Ethical Leadership: Why it’s important

Dr. AnnMarie Marlier joined the Business Ethics Alliance in December as the Vice President of Leadership Development.  “In my career, I have seen firsthand the difference that an organization which emphasizes ethical practices can make for all stakeholders.” she states, adding, “Some organizations I worked for seemed to emphasize ethical practice, yet these organizations did not actually conduct business using ethical practices. Mistrust, closed mindsets, and unacknowledged poor behavior prevented full engagement, collaboration, and innovation at an organizational level.” This left AnnMarie frustrated and searching for a place where espoused values really did align with values in practice.  “It was hard to run my teams the way I wanted to with a focus on building trust and relationships when the organization valued a ‘get it done quickly’ and transactional approach,” says AnnMarie.  

AnnMarie also experienced several instances of professional bullying as well as toxic and dysfunctional work environments.  “It’s really difficult to do your best work and be your best, authentic self when you are not valued for what you can do, especially when expectations change along the way and are not discussed.  This led to me doubting myself and my abilities,” AnnMarie recalls.  “If it weren’t for several individuals along the way who helped me work through those feelings of inadequacy, I wouldn’t have had the energy and courage to keep moving forward.”  

AnnMarie’s background is varied, yet the common thread throughout her career is education.  This aligns perfectly with her new role at the Alliance.  On the administrative side, AnnMarie served as an academic dean at several institutions, leading teams ranging from 40 – 120 full- and part-time faculty and staff to provide quality education for up to 130 academic program offerings in face-to-face, hybrid, and online modalities.  This experience includes measuring and monitoring outcomes as well as maintaining compliance with accreditation standards.   On the instructional side, AnnMarie developed, implemented, and directed several programs across several post-secondary levels, including teaching courses ranging from undergraduate student success through doctoral courses.  Developing curricula and leading training for both corporate and not-for-profit organizations as a manager, trainer, and consultant across several roles and positions rounds out her professional experience.  

Along the way, AnnMarie learned to lean into using her strengths rather than worry about areas that did not come as easily to her.   For example, one of AnnMarie’s top CliftonStrengths is Connectedness.  “Whenever I meet a new person or start a new venture, I look for ways to connect to the people involved so I can focus on similarities instead of differences,” she says.  “This Connectedness strength led me to apply for the Leadership Nebraska program when I moved to Nebraska from Wisconsin so that I could get to know my newly adopted “home” state better.  Acceptance into Leadership Nebraska led to my learning more about the communities, industries, and people that make up Nebraska so that I could better serve those I work with in Omaha, Nebraska, and beyond.” Networking also led AnnMarie to meet amazing leaders across industries, and she became involved in several women’s leadership networking groups in Omaha and across Nebraska.  Networking through one of these groups led to an opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative so now she helps make a positive impact for future generations of Nebraska leaders. 

Looking back over her career, AnnMarie recalls that some organizations she worked for seemed, by industry reputation, to occasionally engage in unethical practices yet were, in fact, operating from a very ethical place.  Even at these organizations, “Student/client/stakeholder success, persistence, and employee engagement all resulted from a positive workplace culture that put the whole person at the center of all we did,” says AnnMarie.  Additionally, she believes that no person can successfully lead others without first successfully leading themselves.  “When we can honestly say we have few regrets about our choices, then our integrity, brand, and reputation represent us well whether we are physically present or not. This opportunity as Vice President of Leadership Development at the Business Ethics Alliance allows me to focus on what has always been at the center of my approach and practices as a leader- developing the capacity for leaders to act in ways that are inclusive, equitable, and focus on the whole person and/or community. Ethical leadership is at the very heart of my life choices and always will be. “


March 23, 2023: Spring Ethics Breakfast
Women in Leadership | 7:30a-9:00a | The Venue

April 20, 2023: Spring Ethics Luncheon
Diversity on Boards | 11:30a-1:00a | Scott Conference Center

May 25, 2023: Spring Mind Candy Dialogue
Mental Health in the Workplace | 7:30a-9:00a | Scott Conference Center

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June 29, 2023: Summer Mind Candy Dialogue
Ethics of the Hybrid Work Team | 11:30a-1:00a | Creighton Heider School of Business

August 03, 2023: Summer Ethics Luncheon
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Business | 11:30a-1:00p | Charles Schwab Field

October 05, 2023: 15th Anniversary Celebration Ethicspace Conference
CHI Center

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