Poor decisions can lead to a lawsuit, a damaged reputation, ethical breaches, and more. The Institute's two-day Certificate Program can help you avoid costly mistakes. Learn more here.
The Institute will hold its 2015 Ethical Leadership Conference on April 30, 2015. The event will focus on ethics in health care and how communities of providers, educators and members move the needle. Learn more here.
Congrats to the 10th Annual Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program Graduates! Ready to start your leadership journey? Now accepting Fall 2015 applications.

Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership


We strengthen ethical leadership to enhance civil society.

The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership, working with business, government, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and within Rutgers, provides leaders and future leaders with the education, training and critical-thinking tools needed to make ethical decisions. Part of a broad-based academic institution, the Institute believes that cultivating and rewarding sustainable ethical practices assist leaders to create a more powerful and successful organization.  The Institute, under the direction of co-founders, Alex J. Plinio and James Abruzzo, aspires to a position that leaders, across all sectors, look to for guidance, partnership, and support.  The Institute believes that ethical behavior drives good business and that legal compliance alone may fail to address the complexities of ethical conduct. 

To learn more about Institute programs and initiatives, read our newly released 2013-14 Annual Report.




Rutgers Appoints Karen Kessler to Chair Ethics Cabinet

NEWARK, N.J. - The Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) at Rutgers Business School is pleased to announce Karen J. Kessler as Chair of its Ethics Executive Business Cabinet. Ms. Kessler, President and Founder of Evergreen PR, is recognized for her sound counsel and creative communications approach to handling ethical dilemmas faced by a high-profile client base. She recently ranked among NJ Biz’ 2017 most powerful executives.

“Karen’s deep sense of integrity and her expertise in addressing a broad range of ethical crises will be valuable to the Institute as it grows as a resource for corporations, nonprofits, academic institutions and government.  We look forward to her direction and leadership”, said James Abruzzo, IEL Co-founder.  

Rutgers IEL Executive Business Cabinet provides a forum for C-suite leaders to network, gain knowledge, share concerns and progress the collective ethical leadership agenda. The Cabinet also guides the Institute in developing and enhancing its programs, services and operations.  Members include Cabinet Vice Chair, Damien Atkins, Panasonic North America; Robert Marino, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield; Robert Garrett, Hackensack University Health Network; Bernard Flynn, NJM Insurance; Ralph LaRossa, PSEG; William Heller, NY Football Giants, Inc.; Scott Kobler, McCarter & English; Linda Willett, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield; Fred Bertoldo, Wells Fargo Bank; Michael Ullmann, Johnson & Johnson; Douglas Eakeley, Lowenstein Sandler; and Stephen Pelletier, Prudential Financial.

“Perhaps now more than ever, we need to invest in developing the ability and character of those who will guide us forward, and I am honored to collaborate with the Institute in this work”, stated Kessler.



Internationally Renowned Leadership and Business Ethics Thought Leader Joins Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership

Newark, N.J. - The Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) at Rutgers Business School welcomes new Academic Director Dr. Joanne B. Ciulla to the organization’s leadership team. Ciulla also joins the Rutgers Business School Department of Management and Global Business as a Professor of Leadership Ethics. Ciulla states, “I was attracted to Rutgers because I saw great potential in the Institute for Ethical leadership to serve the academic, business, non-profit, and government communities.” She is very enthusiastic about helping to build another institution that brings together academics and practitioners.

Ciulla comes to Rutgers after 25 years as the Coston Family Chair of Leadership and Ethics at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond. She was one of the founding faculty of the Jepson School, which is the first liberal arts, degree granting, undergraduate school of leadership studies in the world.

“We are pleased and consider ourselves fortunate, to have attracted Joanne to the IEL,” says Institute Co-Founder, James Abruzzo, “Her values, energy and desire to make the IEL a significant force for good, are aligned with ours.”

Besides her work at the University of Richmond, Prof. Ciulla has had academic appointments at La Salle University, Harvard Business School, and The Wharton School; and visiting appointments at Oxford University, Nyenrode University (Netherlands), University of Fort Hare (South Africa), and University of Melbourne (Australia). She was also the first person to hold the UNESCO Chair in Leadership Studies at the United Nations International Leadership Academy in Jordan, where she helped develop its curriculum.

Ciulla has written extensively on leadership ethics, business ethics and the philosophy of work. In 1991, she began to develop the field of leadership ethics and later co-edited the first major reference work for the field, Leadership Ethics (3 volumes). Her other books on leadership ethics include, The Ethics of Leadership; Ethics, The Heart of Leadership; The Quest for Moral Leaders; and Leadership at the Crossroads (3 volumes). Along with two colleagues, Ciulla also published a best-selling business ethics text called Honest Work: A Business Ethics Reader.

She serves on the editorial boards of the field’s two most established journals, Leadership Quarterly and Leadership, as well as on the board of its recent journal, Leadership and the Humanities. She also serves as a member of the board of Business Ethics Quarterly. Ciulla edits one of the most extensive series of books on leadership, New Horizons in Leadership Studies, for Edgar Elgar Publishing. Among her professional appointments, Ciulla has held the position of president for two of the main business ethics organizations, The Society for Business Ethics and International Society for Business, Economics, and Ethics.

A noted presenter, Ciulla has delivered lectures and seminars to business and government organizations in the US and abroad, and has worked with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, The Aspen Institute, and The World Economic Forum.

Ciulla will fill the seat left empty after the sudden 2015 passing of Dr. Ann Buchholtz, former IEL research director and professor of leadership and ethics at Rutgers Business School.
To read more about Dr. Ciulla, visit http://www.business.rutgers.edu/iel/academic-director.



