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CNM seeks to lift ethics conversation

Kathy Winograd

Ethical behavior and ethical decisions that make our community a better place to live are occurring right now – on our streets, in our schools, at our local grocery stores, in our workplaces, and at virtually every place we frequent on a daily basis.

In a complicated world, however, it’s not always as easy as we would hope for individuals and organizations to make the ethical decision in every situation for every stakeholder. It can be challenging sometimes, even for the most well-intentioned, fair-minded people.

That’s why Central New Mexico Community College, when presented with the opportunity, decided to take over the management of the New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards. We want to help elevate the discussion on ethics around the state, facilitate more dialogue and help spotlight shining examples of ethical businesses and professionals through this longstanding and highly regarded awards program.

The Samaritan Counseling Center of Albuquerque established the New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards and managed the popular event for the past 18 years. As a community, we owe the Samaritan Counseling Center a debt of gratitude for its vision to publicly celebrate ethical practices and for honoring the businesses in New Mexico that are steadfastly committed to doing right by their customers and community on a daily basis. When Samaritan was preparing to close its operations last year, it began seeking a new steward to take over the Ethics in Business Awards program. CNM was honored to step up on behalf of this community gem.

As the new caretakers of this program, we humbly aspire to continue the legacy of the Samaritan Counseling Center’s vision while leveraging our resources as the state’s largest community college to heighten the discussion on ethics in our community and across the state. Our goal is to bring more attention to the awards program while also creating new opportunities throughout the year for organizations to put more emphasis on nurturing a culture of morality, integrity and honesty.

Through CNM Ingenuity, we will begin offering training programs in ethics for businesses and nonprofit organizations statewide. We’ll collaborate with our network of business partners in the community to tap successful, respected and highly ethical leaders from the business community, as well as past New Mexico Ethics in Business Award winners to help develop and lead meaningful, valuable trainings that will help companies more deeply embed ethical behavior at all levels of their organizations. If we can help more businesses and organizations connect with valuable ethics trainings for their employees, we can help build a more ethical business community and economy that better serves the greater good of New Mexico.

The New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards program will also continue to benefit students. We are thrilled to continue the partnership with the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management that was established by the Samaritan Counseling Center. Students in Business Ethics courses at the Anderson School will remain involved in the evaluation process for the awards, a valuable real-world learning experience. Evaluation of nominations are reviewed and vetted by the Ethics in Business Awards Nomination and Screening Committee, which is made up of business leaders in the community and past award winners. Finalists for the awards go through an additional Q&A process led by the UNM students.

Students at CNM will also benefit. Proceeds from the Awards event will help fund scholarships in the CNM Foundation that will be awarded to CNM students who are dedicated to ethics and an ethical career.

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At CNM, we’re extremely excited about the collective impact we can have on ethical behavior in our community through this new venture. Not because we at CNM think we’re ethically high and mighty, but because we care about our community and we believe we have the capacity and partnerships to bring this important cause to a broader audience.

One of our core values at CNM is “Be Ethical,” along with Be Caring, Be Inspiring, Be Courageous, Be Connected and Be Exceptional. By stepping up to continue the great tradition of the New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards, we feel we’re living up to our values and our vision of “Changing Lives, Building Community.”

As we strive to elevate the discussion and support highly ethical practices in the business and non-profit community, we will also continue doing our best at CNM to teach the importance of ethics in every classroom, and conduct all of our operations at the college with integrity and ethically sound decision-making.

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