Lessons from a 186-year-old Businessman, Innovator and Philanthropist

Levi Strauss & Co.
February 27, 2015

The following is an excerpt from an article originally published on LinkedIn, where LS&Co. leaders periodically share their perspectives and expertise on business trends, industry issues, careers and the workplace.

Yesterday we celebrated what would have been the 186th birthday of our founder and namesake Levi Strauss. To help celebrate the big day, LS&Co. historian Tracey Panek shared a few of her favorite lessons from the 186-year-old businessman, innovator and philanthropist. 

From Bill Gates to Ted Turner to Warren Buffet, today’s business world is full of leaders who put their wealth toward the philanthropic ideals they care deeply about. It’s hard to imagine that thinking as common practice nearly 200 years ago, but one innovator, entrepreneur and businessman was consistently ahead of his time: Levi Strauss. In 1854, after being in business only one year, Strauss gave $5 of his initial profits to an orphanage in San Francisco. And today, that legacy of profits through principles lives on — at his company, with our employees and across the community.

Today marks the 186th birthday of Levi Strauss, a business pioneer. And as the historian for Levi Strauss & Co., I like to go back to where it all started to reflect upon some of those great lessons our founder left us.

Born in Bavaria in 1829, Strauss immigrated to San Francisco during the Gold Rush to set up shop. While most people know him as manufacturer of the world’s first blue jeans, not as many know him as a humanitarian. That initial $5 contribution was the first of many displays of his compassion for underprivileged children and his determination to improve his community. It also set a precedent for the philanthropic culture that exists at Levi Strauss & Co. today.

Read the full story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lessons-from-186-year-old-businessman-innovator-tracey-panek

Want to learn more about Tracey and her role as LS&Co. historian? Check out New Hampshire Public Radio’s latest “Good Gig” segment featuring Tracey: http://nhpr.org/post/good-gig-denim-historian-tracey-panek