My first encounter with the Alliance was in 2014, shortly after I moved here. I heard that the events sponsored by the Alliance were excellent resources for networking and as an educator, I was also attracted by the content. It was there I first saw Dr. Beverly Kracher, our founder, in action and I was hooked! Her style, her charisma, and her way of engaging the speakers appealed to the educator in me although it would be many years later before I would meet Dr. Kracher. Along the way I continued to attend Alliance events here and there not knowing that I might one day lead this incredible organization.
When I first started at the Alliance in December of 2022 as the vice president for leadership development, I was at a crossroads in my career, having just come off an almost 25 year run in higher education teaching, and in administration. In that career I had been bullied and gaslighted more than once. I saw ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making play out regularly. Organizations and people I trusted let me down and organzations I never expected to trust earned my loyalty. I saw the position at the Alliance as a way to maintain my love of education, support an organzation I trusted, and re-engage in person with the Omaha community after five years of remote work. Little did I know that a short time after I began my position, life would change for me and for the Alliance.
Shortly after I began at the Alliance, the opportunity to lead the organization as the interim director arose. I saw in that period a talented and still growing “teenaged” organization with much to offer and programs yet to be realized. After much consideration, and many conversations with staff and the board, I pursued the executive director’s position and was offered it in March 2023.
This past year has been one of change, amazement and hope! Dr. Kracher has been nothing but gracious, a champion, and mentor. She is the Alliance’s biggest cheerleader! Our governing board has been, well, on board with my vision for the Alliance’s future and I am grateful every day for their insights and support. The staff and partners I work with to make the magic happen daily are second to none and none of the last year would be possible without them. Finally, business and community partnerships comprising the Alliance’s foundation make it a unique and highly innovative organization; there is no other organization like the Business Ethics Alliance anywhere!
Please join me in looking back at a few key highlights from the Alliance’s 15 year history, and celebrate many more years of ethical dialogues to come! Because ethics matter, always.
Dr. Beverly Kracher begins organizing Omaha business leaders to support local
business ethics education.
Beverly and Bob Bates, former CEO of Jefferson Pilot and business community leader, worked with Anthony Hendrickson, dean of Creighton University’s Heider College of Business, David Brown, then president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber, and Jim Hegarty, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Midwest Plains (BBB), to begin formalizing a unified business ethics initiative. Butch Ethington, an ethics and compliance officer at Union Pacific Railroad, was also an early collaborator.
Initial business ethics programs were tested for interest in the local community, and a larger strategic committee met regularly to create the structure needed to run business ethics programs long-term.
The Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics was legally established as a stand-alone, independent, not-for-profit entity with three founding partners: the Heider College of Business, the Greater Omaha Chamber, and the Better Business Bureau Midwest Plains. A fourth partner, the Greater Omaha Business Community, communicates that the organization is for-and-by the business community.
Annual surveys regarding organizatioanl ethics and values are launched. Five core business values are identified: accountability, community responsibility, financial vitality, integrity, and moral courage.
Kracher leads the Alliance for over 12 years as executive director and CEO, building a full range of community programs and ethics-based products and services including ethical culture consulting, ethical leadership workshops, ethical toolkits, and community programming.
Mission Drivers established as the highest level of support for the Alliance.
Trustee Partners program is formally launched to engage business community leaders and organizations as ambassadors and beacons of ethical behavior and support for the Alliance.
Programming includes a full slate of eight Signature Events and seven additional programs including Ethics Exchanges, Ethics on Trial, YP Speed Ethics, and Moral Superheroes for Omaha Public Schools.
Ethical Leaders Program launched; this was the first iteration of a young professionals ethical leadership development program.
The Alliance’s premier conference, Ethic Space launched.
Michael Robinson takes the helm as Executive Director.
BEAcon Magazine launches, replacing the newsletter.
Our Walk the Talk podcast launches with host Blake Peterson.
The Alliance turns 15!
The Suite Life interview series launches its first episode featuring Mark Mathia of Signature Preformance.
Dr. AnnMarie Marlier begins her tenure at the Alliance as executive director to ensure the Alliance continues its legacy and reputation of providing relevant ethics education to the Omaha business community.