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Center engages area high schools in leadership, business ethics

CEBL Ethics Tour
Chestatee High School seniors tour UNG's Gainesville campus during the ethics luncheon of LAUNCH 2013.

As businesses multiply and professional communications technology grows faster and more powerful, the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership is equipping regional high school students with the tools and knowledge to be ethical leaders.

A unit of the Mike Cottrell College of Business of the University of North Georgia, the center is reaching out to surrounding schools and communities to offer instruction, events, and support for those who wish to learn how to be a personal and professional leader, and how to ethically address the challenges and decisions that face employees of all levels.

"Business schools have been teaching ethics for decades, but the center is looking for new, innovative ways to provide an integrated and hands-on approach so that ethics is not seen as a separate topic, but as relevant throughout all business curricula," said Rose Procter, director of the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership. "There are examples of ethical dilemmas in all business fields."

Perry Tomlinson of BB&T speaks to the seniors.
Perry Tomlinson speaks to Chestatee High School seniors.

The center partnered with Hall County Junior Achievement to orchestrate a three-week achievement program called LAUNCH2013 for Chestatee High School seniors. Three days of the five-day ethics section featured speakers and professors from the Mike Cottrell College of Business.

"This pilot section of business ethics within Launch2013 provides the center with a foundation for our K-12 programs and demonstrates the importance of integrating business ethics into these types of programs," Procter said.

The program culminated in an ethics program and luncheon for the more than 150 students on UNG’s Gainesville Campus. The visit included a campus tour, a professional etiquette presentation, and lunch featuring keynote speaker Perry Tomlinson, BB&T regional president and member of the BB&T Center for Ethical Business Leadership board. Tomlinson's presentation, "The Importance of Ethics in Business: My Own Lessons Learned," addressed situations in which sound ethical decisions could be difficult to make, and also guidelines for how to be an outstanding leader.

"You must believe in your goal and your ability to accomplish it, and be committed to that goal with all your focus and resources," Tomlinson said. "Train and prepare yourself well, but don't forget to enjoy the journey. Also, always try to have an enthusiastic, positive attitude. Striving for these guidelines will help you to be an outstanding achiever."

High school students enjoy lunch at Leadercast.
High school students enjoy lunch at Dawson Leadercast.

In another outreach project, the center sponsored student participation from 14 high schools in Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin, and White counties for the recent Chic-Fil-A® Leadercast®, an event that featured speakers such as former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Jack Welch. More than 40 students and directors of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America) were able to attend the day-long course of leadership sessions broadcast from the live event in Atlanta.

"This event allows us to reach a wide-variety of students across the region and bring together FBLA and DECA leaders to build partnerships and networks," Procter said. "It's also a great opportunity for the students to meet some of their community leaders and to learn about leadership from a well-renowned program."

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