Joint effort between BBB and University of St. Thomas first of its kind
Burnsville, Minnesota - April 24, 2012 - On April 17, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) along with the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business convened the first-ever Business Ethics Summit. The Summit, part of the BBB's year-long Centennial Celebration, was an all-day event in downtown Minneapolis which brought together more than 100 business owners, ethics officers from leading firms, academics and students for an interactive dialogue on the importance of ethics in the marketplace. It was moderated by KSTP's Tom Hauser.
"We expected that this event and the discussions it generated would prove fruitful," said Dana Badgerow, President and CEO of the BBB. "It did more than that, exceeding even our high expectations. With panelists this accomplished, skillful moderators and the broad range of age groups involved, all of the ingredients were there for a truly special day."
The event kicked off with the announcement of the winners of the Ethics: Uploaded student video contest. The contest, which was open to all high school and college students in Minnesota and North Dakota, asked young people to consider how the decisions they make each day impact their lives, as well as their futures.
Christopher Puto, Dean of the Opus College of Business, officially opened the Summit by saying, "The purpose of business is to be a good business. The reward for being a good business is profit." Afterwards, during a lively and thought-provoking Business Ethics Panel discussion, Dr. Christopher Michaelson, a professor at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, said he asks his business students, "Who are you at your core?" and then encourages them to bring that into their work. General Mills' Senior Manager of Ethics and Compliance, Chris Collin, later added, "Business decisions need to be based on objectivity, fairness and trust."
The afternoon breakout sessions - Building a Culture of Ethics and The Ethics of Social Media - offered a broad range of experienced panelists and presenters touching on real-life ethical dilemmas businesses have faced and discussed well-publicized examples where companies had failed to remain true to their stated values. Ron James, CEO of the center for Ethical Business Cultures, encouraged businesses to make sure their actions followed their values, and cautioned them against getting fixated on short-term objectives at the cost of their long-range plans. Amy Lilly, Director of Ethics and Compliance for CenterPoint Energy, reminded business owners and students alike that organizations have to rely on their values to guide employees in the decisions they make.
The spirited discussions focused mostly on the positive and spoke to the importance, for both businesses and individuals, of making ethics a frontline priority and everyday concern.
Panelists and presenters included: Christopher Puto, Dean of the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business; Paul Blom, Right At Home; Tim Brunelle, Hello Viking; Chris Collin, General Mills; Gina Debogovich, Best Buy; Bryan Del Monte, Del Monte Agency; Kathleen Edmond, Best Buy; Dr. Ron James, Center for Ethical Business Cultures; Amy Lilly, CenterPoint Energy; Dr. Christopher Michaelson, University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business; Dr. Michael Porter, University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business; Jeff Taxdahl, ThreadLogic; and Kathy Tunheim, Tunheim.
"We're planning to make both the Business Ethics Summit and Ethics: Uploaded annual events," said Badgerow. "As so many of our accomplished panelists noted at the Summit, ethics must constantly be reinforced. When they're not, that's when problems can so easily occur."
The Business Ethics Summit was supported by the BBB's Centennial sponsors: Best Buy, CenterPoint Energy, Think Mutual Bank, Del Monte Agency, K102, KOOL 108, KFAN, NewsTalk Radio, Business Journal, Pioneer Press, Prairie Business, Gray Plant Mooty, ABRA and Financial Concepts.
About the Better Business Bureau
The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. Our hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222. Visit the BBB's Centennial website at bbbis100.org.
About the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business
With a vision to educate highly principled global business leaders, the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business is the only private university in Minnesota accredited by the AACSB. It offers undergraduate concentrations in 13 fields and master's degrees in seven programs, including day and evening MBA programs. The school enrolls another 4,300 participants annually in executive-education classes.