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Student Leadership Conference Builds Ethical Foundation for Future Business Leaders

Author: Bre’Ana Thompson, NASBA Communications Intern
Posted: June 21, 2012

Financial independence. Power. Fame. These are often the components by which an individual’s success is measured. But what about accountability, integrity, trust and confidence? Do these qualities count in the measurement of success? This was the focus of the 2012 Student Leadership Conference hosted by the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) that took place June 12-13 in Philadelphia, PA. Students from universities and colleges across the nation gathered for a valuable lesson in how to Learn, Live and Lead.

The Conference kicked off with a welcome luncheon featuring Bucky Glover, CPA, NASBA member and partner with Potter & Company. In his lively presentation, Glover set an inspiring tone to the annual event as he encouraged students to be significant, not just successful, as he motivated them to pursue purpose instead of promotion.

The second day began with renowned business advisor and personnel development expert, Jerry Esselstein, delivering a lively and impactful session on Improving Your Personal Effectiveness.  “Jerry’s presentation was all information that I had never received before. It was unique and informative, very useful” said one of the student attendees.

The use of cognitive thinking was the essence of the presentation by Larry Bridgesmith, Associate Professor and founding executive of the Institute for Conflict Management at Lipscomb University. He demonstrated how cognitive thinking creates problem-solving strategies, as opposed to emotional thinking, which is rarely effective.

As an exercise in cognitive thinking, students later participated in an ethics case study breakout session, presented by Drs. O.C. and Linda Ferrell, Professors of Marketing at the University of New Mexico. This activity gave students the opportunity to experience the “real world of business” by debating the ethical dilemmas within the case study.

According to CPT founder and former NASBA President and CEO, David Costello, practicing ethical behavior is not only important in the workforce, it is a lifetime commitment. Costello left students with a profound message “Let’s be truthful, let’s be transparent, let’s be trustworthy.” 

Alfonzo Alexander, CPT President and NASBA Chief Relationship Officer, facilitated an interactive networking activity. Alexander shared key networking strategies with students and then prompted them to immediately practice with their peers. Armed with these tools, students were given opportunities to refine their skills as they networked with Conference speakers, CPT staff and attendees of the NASBA Eastern Regional Meeting. The pinnacle was the opportunity for students to use their skills effectively as they dined with Ken Bishop, CPT CEO and NASBA President and CEO. Bishop engaged the students and then shared experiences from his past and current leadership roles.

Students also attended Successful Career Search Panel and Chapter Best Practices. CPT Manager of Programs, Amy Walters, said of this year’s Conference “It was energizing and inspiring to meet with such an engaging and intellectual group of students. I look forward to working with and supporting them as they build their Student CPT chapters.”

In its second year, the 2012 Student Leadership Conference saw significant growth in attendance with 37 students representing 18 colleges and universities from across the country. Many students attended with plans of starting a Student CPT chapter on their campus, while others look to enhance participation at their existing chapter.

The Student Leadership Conference is just one benefit of the Student CPT program offered by the NASBA Center for the Public Trust. The mission of the Student CPT is to promote ethical thinking in the developing character and conscience of students. To learn more about the Student CPT, or to make a donation, please visit