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How to Stay Focused and Positive in Stressful Times

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School is starting back, and some folks are returning to work. However, there is still a lot up in the air. Will you be working from home or in the office? Will you be attending school virtually or in the classroom? We all have a lot of questions and feelings of uncertainty, and that can be stressful. But, we at the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) like to stay positive and recognize the bright side of circumstances, even when it is tough. So, how do you stay positive during these strange times?

One way to remain optimistic is to practice positive thinking. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. Try to focus on the good, rather than expect the bad. This may not come naturally, especially during these unusual times, but with practice this will become second nature.

Be proactive! Proactive coping reduces the likelihood of experiencing future stressors. Think ahead and determine how you might be able to avoid potential stressors in your everyday life. For example, can you ask your co-workers for help on projects or take small steps to ease your workload later in the week? Being proactive can improve your overall quality of life, lower levels of stress and lower levels of depression.

Lastly, be sure to acknowledge the things that do go right. One way to do this, is to take inventory of your day and recognize something new that you learned, are grateful for or something you accomplished. If we do not stop to look around, there is a lot that we miss – including so many positives around us. So, during these stressful times, remember to keep a positive outlook, plan ahead and take inventory of the good all around.

-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist

CPT Provides Ethics CPE Training for ASCPA

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Ethics Matters

Q3 2020

The state of Alabama recently mandated that practitioners complete two hours of ethics continuing professional education. Throughout the years, the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) has provided ethics trainings, both live and online. With Alabama’s new ruling, the CPT set out to develop a course to support the Alabama Society of CPAs (ASCPA) and its practitioners.

The CPT developed an online ethics course for the ASCPA, which is delivered through a CPT learning management system (LMS). The ASCPA launched the course along with other offerings to their practitioners in May. By partnering with the CPT and leveraging its LMS, the ASCPA has an efficient and effective means of collecting course fees, administering the content, and monitoring course completions through reporting functionality.

“The Alabama Society of CPAs is pleased to partner with NASBA CPT in offering our members a premier ethics course,” says Jeannine Birmingham, President and CEO of ASCPA. “The two-hour learning opportunity is filled with important information delivered in a fun, fast-paced, online platform.”

If you would like to discuss opportunities to develop and implement an online ethics course, contact Sedrik Newbern at

Student NEWS

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Ethics Matters

Q3 2020

Congratulations to the 2019 – 2020 StudentCPT
Star and Golden Star Chapters!

STAR Chapters
University of Alabama, Birmingham
University of Delaware
University of Northern Colorado
University of Southern Mississippi
University of Utah

Belmont University
Colorado Mesa University
East Central University
Florida State University
Lipscomb University
Marshall University
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Ohio University
Oklahoma State University
Temple University
Tennessee Tech University
Truman State University
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
University of Colorado, Denver
University of New Mexico
University of Wyoming
Valdosta State University

LEAD WITH INTEGRITY The Future of Leadership

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Ethics Matters

Q3 2020

Throughout the past few months, I have been intrigued by the many ways our world is changing. We are all forced to adapt the way we operate in nearly all areas of our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our use of technology to conduct business. The tensions around equity, diversity and inclusion has caused many of us to assess ourselves and identify our blind spots regarding race. All this change accentuates the need for ethical leadership, now and in the future.

Before March 15, 2020, our world was discovering new technology and adopting it at a normal pace. Almost immediately after that day, we began to adopt new and advance our use of existing technology at an accelerated pace. With such rapid change, comes chaos, uncertainty, and temporary loss of productivity. If you are like me, you probably have experienced all of these undesirable factors at varying levels.

So, how do we get to a normal and productive state? I say with leadership – starting with self-leadership. Leaders must set the tone by establishing and maintaining effective routines. It is important for us to develop a rhythm for our activities, or we will become very inefficient with our time. Once we are in a rhythm, we can help those we lead get in cadence. Leaders must also drive the effort to embrace new thinking around: 1) adaptability, 2) creativity, 3) critical thinking, and 4) technology use. The Future of Leadership will be dependent on our ability to competently lead using these skills.

The Future of Leadership is also going to be impacted by the new awareness and interest in equity and inclusion. To be most effective, leaders will have to bring some additional qualities to their organizations. The business world of the future is requiring its leaders to have heightened levels of: 1) emotional intelligence, 2) listening, 3) empathy, and 4) interpersonal communications skills. The marketplace is demanding more inclusivity, and to be effective, future leaders must commit to increasing competence in these areas.

