Episode 6

What does that mean to be an ethical leader?

Our sixth episode discusses ethics

with an attempt to answer the following question: What are ethics in business and what does it mean to be an

Ethical Leader?


Welcoming Our Guests

We were honored to welcome our panel of special guests eager to discuss the role of individuals and organizations in evolving our commercial practices to support ethical business behavior.

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Jonathan Cook, Commercial culture researcher and consultant. Jonathan specializes in using immersive methods to uncover and explore the deep cultural patterns, emotional motivations, narrative structures, and ritual experiences that enable enduring value in an increasingly disconnected commercial culture. He hosts This Human Business, a podcast exploring the place for human experience in a world of commerce increasingly characterized by automation, algorithms, and artificial intelligence.


Catherine Havasi, CEO/Co-Founder, Luminoso. Catherine has been researching language and learning for nearly fifteen years. In addition to her role as CEO Luminoso, she is a research scientist in artificial intelligence and computational linguistics at the MIT Media Lab. She co-founded the Open Mind Common Sense project, which uses information about the world to understand natural language text and make computers easier to use.


John Hagel, Co-chairman for Deloitte LLP's Center for the Edge. With 30 years of experience as a management consultant, author, speaker and entrepreneur, John helps executives to anticipate and address emerging business opportunities and challenges. He has served as senior vice president of strategy at Atari, Inc., and is the founder of two Silicon Valley startups. He is also a blogger and author of a series of best-selling business books.


Mia Dand, CEO of Lighthouse3.com. Mia is a data-driven marketing leader who guides large organizations on responsible innovation at scale with new and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI). She is the author of “100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics,” a definitive guide to help conference organizers and brands recruit more talented women in this space. She is also the organizer for SF AI, Berkeley AI, & SF AR/VR meetup groups with over 3.5K members in the San Francisco Bay Area and hosts monthly AI Ethics chats on Twitter (@MiaD).


There is an urgency to revisit our education systems and practices to include ethics.


1- What Is an Ethical Business?

In business, the focus is on profit and loss, but in ethics, the important distinction is between right and wrong. 


Doing the right thing often requires financial sacrifice and conversely, making a profit often requires ethical sacrifices.

Anybody who has worked in a business environment has experienced these obvious conflicts in their own departments and with their own leadership. When asked to describe an ethical business, the panel used words like: transparent, trustworthy, human-centric, and evolving.

2- How Can We Become Ethical Leaders?

Morality and ethics require consciousness, a combination of our ability to feel and our ability to think. So morality has to be grounded in subjective experience.

Leaders must question the status quo, actively listen to the the ideas of others, and focus on the human impact when making decisions and solving problems.

How can we resolve the conflict between profits and doing the right thing and expand our consciousness to become moral business leaders?

An answer to this ethical dilemma emerges when we ask:

  • Who are we as individuals?

  • What is this company about?

  • What are we here to do?

So we want to end this by wishing for everybody in the world, and especially in business_ because they have so much power _ time to reflect.


Time to summon the clarity required to create more opportunities for us to come together to question our ethics and explore their ambiguities.


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