Our prior segment featured Dr. Nido Qubein – President of High Point University. We continue here with Rose Proctor, Director for the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership. Rose Proctor leads the University of North Georgia’s program and I am honored to be a speaker at the Ethics Symposium in September 19, 2014.
CHUCK: This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and I am so glad that you have continued to join us today as we talk about change, and we talk about education, and we talk about opportunities first to be able to deal with those types of things.
Of course, in the first half of our show we had Nido Qubein joining us. What a great guest! As president of High Point University, he certainly has taken a sleepy little college in the central part of North Carolina and turned it into a force to be reckoned with when you look at private universities in the country.
As you sit back and think about the change that we’re all facing, whether you’re young or whether you’re like me, a fifty-some-year adult, things are changing at a rapid pace so what the obvious ways we can effectively deal with change are look at education, look at opportunities that exist. I am so delighted to have with me Rose Procter.
Rose is the Director for the BB&T Centre for Ethical Business Leadership at the University of North Georgia and Rose and I kind of found each other online. Wait a minute, wait a minute! That didn’t exactly sound right. [chuckles] Let me rephrase that. Rose found me because I speak on business ethics and certainly the investment that BB&T has made in the Ethical Business Leadership program here at the Mike Cottrell School of Business at the University of North Georgia is really second to none. Rose, it’s such an honor to have you on the show with me today.
ROSE: Thanks, Chuck, I’m absolutely thrilled to be here.
CHUCK: With the change of pace that’s happening, or maybe better said that the pace of change that’s happening in our lives, obviously education plays a significant role. Maybe start off a little bit by telling us about the University of North Georgia and the types of students that you have there.
ROSE: Absolutely. Again, I’m very honored to be with you today. The University of North Georgia has recently gone through consolidation so in 2013 we did become the seventh largest university within the university system of Georgia in the state of Georgia. We have four campuses, one in Dahlonega, Gainesville, Oconee and Cumming. We could have encompassed this 30-county region in North Georgia so it’s a huge impact that the university has on people’s everyday lives as you were talking about and kind of seeking a change, in consolidation and everything like that, we have a lot of change going on in the area.
Among students we have here we have some amazing students, first off, but we are designated as a leadership institute for the state as well as a military college of Georgia. The level of students that we’re honored to have here in the Mike Cottrell College of Business both encompass our military leadership, leadership institute as a whole, and of course the related topical to business in general, accounting, finance, international business and all of those. We do have about 16,000 body population of students and probably about 6,000 of those are here in Dahlonega and the remaining are spread throughout other campuses.
I absolutely know what you’re talking about with the pace of change taking place today and what education plays a role in that and people lives. For our region, the University of North Georgia, has a massive impact as well as the Mike Cottrell College of Business. First off, I’m an absolute true believer that education is everything. The pace of change is really the pace of life just in general. Currently it’s having a huge impact on all of us and if we don’t accumulate relative and innovative educational pathways in order to kind of maintain that educational pace, then people may simply find themselves basically in jeopardy of not only inefficiency in their jobs but in all of their lives, including their personal.
I’m a mother of four, so for example, the parent even is there as a teacher, mentor and a leader to your children. If you are educated in things like, we’ll take an example of current technologies, it can play a devastating role for your children. I would think that the University of Georgia has a huge impact within our region as well as our state. I think the types of students that we have here are students that are innovative and creative and, like I said, have a huge leadership background for a university. We have a lot of traditional but as well non-traditional students as well. So, I don’t think you should ever stop learning new things and, frankly, education is playing more and more crucial role than it ever did role in our life, I think.
CHUCK: That’s absolutely true and I have to say, two things kind of have a personal note, when Rose and I initially connected, I guess this past February, you were so kind to invite me to two of the campuses. First off, not realizing when I came on campus it was a military school, I have to admit it, at the crack of dawn when the roosters were crowing, the horn was playing and it was time to get up. I guess that’s reveille, I’m not sure what the appropriate song it was playing, but I know that got me up and at the time when, let’s put it this way, I was generally in a nice dream state.
ROSE: You get used to this around here at the University of North Georgia.
