There’s no denying: Today’s corporate leaders face complex and novel challenges unseen to business leaders of the past. With the world in flux like never before, profits can’t simply be an organization’s North Star (frankly, they never were). Today, the best leaders approach challenges with an ethical framework that unlocks sound solutions to our most pressing issues, while also generating profits and benefiting society.
To shine a light on and encourage principled leadership, the McGowan Fund has initiated the William G. McGowan Ethical Leader of the Year Award. Candidates are nominated by a colleague, assessed by a selection committee of peers, and evaluated on their principles. In 2022, the winner will be honored in front of the nation’s leading businesses in New Orleans and will receive a $25,000 cash prize to donate to a nonprofit of their choice.
Our namesake, William G. McGowan, was a world-renowned business leader who led with great integrity. But after he retired from MCI—his brainchild—the firm swerved into one of the nation’s largest frauds. Then came the nation’s financial crisis. That’s when the Fund launched the McGowan Fellows Program to cultivate the next generation of values-based decision makers. The McGowan Award continues in that tradition: supporting and celebrating principled leadership. In fact, one of our McGowan alums serves on the selection committee.