The McDonough School of Business concluded the first iteration of a new certificate this week in Rome for senior-level church leaders that combines management education and Jesuit teachings to promote ethical leadership.
The certificate in discerning leadership aims to provide senior church officials with the tools to become ethical and effective leaders and to increase their capacity to implement positive change through their organizations, according to the announcement. The program was developed in partnership with the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, the headquarters of the Jesuits, and Le Moyne College, a Jesuit college in Syracuse, N.Y.
During two weeklong sessions held from May to October, participants took courses that focused on areas such as teamwork, building trust in one’s leadership and handling challenging conversations, according to a university news release Oct. 25.
Through an interdisciplinary approach, the program strives to demonstrate how spiritual and ethical considerations are vital components of effective leadership, according to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences professor Jeanine Turner, who taught in the inaugural program.
“We often compartmentalize our spiritual life from our everyday work life and this course shows the importance of integrating both,” Turner wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The certificate’s value-based approach to leadership and education is reflective of Dean Paul Almeida’s goals for the MSB, according to management professor Brooks Holtom, who also taught in this year’s program.
“This program is an example of Dean Paul Almeida’s vision for the MSB to be ‘the best in the world AND the best for the world,’” Holtom wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The certificate was also developed to address a lack of formal leadership education among church officials, Holtom said. Many of the program’s participants had little training in financial management practices or human capital development, according to Holtom.
The core curriculum focused on strategy, adaptive leadership, communication and discernment, and the Jesuit principle of leaving space for God to lead. In addition to the core classes, participants selected courses based on the unique leadership challenges they face within their positions, according to the news release.
The curriculum aligned closely with the Jesuit values that guide Georgetown, according to Almeida. These values are inherently conducive to effective and ethical business practices, Almeida wrote in an email to The Hoya.
“Whether you are leading a Fortune 500 company or a province of the Jesuits, care for others, diversity of thought, and contemplation are important tools for leading in a way that benefits the common good,” Almeida wrote.
Almeida is optimistic that the program’s participants will be equipped to make a positive impact in their positions with the tools they gain from the certificate, he wrote.
“We are hopeful that these women and men can return to their organizations around the world as stronger leaders who are more confident and empowered to make a difference,” Almeida wrote.
Leaders should have the confidence to combine management and leadership skills with the moral and ethical values found within church teachings, according to John Dardis, S.J., general counsellor for discernment and apostolic planning at the General Curia of the Jesuits.
“The Church has so much to offer, so much wisdom that can be broadly applied when paired with modern business skills,” Dardis said in the news release. “We want to positively impact current and future generations of global leaders. We want to play our part in building a hope-filled future.”
While the certificate is currently only offered to senior-level church officials, the program’s leadership hopes to, one day, make it available to leaders in the broader business world.
The certificate will be offered again next year, once again in partnership with the Jesuit Curia and Le Moyne, according to Almeida. The program is also currently working with the Esade Business & Law School in Spain to create a curriculum for Spanish speakers to reach a more diverse community of leaders and have an even greater global impact.
Almeida hopes that the program’s impact does not end with the conclusion of the two weeks of study in Rome and encourages future collaboration among its participants.
“In addition to learning from the program, our aim is to unite a strong network of leaders — just as we do in the Georgetown alumni community — so that they can continue to learn and grow together,” Almeida wrote.