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Being a Difference Award – Highlighting University Winners

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Since 2005, the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) has supported and promoted ethical leadership within the business community. After successfully honoring ethical business leaders for more than a decade through the Being a Difference Award, the CPT revised the program in 2017, and created the Bill Daniels Being a Difference Award program, sponsored by the Daniels Fund.

The recognition is reserved for leaders who go beyond making a difference; they establish a reputation for continuously Being a Difference by being ethical leaders who lead in their businesses and communities with honor and integrity. As an extension of the program, the CPT established the Campus Being a Difference Awards to provide StudentCPT chapters an opportunity to honor one student and one faculty member, annually, who positively impact their school by displaying strong, ethical leadership.    

This year, the CPT received many incredible nominations. Below, is a list of outstanding Campus Being a Difference Award finalists and the reasons for which they were selected.

Carissa Peters, Graduate Student, Accounting Major, University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? It was clear from her contributions in class that she has a highly developed sense of distinguishing between right and wrong. In a professional setting, her responses would indicate a person of integrity who will hold the line ethical standards regardless of the circumstances.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? She has displayed integrity in her behavior towards her peers and professors.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? Carissa Peters has displayed exceptional contributions to ethical leadership in business through her integrity, professionalism, and high regard for standard.

Christel Espiritu, Senior, Accounting Major with Public Administration Minor, University of Guam

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? She exhibits leadership in her role as president of the StudentCPT UOG Chapter and Junior Accountants Society and remains an example to her associates. Additionally, she doesn’t shy away from opportunities that can mentor her fellow students and aid.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? By abiding by the rules of academic conduct at the University of Guam. She remains a student in good standing and remains a positive ambassador of her organizations.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? She is deserving because she continues to exemplify the StudentCPT’s vision of ethical leadership. The chapter’s members have grown thanks to her diligence and hard work. It’s through her leadership that the chapter may be awarded the Golden Chapter Status for this school year.

Luke Williams, Junior, Energy Land Management Major, Colorado Mesa University

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Luke is an amazing student and peer that exemplifies all the respected characteristics of a leader in a community. Although he does not always lead verbally, his actions speak louder than words; he is respectful, honest, communicative, courageous, and passionate in all his endeavors.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? He has been observed acting ethically by his peers, colleagues, and mentors. He is respectful toward his friends and classmates on campus and gives his professors his utmost respect in the classroom. He strives for success in all his ventures and does not veer from his moral compass.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? Luke goes above and beyond to help others around him succeed. Whether it is staying late after class, taking extra notes, having a meaningful conversation with a peer, or donating his time to a campus cause, he strives to make a difference. Aside from Luke’s success at making a difference on campus, he donates a lot of his time toward helping the community through his firefighting.

Delaney Gust, Senior, Accounting Major, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Delaney is currently the vice president (she will be president in spring 2022) of the UCCS’ StudentCPT chapter. She has been very dependable and reliable in her position by showing up to every chapter event, engaging with members on a deeper level to make them feel welcome and appreciated, and she is always suggesting new ideas, initiating new projects, and eager to learn more about how the chapter can operate as a student organization on campus.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? Delaney always displays ethical behavior by taking care of her responsibilities without question, holding herself and others accountable to their responsibilities as well, and showing respect and kindness to everyone she meets.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? She has put so much hard work into her chapter and time to make it an organization on campus that is a positive force for students. She is driven to make the world a more ethical place and is a wonderful role model.

Tucker Norman, Senior, Management & Marketing Majors, University of Wyoming

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Tucker’s peers will tell you they see him as a leader. To illustrate the point, Tucker was the first sophomore elected as an officer of the Ethics Club (treasurer) and the first junior elected as president. Furthermore, he is more than willing to step forward and volunteer or take on a responsibility when needed. In other words, he leads by example.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? In short, Tucker is an excellent student. Additionally, he is engaged, thoughtful, and driven to make a positive impact. Tucker is also certified in ethical leadership, has created his own personal code of ethics, and is a person of the highest character.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? Tucker pushes his chapter to greater heights by enhancing SparkTank events/awards ceremonies and the chapter’s improved efficiency and operations. He is also working to improve the overall experience for chapter members.

