Late yesterday, our industry, and indeed our nation, was struck by the news that Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, had passed away after a 20-month battle with cancer. Most know Ray’s story of enlightenment and leadership, steering Interface on their journey towards “Mission Zero”. For those who haven’t, or for a great history of the journey Ray inspired, visit Interface here to learn more.
Ray was an inspirational partner with the Design Futures Council since our founding, and involved in our very first Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design in 2001. A Senior Fellow of the DFC, Ray was a gentle leader who connected personally with thousands of people as he shared his story and challenged each of us to reach deeper within ourselves and our organizations to shape a new future.
In a speech at last year’s Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design, Ray said:
“Our higher calling, that takes the breath away, is to shift the paradigm, beginning in our own minds and wherever we are. The power of a question, is my last question for you. Will we, the larger, collective we, shift paradigms? And do it in time? And truly embrace this new view of reality? That is the question of our era. And the hell of it is, it’s up to you and me.”
It is indeed now up to us to strive to fulfill Ray’s vision for a world driven not by business as usual, but by doing what is best for our planet and future generations. A big challenge, but as Ray often said, “If anyone can do it, everyone can do it.” And we must.