By Brian J. Grim, Ph.D. This is part of our ongoing blog series, Authenticity & Connection.
I just had the opportunity to spend the day with Fr. Greg McBrayer at American Airlines Skyview headquarters, just down the road from DFW Airport. Fr. Greg is a chief flight controller and a chaplain at the airline. He’s also global lead for their Christian Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG).
I’d just come from the Vatican, where I had meetings with two different sections. One, which I’ve worked with through the years, is the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which produced the pivotal document, Vocation of the Business Leader.
American Airlines, from my perspective, is a company that is putting to practice some of the core principles from that document, including the concept of a “company of persons”:
“The Six Practical Principles for Business in the Vocation of the Business Leader point to the purpose of business, which John Paul stated “is not simply to make a profit, but is to be found in its very existence as a community of persons who in various ways are endeavoring to satisfy their basic needs, and who form a particular group at the service of the whole of society”. While the phrase “community of persons” is not common in business literature today, it actually best expresses the full realization of what a company and corporation can be.
The etymology of the words “company” and “companions”—cum (with), and panis (bread)—suggests “breaking bread together”. The etymology of the word “corporation”—the Latin corpus (body)—suggests a group of people “united in one body”. This is the ideal when relatives join together in a family business. And reflecting the love that wants every family member to flourish, family business leaders might tailor work opportunities to marginalized and disadvantaged groups.”
In the video below, see the breadth of the faiths active across American Airlines forming a “community of persons,” beginning with how the Christian Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG) leader at American Airlines begins his day with his Muslim colleague.