"Leadership and Ethics: Linking the Generations"

On January 29-30, an innovative two-day conference at SOM, entitled "Leadership and Ethics: Linking the Generations" brought members of the Charter Class of 1978 together with current students for an "off the record" discussion dealing with ethics, leadership, and professionalism - issues which are just as relevant today as they were 25 years ago.

The idea for the "Leadership and Ethics: Linking the Generations" conference evolved from the 25th Anniversary Charter Class Reunion in September, when Class of '78 members expressed a willingness to connect with the current generation of students and to share with them some of their "professional" life lessons. To this end, Charter Class members - Ann Bamford Adams, Claudia Stone Gourdon, Mary Wallace Jaensch, Susan Biel Kerley, Steve KovelPamela Schlobohm, and Mark Tuckerman - teamed up with Professor Garry Brewer, Dean of Student Affairs, Prish Pierce, and 12 current SOM students, some of whom serve on the school's Honor Committee and Professional Code Task Force, to organize this unique forum.

Members of the Charter Class, SOM faculty members Garry Brewer, Roger Ibbotson, Victor Vroom, and Art Swersey, SOM staff, and around 45 students gathered together to discuss case studies - many of which were based on collective experience - ranging from gender issues to marketing and business ethics, to stale pricing in mutual funds. Distinguished guest, Sherron Watkins, Time Person of the Year 2002, and Enron Whistleblower also participated in the proceedings. 

Julia Travers '05, one of the student conference organizers remarked: "It was incredibly rewarding to discuss leadership, ethics and life's experiences with the members of the Charter Class. We are all so busy writing problem sets and searching for jobs that it is too easy to avoid questioning the ethics beyond what it is we are learning. Thursday and Friday gave us the chance to stop and reflect on our education, finding meaning and import in what it is we do here. Admittedly, though, more than anything else I enjoyed socializing with the Charter Class during dinner and lunch. I wish we had weekly reunions!"

Ann Bamford Adams '78, echoed mutual sentiments on behalf of the Charter Class: "I came away from my two days at SOM...with a renewed confidence that current SOM students are thoughtful, innovative, and morally alert, as well as bright and energetic. I found our alumni-student discussions about professional ethics a hopeful beginning to what I trust will be an ongoing conversation on the subject among faculty, alumni, and students."