Ninety-nine Auburn University Master of Accountancy students (on-campus and distance) were treated to lessons in ethics, compliance and the consequences of fraud on May 1, before given lessons on leadership development on May 2 from the Center for Creative Leadership, at the school’s first MAcc Leadership Summit.
“During the Summit (which kicked off with an evening function on April 30), our goals were to not only expose students to the importance of strong ethics and leadership styles, but also impart a strong sense of the Auburn community and family,” said Amy Murphy, Director of Accounting Graduate and Online Programs. “Based on the feedback we received from students and the numerous ‘War Eagle’ goodbyes we received when students departed, I’m confident our goals were met.”
The Summit also featured a leadership development led by the Center for Creative Leadership, a global provider of executive education that develops leaders with an extensive focus on leadership education and research.
The May 1 ethics seminar featured three speakers convicted of engaging in accounting fraud. Diann Cattani, who pled guilty in 2000 to embezzling nearly $500,000 from a human resources consulting firm in Atlanta, Ga., Bill Owens, dubbed by many as the architect of the $2.7 billion accounting fraud at HealthSouth as its Controller, CFO and COO, and Andrew Fastow, the former Enron CFO who pled guilty to two counts of securities fraud, each gave three-hour lectures at the Auburn Alumni Center and shared their respective stories.
Cattani, who offers insight on the motivations associated with white collar crimes and reinforces the need to implement internal controls within organizations, served an 18-month prison sentence.
Owens served 43 months in federal prison and now spends time speaking out about uncovering accounting fraud and ethical decisions.
Fastow completed a six-year prison term in 2011 and now consults with directors and management of public companies on how to best identify potentially critical finance, accounting, compensation and cultural issues.
“The leadership summit provided excellent value for me professionally and personally as I move toward my career,” said Mallory Mize, a MAcc student from Columbus, Ga. “We hear stories of breaches of ethics within corporations in the news and it really hit home to hear these stories first-hand from the people directly involved. I think the lessons they learned from their ordeals hit home with many of us and not only encouraged us to avoid temptation, but also spot potential irregularities within organizations in the future.”
The Center for Creative Leadership, a global provider of executive education that develops leaders with an extensive focus on leadership education and research, directed May 2’s program at Lowder Hall. There, a variety of issues were discussed, including mental models and their effect on us and others, the direction/alignment/commitment leadership model, growth mindset/learning curve, and the catalogue and synthesis of learning.