Wanyi Fang, Sophomore, Finance and Accounting Majors, Belmont University

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Wanyi is a great communicator and encourages many students to get involved. She is eager to get to know students and help her peers in any way possible. Wanyi is vice president of the Asian American Association and shares her experiences as an Asian woman regularly with the association and greater university. She is also a member of the HOPE Council at Belmont, an incredible non-profit that works towards a more inclusive and diverse campus.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? Wanyi is great at following rules and encouraging other to follow them as well. She excels at taking responsibility and accountability when necessary. She exemplifies great professionalism and is well trusted and respected by students and faculty alike.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? Wanyi has made great strides in bringing speakers to campus and worked with Belmont to host large-scale events. She is kind, exemplifies what it means to be a people-person, a great listener and friend, and most importantly a great StudentCPT president who built the chapter from the ground up and continues to get students interested in the organization.

Anna Belle Skidmore, Sophomore, Interdisciplinary Studies Major, Lipscomb University

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Anna Belle is the cofounder of the company Granola’d. She started her company in her parent’s kitchen and has grown it into a very successful small business.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? She has shown ethical leadership through the ingredients she uses in Granola’d. Anna Belle caters to those with gluten allergies and those who want a healthy, good tasting snack.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? Anna Belle has shown that being ethical in business pays dividends. She has also shown perseverance by creating a successful company with just an idea and the materials she could find.

Jarrett Lea, Junior, Accounting Major, University of Southern Mississippi

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Jarrett has shown great initiative and joined many organizations within the College of Business at USM. He also works off-campus while maintaining a 4.0 GPA as a full-time student. Members of his Student CPT chapter see him becoming a leader within the College of Business, in the workplace, and beyond.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? Since Jarrett began attending chapter meetings, he has offered a fresh perspective on ethical decision-making and dives into the issues speakers bring forth.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? Jarrett has quickly gained and applied leadership skills that will serve him well at the university. He is a rising star, and this award shows he is excelling in his academics and extracurricular activities.

Adam Bailes, Graduate Student, Accountancy Major, Marshall University

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Adam has been actively involved in campus organizations including serving as president of his StudentCPT chapter. He has also been an officer of several other groups such as Beta Alpha Psi and the Society for Advancement of Management.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? Adam’s behavior and conduct in class is exceptional. He is very well-respected by the faculty and his peers view him as a shining example.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? During the height of the pandemic, Adam almost single-handedly kept the Marshall University StudentCPT chapter very active. He scheduled exceptional speakers, organized virtual meetings, recruited members, and promoted membership in the StudentCPT as a means of professional development. 

Abigail Ferrell, Senior, Phycology, Philosophy, & Political Science Majors, Oklahoma State University

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Abigail is earning degrees in phycology, philosophy, and political science along with a minor in Spanish. Her involvement on Oklahoma State’s campus is unmatched as Abigail has been part of and held leadership positions within over 10 student organizations, honor societies, and boards across campus. She has also held internships with the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps and Stillwater History Museum at the Sheerar.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? Abigail approaches all her leadership positions with the intention of being open-minded and respecting others’ opinions. She believes that it is important to not domineer over other people when in a place of power; rather, listening to others’ opinions and perspectives to gain more insight and understanding to solve problems.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? As someone who is applying to go to law school and has a vast background in different service organizations and honors societies, Abigail is most deserving of this award. She is extremely humble, holds herself to a high standard while making others feel heard and her execution of ethical leadership on campus is one to be admired.

Allegra Hintz, Senior, Marketing Major, Florida State University

  • How does the nominee display leadership on campus? Allegra served as president of her StudentCPT chapter throughout the pandemic and continued to uphold the legitimacy of her chapter as members were dispersed across the state. Without any pandemic experience, she demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout the quarantine period.
  • How has the nominee displayed ethical behavior? ThroughoutAllegra’s time with StudentCPT, her strong morals have helped her tackle each challenge head on, while retaining her ethics and handling each situation with grace.
  • Why is this nominee deserving of the Campus BADA? Allegra inherited the presidency of her chapter at a time when its future was uncertain. But her commitment to the organization allowed the chapter to grow in number and retain its Gold Star status as well as become a fully recognized student organization at FSU.

