Business Beyond Business: At Home at the Washington Business Journal with Publisher Alex Orfinger
The business of Washington D.C. is government, so the saying goes. But sayings aren’t sayings for nothing. And if we take ourselves through the WayBack Machine to the halcyon days at the end of the 20th century, the reputation of the city as the hub of national leadership brought with it the perception that the business community was a distant other. Then, in 1996, Alex Orfinger took on the role of publisher for the Washington Business Journal. Driving to change that perception became his mission.
For over two decades as publisher, Alex worked to develop a strong identity for the region’s business sector. After a brief stint away, he is now back at the publication as Market President and Publisher, leading the paper and doubling down on the city that he loves. In the face of great local and national challenges alike, he sees a role for the Journal.
“What we need is to help businesses grow and proper, and particularly give them the tools they need to get through the pandemic,” he says. “We need to do that in a way that addresses systemic racism and income inequality … If we, as a community, can come together and change that trajectory, it’ll be a better community for everybody.”
Alex’s ties to the Greater Washington business community are stronger today than ever. You’ll hear him share his experience as chairman of Jubilee Housing, enjoining their efforts to fight for affordable housing for all. He’s served as a board member for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, United Way of the National Capital Area, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Plus, he’s the former chairman of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. He is home here, and the Journal has a particular role in his care.
“Coming back at this moment for me was different. It’s very complicated. What I think the Business Journal’s role can be is to show — to lead — the business community and demonstrate that it’s in their long term best interest. … If we increase the economic pie, it is better for everyone.”
As you will hear, Alex is passionate about justice, equity, and impact, and the role the business community plays in advancing all three. He works and lives at the intersection of business and community and we know you’ll appreciate what he has to say.
Links & Notes
- ‘Alex Orfinger named new publisher of the Washington Business Journal’ — Washington Business Journal
- Jubilee Housing — What is Justice Housing?
- Connect with Alex Orfinger on LinkedIn
- (00:00) – Welcome to Mission Forward
- (00:41) – Introducing Alex Orfinger
- (04:43) – Thinking about Business Beyond Business
- (09:53) – The Fear of Getting it “Wrong”
- (13:29) – The DC Story
- (21:21) – Affordable Housing
- (25:58) – The Corporate Social Justice Shift
- (28:38) – Signals
This season, we are taking you on a journey to meet ten people influencing and shaping how we communicate at scale for social change. From advertising executives to coalition directors, news editors, campaign managers, and authors, they're all people who are shaping and challenging the deep power of communication. If you’re working to become a more inclusive and thoughtful communicator, there’s nothing holding you back—except you.
Carrie Fox is the founder and CEO of Mission Partners, a woman-owned strategic communications firm and Certified B Corporation that guides high-potential nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible corporations in realizing their greatest social impact. Since launching her first firm in 2004, she has guided hundreds of organizations around the world to lead with purpose, fueling organizations and their missions forward in new and more impactful ways.