“Plan for the long term” was the common leadership advice two noteworthy ethical leaders imparted Saint Mary’s University students, alumni, and employees—as well as hundreds of Twin Cities-area business community members—during the university’s 2016 Hendrickson Forum on ethical leadership, held April 20 on the Twin Cities Campus in Minneapolis.
The annual ethical leadership event featured 3M Board Chair, President, and CEO Inge Thulin as Saint Mary’s 2016 Hendrickson Institute Medal for Ethical Leadership award recipient and former U.S. Ambassador to China and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. as the keynote speaker for the sold-out luncheon.
“For me, ethical leadership involves looking at life and business through a microscope and a telescope,” Thulin told the crowd of more than 400. Similarly Huntsman, in speaking about “Global Leadership: Our Future with China,” said that we as Americans and as business leaders need to “play the long-game versus the short game” in order to be successful individually and collectively as a nation. Something that China and its leaders do extremely well, Huntsman said, is take the long view rather than the short view.
Huntsman’s hour-long talk, which will air at a later date on Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) and also appear later on our Hendrickson Forum website at www.smumn.edu/HendricksonForum (along with previous speakers including Ian Bremmer, Sheila Bair, and James Stavridis), is also available now as a live video on SMUMN’s Facebook page.
Among the crowd of 400 were 20 student leaders from Saint Mary’s undergraduate, residential campus in Winona. These students were treated to an encore round table with Huntsman, during which time he shared his story—a brief account of his failures and successes—and asked each student how he or she planned to change the world.
According to Ambassador Huntsman, also a former candidate for U.S. President, our country/our society is at a critical decision-making point. “We need to update our thinking and our policies,” he told the audience.
Future challenges not yet known but predicted by Huntsman included biotechnology, healthcare, economics, an aging workforce, political changes, the environment, cyber security, and more. To solve these challenges and keep peace, Huntsman looks to the future and engages with today’s young people. While meeting with Saint Mary’s students leaders, he advised the students to “be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” He also invited them to participate in No Labels, a bi-partisan movement of which he is honorary co-chair.
While the students only spent an additional hour with Huntsman following his public address, it was a beneficial leadership growth opportunity.
“The opportunity to attend the Hendrickson Forum validates all that Saint Mary’s stands for: awakening, nurturing, and empowering learners to ethical lives of leadership and service. I know for a fact I would not have the same opportunities to network with distinguished leaders and members of the community if I were attending another university. Saint Mary’s is a tight-knit community that instills high standards while unlocking the full potential of its students,” said Maddie Hess ’17, a Biology major.
“Perhaps the best part of the day was the round-table discussion with Governor Huntsman; his invaluable time was not lost on us, and I believe each person walked out of that room as a better leader and person. I hope to be as humble and inspiring as Governor Huntsman in my lifetime,” Hess said. The Lewiston, Minn., native plans to change the world by creating a more sustainable one, as well as to help others as much as possible.
Another student, Morris Dennis ’18, a Criminal Justice major from Elk River, Minn., said: “The Hendrickson Forum was really remarkable; being able to be among people who are highly successful in their field and being able to hear how they started, as well as their ups and downs, was an eye opener. Governor Huntsman’s presentation was fascinating and being able to talk to him close up during the round table was an experience of a lifetime.” Dennis said his plan to change the world includes working with juveniles from inner cities, helping them get on the right track in life by mentoring them and helping them find different alternatives, like sports, instead of being out on the streets.
While Huntsman’s query of how they planned to change the world drew nervous laughter from the Saint Mary’s student leaders attending the round table, each individual was able to answer and everyone’s goal was different. Answers included working to protect the environmental, bringing voice to people and companies to better humanity, improving the political system and politics, doing more volunteer service, helping to create jobs, bringing data into the decision-making process, helping at-risk juveniles, teaching/educating young people, and reducing the stigma of mental illness through the field of psychology.
Huntsman’s final word of advice to tomorrow’s change agents: “be a uniter not a divider.”