To view this site, you need to have Flash Player 9.0.115 or later installed. Click here to get the latest Flash player.
(NECN: Peter Howe, Boston) - A prestigious new "CEO Social Leadership Award" sponsored by the owners of Grand Circle Travel is going this year to Joel Lamstein, CEO of international public health consultancy John Snow Inc. It's a company that is touching millions of lives around the world -- while always remembering charity begins at home. In almost every corner of the developing world and across America as well, you can find workers from John Snow Inc., known as JSI, running public-health and disease-prevention programs. The name comes from a famed 19th century British epidemiologist who made key breakthroughs combating cholera. Lamstein founded the company in 1978, soon after he graduated from MIT's Sloan School and felt a calling to something bigger than corporate America. "I questioned myself as to, if I were the 55th M.B.A. to go to IBM, what impact might I have?'' Lamstein recalled in an interview Thursday. "There's nothing wrong with making money, but actually making an impact would be much more intriguing to me.'' He was especially interested in bringing rigorous, professional business management to the field of public health program administration. Talk about impact. Over the last 31 years, JSI and non-profit affiliates including World Education have grown into a 1,700-person organization, gross revenues growing from $500,000 to $250 million. All the while, they've held fast to serving the social good, giving back 5 to 7 percent of net profits to charity. "We have actually worked on important public health and education issues. We haven't, in a corporate sense, looked at the ones that paid the most. we've looked at the ones that had the most impact.'' Typical of JSI's culture: To celebrate its 30th birthday last year, instead of having a big party, Lamstein gave every employee $500 to give to any cause of their choice. That spirit of commitment is now being celebrated with a prestigious award, the <a href="http://www.gct.com/gcc/general/default.aspx?oid=72100" target="_blank">CEO Social Leadership award</a> from Grand Circle Travel owners Alan and Harriet Lewis's Grand Circle Foundation It's a $25,000 prize for Joel Lamstein. Grand Circle Corp. senior vice president Martha K. Prybylo said, "The intent of this award is really to be able to recognize, honor, and celebrate those CEOs in our community that are playing a big role in making big changes happen in our communities.'' Previous winners of the three-year-old award were Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish and Wainwright Bank chairman Robert Glassman. Prybylo said a big part of Lamstein's receiving the award is that besides all the socially beneficial work JSI does around the world, the company also gives free office space and significant funding for <a href="http://www.bostonpartners.org/" target="_blank">Boston Partners in Education</a> , a group that places 900 volunteers a year in Boston classrooms to offer children one-on-one tutoring, reading, and educational enrichment. Pamela Civins, a former JSI employee who took over as Boston Partners in Education executive director four years ago, said besides all the material support Lamstein provides, "He's really good at listening, and he's just got a really good strategic mind, the way that he thinks.'' She credits his support and advice with the program growing from 7 to 15 employees and an annual budget of over $1 million. JSI also encourages dozens of its employees to volunteer for the program. Lamstein said, "We often have more impact in Pakistan than we have in Boston because of big programs that we have there or Indonesia or Uganda, and so it seemed to us quite important'' to find a Boston organization to nurture. "I think it's all of our feelings that if you live in a place you should make that place better.'' If you add it all up, over the last 31 years the company Joel Lamstein founded has probably helped save literally millions of lives -- and they've done it without ever forgetting how important it is to be a good citizen of Boston, Massachusetts, also.