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Announcement of first-ever "Ethical Leader of the Year Award"

Alexandria, Va. — SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management), in partnership with The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, a family foundation dedicated to furthering the compassionate philanthropy and the ethical leadership of William G. McGowan, is pleased to announce the first‑ever "Ethical Leader of the Year Award," to be presented by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund at the opening session of SHRM's Annual Conference & Expo in New Orleans on June 12. Nominations are open as of today. 

Twelve years ago, the McGowan Fund's Board made a new commitment to ethical leadership by launching the McGowan Fellows Program, dedicated to including its "Principles of Ethical Leadership" in MBA and other leadership programs, in concert with 10 of the nation's leading universities. The success of that program in the eyes of the students and participating institutions and the focus on ethical leadership during this time of crisis in America, has led the McGowan Fund to create the Ethical Leader of the Year Award, to be presented for the first time this year. 

SHRM, the world's largest trade association of HR professionals, has long been committed to ensuring the highest principles of ethical leadership. Therefore, it is fitting that the award be presented at the opening session of SHRM's Annual Conference & Expo, expected to host over 15,000 attending in person and virtually.   

"The key to building a strong culture within an organization is ensuring that ethics are defined, understood and practiced in the workplace," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and chief executive officer. "I am pleased to be a judge on the committee for the Ethical Leader of the Year Award, and to recognize a CEO at SHRM22 who is causing the effect we wish to see in the workplace by going above and beyond to establish a high bar of ethics within their leadership and their organization."

McGowan Fund Executive Director Diana Spencer stated, "The 2008 financial crisis once served as a catalyst emblemizing the clear and present need for ethical leaders to guide the country to recovery. In 2022, the outbreak of COVID-19 has raised both new and longstanding disparities to America's forefront which once more calls for a new generation of leadership to do so by example; to support a generation of schoolchildren continuing to slip behind their more privileged peers; to address entire communities without accessible telehealth or healthcare; to aid working families unable to get to work; and to ultimately rejuvenate a nation stirred by the pandemic's continued ramifications."

After the nominations have been submitted, the final list of candidates will be determined by a committee of national leaders, including the following judges:

  • Marna C. Whittington, Committee Co-Chair. Marna brings to the leadership role of the Selection Committee her experience on the Boards of Directors of Phillips 66, Macy's and Oaktree Capital, as well as leadership roles at Morgan Stanley and Allianz.
  • Leo Denault, Chairman and CEO of Entergy Corporation.

  • Dan Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector.

  • Caroline W. Nahas, Senior Advisor at Korn Ferry, and Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

  • Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of SHRM. 

Diana Spencer added, "In 2022, America's corporate leaders face very complex and novel challenges, many of which they have never faced before. Their stakeholders, customers, employees, and those they serve are speaking clearly about what they expect from their leaders, as the nation and its businesses navigate their way through all of the challenging conditions. We believe that the very best leaders approach these challenges with a well-defined ethical framework. They use this framework to make their decisions on how to meet the goals of their companies, while being responsible and responsive to the needs of society, their customers, and their employees. We are delighted to present the award to the Ethical Leader of the Year at SHRM's 2022 Annual Conference & Expo, in front of so many with whom we share a commitment to ethical leadership." 

To attend SHRM22, press registration is required. To request complimentary press credentials, contact Mallory Flynn at

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.

About the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund

The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund has, since its inception, maintained a vision to impact lives, to create sustainable change, and to empower future generations to achieve their greatest potential. The Fund brings that vision to life through grant-making efforts in three program areas: Education,

Human Services, and Healthcare & Medical Research. They prioritize programs that have demonstrated success, have measurable outcomes, plans for sustainability, and aim to end cycles of poverty and suffering.

Resolute in the belief in the power of partnerships or collaborative efforts to maximize impact, the Fund embraces opportunities to work with other funders across their key program areas, looking for funding opportunities that share their philosophy and exploring the possibility of joint projects with other nonprofit organizations.

The Fund is managed in accordance with values deeply held by its benefactor, William G. McGowan. Among these are ethical leadership and the belief that every life has equal value.

For more information, please visit and learn more on Twitter





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