Ethics in Business: Annual award celebrates NM leaders - Albuquerque Journal

Ethics in Business: Annual award celebrates NM leaders

Rilke Crane, left, and Loren Ortiz of Centro Sávila load a box of donated food into a client’s car April 28.(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

From behavioral health to telecommunications, New Mexico’s Ethics in Business’ 2021 award winners are a diverse group.

But they have one thing in common: The awards, they say, are confirmation of the mission of their business or organization – and the community.

“It’s a great honor, and recognition of the work that our organization is doing to improve health equity, especially to address racial health disparities,” said Dr. Bill Wagner, executive director and founder of Centro Sávila, winner of the Hopkins Award for Excellence in Ethical Practice by a Non-Profit Organization.

Tomas Martinez of Centro Sávila sorts through a box of donated items April 28. The nonprofit is the winner of the Hopkins Award for Excellence in Ethical Practice by a Non-Profit Organization. 

The award also is “a recognition that our community values that as well, that that is something that as a community in Albuquerque we hold as a value,” he said. “I always think these celebrations are not only about the award, but about the organization that is giving the award.”

Indeed, the South Valley-based behavioral health center plans to extend its reach using telehealth, Wagner said. It’s a lesson from the pandemic.

“We’ve had to do a lot of telehealth and we hope to expand our capacity to do telehealth in our community and to reach out to communities in New Mexico that have even greater disparities than Albuquerque,” Wagner said.

John Badal, CEO of rural telecommunications firm Sacred Wind Communications Inc., said the award and his company’s efforts go well beyond telecom.

Dr. Bill Wagner is executive director and founder of Centro Sávila, winner of the Hopkins Award for Excellence in Ethical Practice by a Non-Profit Organization.

“It’s an affirmation of who we are in the community, where we operate and how we operate,” Badal said. “I always wanted to make the workplace welcoming, safe and comforting for all employees and to treat our customers as I wanted to be treated. Our initial efforts were to serve the Navajo Nation, which has so much need. It goes beyond telecom service.”

Kira Luna, director of engagement to guide program development and implementation at NMCAN, said she is humbled by winning the Emerging Leader in Ethical Excellence award.

“I think that ethics is something that everybody feels on a daily basis either subconsciously or consciously,” said Luna, whose organization works with young people aging out of foster care, as well as those who are impacted by the juvenile justice system or homelessness. “It comes with a great responsibility to have the award attached to your name.”

The annual New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards program honors for-profit companies, non-profit organizations and individuals in the state that demonstrate a strong commitment to the highest level of ethical business practices in daily operations, management and personal philosophies, and in their response to crises and challenges.

Sacred Wind CEO John Badal, left, and his daughter Catherine Nicolaou, the company’s external affairs and marketing manager.

Nominations were reviewed and vetted by the New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards Screening Committee. The finalists went through an additional vetting process that included participation of Central New Mexico Community College business students.

Winners included:

Charles Ashley III is the winner of the PNM Award for Individual Excellence in Ethical Business Practice.

• PNM Award for Individual Excellence in Ethical Business Practice, in Honor of John Ackerman – Charles Ashley III. Ashley is president and founder of Cultivating Coders, a New Mexico company that provides technical training and curriculum in web and mobile app development to underserved K-12 schools in tribal, rural and underserved urban areas that lack resources in coding and computer science education.

• Hopkins Award for Excellence in Ethical Practice by a Non-Profit Organization – Centro Sávila. Centro Sávila was founded by Dr. Bill Wagner, a clinical social worker, psychotherapist and medical anthropologist with extensive experience in public health advocacy, clinical service provision and research. He has worked as a clinician and researcher with immigrants and refugees that have survived political, domestic and community violence for more than 25 years.

Kira Luna, NMCAN director of engagement, is this year’s Emerging Leader in Ethical Excellence as part of the New Mexico Ethics in Business program.

• Emerging Leader in Ethical Excellence – Kira Luna. Luna is driven to create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable non-profit sector. After participating in the New Mexico Women of Color Leadership Initiative at the Santa Fe Community College Foundation, she stepped into her current role as director of engagement to guide program development and implementation at NMCAN, an organization that partners with young people to build community, promote equity and lead change.

Sacred Wind External Affairs and Marketing Manager Catherine Nicolaou is seen with company equipment. The company is this year’s winner of the Rust Award for Excellence in Ethical Business Practice by a medium-sized for-profit business.

• Rust Award for Excellence in Ethical Business Practice by a Medium-Sized For-Profit Business – Sacred Wind Communications. Sacred Wind, based in Yatahey, New Mexico, focuses on bridging the digital divide for rural tribal communities in northwest New Mexico. Sacred Wind provides telephone service and some of the highest internet speeds found on tribal lands in New Mexico.

Winners will be celebrated at a virtual awards ceremony on June 10 at 8:30 a.m. for both the 2020 and 2021 New Mexico Ethics in Business Award recipients.


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