Heroes without Headlines: Part 4

Written By Tony Mussari
Copyright 2012
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

Bring your best self to work. Dr. Ann Henry

Twelve Hours at Marywood

Since its founding as a Catholic liberal arts college in 1915, Marywood University has been a center of excellence in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Early in the morning of the third Monday in March, this beautiful 140 acre campus opened its welcoming arms to a community of students, faculty, administrators and guests who came to Marywood to learn about ethical business practices in the digital age.

In one respect, it was an opportunity for people of good will to benefit from the experiences of experts in the field of business ethics and corporate responsibility. In another respect, it was a celebration of the 10th Annual Forum and Conference on Ethical Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility.

At Marywood University, doing the right thing for the right reasons is central to everything students learn. Thanks to the leadership and vision of Dr. Gale Jaeger, the conference on ethics and social responsibility sends a clear and compelling message, doing the right thing for the right reason is a win/win situation for everyone.

Magic Moments

These are but a few of the magic moments from the conference.

Dr. Sharon McCrone, Executive Director of EOTC, a mission-driven, strength-based, family-focused human development agency, emphasized the need to help employees understand that they are responsible for their actions and behavior.

Sharon is a leader and an inspiration to everyone who knows her. She is committed to helping people find the best edition of themselves.

Louis Shapiro, Executive Vice President of the architectural firm Burkavage Design Associates, posed the question: “How do you practice ethical behavior if it is not defined?”

He defined it with these words. “It’s common sense, decency followed by the Golden Rule.”  Then, he added this caveat: “Greed does funny things to people.” 

Lou Shapiro speaks with conviction and experience about the importance of ethical business practices. The attendees appreciated his candor, his insight and his wisdom.

Gregory Hunt, Founding Dean of the School of Architecture at Marywood University, made a telling point with these statistics.

In the United States alone, buildings account for:

39 percent of total energy use;
12 percent of total water consumption;
68 percent of total electricity consumption;
38 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions.

Under Dean Hunt’s leadership, the home of the School of Architecture at Marywood is a retrofitted physical education building.  Great care was taken to salvage and reuse everything and anything found in the building including the gym floor.

The building is a classic example of creativity, innovation, preservation, ethical leadership and social responsibility. “We have a responsibility,” he told the audience, “to protect the diminishing resources of the planet.” 

Dean Hunt and his associates at Marywood do as they say. They walk the walk of ethical leadership and corporate responsibility.

Gregg Loboda is Vice President of Information Systems at Prudential Retirement. His presentation was titled Customer Privacy Issues.  He emphasized the need to protect the confidentiality of information and assets.

Gregg captured the attention of everyone in the room when he explained how vulnerable people are to identity theft. Tailoring his message to the students in the room, he asked, how many had recorded their birth date on the social networking site Facebook. After the response, he explained how that made them vulnerable to identity theft.

He advised them to remove the birth date from their Facebook profile.

Kitch and I followed Gregg. We presented ten of the stories we recorded during our Face of America journey. Each story addressed an issue of ethics, social responsibility and leadership. Our view reflected what is happening at the ground level.

Jamie Baker summarized our contribution to the conference with words he shared with us during his interview in Wallace, Idaho: “Everyday folks all over this land are its foundation and their ethics, dedication, and good will is what has made this the greatest country in the world.”

Quotes for the Day

Marisa Burke, news anchor at WNEP TV, our local ABC affiliate, began the panel discussion during the evening session with a reference to Greg Smith.  According to Marisa, the former Goldman Sachs executive set the tone for the conference when he put loyalty to values above loyalty to company.

Dr. Ann Henry the Vice President of Cisco Capital Global Operations for Cisco Systems Capital, responded to Marisa’s comment with a memorable and powerful thought:

Employees have an obligation to bring their best self to work.

Earlier in the day while addressing her topic Technology and Ethical Leadership at Work, Dr. Henry proudly displayed a slide with these words:

Our Focus for GOVERNANCE

Promote responsible business practices with every employee at every level of our business.

Robert Tyndall is the Chief Ethics Officer and Senior Vice President of Risk Management Prudential. Calling upon his experiences, he was quick to point out the importance of trust in a business relationship. “If you do not have trust in us,” he said, “we are out of business.”
He continued with eight words that made a lot of sense. “Reading the manual does not make you ethical.”

Craig Best is the President and CEO of Penn Security Bank and Trust Company. He believes that employee decisions are rooted in the values they bring with them to the work place. At Penn Security Bank, protecting the customer’s assets is central to everything the bank does. He is not apologetic about holding employees accountable for the decisions they make.

Chris DiMattio is the Senior Vice President and Manager of First National Community Bank Wealth Management. He talked about customer needs and revenue needs. He is an outspoken devotee of longevity at a firm.  It is a good thing, he noted, but employees must always remember to put the client’s needs ahead of themselves and the firm. He followed this with a statement that will long be remembered by everyone in the room: “If the commission is too high, too good, it’s probably not good for your client.”

Thoughts about the Day

On Monday, March 19, Kitch and I spent 11 hours on the campus of Marywood University.  It was a day of community, a day of learning, a day of thinking and day of good fellowship.

We missed one presentation, and we are sorry we did.  Susan Unvarsky, Vice President of Operations for Prudential Retirement, told her audience in the opening session why transparency is ethical business. We arrived at about the time Susan was finishing her remarks.

Everyone we met during the day was helpful, pleasant and welcoming. The sessions were interesting and informative. We shared priceless moments with Sister Mariam Pfeifer, a dear friend and an inspiration to everyone she taught. In the cafeteria, we met two employees Laura and Richard. They went out of their way to help us. In the elevator, we met a chef who was very accommodating.  

We had a mini-reunion with two of our former students, Amy Fedele and Stephanie Seese. Amy is a member of the Marywood staff. Stephanie is a marketing executive in scranton. Making eye contact with Amy and Stephanie during our presentation was one of the best moments of the day.

After our presentation we made a new friend, Dr. U. Rex Dumdum. He was most affirming, and he invited us to speak in one of his classes.  

At dinner, we were fortunate to be seated at what we affectionately called the best table in the room.  At table 4, we laughed together, and we engaged one another in several different conversations. We left the table with good memories of time well spent with nice people.

After the conference, we had uplifting conversations with Dr. Ann Henry, Craig Best, Dr. Art Comstock, and several students who asked thoughtful questions and offered wonderful feedback about the events of the day. Kitch and Sharon McCrone reminisced about their student days at Marywood in the 1970s. Marisa Burke and Kitch shared stories about their experiences in broadcasting.

Very few of the people we met at Marywood University will ever get a headline on page one of the local newspaper. Their faces will never appear on the cover of Time Magazine. They will not produce videos that go viral, nor will they be invited to tell their stories on the Today Show.

The people we met at Marywood are not interested in fame. They have meaning and purpose in their life because they are effectively and quietly doing things to improve the quality of life for others.  They are examples of ethical leadership and responsibility because of the things they will not do to serve their own self interest as well as the things they will do to make America a better place for all of us.

The people we met at Marywood are heroes in the way the father of our country, George Washington described heroes. They keep alive that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Thank You, Dr. Gale Jaeger
Thank You, Marywood University

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