To submit a nomination or review award criteria, please click here.

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist

Importance of Mentoring: Helping Through Ethical Challenges

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Previously, we wrote about the importance of having a mentor. Today, we would like to focus on mentorship. By definition, a mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher or an influential senior sponsor or supporter. The NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) aims to advance ethical leadership among students and professionals. By developing, encouraging, acknowledging and promoting ethical leaders, the CPT is helping current and future business leaders regain the public’s trust and make sound ethical decisions. The CPT is so proud of our ethical leaders across the country, and we are thrilled when we learn that one would like to become a mentor.

Ethical dilemmas occur often for young professionals. However, more often than not, the ethical dilemma may or may not be clear and may not be as easy to act upon. Therefore, we encourage you to become a mentor for others and help them navigate the tough choices in their careers.

As you continue to grow in your career, the knowledge and experience that you gain is very valuable. As such, individuals starting their career can benefit from such guidance, as it helps them feel comfortable in their role more quickly. You have the opportunity to help someone avoid some of the pitfalls you may have encountered on your path. Additionally, you can offer introductions and connections to your current network.

Mentors are not only around to point out flaws or give advice. They also serve as a support system. Your support and encouragement will go a long way for your mentee. A mentor is vital in those times where your mentee may feel overwhelmed, discouraged or impatient. In those moments, your mentee can learn how to grow and respond when facing challenges or roadblocks. Offer your mentee wisdom on how you have learned to cope in difficult times and how you recommend overcoming their concerns. Your wisdom, experience and patience will serve your mentee(s) well.

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist

Emmanuel Lulin | 2018-2019

Honorees | 2017-2018

Kevin Y. Brown | 2015-2016

How to Be an Ethical Leader

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After college, students begin to consider their next chapter. Typically, this next chapter includes internships, first corporate positions and resume enhancements. However, you should become involved in activities and programs now that will positively benefit you later. You want to ask yourself how can you be more marketable. One of the best ways to do this is by completing the NASBA Center for the Public Trust’s (CPT) Ethical Leadership Certification Program to become an ethical leader.

The CPT exists to provide a platform for Corporate America and the accounting profession to explore, promote and advance ethical practices in organizations. The CPT also acts as a mechanism to link the theoretical aspect of ethics to the practical aspect in professional activities.

So, why complete the Ethical Leadership Certification Program? Ethical decision-making is one of the most important components of sustainable business success. This certification program is designed to help you recognize ethical issues, resolve ethical dilemmas and create an atmosphere that promotes positive ethical behavior and sustained success throughout your career.

This program is perfect for individuals seeking to enhance their ethical decision-making skills, to positively influence others and those seeking to boost their resumes. To begin the Ethical Leadership Certification Program, you can access the course here.

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist

Importance of Having a Mentor as an Intern

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At any stage of your career, it is a good idea to align yourself with a mentor. Whether you seek advice or a second opinion, a mentor can help you overcome the hurdles you face. Especially as an intern, a mentor can assist you in the challenges you may face early-on in your professional career.

Who can be a mentor? What makes someone qualified? These are questions you must answer. A mentor can be a teacher, co-worker, friend, neighbor, parent; the list goes on and the possibility is in your charge. By definition, a mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher or an influential senior sponsor or supporter. Consider who plays this role in your life. Who is someone that you trust and can turn to in time of need? The key is to choose someone that you feel comfortable asking questions to and who’s feedback you value and respect. By allowing yourself to learn from an experienced professional, you will benefit from years of industry experience and knowledge.

Not only can a mentor help guide you through challenges and tough decisions, but they can also help you grow. A mentor gets to know your strengths and weaknesses over time and can play a critical role in helping you become the best version of yourself. A benefit of having a mentor is that they can objectively see the situation and advise based on their extensive experience.

Unsure of your next step? Mentors can help you set and achieve your goals. For effective goal-setting, your mentor can help you create SMART goals—specific, achievable, measurable, relevant and time-based. This process can help you focus your attention to key areas and manage expectations and progress. In addition, this will help to you take, actionable, small and manageable steps toward your larger objectives. So, take a moment to consider who is capable of becoming your mentor now?