CHUCK: Oh, there’s no question about that. I completely got that, but I have to say, one of the things that really fascinated me on the initial introduction to the University of North Georgia was speaking in two different areas, physical areas I’m referring to, the student base was really diverse, and I’m not talking about diverse racially or culturally, I’m talking about diverse in age. I think it says a lot about what you guys are offering that there’s an opportunity for people who have, let’s put it this way, perhaps considered that they have passed their college years to find out that they may not be the case since there’s no such thing as passing those years.
ROSE: Yes, absolutely. Again, we do have traditional and non-traditional students here, but I do think that, at least throughout the region, we try to encourage our citizens to realize that, again, you’re never past that stage. We encourage at all levels, whether it be at an associate level, at a bachelor’s level, at a graduate level. For Mike Cottrell College of Business we have an MBA program, a Cottrell MBA, or continuing education or whatever that might look like. We provide a lot of opportunities in our region for business community and for adult education as well, so my hope is that we are achieving and making that impact here. I’m glad that you saw that when you came.
CHUCK: Yeah, it was very interesting. I know, Rose, obviously, our connection was through the issue of business ethics and as the Director for the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership, a center within the Mike Cottrell College of Business of the University of North Georgia, tell us a little bit about what your focus is and how you’re targeting that focus throughout the North Georgia region.
ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. We are very honored to partner with BB&T. BB&T is our corporate partner and they’ve really put forth a wonderful example about ethical leadership in business and what that looks like on the day to day. So the University of North Georgia developed the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership out of that partnership with the Mark Cottrell College of Business and BB&T. Our mission is not only awareness but education in business ethics and ethical leadership in our region but also providing those educational opportunities, professional development and things like that.
We do target three different areas, and when we got together, our business advisory board basically came together and said, “What should we really be focusing on? What should we really care about to make an impact?” That kind of came to focus in three areas. I do think universities have a responsibility to care about the students before they get to our door, especially in the topic of ethics. If you’re waiting for traditional or non-traditional or even age to start talking to someone about a topic like this, you definitely are missing a lot of opportunities early on in life. We have created program at the Cottrell level. We’ve partnered with some amazing partners throughout our region, which includes Junior Achievement, our department of Labor and our department of Education as well as our school boards throughout each county and really focused business ethics and ethical leadership at that level as well.
Our second primary target is basically, of course, here internally at the Mike Cottrell business and at the university level, for our students but also for our faculty. We started programming and, Chuck, it was absolutely amazing to have you come here and be with us for the Ethics and Eggs program, which is a student-focused program. However, our faculty are involved as well. Just to kind of get them exposed to this and really start giving them this experience in this, we did develop our first-ever Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team this last fall and competed at Clemson University and getting them to have to not only define their values but voice them are two different things. Our programming focuses on that quite a bit.
Our third target market, of course, is our business community. We have a massive area. Again, it’s a 30-county region, so it’s a big job, but again we focus on the same thing. All three of those target areas were focusing on awareness, education, but also experience and it’s a really hard thing to get people experience in ethics. As an example, one of the programs that we launched in our high school program is a simulation that puts them in business environments, lets them see an ethical dilemma in front of them and then they have to defend how they would handle that, what they would do, to a live board so that they feel that nervousness, so that they have something in their brain they can fall back on that feels like experience when they find themselves there in the real world.
CHUCK: It was fascinating to me because I live in the ethical world, sort to speak. It was fascinating. You mentioned the program Ethics and Eggs, which is to those people who are listening to the show, Ethics and Eggs was a program hatched, no pun intended, with some students at the University of North Georgia to bring people together and to talk about practical ethics applications not only with faculty, with students, but with business leaders and all three were represented at that meeting.
The thing that I thought was really cool, your group, the students that participated in the competition, shared some of the ethical issues and questions they were asking. Rose, I’ve got to admit, I was kind of fascinated by it because they were looking at issues I had never thought of and very, very current progressive type things – challenges that are out there and whether the function within them happens to be ethical.
So, I have to say I applaud you for the fact that you’re doing what you have and now that I hear the music playing that’s telling me we need to take a short break. My guest is Rose Procter. She is the Director for the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership at the University of North Georgia. When we come back from the break, we’re going to talk about a program that will be coming up in 2014 that I think you’ll want to hear about and certainly connect with and consider for possibilities in your communities as well. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio, we’ll be right back.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: We’re back for our last segment. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and I am so pleased to have today two wonderful guests. If you were tuning in to the first half of the show, you heard Nido Qubein with High Point University and my guest now is Rose Procter, the Director of the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership at the University of North Georgia. I guess it is kind of fascinating to have two guests to have an interesting connection because Nido Qubein happens to be on the Board of Directors for BB&T, and BB&T happen to be the sponsor of the Center for Ethical Business Leadership at the University of North Georgia.
