High-profile business leaders Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Co., and Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., spoke this morning at FUEL: Detroit, a one-day conference being held in downtown Detroit.
Josh Linkner, founder and event organizer, calls the event “a fusion between a business conference and a rock concert." The FUEL event, with the first one in Detroit, will be a series of conferences hosted in select cities to “cut down on travel costs and inefficiencies.” Already, there are plans to hold the FUEL event in Detroit again on April 19, 2016.
Alba, an actress known for her roles in movies such as Fantastic Four and Little Fockers, started The Honest Co. when she was pregnant and had an allergic reaction to laundry detergent. When she went to look for a better brand that was transparent about the product ingredients, she couldn’t find one.
“I started the Honest Co. really driven out of a need,” says Alba. “Never (starting a business) before and having fearlessness propelled me.”
The company sells nearly 100 products such as cleaning supplies, bath and body products, and baby supplies. Alba adds Honest Co. is launching a feminine products line in the summer, and a beauty products line in the fall.
“I want to be remembered (as a person) that gave people access to great products that provides them with a better quality of life,” Alba says.
Fields spoke about his work with Ford Motor Co. and its position in the automotive industry. He says it’s “an incredible time to be associated with the city of Detroit and the automotive industry.” Fields says the global auto industry is worth $2 trillion today, and will be worth $3 trillion by the end of the decade.
“We believe very strongly we are in one of our most transformative periods in history,” Fields says. “To be successful, you almost have to be your own disruptor … We have over 25 global experiments going on in these areas (mobility and autonomous vehicles) right now. We are challenging ourselves to be like a startup.”
He says when Ford comes out with an autonomous line of vehicles, he wants it to be true to Ford’s brand and serve multiple markets. Fields says it’s important to look at societal trends and develop services for the customer of tomorrow (such as offering mobility services to buy cars virtually) but also serve today’s customer.
“You have to carry today and tomorrow in your hands,” he says.
Magic Johnson, Gov. Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and author and entrepreneur Seth Godin are also scheduled to speak today.