Our purpose takes us beyond, ‘What’s in it for me today?’ to ‘How do we assure value creation and positive impact that builds over time?’”
“Millennials are serious when they say having a life is more important than a job. Things should change. We’ve lived and breathed our jobs no matter what and that was a generational thing.”
“When you think of family businesses, we’re not one of the family businesses that gets stuck in tradition. Each generation was expected to bring fresh thinking … to understand our markets and consumers intimately as they change with the times.”