4/21/2014 6:26:00 AM

Golub Lecture: Ethics as a Core Value

Thursday, November 14, 2013

As he addressed a standing-room-only crowd during the School of Business’ annual Lewis Golub Executive Lecture on socially responsible business practices, Lewis Steverson ’87 shared the secret to conducting business ethically. “Live it,” he said.

Steverson, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Corning Incorporated, credits his upbringing and what he learned at Siena College with instilling in him ethics as a core value. As Steverson explained during his talk, not all companies place the same emphasis on ethics.

Steverson dissected the evolution of ethics in business, made the distinction between what is legal and ethical and discussed some of the most infamous scandals in recent history, including those involving Enron and Adelphia.

Steverson said that behaving ethically has more to do with a business’ culture than its code of conduct. “You can have all the rules you want. You can have all the laws you want. If your culture is broken, you will have unethical behavior,” Steverson said.

Still, it’s a value he believes can be taught. “People want to be good,” Steverson said. “If you can show them or teach them the right thing to do, by and large, they’ll do it.”

It’s an observation the Siena College English major and Harvard Law School graduate has made during a successful career in corporate law. Steverson’s career began in private practice. He then spent 18 years with Motorola in a variety of leadership roles.

Earlier this year, Steverson joined Corning Incorporated. “This company is innovating in ways you can’t even believe,” Steverson said about Corning, a world leader in the development of glass and ceramics that are used in high-tech display and environmental technologies, telecommunications, life sciences and specialty materials.

Steverson’s message made Siena students think about life in the business world. “It’s hard to believe that people actually don’t do the right thing,” said management major Theresa Renzi ’14.

Psychology major Bethany Meyers’14 found the lecture insightful and enjoyed learning about ethics from a big-picture point of view, especially as she considered the impact of a company’s decisions. “This is how it affects a lot more people, sometimes personally,” said Meyers.

Living and working in an ethical manner is a Franciscan value that is cultivated and cherished at Siena College. Its emphasis dates back to the beginning of the Franciscan movement when friars would preach in the marketplace. “Those early friars would talk to people about being honest, telling the truth, being fair and just,” said Siena College President Fr. Kevin Mullen’75, O.F.M., Ph.D.

Through teaching current students and reflecting on the examples shared by alumni in the business world, Siena College is ensuring that, along with providing knowledge and technical skills, its students will know how to apply them for the betterment of their companies and communities alike.
 


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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