AECOM Co-Hosts Ethisphere Institute’s Second Annual Best Practices in Ethics Communications Workshop

AECOM Co-Hosts Ethisphere Institute’s Second Annual Best Practices in Ethics Communications Workshop

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The second annual "Best Practices in Ethics Communications Workshop" featured an expert panel discussion.

Monday, November 18, 2013 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: Best Practices in Ethics

CONTENT: Article

AECOM recently collaborated with the Ethisphere Institute to produce the second annual “Best Practices in Ethics Communications Workshop” at the iconic New York Stock Exchange.  This year’s workshop, which was coordinated by the Ethisphere Institute’s Communications Advisory Board, was themed, “Working across the C-suite.”

The workshop focused on leveraging internal communication strategies to create an ethical business culture, engage staff and enable organizations to earn and maintain the institute’s “World’s Most Ethical Companies” (WME) designation.  It was geared towards communications, compliance, governance and legal professionals, and began with remarks from Paul Argenti, professor of Corporate Communication and Corporate Responsibility, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Argenti reminded attendees that they are now on the front lines of a new regulatory era, and there is nothing more important than establishing and maintaining trust across all business operations.  “Ethics is how you should act and what you should do; it means going beyond legal requirements,” said Argenti.  “After all, trust gives us our license to operate; it is based on the notion that employees and companies will always provide collective trust.”

The workshop also featured an expert panel discussion moderated by Jean-Marc Levy, senior vice president and head of global issuer services, NYSE Euronext.  The panel included:

  • Vic Beck, rear admiral, U.S. Navy (retired), who also is managing director at Burson-Marsteller and former vice chief of information for the Department of the Navy,
  • Holly Gregory, partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP,
  • Dana Perino, former White House press secretary, president of Dana Perino Communications and a co-host of “The Five” on Fox News, and
  • Dawn Werry, vice president, marketing, Milliken & Company.

The panel discussed the role of communicators in setting an ethical tone within an organization and agreed that many companies are embracing social media as a tool to drive greater transparency and build trust among stakeholders.  

A breakout session led by Dr. Edward Queen, director of the Ethics and Servant Leadership Program within Emory University’s Center for Ethics, featured a wide range of topics intertwined with the dominant theme of ethics and communication.  “Creating ethical people is not merely about training them about how to behave in today’s society,” said Queen. “It depends on the consistency between values, rules, and practices which should always remain strong.”

Additional highlights included best practices in ethics communications from WME companies Becton, Dickinson and Company, Cleveland Clinic and Wipro Limited.  Public relations firms Edelman and Hill Knowlton Strategies also discussed best practices across industries globally.

The Arthur W. Page Society’s president, Roger Bolton, and General Electric’s vice president of communications and public affairs, Gary Sheffer, shared fresh insights on the Page Society’s New Model for Corporate Communications.  Sheffer was recently appointed chairman of the Page Society, which is the leading professional association for communications executives.

Ethisphere Institute CEO Tim Erblich led a key takeaways discussion that included Ben Boyd, global chair, corporate practice, Edelman, and Laura Kane, vice president, corporate communications, Aflac Inc.  “The success of the workshop was made possible by the active engagement of the more than 130 participants,” said Tim Erblich, chief executive officer, Ethisphere Institute. “From corporations and small businesses, government and the military, academia (professors and students), we engaged in meaningful dialogue around external communication programs that highlight ethics as a differentiating brand attribute and positively position the business community with external stakeholder audiences.”

Paul Gennaro, AECOM’s senior vice president and chief communications officer, who also chairs Ethisphere’s Communications Advisory Board, concluded the event by emphasizing the importance of brand reputation as it pertains to ethics, social responsibility and transparency.

“All of us, across the C-suite, are in the midst of a truly defining time — one when we have a responsibility to lead the way and an opportunity to transcend the implied limitations of our job descriptions or titles,” said Gennaro.  “We have the ability — and the responsibility — to rebuild trust within our respective organizations, for our customers and clients, and within society as a whole.”

Gennaro concluded the workshop by saying, “Trust starts with us, as does rebuilding it — which the world greatly needs right now.”



AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 140 countries and had revenue of $8.2 billion during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2013. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at

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