The Future of Leadership calls for us to increase our competence in the aforementioned, key areas. I am committed, and I hope you are too. If I can assist you in any way, let me know.

Remember, Lead with Integrity!

Expanding the Impact of the CPT

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Ethics Matters

Q3 2020

Saying the last few months have been an adjustment, is frankly an understatement. Businesses and schools have had to rethink and retool everything, and so has the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT). The CPT transitioned from in-person to virtual speaking engagements for students and professionals, and modified the annual student conference to offer an online event. Now, the CPT is discussing the adjustments needed to support StudentCPT chapters at colleges and universities that have made the decision to offer only online courses or limit the number of students on campus in the fall.

These changes have forced the CPT staff to revisit goals and strategies around how the organization will grow its footprint on college campuses and provide ethical training to professionals. With virtual classes and meetings becoming the norm, CPT staff have asked how they can engage other businesses, institutions, and organizations to champion the public trust by advancing ethical leadership.

To further the CPT’s mission during this time of change, your support is critical. Are you affiliated with colleges and universities that you can make an introduction for the CPT to offer a StudentCPT chapter? Are you actively involved with businesses or organizations that you can recommend the Ethical Leadership Training program for their employees and leadership team? Have you made your personal commitment to the CPT and encouraged others to do the same?

Please direct your introductions to Sedrik Newbern, Operations Director, at Contributions can be made today by visiting or mailed to: NASBA Center for the Public Trust, P.O. Box 306272, Nashville, TN 37230.

Thank you for your continued support of the CPT!

Good News: ViacomCBS Creates Virtual Community Day During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Ethics Matters

Q3 2020

Not only did the recent pandemic hit businesses hard financially, it also diminished the enthusiasm and dedication 20,000-plus ViacomCBS employees had to their communities. Prior to COVID-19, ViacomCBS employees participated in what they deemed “Viacommunity Day,” when employees would gather at hundreds of sites around the world to rebuild and re-energize their communities. When the pandemic hit the world, this type of celebration was no longer viable.

However, Crystal Barnes, for the ViacomCBS newsroom, said employees “made it clear to our team, through emails, virtual meetings and DMs, that their isolation had not dampened their desire to care for our communities, and do so together. Management at all levels across the company supported the idea. It is in that spirit of irrepressible goodwill and restless creativity that the first ViacomCBS Virtual Community Day was born.”

This year, ViacomCBS employees from around the world gave back to the people and organizations in their communities, virtually. Barnes noted that employees consulted with nonprofits on better business strategies, mentored students with America on Tech, hosted social issues discussions with the American Civil Liberties Union, led virtual learning hours with Breakthrough New York, provided feedback to young writers, transcribed records for the Smithsonian Museum, and helped World Food Program USA and Urban School Fund Alliance donate 50,000 meals through the atlasGO global health and wellness challenge. The employees achieved all this goodwill via online resources and platforms.

As the world continues to change, we could all use a little inspiration from the goodwill efforts of organizations like ViacomCBS. Take time to determine how you, too, can give back virtually in a world that now relies so heavily on online support.

Lead with Integrity Series Reaches Students Near and Far

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Ethics Matters

Q3 2020

Each year, the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) hosts the well-anticipated StudentCPT Leadership Conference (SLC). Although the conference was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the CPT still wanted to create an opportunity for student leaders to connect and build upon their leadership skills.

The Lead with Integrity Leadership Series was designed for students to fine tune their strengths, enhance their ethical decision-making abilities, and learn best practices as it relates to running a StudentCPT chapter. Students joined the conference via Zoom for a two-hour session throughout the course of a three-day period. Because of the virtual nature of the conference, students were able to have open dialogue with the speakers.

Lead with Integrity Agenda:
Tuesday, June 23, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Strengths Based Leadership
(Dr. William Latham)

Wednesday, June 24, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Networking in the New Age
(Sedrik Newbern)

StudentCPT Chapter Operations: Set Your Sights on Golden Star Status
(Ashley Metivier)

Thursday, June 25, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Hear from a Whistleblower: Cynthia Cooper’s Story
(Cynthia Cooper)

The conference was a success with 100 percent of survey respondents saying they would recommend the conference to another peer or classmate. Thank you to Cynthia Cooper and Dr. William Latham for making this conference possible!

