College of Business new event series discusses ethics, corporate America

Charlotte Lang

man holds hands together next to woman
Attorney and CSU business alumnus Ray Boucher answers a question after speaking at the inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Leadership Series event Feb. 21 in Rockwell West’s Bohemian Auditorium, as Dean of CSU’s College of Business Beth Walker listens (Anna von Pechmann | Collegian).

The College of Business’ newest event series began with a focus on scandal and morality in corporate America.

Ray Boucher, a trial attorney and alumnus of Colorado State University, led the first talk of the Dean’s Distinguished Leadership Series with a presentation urging students to follow their moral compass in preparation for corporate America’s tough decisions.

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The College of Business Dean, Beth Walker, created the Dean’s Distinguished Leadership Series to offer students and the community the opportunity to engage with alumni and other leaders who are making significant, positive impacts on business, according to an email from Director of Marketing and Communications Zeel Patel.

What are your morals? What are the ethics you live by and how do you bring them into the work environment, into corporate America?”

Ray Boucher, trial attorney and College of Business Masters in Management alumnus

The series supports the College’s mission of transforming lives through business and offers students a unique opportunity to not only learn from influential leaders, but also network with them and members of the business community at a reception immediately following the presentation, according to the email.

Walker introduced Boucher as the first speaker for the series.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting Ray Boucher last year, and we are honored to have him as our first speaker,” Walker said. “He has championed individuals and causes around the world that otherwise would not have had a voice or representation. Through his dedication and leadership, he has truly changed the lives of so many to create a better world.”

Throughout his presentation, Boucher used real-life cases to explain the ethical dilemmas and failings facing those working in fields such as accounting, healthcare, academia and more.

“Do corporations have a broader responsibility?” Boucher asked. “Do they have an obligation and a duty beyond simply putting money and fast profits into shareholders?”

Boucher said that, in the corporate world, people are taught to be aggressive and above everyone else. He, however, wants students to be led by three main things: voice, perspective and empathy.

Boucher said that there’s a duality to voice, and the first part is the inner voice.

“It’s that little thing that sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear and it tells you, ‘you know what, that’s not the right thing to do,’” Boucher said. “That voice that, when you have to make a tough decision, is saying ‘I’m not sure that’s what you should be doing.’ Don’t lose that voice ever because if you do you’ll make some bad decisions.”

The second part of voice, Boucher said, is courage. For perspective, Boucher asked that students recognize that this is the time they have to leave an imprint on the world.

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With the final point, Boucher said that empathy is the foundation of most of the rules and laws people live by.

“What are your morals?” Boucher asked. “What are the ethics you live by and how do you bring them into the work environment, into corporate America?” 

Boucher said he believes that all three of these traits are innate in everyone and are things for everyone to find for themselves as an anchor to fall back on. He said they give people their identity and help keep them on the right track.

Using these three focuses as an anchor, Boucher shared different cases he’s worked on regarding ethics in corporate America. These included discussions of sexual abuse in academia and diesel emissions scandals, among others.

“Time and time and time again, you’re gonna be faced with these decisions,” Boucher said. “I look at you, I look at my sons, and I know you are the greatest generation. You will do great things in this world. So understand the tremendous opportunities you have at your hand and the incredible things you will do.”

Boucher ended with one bit of advice.

“When you’re on top, don’t get too enamored with that; when you hit the bottom, don’t let it take away your heart because you will bounce back from both of those highs and those lows,” Boucher said. “As you go forward in life, make those moral choices, make those ethical choices and always act to find your anchor. Because your anchor will never steer you wrong.”

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.