Sister Simone Campbell is a Catholic nun, lawyer, and Zen practitioner. She’s also the executive director of NETWORK, a lobbying organization in Washington, D.C. that focuses on economic justice, immigration reform, healthcare, peace making and ecology.
In Krista Tippett’s book, Becoming Wise she relates a conversation she had with Sister Simone. The following is a part of what Sister Simone had to say.
We’re doing business roundtables, and I got this chance to talk to some entrepreneur, C.E.O. types. I got to ask them finally this question that I’ve been really wondering about. A report had just come out that the average C.E.O. of a publicly traded company got $10 million in salary a year, and they were going for $11 million. I got to ask them, “Is it that you’re not getting by on the $10 million that you need $11 million? I don’t get it.” And this one guy said, just like this – “Oh, no Sister Simone. That’s not it. It’s not about the money.” He said, “It’s that we’re very competitive. And we want to win. And money just happens to be the current measure of winning.”
Then I think, well, could we have a measure that’s a little less toxic? Because that’s it. It’s not that they want to hoard this money, they want to win. And if we can understand for the common good what is underlying their desire, then we could find some other measures that would free up money. Having the curiosity to see their perspective allows for finding new solutions. Because if we just fight and resist – this is the other piece about contemplative life – if we just fight against something, it reinforces it.