PC student participates in international business ethics conference
Nine days and 7,000 miles later, Providence College student Elizabeth Jennes ’14 (Lexington, Ky.) understands the ethics of business on an international scale a whole lot better.
A finance major, Jennes was one of 17 students from around the world chosen to participate in the World Youth Forum (WYF) for Ethics in Business in Brussels, Belgium. The forum is an opportunity for youth to address decision makers in international business and politics.
Jennes and her peers attended workshops that focused on skills such as public speaking and business ethics. They trained at Hasselt University.
“The workshops helped us learn about ourselves and our peers, which helped us create a better team,” Jennes said.
This year, the World Forum for Ethics in Business incorporated aspects from the Art of Living, a non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1981 by philanthropist and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In addition to their workshops, Jennes and her peers woke early every morning to meditate and experience part of this movement’s culture.
“The trip was a huge jump out of my comfort zone, but it was important to be open to meditation and the different lifestyle in order to get a lot out of the experience and enjoy it,” Jennes said.
The participants of WYF were challenged to organize their own conference on business ethics. They created and hosted an event called “Jailbreaking Ethics: The Start of a Movement in Ethics” at which Rajita Kulkarni Bagga, the president of the World Forum for Ethics in Business, was a guest speaker.
The training and reflection Jennes experienced during the week helped prepare her for a presentation with other forum participants at the International Leadership Symposium at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Jennes contributed to a speech, delivered by four WYF participants, which addressed some of the biggest names in economic and political decision making in the world.
“The speech was about what we can do to implement ethics in business,” Jennes said. “We must be action-oriented, because if we are we can make a difference. As youth, we are the future.”
“We also spoke about what we can do to promote ethical business,” Jennes added, “and that is to buy from companies who demonstrate good morals. As consumers, we have purchasing power.”
The overall subject for the forum was “Shared Value,” the idea that there is morality in all aspects of business, starting with gathering raw materials, manufacturing products, transporting them, and finally selling them, a process which leads all the way to the consumer. Jennes explained her take on the need for ethics in all aspects of business in her application for WYF.
“I wrote about the need for morality to be created within businesses rather than rules and regulations being made in order to try and shape the ethics of businesses,” she said.
Jennes has resumed a busy schedule at PC. In addition to classes, she works as an intern at Capital Good Fund in Providence, R.I., a non-profit community development financial institution intended to fight poverty.
She also collaborated with Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, dean of PC's School of Business, to start a peer mentoring program for the school this year.The program is comprised of an executive board of nine students, of which Jennes is president. Two students represent each department. Though only in its first year, the program has 74 mentor-mentee pairings.
“Our mission is to give back to the Friar family and help underclassmen business majors through their academic and social transition while promoting Providence College’s core values,” Jennes said.
— Nick Tavares ’16
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