The Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility was formed in 1993 when a group of Atlanta business leaders gathered to discuss ways to stimulate a meaningful community dialogue on business and professional ethics. Today, we are led by a professional staff and board members who represent regional business, medical, financial, educational, religious and non-profit organizations.
The Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility is directed by Steven D. Olson with management responsibilities shared by Molly Nuttall, operations manager. Executives-in-residence and center faculty combine expertise in business and professional ethics with years of practical management experience.
Steven D. Olson, Director
A co-founder of The Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, Dr. Olson teaches ethics, leadership, corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability to corporate leaders and MBAs. He is also a well-known consultant and leadership coach, helping organizations develop the maximum potential of their people, increase productivity and sustain growth with the highest ethical standards. He personally has trained over 1,000 senior executives and managers in the areas of leadership, strategy, conflict management, ethics and organizational development.
Dr. Olson's corporate clients have included Coca-Cola USA, Kaiser-Permanente, Georgia Power, Ingersoll-Rand, Synovus Financial, LaSalle Bank, TSYS, Atherogenics, AeroVironment, ProQuest Business Solutions, Waggener-Edstrom, and Melaver Inc. Other clients have included The White House Council for Sustainable Development, Georgia Bankers Association, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Department of Medical Assistance, Georgia Health Care Consortium, Emory University, New York University, Columbus State University, University of Georgia, the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, Association of Schools of Mass Communication & Journalism, and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
He was director of business and professional ethics at Emory University's Center for Ethics in Public Policy and the Professions (1994-1999) and instructor of organization and management at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. He also held appointments in Emory's School of Medicine and Department of Environmental Studies.
He earned a Ph.D. from Emory, where his doctoral dissertation on the ethics of leadership won the International Leadership Association's Frederic M. Jablin Award for the "Best Dissertation in Leadership." He also holds a master's in religion from Yale University.
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Rob Williams, Senior Fellow
Rob Williams, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, is a social psychologist who works with individuals and organizations on developing leadership, group and organizational dynamics, collaboration and conflict resolution, and organizational development. Rob continues an active research and writing interest in leadership development, social advocates, and group dynamics (primarily collaboration and conflict).
He spends about a third of his time facilitating leadership development programs such as Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL) and LEAD21, a third of his time as a consultant and educator nationally and internationally, and the remainder on research and writing. His two most recent publications are “Leadership and collaboration” in Leadership and the Global Environmental Challenge
(Routledge, 2010) and “Leadership development in higher education,” The Business of Higher Education
Currently Rob is the lead faculty for the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, LEAD21, Fuld Fellows for Leadership in Academic Nursing, and others. He is on the faculty of Georgia State University’s Executive Leadership Program for Non Profits and Executive Education for the Robinson College of Business. His most recent funded research is a two-year study of stakeholder involvement in coastal policy development funded by the national SeaGrant program.
He is the author or co-author of four leadership or organizational assessments. Formerly, he was a Senior Fellow and associate director at the Fanning Institute at the University of Georgia; a senior associate and managing partner for Triangle Associates of Chapel Hill, a national consulting firm specializing in health care, higher education and the non-profit sector; associate director for the Pew Center for the Health Professions, Duke University; and an associate of the Charles Kettering Foundation, Dayton, Ohio. From 1985-1989 he was a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellow.
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Ebb Oakley, Senior Fellow
Ellwood (Ebb) Oakley retired on June 1 from his position as associate professor of legal studies at the Robinson College of Business. He will continue to teach on a part-time basis. Professor Oakley was educated at Auburn University (B.S.), Emory University (M.A.) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.), where he was a staff editor of The Tax Lawyer
. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigma.
He served in the U.S. Navy as the legal and administrative officer of a cruiser during a Vietnam tour. He was a partner in the Atlanta law firm Dodd, Connell & Hughes from 1974 to 1988, where his practice centered on business and health care litigation.
Until his recent retirement, Professor Oakley taught courses in business law, health law, negotiations, insurance law, and the legal and ethical environment of business in Robinson's MBA program. He received the distinguished Teaching Award from Robinson in 1993, as well as a national teaching award from the Academy of Legal Studies in Business in 2000. He has participated in medical/legal programs as a faculty fellow at Dartmouth College and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Professor Oakley's research interests focus on increased use of alternative dispute resolution in business and applied business ethics. His works have been published in Journal of Small Business Management
, Journal of Business Ethics
, South Carolina Law Review
, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law
, Journal of Insurance Regulation
, Georgia Bar Journal
, North American Actuarial Journal
and The CPA Journal
Professor Oakley currently serves as a senior arbitrator and mediator on panels of the American Arbitration Association, the National Association of Securities Dealers ("Large and Complex Case" designation) and the American Health Lawyers Association, and as an administrative hearing officer for the State Health Planning Agency (Certificate of Need). He has mediated or arbitrated more than 200 business-related disputes.
Professor Oakley consults with public and private companies on matters of designing and implementing ethics compliance programs. He also conducts corporate training programs on effective negotiation skills development, based on his participation in the Harvard Law School's "Teaching Negotiations" workshop.
