Business Ethics should be defined, modelled out and celebrated for as long as there will be leaders who make unethical choices. But what about those leaders who are already fundamentally ethical? Where should the bar be for them? What level should they aspire to next? Should they move from “being ethical” to “being spiritual”? From “doing good” to “loving”? What does it all mean concretely? What is required to scale? How could this be nurtured and supported? If, in business, information is power, just imagine what love could be.
Born in Quebec City (Canada) and deeply influenced by his witnessing of Roman Catholics who dedicated their lives to providing low-price, high-quality social goods in education and health care, Louis Gagnon developed a life-long fascination for the “why”, the “what,” and the “how” of social change. His particular area of focus has been the concrete application of private sector techniques to crystalize and drive social change. By his own admission, such focus may be explained by the fact that the “market” triumphed as an ideology during his formative years.
In his 25-year career, Mr. Gagnon has supported 7 different social causes in a number of countries across 5 continents. Amongst them are the
– Deinstitutionalisation of mental health patients. In the late 80s, as a business school undergraduate at Laval University in Quebec City, Mr. Gagnon led and developed a series of social marketing studies that shed light on how the deinstitutionalisation of 6,000 psychiatric patients in the community could be more effective. The studies identified a huge expectation gap within the community, the employees and patients. The response was a widespread education and training effort to address the issues.
– social marketing for AIDS, reproductive health, and malaria prevention at Population Services International (PSI) to establish a social marketing program for AIDS prevention in Rwanda
– the Health education through word-of-mouth in a brick-and-mortar environment, Consumer word-of-mouth value recognition: the Internet era. In 1999, learning from the numerous challenges of scaling a word-of-mouth system in a brick-and-mortar environment, Mr. Gagnon brought his concept to the Internet, a space where growth was not limited by physical constraints. His new cause: redistribute the enormous direct marketing budgets spent by telecom and credit card operators to the people who, through the direct and indirect effect of their individual word-of-mouth reach, create value for their business. This tech start-up named YOUge.com generated three of the most successful viral marketing campaigns ever created in Canada’s history, but failed to achieve its destiny as a wealth creation system for the masses.
As the key product leader at Monster Worldwid, he supported $1.5B+ in revenue from 53 countries and won dozens of awards including “Marketer that Matters” by the Marketing Magazine (2007) and “Personality of the Year” by the American Marketing Association (2007).
In 2010, Mr. Gagnon joined Yodle in New York City as its Chief Product and Marketing Officer (CPMO). Yodle’s cause was to help small business owners leverage technological tools to grow their businesses faster, and more cheaply. For 3 consecutive years, Mr. Gagnon helped hundreds of thousands of US Small and Medium Business (SMBs) and grew the company 50%+ per year while achieving profitability at scale. Yodle ranked 9th on Forbes’ 2013 List of Most Promising US Companies.
In 2014, Mr. Gagnon joined Audible, an Amazon company. As its Chief Product and Marketing Officer (CPMO), he is responsible for bringing “Inspiring Voices” to the world through the global production and distribution of audiobooks and highly-curated short-form audio content to any device, anywhere, anytime.
In 2015, Mr Gagnon received a prestigious Hermès award by Laval University, its highest alumni distinction for outstanding achievement, leadership, and social commitment. He was also recently named as a Top-100 US CMOs by Peer100, and has been featured in many business publications such as The Economist. He and his wife Cathlyn have 3 wonderful children who are happily anchored in Montclair, New Jersey (USA).