Rockhurst Hosts Inaugural Business Leadership and Ethics DayApril 9, 2013

Michael Collins, '12 EMBA, president and CEO of the Kansas City Port Authority, speaks to an international business class.

Nearly 30 community and business leaders from organizations throughout the nation spoke to 22 different business classes between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, as part of Rockhurst University’s inaugural Business Leadership and Ethics Day. During the day-long event, hosted by the Helzberg School of Management, these business professionals visited classes to share expertise, discuss ethical dilemmas they have faced, and offer advice on making ethical decisions.

“Rockhurst provided me with the perfect framework to make ethical decisions,” said Jonathan Dandurand, ’12 MBA, manager, real estate development at John Deere, who spoke to an international management class. “When I was a student, I don’t think I realized the full extent of how beneficial it was for me to be studying at an institution that has such a values-based framework. This allowed me to really hit the ground running in my position at John Deere.”

From Dandurand to Mike Nill, ’86, executive vice president and COO at Cerner, to Jeff Klusman, ’96, co-owner of Planet Sub, to Mary Lewis, ’10 EMBA, sourcing manager, supply chain management at Sprint, each speaker brought his or her own unique stories to the classroom.

Michael Collins, ’12 EMBA, offered advice and shared his experiences in making difficult ethical decisions as president and CEO of the Kansas City Port Authority.

“Ask questions,” he advised. “If your company transfers you abroad, ask how they’re going to help you understand that culture and address ethical issues that will arise. Business culture is different in every country. At the Kansas City Port Authority, we can’t accept gifts, which can be difficult to explain when working with countries who view gifts as a way to establish professional relationships.”

Like Dandurand, Collins, Nill, Klusman and Lewis, most of the leadership and ethics presenters are alumni of Rockhurst University.

“This speaks to the University’s strong emphasis on leadership and giving back,” said Rick Graham, associate professor of management and co-chair of the Business Leadership and Ethics Day events along with Acey Lampe, executive professor of management, and Dan Jensen, director of professional development and visiting professor of management.

“Rockhurst has this tremendous network of professionals from all different backgrounds. Today was about plugging them back into the classroom and allowing them to share insights into leadership and ethics in their workplaces.”

Students spent the day asking questions and soaking up all the new information.

“As a junior, I’m slowly realizing that all these different kinds of events, like today, are things I’ll carry with me after I graduate,” said Olivia Oldenbuttel, ’14, who is studying international business and French. “Events like these help us tie together what we’re learning in class with what we’ll be dealing with in a real work environment. It helps us see beyond the final exams and into how we’ll use the information in a real way.”

For a full list of speakers who participated in Business Leadership and Ethics Day, visit

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