New Rutgers Leadership Program Selects Local Arts Professionals
Training Program Aims to Increase Diversity in Arts Leadership 

NEWARK — The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation are pleased to announce six New Jersey arts professionals are among the first class of a new training program designed to increase the diversity of the leadership of arts and culture organizations.

Kim Chan of Maplewood, Evonne Davis of Newark, Rodney Gilbert of Newark, Jeremy Johnson of Newark, Marshell Jones Kumahor of Montclair, and Desi Shelton of Camden were selected to participate in the Institute’s Rutgers Executive Cultural and Ethnic Arts Leadership Program. The full list of 18 professionals from throughout the United States and Philippines may be found on the program’s website.

The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School created the training program in response to research showing an alarming lack of diverse leadership within the arts and culture field, said James Abruzzo, co-founder of the Institute for Ethical Leadership.

“Our nations' cultural institutions, located mostly in urban environments, would be better served if their leaders reflected the local populations,” Abruzzo said. “This program is designed to encourage and prepare arts executives from underrepresented populations who clearly have the skills and the ambition to become CEOs.”

The program will launch this summer in Newark with a 10-day residence, followed by ongoing learning experiences, and a year-long mentorship for each participant.

The six New Jersey members bring to the class a depth of skills, knowledge and experience, including expertise in visual arts, public art, community engagement, and theater community development.

  • Kim Chan is general manager of PEN World Voices, a New York City-based nonprofit that defends free expression and promotes literature around the world.
  • Rodney Gilbert is executive director of Yendor Productions/ Yendor Arts, a Newark-based organization dedicated to alleviating the challenges experienced by underserved artists and communities as it relates to cultural and artistic expression.
  • Evonne Davis is artistic director at Gallery Aferro, a Newark-based organization working towards an arts community that is available to everyone, without sacrificing standards or quality of experience.
  • Jeremy Johnson is executive director of Newark Arts Council, dedicated to bringing the transformative power of the arts into the lives of those who live in, work in, and visit Newark through programs, advocacy, promotion, education, and coordination.
  • Marshell Jones Kumahor is vice president of education and community engagement at New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark dedicated to enriching lives through a passion for musical excellence and a commitment to New Jersey.
  • Desi P. Shelton is executive director of Camden Repertory Theater, which uses performing arts as social activism to encourage, heal and transform lives of the people of Camden.


The leadership program is produced in partnership with New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences and the Institute for Arts and Media Management at the Free University in Berlin. It is supported through a special Rutgers-Newark Chancellor’s seed grant with additional funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

"It's essential that the senior management of non-profit arts organizations across the country are authentically reflective of the diverse audiences we serve daily,” said John Schreiber, NJPAC executive director. “The new Cultural and Ethnic Arts Executive Leadership program is a pioneering step in addressing this urgent need. NJPAC is proud to have one of the most diverse performing arts executive teams in America, and we're honored to be a partner in this groundbreaking initiative."

A $25,000 grant from the Dodge Foundation supports the New Jersey participants.

“Investing in leadership and network creation plays a critical role in telling and showcasing the stories of the state’s diverse cultures, leading to more robust programming and stronger community connections,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, Dodge arts program director. “The development of this program is especially timely as the arts and culture sector here in New Jersey continues to examine issues relative to diversity, equity and inclusion.”


About the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation was established in 1974 through the foresight and generosity of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, daughter of William and Almira Rockefeller. For more than 40 years, Dodge has supported leadership, collaboration and innovation, with a focus on addressing the issues most pressing to New Jersey. Dodge also offers a comprehensive technical assistance program geared towards strengthening the capacity of New Jersey’s nonprofit community. For more information, visit www.grdodge.org 


New certificate program for arts leadership gets funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation  is supporting a new program to encourage and enable arts managers from underrepresented communities to become chief executives of U.S. arts organizations.

According to James Abruzzo, co-founder of the Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) at Rutgers Business School and director of the certificate program, "Cultural institutions, located mostly in urban areas, are better served when their leaders reflect the local populations. This program is designed to encourage and prepare arts executives from underrepresented populations, many of whom clearly have the skills and the ambition, to become CEOs.”


Cheryl Ikemiya, senior program officer for the arts at DDCF, said, "As the demographics of the United States continue to change rapidly, the need for more diversity in the leadership of cultural institutions grows increasingly evident. Given this, we are pleased to support the IEL’s efforts."

"The Duke grant, combined with other funding, will allow us to remove a major barrier for many – the program costs are very modest and no one will be rejected because the program is unaffordable," Abruzzo said. "This is the first and only program designed specifically to diversify the CEO demographics of arts organizations."

The 10-day program will bring together a cohort of arts managers from diverse races and ethnic backgrounds and from the LGBTQIA and differently abled communities to live and learn together. The program faculty, comprised of arts management CEOs and board members and Rutgers professors, a majority  from underrepresented communities, will also serve as mentors throughout the year. Beginning on June 17, 18 arts and culture executives will experience a leadership curriculum designed to remove many barriers to the executive office. The program includes leadership training, site visits, and sessions on cultural competency, interviewing with search committees and negotiating a CEO contract.

The inaugural cohort of outstanding participants includes arts organization founders, senior arts managers from major institutions, artists and CEOs of smaller arts organizations. They work at dance, visual arts, theater, literature, museums, performing arts centers and arts education organizations located across the United States and abroad.

For more information, and to meet the cohort as they are announced, go to http://www.business.rutgers.edu/iel/cea


About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The Arts Program of DDCF focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, please visit ddcf.org .




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The Institute is a proud 2014 Hermes Creative Award Platinum Winner, recognized for the animated video that brings its mission and work to life.