I founded Leading Ethics because I believe that people, companies and organizations that act with integrity can make a safer, more prosperous future for all of us and the generations who come after us. In an ever more complex and unstable world, people are voting with their feet, demanding that companies and organizations demonstrate real and consistent “duty of care” not only to the bottom line, but to the people, the planet and the future we all share in common as a global society.
With social networks shaping public opinion at an unprecedented speed, companies must be prepared to respond almost instantaneously to ethical questions about actions and policies. Whether as a consequence of a single company or organization’s actions, or as a result of ethical lapse elsewhere in the sector, the financial consequences in company valuation and reputation can be both swift and devastating, damaging or destroying good and valuable institutions. Trust in many public institutions is at a low point and the ethical posture of the business and not-for-profit sectors is urgently needed to strengthen public trust in our society and maintain the stability that business needs to thrive.
I spent the first 23 years of my career as a faith leader, inspired to bring ethical values to life, support people, and bring them together in caring relationship. Faith leaders are privileged to be involved in people’s lives at their most powerful and pivotal moments, whether times of great joy and triumph, or tragedy and defeat. We listen to the narrative of human experience and hopefully pass on teachings that might inspire those who seek to make the best of their lives.
After several years as a congregational rabbi, I was fortunate to become the head of an international body representing faith leaders and institutions in 26 countries. As one of the internationally recognized spokespeople for the world Jewish community, I led, many far-reaching collective efforts in partnership with leaders of many backgrounds serving in diverse sectors of government, business, and civil society. From this intense work, often at times of urgent need, it was clear to me that none of our “labels” adequately or accurately described any of us.
Conscience, integrity, good will - these qualities transcend country, party, industry or profession. Trustworthiness, vision and caring are found in people of every ethnicity, faith, gender or age, and in very good measure of people whose vision and competencies bring them to lead large companies and organizations. Across sectors, leaders share in common that their ethical voice and its awesome potential is often squandered or underutilized as day-to-day crises eclipse those aspirations. No matter what the industry, we have the power to reverse the undervaluation of ethics, at far less cost and with more far-reaching benefit than many imagine. Together we can realize the immense added value that Leading Ethics brings to all of our endeavors.