Conscious Capitalism in Practice: Goal Solutions

Oct 02, 2019 - Kori Joneson

Business can and should bring more to society than shareholder and executive enrichment. We can and must build ethical, purpose-driven companies that consider all stakeholders: customers, employees, investors, suppliers, the community, and the environment.

The Conscious Capitalism movement in San Diego aims to reframe capitalism, so the main focus of business is to create value. Its mission is to “elevate humanity through business” by practicing four tenets: Higher Purpose, Conscious Leadership, Conscious Culture, and Stakeholder Orientation.

Stakeholder Orientation means that companies create value for everyone impacted by their business. Goal Solutions, an award-winning consumer finance company led by CEO Ken Ruggiero, actively practices Stakeholder Orientation and the Conscious Capitalism philosophy. It’s committed to solving financial challenges and opening doors to new opportunities by leveraging data and technology to deliver strategic solutions for asset management, lending, and investments.

Goal’s three main stakeholders are their employees, business-to-business clients, and students who need more options to pay for their education.

Banks, hedge funds, and loan originators rely on Goal to service and manage their portfolios. The company creates value for clients by taking care of both the tactical and strategic work of managing loan portfolios and establishing lasting relationships with customers. They also provide insights and strategies on how to improve returns.

Goal creates value for students and their families by helping them borrow more responsibly through customized solutions. It created Ascent Funding to take a more holistic view to the student debt crisis – lending to students based on outcomes and their future ability to repay (considering multiple factors, including creditworthiness, school, program or major choice, cost of attendance, graduation date, and other factors).

After the 2008 recession, Ruggiero led a team of 20 to reconfigure the company and revolutionize the financial services industry. Through organic growth and acquisitions, Goal remains based in San Diego and has grown to over 150 employees across 5 states. As an Employee Stock Owner Plan (ESOP) organization, the employee’s financial goals tie to Goal’s success. Everyone is vested in doing their best work every day. The San Diego Business Journal acknowledges the value Goal brings to its employees by designating the company as a Best Place to Work for five consecutive years.

To ensure continued value creation for all its stakeholders, Goal subscribes to what Ruggiero calls the “riches in niches” strategy. Finding underserved sectors of the economy is what they do best.

“Given our use of technology and highly skilled employees, we are successful when we enter new markets (solar and income share agreements) and work inside of large markets with huge competitors (student loans). We have experienced growth by being entrepreneurial, opportunistic, thoughtful, and moving faster than competitors. In our student lending business, I do believe we are making the world a better place. We provide loans to students that are almost out of school and have run out of money. We are betting on their future earnings and employment success to pay off the loan. Our exclusive access to and use of loan performance data spanning over 15 years gives us a competitive edge in everything we do.” shares Ruggiero.

Conscious Capitalism San Diego is honored to have Goal Solutions as a Business member. Goal is an excellent example of how to practice Conscious Capitalism and reap its benefits.

Conscious Capitalism San Diego is a membership-based organization that connects, inspires, and activates local business leaders. We offer programs, roundtables, and a community of conscious business leaders. To get in touch, email us at


About the author: Kori Joneson is the current Board President of the Conscious Capitalism San Diego. She focuses on creating emotionally healthy and connected employees through her company, Symbio Strategies. You can often find her on the mats practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, cuddling her retired racing Greyhound, or somewhere sipping tea or Scotch.


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