Bruce Kennedy Ethical Leadership Lecture | Lead Like It Matters to God

By JoAnn Flett | Executive Director – CFB

On May 23, 2024, the Center for Faithful Business hosted the Bruce Kennedy Ethical Leadership Lecture. This year’s lecture was given by Rich Stearns, President Emeritus of World Vision, United States. It was based on Rich Stearns recent book, Lead Like It Matters to God.

The evening opened with a song by the SPU’s Pacific Island Cultural Club PICCA, performing “This is How We Worship.” A Pacific Islander song that created an atmosphere of awe and worship.

Rich began his address saying, “As Bruce’s life and career attest, leadership can make a critical difference in our world.” Stearns then proceeded to share three important principles for values driven leadership. The three principles are: your calling is more important than your career; your faithfulness is more important than your success; and people are more important than profits, performance, and promotions. When leaders embrace these principles, they strengthen their witness for Christ and thereby lead like it matters to God.

Joe Sprague, the Regional Vice President of Alaska Airlines, was the respondent to Rich Stearns’ address. Joe served at Alaska Airlines during Bruce Kennedy’s tenure, so he was able to share personal memories about Bruce’s leadership. Joe offered two reflections on his own journey, both as a Christian and a business leader. Those key reflections included an invitation to rouse up the courage to make small expressions of faith with modeling Christian values. This he called “conference room connectors.” Next, he identify one of the seventeen values that he found particularly inspiring, humility. As Joe shared, “…humility is important…I mentioned Bruce Kennedy, Bill Ayer and Brad Tilden…this is what they modeled as leaders at Alaska Airlines.”

Joe closed his address saying, “let’s strive to model the attributes Rich has listed in his book, including the one trait that Jesus himself embodied better than any leader in the history of the world: humility.”

This lecture was made possible by an endowment that was established in memory of Bruce R. Kennedy by his wife, Karleen Kennedy. Her desire, along with her two adult children, was to honor the legacy of her late husband who, in personal and public life, was committed to upholding Gospel truth and living by it.

Center for Faithful Business

Seattle Pacific University

Dr. JoAnn Flett, Executive Director


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