Social responsibility can enhance business opportunities, the chief executive of Long Island’s largest company by revenue and his son, a globe-trotting entrepreneur, told an audience at Stony Brook University Thursday.
Stanley Bergman, chairman and chief executive of Henry Schein Inc., said that when his sales force works with dentists on the American Dental Association Foundation’s program for underserved children, it establishes a relationship that can carry over to the sales process. Henry Schein supplies products and services to the offices of doctors, dentists and veterinarians.
“It creates the trust, the bonding, the relationships,” he said.
Bergman’s son, Eddie Bergman, 36, recalled learning about social responsibility at home and as a member of Students for 60,000, a charitable group at Northport High School.
At one point during his 10-year tenure as executive director of the Africa Travel Association, Eddie Bergman said, he directly appealed to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni about an anti-homosexuality law that drew widespread condemnation.
Instead of appealing on an ethical basis, Bergman said, he made a business case based on the backlash to the law and the resulting drop in tourism and told him, “You’re destroying the economy.” Bergman is now president of Innovative Development Services Inc., a Manhattan-based consulting firm focused on tourism marketing and real estate management services.
Stanley Bergman, whose parents fled to South Africa from Nazi Germany, said that speaking out is paramount.
“The worst crime is when good people do nothing when they see evil,” he said.
The Thursday discussion, part of the SBU Entrepreneur’s Edge series, was moderated by Joe Campolo, the chairman of Protegrity Advisors LLC, a Ronkonkoma-based merger and acquisition advisory firm. The program was sponsored by the university’s College of Business in cooperation with the schools of Dental Medicine and Social Welfare.