Rose, when we finished our last segment, we were talking a little bit about what the center does and who the target markets are and I know that this Center has an impact for the region. Of course, there’s a symposium coming up on Friday, September 19, 2014. That’s a little ways away, but September 19, 2014 focused on the ROI of Ethical Leadership in business. Tell us a little bit about this event.
ROSE: Absolutely. In our charge and our mission when we were first kind of trying to figure out the impact of the Center, the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership, could have on our region and then beyond our region as well was about really bringing some awareness to our business community about what Ethical Leadership really is. Ethics is one of those things, especially in this position, people define it very differently and what that looks like and the components of it. If you ask someone to define truth or honesty and all the different definitions that you get for that, ethics is no different. So we wanted to start having a conversation on a business community level about what we mean by that and then, again, turn on investment. In the business community one of the things that you’ll get a lot when you’re talking about business ethics or ethical practices or code of conduct and all these things that many of us feel are very important in business today, you’ll get this kind of contagious question of, “What really is the return on investment on that? How do I know that I’m making an impact with my employees, my vendors, my customers?” and all of that by implementing these things, not just superficially where they come in and sign a piece of paper, “This is what we stand for,” but really creating a culture of what you stand for in as an organization and making sure that people know that. We wanted to do that at a community level so we are holding the first annual symposium. It is on Friday, September 19. It is from 7.30 in the morning to 2 o’clock in the afternoon so it’s convenient for our business community schedule and it is a return on investment of Ethical Leadership in Business.
What we mean by that is to start that conversation about how value creation in businesses, and we are predominantly small to moderate business region, how value creation really comes out of having ethical leadership and a culture that cultivates value creation. Ultimately, that will affect your bottom line and bring in more investment opportunities and more growth in general, but then focusing on that is not necessarily where we need to be focused on, where we see that it’s like a large wound and people focus on the band aid instead of the wound itself. Creating an environment with our businesses here that you’re valued and articulated, we know what they stand for, we know who they are in our community and the impact that they have in our community.
Success isn’t labeled like it has been in the past sometimes as a negative thing but profit and success show that you can get there in a right way as well and in an ethical way and create an awesome place that not only your customers will want to be at but your employees will want to be at, and you want that business as a part of your community.
So we developed this Symposium, we’ll have a different theme each year so we wanted to focus out of the gait on why should you be focused on this and why it’s important to business to have ethical leadership. We’ve partnered with some amazing people in our region as well as someone like yourself! Chuck Gallagher will be at our Symposium on Friday, September 19 and talking a little bit about the human side of ethics and, again, how you create that culture where it’s not something that you talk about but it’s something you do and you create culture where people can be ethical.
We also have Joel Manby joining us that day. He’s the CEO and President of Herschend Family Entertainment, a company that we’re so proud to have headquartered here in Georgia and also Joel will be sharing with us some of his vision that he’s had since coming on with Herschend Family Entertainment having originally been with General Motors for almost 20 years, and the difference in the environment leadership to make.
We also have Dr. Bruce Weinstein coming in and he’s kind of [18:34] as The Ethics Guy. You’ll probably know him from a lot of his shows on CCN and Fox News and things like that, but we’re really interested in Bruce coming in and talking to us about very simplistic ways that almost everybody at the [18:47]can kind of get very clear and awareness and defined set of principles, then you can really make some ethical decisions and really be proud of the work that you do.
We also have Dr. Mary Gentile coming in who has worked for the Aspen Institute and Harvard and currently serves as a Senior Research Scholar at Babson College. She also the founding Director of Giving Voice to Values and that is really what we’re about. When I talked about the three target markets for our Center and when we talked to BB&T, this is what they were about, too. Defining your values is one thing and getting our students to realize what they stand for in values is one thing, but voicing them is something different. We all know and we’ve been there as business professionals that saying that you believe in honesty and actually being honest are two different things. We want to be able to bring that to our community and to start talking to them about the how of value-based or ethical leadership so that they can walk away that day knowing how to do it.
