My path to ethics education
I recently watched a podcast by Marianne Talbot, Ethics Professor at Oxford. She was making comments on how moral or ethical dilemmas require us to reflect rationally on our values, for example: what is it to be kind, what is it to be honest. She said: If I were God, I would make sure there are as many moral dilemmas as possible, because I would want people to be asking themselves…these questions and reflecting on what these values really are; and when faced with difficulty, is that an excuse to not be kind or honest.
I didn’t set out to be an “Ethics Practitioner”. This special opportunity was placed in my lap when my employer, a regional health authority in northern Saskatchewan, needed to meet some Accreditation standards. Shining brightly on that list was the need to have appropriate ethics policies and programs in place. This was in 2008.
So I launched into a nation-wide search for ethics resources. I learned how precious and valuable it is to have a solid, supported, and empowered ethics program in place as it has the potential to be of great benefit to this world. I wanted to learn more and more, and in the course of my “investigation” of ethics resources, I came into contact with EPAC and Mr. Robert Czerny. In 2011, I asked “Bob” if he knew of opportunities for further education and he sent word around. Another EPAC director, Jessie MacNeil, provided links on further education opportunities, one in particular being in Australia! Interesting though, how through kindness a seed is planted… I thought at that time that it would be a great opportunity, but how would it ever happen? Then in 2013, my family had the chance to travel to Australia and I was able to visit the campus where this program was offered. I thought again, wonderful opportunity, but how would it ever happen? In 2016 I was accepted into graduate school and am now on this formal learning journey…an MBA and then (I hope) a PhD in business ethics at the University of Southern Queensland!
The support and encouragement that Bob and EPAC have given has been a truly special lesson to me as I reflect on what motivates me to be an Ethics Practitioner, and what the role means. I believe that through acts of kindness, we have opportunities to provide support such as material resources, information, direction, and hope…
As we all know, this world is loaded with moral/ethical dilemmas, and will continue to be. It is essential to promote deeper thought and guidance in discussions to address these dilemmas. As members of EPAC, I know that you represent organizations and people facing challenges of significant ethical dilemmas, and I wanted to share this meme with you – I saw it recently in one of my classes! Even if the dilemmas you are facing seem to swallow you up, never give up!
My kindest regards to you from ‘Down Under’, Rowena Materne