"Ethical leadership starts with us – all of us," says Anton Hermann (GradDipMgmt '12), joint winner of the inaugural Professor Wanbil Lee Prize for Ethical Leaders in Business.

Anton and David Ross (MBA Exec '10) have been recognised for entrepreneurship, ​innovation, leadership and business ethics demonstrated in their work practice.

This new prize has been established by Professor Wanbil Lee, an international specialist in the area of Information Systems with experience across government, business and academia.

There is increased societal pressure on business to behave ethically and responsibly, and Anton and David are apt role models in our AGSM community. 

For Anton, studying at the AGSM meant getting out of his comfort zone while drilling deeper into the f​ield of organisational dynamics. The MBA Executive was for David the catalyst to start his own management consulting business. 

"I never thought I'd do this and go out on my own," says David.

"It's given me the chance to work in some of the poorest communities in Australia, in the thick of such complex issues as crime prevention and economic development, and mediating between communities and coal seam gas companies. My career couldn't be more rewarding."

At Minter Ellison, Anton enjoys working at the intersection of business and community.  He advises non-profit organisations on a range of legal issues and is responsible for the direction and delivery of the firm's corporate responsibility program.

"We measure our performance in a range of different ways but ultimately the look of satisfaction on the face of a client and the face of one of our volunteers simply can't be measured," Anton says.

What does ethical leadership mean?

​​​​​​Ant​on Hermann 

Director, Pro Bono & Community Investment, Minter Ellison ​​​

At the AGSM I was struck by an ancient quote from Aristotle: "We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly."  I see this as a challenge to be self-critical and to accept that none of us is inherently ethical or virtuous.  We are all faced with decisions every day.  We are judged on how we respond to those choices and challenges and it is quite empowering to consider that our own actions can be the source of good outcomes.

​David Ross

Founder and Director, Phoenix Strateg​ic Management 

Leadership for me no longer entails some strong heroic-like figure setting the direction for a company and expecting staff – and external stakeholders - to follow.  In the work I do, helping enterprises and communities transform their reputation and performance, that old philosophy just doesn't cut it anymore.

As things change, good leadership requires leaders to take more of a collaborative approach to their opportunities and challenges, underpinned by a greater understanding of themselves, their context (rather than going straight into 'solution' mode) and a desire to create shared value. 

In a similar vein, ethical leadership means being considerate in our decision making and thinking about our values and how my actions impact on others.  Key to this is the challenge of appreciating that ethics are contextual and are influenced by the values of stakeholders.
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