CHUCK: You know, Rose, first, it’s shameless self-promotion, but I guess I will be there and–[Rose chuckles]
CHUCK: I’m really excited about it, but I also have to say, something you said just a second ago really, I think, can resonate with a lot of people who are listening to the show and that is if you ask the average person, anybody listening, if you said, “Listen, are you an ethical person? Do you believe in acting honestly and with ethics?” and the answer everybody would tell you is yes. You don’t typically find people that say, “No, not really. I don’t want to do that.”
ROSE: They’re going to tell you yes.
CHUCK: They’re going to tell you yes. But the challenge is not what you think about yourself. The challenge is when faced with temptation, when faced with a challenge, when faced with making a payroll or whatever it happens to be, are you willing to stand behind what you say or will temptation take to an unethical choices? I think especially from my perspective, because I have been that person who would have said, “Yes, I’m an ethical person,” but yet when temptation was raging, I made unethical choices. I’m not proud of that, but what I learned from it is how that happens in people’s lives every day. So I applaud you for the Center taking a leadership role not just with the students at the University of North Georgia but on a broader base in the region to help people to connect the dots between what you say and what you do and how that impacts your business and business growth. I really do think that’s significant.
ROSE: Thanks, Chuck. We’re really proud of that and we attain a lot of that too at the University of North Georgia and the Mike Cottrell College of Business having a long-standing history and reputation on leadership to bring that into the Center as well as our corporate partner, the BB&T. They really have been doing this right for a long time and you’re absolutely right; one of the things that we want to be able to do at this Symposium as well is to really highlight that our businesses have responsibility and accountability as well. When you were talking about temptation or the environment that you’re in, to make sure that when we’re looking at the businesses here in our region and again even throughout the United States, we want to be able to be proud to say the culture’s there, their cultivating are not ones that breathe ethical behavior. I mean, you can take a really ethical, really moral person and put them in an environment where you’ve got these norms and social expectations and “this is just the way we do things around here” kind of environment and they can end up doing some really unethical things. I think it’s one of those things that we just want to bring to the forefront, that we really want our businesses to be thinking about the environment that you’re putting our citizens in. We want you to be thinking about the environment that you’re creating for yourself, for your family. We live in these communities and for our region, they’re doing an outstanding job so it’s not so much education per se but having that conversation amongst everybody, and also people know, putting a stage to highlight some of the stuff that we are doing here in the North Georgia region. We’ve got some amazing businesses from up this region and some amazing leaders. Even just looking at leadership on a state level with Governor Nathan Deal and all the people that are even from our community that appear in North Georgia and so we want to be able to bring that to an actual community level to have that conversation. We’re very excited about the Symposium that will be held at the Forsyth Conference Center, which is on Friday, September 19.
CHUCK: Rose, let me ask you one last question because we’re getting really close to ending, let me ask you this question. If someone was interested in establishing a Center for Business Ethics Leadership, how can they get in touch with you?
ROSE: Absolutely! We do want to be a resource to anybody that’s interested in this topic. This is our passion and this is what our mission is. The BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership is housed in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia. You can go to www.bbtcebl.ung.edu. You can find us out on Twitter, @BBTCEBL, Facebook, we have a LinkedIn group and I absolutely encourage all the listeners to reach out on LinkedIn and find our group for the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership and join the conversation. This is something that impacts all of us, our future leaders for everybody.
I’m sitting in a classroom right now and so to be able to expose them and talk to them about these things and get them experience in these areas of ethical decision making and voicing their values and business ethics before they go out and be our future leaders for us and our children and our children’s children. Now’s the time so, please, join the conversation. You can also reach us by phone at 706-867-2966 or through the Center’s email, which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHUCK: Wow, okay. Let me say this as we wrap things up. Rose, it’s been an honor and a privilege. I thank you ever so much for joining us. Today’s show Straight Talk has been talking about the pace of change and how education can impact that.
Of course, on the first half of the show we had Nido Qubein, the President of High Point University and I’m so thankful that he was able to join us, and on the last half of our show Rose Procter, who is the Director for the BB&T Center for Business Ethical Leadership at the University of North Georgia.
This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio, transformational talk radio to live by. Please, feel free to tune in, turn on and join us each week as we have different topics with Straight Talk. This is Chuck Gallagher, bye for now!