Bruce Kennedy Ethical Leadership Lecture: Wisdom & Leadership Reflection

Celebrating & Growing in Wise Leadership: Reflections on the Bruce Kennedy Ethical Leadership Lecture


On May 3, new and old friends alike gathered at Seattle Pacific University to celebrate and learn about wise leadership at the Center for Faithful Business’s event: “The Bruce Kennedy Ethical Leadership Lecture.” Named in honor of the late Bruce Kennedy, Alaska Air’s chairman and CEO from 1979 to 1991, the evening included a combination of scholarly research, practical experience, and personal stories.


CFB Executive Director, Dr. JoAnn Flett, welcomed guests into the evening, providing a background on the Bruce Kennedy Ethical Leadership Lecture and reflections on its namesake, Bruce Kennedy. Following her welcome and invitation, Mr. Scott Hardman, Chairman of Alexander Hutton and co-sponsor of the evening, introduced and welcomed to the stage Dr. Uli Chi, Center for Faithful Business Fellow, Chair of the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health System in the Pacific Northwest, and Vice Chair of the De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Seminary.


Dr. Uli Chi offered a reflection on leadership titled: “Wisdom and Leadership.” Portions of the lecture will appear in Dr. Chi’s forthcoming book, The Wise Leader, from William B. Eerdmans Publishing.


Dr. Chi shared a framework of wise leadership built on the following five insights: Personhood, Community, Embodiment, Diversity, and Journeying. Using vivid artwork, research, and practical experience, Dr. Chi emphasized the importance of each of these insights working together for today’s wise leader.


“Leadership is primarily about others, not us,” Dr. Chi shared. “I have reason to believe that genuine Christian wisdom can be a source of hope for us all in the Pacific Northwest.”


Following Dr. Chi’s lecture, Mr. Brad Tilden, former chairman of Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, provided a response—including leadership principles from his years leading Alaska Air Group, and his personal experience of Bruce Kennedy.


“He lived and led with integrity,” Mr. Tilden shared. “Quiet and kind, he influenced the entire organization.”


Following their lecture and response, guests were invited to ask Dr. Chi and Mr. Tilden their questions on the topic of wisdom and leadership, including one guest’s question on how to balance multiple and sometimes competing public demands.


SPU Interim President Dr. Pete Menjares concluded the evening with a brief reflection on leadership, preparing to conclude a 30-year career in education, and a closing prayer.


“I conclude my career as leader of a university that has embedded ‘becoming people of wisdom’ in its mission statement.”


The Center for Faithful Business is especially grateful to Dr. Uli Chi, Mr. Brad Tilden, and the Kennedy family for their involvement and support in making this evening a success.

Center for Faithful Business

Seattle Pacific University

Dr. JoAnn Flett, Executive Director


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