“It was an enriching and educational experience.” – Montclair University student.

“I would recommend this conference because I learned a lot that I can put toward CPT leadership-related tasks and toward networking for possible internships and job opportunities in the future!” – Belmont University student


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Ethics Matters

Q2 2020

Colleges and universities around the globe have transited their students off campus to online learning platforms in efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19. StudentCPT chapters are staying engaged while utilizing technology, despite being unable to meet
in person.

Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University StudentCPT members recently tuned into a virtual meeting. Old and new officers completed a fun facts sheet, which was then turned into a fun Get to Know You Kahoot game with the chapter members. Members also established chapter goals for the upcoming school year.

Florida State University
CPT President, Alfonzo Alexander, recently spoke to Florida State University StudentCPT members along with two business classes via Zoom. During his presentation, Alexander shared personal experiences of how he overcame ethical dilemmas early on in his career. He also discussed how to manage chaos during challenging times.

2020 Ethics in Action Video Competition
Each year, the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) encourages college students to creatively demonstrate why ethical leadership is important in business. This year, 117 videos were received from 33 schools, signifying a record-breaking response! Let’s give a round of applause for our 2020 Ethics in Action Video Competition winners. Special thanks to the Dean Institute for Corporate Governance and Integrity for sponsoring this year’s competition.

Short Film Category (1-3 Minutes)
First Place:
Tax Preparer Dilemma, Austin Community College

Runner Up – It’s a tie!:
A Clean Conscious, Texas Woman’s University

Toxic Behavior in the Workplace, University of New Mexico

Commercial Category
(59 Seconds or Less)
First Place:
Dilemma, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Runner Up:
Generation Collaboration, University of New Mexico

Viewer’s Choice Short Film (1-3 Minutes)
First Place:
Ethical Decision Making While Working From Home, Carroll University

Runner Up:
Ethical Dilemmas, Georgia Gwinnett College

Viewer’s Choice Commercial
(59 Seconds or Less)
First Place:
Best Ethical Decision Making During a Pandemic at Work, Georgia Gwinnett College

Runner Up:
Problems at Your Workplace, Georgia Gwinnett College

LEAD WITH INTEGRITY: The Thrill of Victory

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Ethics Matters

Q2 2020

My early childhood was in the pre-cable television days. During that time, I always enjoyed watching the Wild World of Sports. One of my favorite parts was the start of the show. Each episode began with a phrase describing the “thrill of victory” and the “agony of defeat.” I always loved the personal experience of the thrill of victory.

As we experience this difficult time with COVID-19, many are feeling the agony of defeat in various ways. I am motivated to encourage you to drive toward your thrill of victory. Your thrill of victory can be achieved by moving through your response
to adversity.

It is safe to say that we have all faced some level of adversity of late. It is completely natural for us to have an initially negative response; usually fear, anger or both; to adverse situations. However, once we get past that initial reaction, we increase the possibility to convert that negative situation into a positive outcome. That’s right, we
can control how quickly we move from the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory.

It is not always simple to make the transition, because there is an additional phase that slows us down. This phase is filled with uncertainty and often shakes our confidence. During this phase, we have to coach and advise ourselves. During this phase, we must remember the road to success is rarely easy, but it is always worth the journey, if we endure.

Enduring the difficult time takes us to the thrill of victory. I challenge you to move from the initial negative response, to hurdle over the uncertain feelings and reconnect with the original purpose for your journey. This movement is attainable, and it will lead you to the “thrill of victory!

Why Giving Matters

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Ethics Matters

Q2 2020

Life has been challenging for our students adjusting to new ways of learning and staying connected. Our professionals have been impacted as well from businesses restructuring, facing workforce reductions, and even worse, having to shut down.

The question is how do we move forward from here?

The NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT) was created with the mission of championing the public trust by advancing ethical leadership in business, institutions and organizations.
In times like this, our mission couldn’t be more important.

Throughout this pandemic, we have continued to support our students and professionals, and we will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead as we continue to recover. Your continued support of our efforts to promote and advance ethics is not only appreciated, but needed now more than ever.

Make your contribution today by visiting

You can also contribute by mailing a check to:
NASBA Center for the Public Trust
P.O. Box 306272,
Nashville, TN 37230