William T. Brendel, Ed.D., Letter of Introduction

Dear CEBC Members and Friends,

When I first explored the unique opportunity to lead the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, I met with over a dozen stakeholders to get a better sense of their needs. What could the center do to add greater value? They shared that the external environment has grown increasingly ambiguous and suggested that the center transform its offerings to address ethical challenges associated with uncertainty. Truly, modern organizations operate like rafts navigating the whitewater of continuous change. Laws and regulations cannot move fast enough to catch up with market swings, new technologies, and globalization. It’s breathtaking, especially when compared to the 1970s when the center was first formed. Back then, change was often followed by periods of stability, just long enough for some organizations to patch up damages and correct course.

Those days may seem like a distant memory, but that doesn’t make a virtuous workplace less likely or valuable. In fact, organizations that proactively develop vibrant, ethical cultures are enjoying numerous competitive advantages; particularly with Millennials who are now the workforce majority. These opportunities include winning and retaining top talent, increasing productivity, improving performance, and inspiring innovation. These may seem like unlikely connections until we expand our understanding of ethics in the workplace, quantify its strategic value, and manage systematic improvement. This is precisely what the center is now planning to facilitate and showcase with organizations like yours. In addition to continuing world-class compliance and ethics programming we will champion a novel approach for transforming ethical culture in the modern era.

CEBC’s new vision is to bring about the best in people and organizations through:

Organizational Citizenship

Inspiring a genuine motivation to do the right thing, not because it is required or recognized, but because it is inherently rewarding.

Meaningful Work Helping employees deepen and align their greater sense of purpose with the organization’s vision to produce an authentic sense of ownership and responsibility. Principled Leadership

Developing leaders capable of recognizing and rising above self-interests to benefit the welfare of the organization, its employees, and the community.

All professions and professionals who impact compliance and employee development will have seats at the table, including: Ethics, Compliance, Risk Management, Human Resources, Training & Development, and Organizational Effectiveness. Dialogue between these traditionally siloed areas will allow the center to usher in innovations that span the entire ecosystem of organizational ethics. We will also expand our impact on the common good by extending offerings to the public sector.

In the coming months, I’ll be reaching out to gather your feedback on our specific plans. One of these includes offering a Culture Transformation Program, a collection of workshops facilitated by scholars and practitioners connected to the Opus College of Business designed to help emerging leaders diagnose, develop, and demonstrate improvements to ethical culture.

To learn more about my background and why I am very excited about this vision please view my welcome video. Also, feel free to share this email with friends and colleagues as we strive to transform society by bringing out the best in people and organizations.

Thank you for your support!

William T. Brendel, Ed.D. President & CEO Center for Ethical Business Cultures

wbrendel@stthomas.edu