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By Liz Warren-Pederson

Ronald Sable.

Ronald Sable.

The Center for Leadership Ethics (CLE) at the UA Eller College has announced the formation of an advisory board chaired by Ronald Sable, current president of Concord Solutions, Ltd., and a public and private sector leader.

CLE brings together research faculty, educational outreach programs, and corporate partnerships to affect broad change in ethical leadership across organizations.

“Members of the board, led by Ron, are already deeply involved in the CLE,” said Paul Melendez, founder of the CLE and professor of practice at Eller. “These individuals have served as facilitators, judges, guest speakers, and mentors at our programs.”

The new board, he added, will meet twice a year during CLE’s signature events: the Collegiate Ethics Case Competition and the High School Ethics Forum. “They will provide mission support to the CLE,” he said.

Melendez credits Sable with making key connections for the CLE’s outreach function. Sable is the former chairman of the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, where he led a major turn around and significant increases in revenue during a period of economic decline. He also served in leadership roles with the Aerospace Corporation and McDonnell Douglas Corporation.  Before joining McDonnell Douglas, Sable was special assistant to President Ronald Reagan for national security affairs. In that role he was the lead White House liaison with the U.S. Senate on defense, foreign policy, intelligence, arms control, and banking issues. He served as an Air Force pilot (Colonel) and was an outstanding graduate of the Air War College.

Over the course of his career, Sable said, “Some would say I was fortunate – and some would say unfortunate – to have been involved in several high-profile ethical challenges.” The temptation, he pointed out, is to just bend and go with it. In one case, he was strongly advised to protect a fellow officer. “I was told that failure to do so would impact my career,” he said. Sable spoke out, and it did impact his career: “I was promoted before my peers, and the officer in question was removed from the service.”

Sable has shared his experiences as a guest speaker at Eller and CLE events including the Southwest Leadership Program, the Collegiate Ethics Case Competition, and business ethics programs in Argentina and Uruguay. “I believe that personal integrity is foundational,” he said. “You can lose it in a heartbeat, and it’s very hard to get it back.”

“Sometimes you pick up a paper and you have to wonder if there’s an honest company in the world,” he continued. “I believe that the overwhelming number of companies and organizations do it right, but the ones that don’t get a whole lot of attention – and in a world of instant communication, the word gets out a lot quicker.”

Sable is passionate about challenging students to think about ethics early. “Most high school students haven’t been exposed to it,” he said. “At the college level, it has traditionally been taught in philosophy and religion coursework. I credit Paul for bringing it to Eller and giving students practical experience with ethics. If we can implant ethical thinking into the minds of those who are going through school now, we will witness great progress.”

Top image of integrity red word indicated by compass conceptual image on white background courtesy Shutterstock.