The Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation’s 15th annual Ethie Awards ceremony this week was a chance to celebrate everything that is right about the local business community.
Rochester has a long history of companies that care not just about their bottom line, but about being responsible members of their community as well. The organizations that were recognized Monday night—winners ProNexus, Holy Childhood, Stantec and Leonard’s Express, as well as finalists Ontario County, Interpretek and Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care—exhibit those same qualities.
The Ethie Awards are judged by an independent panel after a rigorous vetting process. It’s common for an organization to go through the process multiple times before eventually winning an award.
The videos for each finalist showed how much attention these organizations pay to ethics and how much they care about training their employees to maintain an organization-wide culture that promotes ethical behavior.
The winners’ reactions on stage showed how much an Ethie Award meant to them. Going through the process of being nominated and vetted for an Ethie Award, multiple times for some of them, is demanding. It can also be a transformative experience, and the validation of winning an Ethie proved to be emotional for several people Monday.
One theme of the evening was about being more than just a chance to hand out some awards. Master of ceremonies Evan Dawson, host of Connections on WXXI, talked about how divided the country is right now, and how there is serious discussion taking place about whether capitalism is the right system for this country. He posited that these organizations and the way they operate are why capitalism can be a sustainable force for good.
This community, and every community, needs companies like the ones that were honored Monday to be the backbone of an economy that pursues making profits, but does so in a way that integrates the interests of all stakeholders—executives, employees, customers and community.