ASI Keynote Speaker John Mackey Says Business Is ‘The Greatest Value Creator In The World’

Whole Foods CEO champions love, care and compassion

DALLAS, TX – February 3, 2017 –Whole Foods CEO John Mackey urged entrepreneurs at the ASI Dallas trade show to recast the media-driven narrative of business as greedy, selfish and exploitative and instead consider it “the greatest value creator in the world.” 
Business has the power to create “win-win-win-win” propositions for leaders, employees, investors, communities and society as a whole, said the outspoken entrepreneurial capitalist, who cofounded a natural foods supermarket in 1980 and helped grow the Texas-based chain to a $16 billion enterprise with 450 locations worldwide.
“I think love is the most underrated quality in business in the 21st century,” said Mackey, 63, who was named one of the Top 50 CEOs in the world by Fortune magazine. Mackey champions “Conscious Capitalism and Conscious Leadership,” which calls on businesses to create good in the world. “Business,” he said, “has a great potential for a higher purpose.”

Mackey’s thoughtful, understated message resonated with the audience of over 150 at ASI Show® Dallas (#ASIdallas), hosted by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI), the largest member organization in the $22.9 billion promotional products industry.

“The keynote this morning was beyond awesome,” said Tina Goss, of Studio Graphics Inc. (asi/338425). “It was great to hear someone talk about spirituality, loving people and the positive side of business, instead of the dog-eat-dog world. Now in my business, I’ll think differently about people, and instead of viewing them as a dollar sign, I will get to know them and make it a joint positive experience instead of just positive for me.”

ASI’s annual three-day trade show – an annual event in Dallas since 2003 – ended Friday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, after bringing together nearly 3,000 distributors and over 400 suppliers of logoed products from 40 states and six countries.

Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, senior VP and GM of ASI Show, said she met her goal of delivering a quality show that offered something for everyone, from inspiring messages and useful business advice to busy show floors and fun networking opportunities like the annual industry party at Eddie Deen’s Ranch.

“I hope everyone leaves Dallas today motivated, exhilarated and ready to take their business to a whole new level,” said Ugianskis-Fishman.

On opening day, ASI offered 33 new courses for every level of industry experience and interest, from sales and marketing to social media and graphic design, and saw education attendance soar 19% over 2016.

ASI’s Dallas show took place in the country’s No. 1 region for promotional products, with Texas alone scoring $2.6 billion in sales in 2015 (the latest available figures). According to ASI, businesses and organizations across the South led the nation in money spent on promotional products, for a total of $7.8 billion.

The show featured 61 Texas-based companies, 40 women-owned companies and 57 minority-owned businesses. In addition, 15 companies chose Dallas to host large sales meetings.

The show attracted coverage by the Fox 4 TV news station in Dallas, with Emmy Award-winning Consumer Reporter Steve Noviello reporting on ASI and the industry’s hottest products. And a reporter from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dallas Morning News (circulation 271,900) spent two days on the show floor interviewing suppliers and distributors about creative products like custom socks, leather drink sleeves and T-shirts that come with writeable chalk boards.

“The Dallas show is fantastic,” said exhibitor Mike Watts, of Sling Grip (asi/50164). “This is our second year exhibiting, and it just seems to be getting better. The attendees are great and are coming to look for new and exciting things, and we are just so happy to be a part of it again and can’t wait to come back next year.”

Distributors enjoyed walking the aisles and conversing with knowledgeable suppliers.

“The Vernon Company has been at the ASI shows for 17 years,” said Dale Worden of Vernon (asi/351700). “This year, we have around 18 people here and we love it because we can find new products for our clients that keep us on top of our game. ASI gives us so much support, which makes attending easy, and we can have a supplier come in and make a presentation to our team.”

Thursday, Chris Gomez, a former Navy Seal turned success consultant, inspired distributors during a motivational breakfast, urging them to remember that adversity and failure are inevitable, but also teach valuable lessons, resiliency and humility. “You must choose,” Gomez said, “to execute better every single day.”

Timothy M. Andrews, ASI president and chief executive officer, said he was encouraged by distributors’ willingness to learn the latest sales strategies and master new sales tools like ASI’s all-new ESP®platform, which includes the recently launched ESP CRM and Orders.

“A successful trade show experience boils down to a willingness to go outside your comfort zone, introduce yourself to new ideas and business contacts and make the most of your time on the show floor,” said Andrews. “There’s no better recipe for success than determination and an open mind.”

For complete editorial coverage of the show, visit and Visit ASI’s Facebook page for livestream video interviews with suppliers and distributors on the show floor.

The final large ASI Show event is in Chicago, Tuesday, July 11, through Thursday, July 13, at McCormick Place.

To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities for 2017 and 2018, contact Beth Gordon, ASI sales director, at [email protected].

About ASI Show 
The ASI Show Family of Events – ASI Show, fASIlitate, ASI Roadshow, ASI Canada Seminars and Engage – fosters business-building relationships among ASI member distributors and suppliers, and includes options to meet the needs of the entire membership base. ASI Shows, the flagship series, are large-scale convention center trade shows held in Orlando, Dallas and Chicago. fASIlitate is a hosted buyer event that brings together the industry’s elite – top suppliers and million-dollar distributors – for three days of scheduled one-on-one meetings in resort venues across the country. The ASI Roadshow visits top cities across the U.S. and gives distributors an opportunity to escort their top clients. The ASI Canada Seminars serve our Canadian-based membership with intimate roundtable engagement in targeted regions of the country. Engage will continue to evolve, and serve as a hybrid event, combining the best of all event formats. Visit for more information about our full event portfolio.