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist

Leading with Integrity: Do You Ever Wonder Why?

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Ever wondered why you are not quite hitting the mark in some key area of your business or life? You have laid out the perfect plan. You have the right team in place. The resources you need to execute are available, and all should be moving forward. However, the breakthroughs are not happening, or the big opportunity is evading you. I too, have wondered like this before. The reasons could vary, depending on the situation.

A few times in my life, when I have wondered, I discovered that motivation was the common denominator. I am a highly motivated leader, and I attract motivated people to my teams. However, collectively, we can at times be misaligned in our motivations.

Recently, I led a workshop for approximately 100 leaders at a conference focused on influential leadership. My session addressed leading from any level of an organization. During my preparation, it struck me that we often have different motivations based on our levels in organizations, the scope of our involvement and a host of other potential factors.

For example, the CEO may be motivated by the net profit yielding from the organization’s product or service offering(s). At the same time, the middle manager may be motivated by getting the exposure needed from a particular product launch to propel him or her to a senior management position. While the individual contributor working on the marketing of the same launch may be motivated by winning the local marketing association award he or she may be qualified to win for leading a successful campaign.

Although these are examples, the point is that we sometimes must look at our true motivations for what we are doing. If those motivations are not in alignment with an overall mission or purpose, we can miss the mark and fall short of our goals. Also, as ethical leaders, we have the responsibility of learning the motivations of the people we lead. When we know their motivations, we can manage the alignment of individual motivators with the overall team’s goals and objectives.

If you ever wonder, look at your motivations and the motivations of the people around you.

-Alfonzo D. Alexander, Chief Ethics and Diversity Officer, NASBA Center for the Public Trust, President

Ways to Celebrate Employee Differences

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This time of year is filled with celebration. The holidays, togetherness and taking time to appreciate those we care most about is what we can all look forward to around year’s end. We celebrate each other’s differences, uniqueness and those special qualities that make each one of us so special. As we do this for friends and loved ones, let us also implement some of these techniques when interacting with our teams and co-workers.

Whether you are in the office, or working remotely, there are many ways to make those around you feel more welcomed and included when celebrating the holidays. Remember, not everyone will share what they believe or celebrate, and that is absolutely their prerogative. Be sure to offer opportunities for everyone to feel celebrated, encourage your team to share their holiday plans and plan activities that are not focused on just one religious affiliation. By creating this inviting space, you are making inclusion a top priority.

If there are employees of many different backgrounds, faiths and cultures on the team, be sure to create a cultural calendar that will help keep track of important days for each team member. This helpful tool can create a safe space for the team to share important days that they may need to take off from work or indicate which times they need to be away from their computers. In addition, this will help the office celebrate the diversity that enhances the workplace.

Be sure to also educate yourself and your team on the many different cultures and identities that surround you today. The goal of educating employees is to make them aware of their own unconscious bias, instill a new perspective, bridge gaps and strengthen relationships. Employees and managers can work with HR to develop educational programs and tools to help everyone feel included and valued.

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist

Emotional Intelligence – What is it and its value?

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Emotional intelligence (EI) forms the juncture at which cognition and emotion meet. It facilitates our capacity for resilience, motivation, empathy, reasoning, stress management, communication, and our ability to read and navigate a plethora of social situations and conflicts.

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:

  • Self-management – You are able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses and have self-confidence.
  • Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
  • Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

As the workplace continues to shift and change, emotional intelligence continues to grow in its importance to employees and teams of all kinds. We must remember to be vulnerable, honest, compassionate, and kind to those around us. Emotional intelligence allows each one of us to relate and sympathize with one another in our everyday interactions.

Unsure of what kind of leader you are? Becoming self-aware is a great asset to understanding ourselves and how we communicate with others. One exercise is to spend a few minutes each morning writing down your thoughts before starting the workday. Practice tuning into your feelings. Are you feeling anxious, worried, or angry? Then, do this again at the end of the day and compare your feelings. Assess your positive attributes and the areas you can improve upon. As you become more aware of your emotional intelligence, you may find that you are a better leader and team member.   

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist