Businessman sees hope in religion and family values
John Bergstrom attributes success to his employees
By Tony Staley
What: Claude Allouez Forum, open to the public.
When: 7:15 a.m. June 1 (make-up from Feb. 9).
Where: Bemis International Center, St. Norbert College.
Who: Bert Liebmann of Green Bay.
Topic: Glancing Ahead: Glimmers of Hope as an Attorney.
Cost: $8, includes breakfast.
Reservations: (920)437-7531 or (toll-free) 1-877-500-3580, ext.
DE PERE - Growing interest in religion and an increase in family values are two glimmers of hope a Fox Valley businessman says he sees in today's world.
At the May Claude Allouez Forum, John Bergstrom listed seven glimmers of hope he sees in business as chairman and CEO of Bergstrom Corp. of Neenah and as board member of five Fortune 500 companies and the Green Bay Packers.
Bergstrom attributed the success he and his brother, Dick, have had in business - including the nation's number one Saturn dealership - to their employees.
He told the forum, which is sponsored by the Green Bay Diocese and the St. Norbert College Theological Institute, that they have encouraged their employees to follow three basic principles: Do what is right and the company will stand with you; pay attention to the little things and the little ways to serve people; and treat people the way you want to be treated.
Bergstrom, a graduate of St. Margaret Mary School in Neenah and
Marquette University, listed these glimmers of hope:
Growing openness, respect and acceptance for people of all
races, a development he thinks began in the churches, but really
grew in the schools and is bringing significant benefits.
More jobs for women, particularly in management, and the
realization by business that women have a role and duty as
mothers. Plus, he said, these jobs in management are earned, not
given to comply with some rule.
Growing interest in religion, including a willingness to talk
about God. It's not necessarily an institutional religion with
certain beliefs, but it always includes a personal relationship
Realization that global markets help everyone by providing good
jobs and benefits to people in countries all around the world.
Much of that stems from the end of communism and growth of
democracy. It's also leading to an era of peace that mean wars
will be settled quickly and we won't have a World War III.
Growth in family values, including a decline in the divorce
rate, a commitment to children and a realization in business that
both parents need to go to games or on field trips.
Increased involvement in volunteer activities and community
service, particularly among young people.
You owe something to the community and pay it by donating to
charities and community service groups. Most businesses, he said,
receive 5-20 calls a day asking for charitable donations.
Bergstrom told how they were able to raise the funding to build a
Boys and Girls Center in Appleton in five weeks. When he and his
brother, Dick, were organizing efforts to build the new St.
Mary's Central High School, he again found the community -- including non-Catholics -- more than willing to support the effort.
Bergstrom said his companies do $600-700 million a year in
business and the money they spent on St. Mary's Central is the
best money they've spent.