Stirring the Moral Conscience
Many of you know that the Center for the Public Trust (CPT) was inspired by NASBA President and CEO David A. Costello. During the height of what has often been termed the “accounting scandals,” he was motivated to create an organization that would promote accounting for what it was to him—a long standing profession known for its code of ethics. Although many ethics centers already existed and many fine ethics courses were being taught across the country, David wanted to build an organization that would go further, that would tell the good news, that would motivate others to create ethical organizations and live ethical lives, that would sponsor programs with creativity and imagination and that would stir the moral conscience. If you’ve read Milton Brown’s memo, you are likely to agree that from our range of topics and speakers, to our “Night of 100 Stars,” CPT has worked to bring David’s vision to life.
The inspiration of this newsletter’s title came from a sign in my kitchen which reads, “Kindness Matters.” Interestingly, when I was on the Internet pursuing ideas for my first column, I ran across a printed version of a speech given by John. S. Hunkin entitled “Ethics in Business and Everyday Life.” Hunkin asserts, “… ethics mirror the values of a society. If you’re a person who cares about others it’s easy to be ethical. The ethics of a society are largely determined by how many of its citizens truly care about others.” So there seems to be a relationship between ethics and kindness.
Hunkin is eloquent on another point—telling the good news. He points out the daily media reminders of the crisises that bloom across our planet, even though many individuals and organizations uphold high standards of honesty, respect and fairness. Reminders are necessary because we rarely get to read or hear about companies that behave ethically, or about good deeds, or about people who are kind —mostly because they aren’t stories that help sell newspapers or boost television ratings. They are important nonetheless. “We need stories that swim against the trends of social isolation and disaffection,” Hunkin says. “We need proof that there is a common humanity beyond our jobs and our commute and our home security systems, one that flourishes despite the daily headlines.”
In this issue of Ethics Matters (EM), you’ll find good news stories about Mandy Harlow and Bill Martin. To continue the flow of common humanity, we would like you to send us good news stories from any part of your life. Also, we’d like to share commentaries on initiatives and programs you’ve implemented that help build trust, leadership, accountability and other foundations of ethical cultures.
Welcome to our first edition of EM. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you.
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