My recent induction into the Golden Key International Honor Society as an honorary member was humbling. The organization, which numbers two million members globally, includes many luminaries among its honorary members: Desmond Tutu, President Bill Clinton, Her Excellency the Honorable Quentin Bryce (former Governor-General of Australia) and renowned author Margaret Atwood.
Golden Key, a network of outstanding scholars, is the world’s largest collegiate honor society. It recognizes sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students in the top 15% of their class across all majors and disciplines. Its more than 400 university chapters in eight countries provide their members opportunities to grow and develop through events & activities based on their three pillars of academics, leadership and service.
Members contribute more than 200,000 community service hours each year. In 2014, Golden Key created its own global service initiative called “SPARK a Change” which is dedicated to impacting and improving the lives of at-risk youth through literacy, education and real-world preparedness. Its goal, by 2017, is to raise $40,000, dedicate 400,000 hours of service and impact 400,000 lives through the “SPARK a Change” initiative.
Their mission: to enable members to realize their potential through the advancement of academics, leadership and service.
After the awards ceremony, the new honorary members, including myself, participated in a panel discussion on how mentors have impacted our lives. I talked about how a wise old banker, Vince Foster, from the former Republic National Bank in Dallas had instilled in me how absolutely important the fundamental principles of credit were to banking, and that I should never, ever abandon them.
His advice served me well throughout my banking career and I believe it was partly that lesson which helped me to keep fighting at Citi when I saw those principles repeatedly violated.
Now, I’m not sure if, as a college student, I would have qualified to be inducted as a member into Golden Key. Yet, I wish I had known of them earlier. Its mission is one that young people today need to be part of, contribute to and benefit from in their academic years.
I truly believe that if we instill in young people a moral, ethical code, when they venture into business they will more likely follow the pillars of ethical conduct a mentor like Vince Foster instilled in me and that organizations such as Golden Key embody.
Yes, I’m humbled and also a bit proud — it was and is quite an honor.
[tweetthis url=”http://bit.ly/22QyFxI”]What do @TheDesmondTutu, @billclinton & @RichardMBowen share in common? #ethics[/tweetthis]