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Molly Nuttall, Operations Manager
Molly Nuttall is Operations Manager of the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, where she is responsible for financial management, program logistics and other administrative functions. Ms. Nuttall joined the Center in 2001, bringing 15 years of experience as a manager in leading business organizations. Most recently, she was a marketing manager for Wachovia Corporation where she managed approximately 200 projects annually and was instrumental in the creation of Web resources for the sales force.
Earlier, Ms. Nuttall was with United Parcel Service, serving as a marketing supervisor and developing profit-driven pricing and discount strategies for large national and regional shippers. She began her career with Decatur Federal Savings & Loan Association, where she was both market research manager and mortgage product manager, and at Barnett Bank, where she was a loan officer.
Ms. Nuttall earned a Master's of Business Administration degree at Virginia Tech, receiving the Harold B. Berry Scholarship. After graduating, she was a marketing instructor in the business college, preparing and presenting 12 hours of marketing management lectures weekly. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Stetson University, graduating cum laude.
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Durinda Dickson, Administrative Coordinator
Durinda Dickson is administrative coordinator at the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility. Her primary areas of responsibility are providing executive assistance to the management team and general administrative support.
Prior to joining the center, Ms. Dickson worked at Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was responsible for her department's human resources, procurement and accounts payable functions. Before its merger with Georgia Tech, Ms. Dickson was with the Institute of Paper Science and Technology, where she was a senior accounting assistant. Earlier, Ms. Dickson worked for Citizens Trust Bank as a head teller.
Ms. Dickson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and social sciences from the University of the West Indies and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University.
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John F. (Jack) Ward, Executive-in-Residence
John F. (Jack) Ward, former chairman and chief executive officer of Russell Corporation, is Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility. He provides thought leadership in subject areas including global corporate responsibility, ethics and governance.
He led Russell Corporation from April 1998 until August 2006 when the company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Russell is a $1.4 billion international sporting goods company with athletic apparel, equipment and athletic shoes sold under the Russell Athletic, Jerzees, Spalding, Brooks, Mossy Oak, Huffy Sports, Moving Comfort, Bike, AAI, Dudley and Cross Creek brand names. During his eight years with Russell, Ward moved the company from being primarily a domestic activewear apparel company to a global sporting goods company with many internationally known brands in its portfolio.
Ward began his career in 1966 with Procter & Gamble and joined H. J. Heinz in 1968, where he was product manager for several brands. In 1972, he joined Hanes Corporation in Winston-Salem, N.C., as product manager for the expansion of L'eggs hosiery and was named vice president of marketing for L'eggs in 1975. From 1979 until 1993, Ward was president and CEO of several divisions of Sara Lee Corporation (the acquirer of Hanes Corporation) and was appointed senior vice president of Sara Lee Corporation in 1992 and chief executive officer of the Hanes Group of companies in 1993. His responsibilities with Sara Lee Corporation included operations in more than 20 countries with multi-billion dollar sales responsibilities for a broad range of apparel products.
From 1996 until he joined Russell Corporation, Ward was president of the J. F. Ward Group, an apparel and textile consulting company. In addition, he was an executive-in-residence and taught ethics at Wake Forest University's Calloway School of Business and Accounting.
Ward has served on the boards of directors for Lanier Worldwide, Burlington Industries, Wachovia Bank of North Carolina and Marmot Mountain, LTD. He is also a past chairman of the board of directors of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA). In 2004, he was one of 10 national business leaders recognized by the Diversity Best Practices and Business Women's Network for his outstanding commitment to diversity.
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Linda DiSantis, Executive-in-Residence
Linda K. DiSantis is Executive-In-Residence at the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, teaching courses for law students and graduate business students, and leading seminars and other programs for practitioners through the Center's executive education programs.
Prior to joining the institute in the spring of 2011, she was the General Counsel of CARE USA, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Linda’s professional background includes significant assignments in the area of legal, environmental, compliance, ethics and management. Linda began her legal career as an attorney at the Atlanta law firm of Alston & Bird, where she practiced in the areas of environmental law and commercial litigation. In 1992, Linda DiSantis became a member of the legal department at United Parcel Service. She served as the company’s environmental lawyer and in 1996 was promoted to vice president and managing attorney in the corporate legal department. In addition to her responsibilities in the legal department, Linda developed, implemented and provided legal support to the corporate compliance work of the company. From August 2002 through December 2006, Linda served as the City Attorney of Atlanta, appointed by Mayor Shirley Franklin. In her role as the City Attorney, she served as the chief legal officer for the City of Atlanta and was responsible for handling all civil legal matters for the city. Linda is a summa cum laude graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law where she served as managing editor and legislation editor of the Law Review.
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Jonathan Tescher, Junior Fellow
Jonathan Tescher works as the farmer services coordinator for Georgia Organics to build capacity for sustainable agriculture in urban and rural Georgia. The Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program and Urban Agriculture Training Program are two programs he manages in addition to collaborating with industry stakeholders in academia, government, business and community. Jonathan graduated with an M.B.A. from Georgia State University in May 2009 and a B.A. in marketing from the University of Texas in 2002. While at Georgia State he worked with the director of the Center of Ethics and Corporate Responsibility for two years focused on environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility. Jonathan founded the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market in 2006, where he developed partnerships with state and federal agencies to be the first farmers market in Georgia to accept food stamps. He also spent two years managing the Morningside Farmers Market in Atlanta, and worked as a farm hand or intern on five established organic farms in Georgia.
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