By AnnMarie Marlier, Executive Director, Business Ethics Alliance
On March 27, 2023, I was offered the opportunity to step into the role of the Business Ethics Alliance’s next Executive Director. Without hesitation, I accepted and began diving deeper into the work I started when I joined the Alliance in December 2022. As part of my “onboarding,” I began having as many conversations as possible with our founders, Governing Board members, Trustee Partners, and the greater community to honor the past and envision the Alliance’s future.
For this Trustee Partner Spotlight, I share a look at the personal impact a Trustee Partner had on me as I begin this Executive Director journey.
I first met Amie Gamboian in a “past life” when both shared independent consulting paths. Fast forward five years to now when both are following different professional paths yet share a connection in the Alliance. When Amie congratulated me, I immediately asked to share some coffee and conversation. What follows is some of that conversation- both in person and virtually.
Q. How would you define ethical behavior?
A. Ethical behavior is fair, just, equitable, honorable, and respectful. It’s doing the morally right thing, especially when it isn’t convenient or self-serving.
Q. What do you consider when moving through the ethical decision-making process?
A. I try to consider all angles of the issue we’re solving, as well as all stakeholders involved, potential consequences, and corresponding probable impact…I find it’s more effective to do this in a team setting or with 1-2 other trusted advisors so I can listen to diverse perspectives; otherwise, the process is likely to be limited by my own echo chamber.
Q. What are some of your most ethical qualities and why?
A. I’m trustworthy, authentic, respectful, and known as a truth-teller. With a high “say-do ratio,” I deliver on promises and lead by example… I’m developing greater patience and learning to listen better, particularly to those who have different perspectives than I do.
Q. What are some ethical issues businesses need to keep in mind?
A. Many significant ethical issues consistently hitting headline news have become politicized and weaponized. I’d like to see businesses doubling down on what they can control – their internal ethical culture. Create experiences that align with those [core] values and manage performance to those behaviors. If you’re unwilling to do that, then it’s time to take a fresh look at your core values and make some adjustments.
Q. What does the idea of business ethics represent to you?
A. Upholding business ethics is about holding ourselves and one another as business leaders accountable to high moral standards as we conduct business in fair and equitable ways. It’s about leveraging success achieved ethically for the good of the entire community by giving back, filling areas of need, and creating impact that goes beyond our own company walls. In communities where ethical standards are collectively upheld and trust anchors business transactions, people, relationships, and businesses all flourish.
Trustee Spotlight Continued
Here’s the part of the conversation with Aime that resonates strongly with me.
Q. Why is it important for senior leaders to reinforce ethical behavior?
A. Senior leaders are responsible for building healthy and ethical cultures… [that] reject toxicity, unethical behavior, and dysfunctions…Few things are more important to the health of an organization than being a leader aligned with who we say we are and how we actually behave.
Q. How does an organization prove it is ethical and worthy of trust to the community it serves?
A. Organizations prove they are ethical and worthy of trust by first taking care of their internal customers, the employees… Businesses do much of the same with customers to establish trust – providing clear and accurate expectations,… overcommunicating,… transparently sharing…, …and treating all with respect and dignity.
Q. How do you stabilize your work culture through ethics?
A. Stability is experienced with consistency…choosing to show up and treat one another ethically on a daily basis does far more to advance ethics in our workplaces than most programs or mandatory training
Q. Why do you continue to partner with the Business Ethics Alliance?
A. Partnership with the Business Ethics Alliance as a Trustee creates opportunities for me to directly support the mission of the organization. As a purpose-driven and mission-centric person, I desire to play an active role…advancing the ethical landscape in Omaha and well beyond.
My time with Amie (and many other trustees and Governing Board members) is energizing, informative, and inspiring. Refocusing on our core mission and values as the premier ethics education provider is crucial as is periodically re-examining our mission, vision, and values to ensure relevance for the next part of our journey. Please reach out and drop me a line, call, or an in-person nudge at an event to share your ideas, insights, and suggestions so that we collectively sustain the Business Ethics Alliance for many years to come! Best, AnnMarie
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