SOURCE: Scotiabank


November 08, 2013 07:20 ET

Two Canadians, One Award for Shared Commitment to Ethical Leadership

TORONTO, ON and HALIFAX, NS--(Marketwired - November 08, 2013) - An Aboriginal Canadian leader and a Canadian knight are co-recipients of the first annual Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award. The awards were presented at the opening ceremonies of the Ethics in Action case competition and conference held at Dalhousie University's Rowe School of Business on November 8.

Chief Phil Fontaine and Sir Graham Day were nominated for the award because their actions have provided a clear and compelling example of ethical leadership. Chief Fontaine completed his third term as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2009. He is an officer of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba, holds nine honorary doctorate degrees and is a recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Sir Graham was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to British industry, was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, is a Queen's Counsel and has been the recipient of eight honorary doctorate degrees, the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD), the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Order of Nova Scotia. He has practiced law for over 50 years and has been a British business executive and a corporate director. He is currently Counsel to the Atlantic Canadian law firm Stewart McKelvey.

"The Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award celebrates leaders who demonstrate a high degree of ethical leadership, courage and conviction. Sir Graham Day and Chief Phil Fontaine exemplify these qualities in action," said Brian Porter, President and CEO, Scotiabank. "We know that leaders must have strong values. Beyond this, they must also focus their organization's attention on ethics, creating a culture that enables ethical behavior among employees."

"I've tried all my life to do the 'right thing' because, simply, that's how I was raised. For me, Law School and subsequently law practice enforced those behaviours. I hope it's not just my age, but today I observe too many corners being cut and easy ways out taken, including doing nothing. Your Scotiabank-supported 'Ethics in Action' program is critically important. I view ethical behaviours as central to civilization, without regard to culture, religion or ethnicity. I am truly honoured to receive the award and, moreover to be an initial recipient," said Sir Graham in response to being notified of the award.

Chief Fontaine responded, "Ethical leadership is about defining the greater good of those you lead, and striving to make decisions consistent with it. For First Nations' leaders this often makes us unpopular. More often than not, the greater good for our people is not for the perceived greater good of the majority. Difficult decisions, whether they are decisions to expose abuses of the residential schools system, or deciding to stop a resource development project that will violate fundamental Aboriginal values, are examples of what we as First Nations' leaders are ethically required to do. By awarding me this honour, you recognize and understand the leadership challenges we face. For this I am very grateful.

The Scotiabank Ethics in Action Ethical Leadership Award recognizes a Canadian leader from a corporate, non-profit or government organization who has demonstrated outstanding ethical leadership within an organization and maintained this leadership in the face of challenging situations that held serious implications and consequences for both the organization and its stakeholders. The judging panel assessed each nominee for strong ethical values, the degree to which they have focused the attention of their organization on ethics and infused their organization with ethical principles to guide the actions of employees. 

"This year's Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award winners have a deep history of making ethical, responsible decisions and choices, which has been integral to their success and contributed toward our country's growth and development," said Islay McGlynn, Scotiabank's Senior Vice President for the Atlantic Region. "Scotiabank is proud to have partnered with the Rowe School of Business to establish this award and recognize outstanding Canadians who lead by example."

Ethics in Action provides business students with three ways to participate. A national contest awards prizes for the best video and written essays on the topic of ethical leadership. The case competition is open to undergraduate business students and MBA students from across Canada and the United States. The student conference was held in conjunction with the case competition November 8-10, 2013, at the Atlantica Hotel and the Dalhousie campus. The Rowe School of Business established Ethics in Action with a $1.5 million donation from Scotiabank. The student-led program is aimed at engaging business students and the Canadian business community in shaping ethical business leadership. The program is built upon the success of the Dalhousie Business Ethics Case Competition, which has been attracting teams of undergraduate business students from top U.S. and Canadian schools for the past nine years.

"At the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University, graduates are encouraged to manage with integrity and make things happen by focusing on our core values of Integrity, Diversity, Experiential Learning, Action and Sustainability (IDEAS). The winners of this award exemplify these values. Their experience and perspective will serve as a source of inspiration and emulation for us all, especially for today's business students," said Peggy Cunningham, Dean of the Faculty of Management.

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