Skip to Content

The Principles

Home 5 Fellows Program 5 Why 5 The Principles


Character & Integrity





Those are the McGowan Fund’s principles, six guideposts for ethical leadership.

The Fund is committed to these principles. We know they’re applicable to every area of life: business, family, community. And we know they’re crucial in ethical leadership and decision-making.

Imagine a company that overstates its assets—in one case we know well, Bill McGowan’s company after he retired—by some $11 billion. That’s a lack of accountability. (As a result, we’re fairly passionate on this point.) Now imagine a leader who makes such concealment culturally impossible in an organization.

Imagine having trust in a leader because her integrity is visible, her character well known. (If there’s an accountability problem, you know you can go to her with your concerns.)

Imagine courage, the confidence to try new things or to stay the course, to admit to lesser results, to ask an uncomfortable question.

Imagine empathy, the human understanding that will drive inclusion of community impact alongside shareholder value, elucidate confounding human issues, and guide choices.

Imagine being equipped to rebound from difficulties—maybe it’s a business-limiting pandemic, a career disappointment, a loss inside the organization. That’s resilience, and the world needs more of it.

Imagine leaders who know themselves well. They understand their needs, their strengths, and their biases before making a decision or even a comment. Self-awareness is the underlying truth good leaders hold dear.

Six principles, all of them within reach. Curious? Read Fellows’ Commitment and Our Promise.