Full-time MBA students exploring the importance of ethics in the face of crisis recently received an inside look at the topic as part of Fisher's Ethics in Leadership Capstone event. John Lowe, CEO of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, delivered the event’s keynote and shared insights into the significance of ethics in business.

“Whether you are one of 100 cost accountants in a large organization or you are the next Jeff Immelt, you will impact more people in your career than you can possibly fathom,” Lowe said. “That’s the reason ethics are so important. Ethics are not born. I believe strongly that we do not come out of the womb with an innate desire and ability to act ethically.

"I believe that ethics are taught, and they’re taught when people learn that acting ethically is their only true path to self-preservation.”

Jeni Icecream CEO John

John Lowe, CEO of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, addresses MBA students as part of an ethics capstone event at Fisher.

Lowe spoke openly about the conversations, thought processes and challenges Jeni’s faced as it prioritized public health and consumer confidence ahead of all else in the days and weeks following listeria-related recalls in 2015.

For MBA student Danny Greenawalt, the capstone event put into perspective the lessons learned throughout Senior Lecturer David Freel’s yearlong ethics course. The course introduces concepts of ethics and integrity in decision-making.

“John is a fascinating leader with a gut-wrenching story,” Greenawalt said. “His talk captured many of the challenges associated with making ethical decisions within a business setting. Hearing his story reinforced a lot of what we’ve learned throughout the ethics course.”

The opportunity to hear from a leader of an organization confronting real-world challenges to leadership integrity was invaluable, Freel said.

“We were honored that John was able to share his deep insights with us so transparently,” he said. “As a leader of a company committed to integrity and ethics in all phases of its business, John demonstrated to our students that leadership and ethics are complementary skills that must be a part of the long-term success of any organization.”