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Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Alex Conover

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Hendrickson Forum 2014 highlighted ethical leaders

Nearly 350 people learned more about the U.S. financial crisis of 2008 and received insight on how to prevent its reoccurrence from an industry expert on April 8 during the annual Hendrickson Forum.

CAPTION: Land O’ Lakes president and CEO Chris Policinski receives the 2014 Hendrickson Medal for Ethical Leadership from Brother William Mann, FSC, president of Saint Mary’s University.

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Keynote speaker Sheila Bair

Sheila Bair, former head of the FDIC, current chair of the Systemic Risk Council and author, was the featured speaker for the 2014 Hendrickson Forum, held at the Twin Cities Campus of Saint Mary’s University.

Bair delivered her address “Main Street vs. Wall Street and the New Financial Paradigm” at the Saint Mary’s University Center, providing a unique and informed perspective. Having served as the former head of the FDIC from 2006 to 2011, Bair wants banks to start using smarter tactics so they can avoid another disaster like the Financial Crisis of 2009.

“The ethics of leverage, short-sightedness, greed . . . these are not new,” Bair said. “These are ethical debates that we’ve had for a long time, and yet we keep repeating them. Pretty much any financial crisis in history has been driven by these elements. So I hope that after this last debacle, we can get into a financial system that is more long-term thinking. I hope banks can give up their short-term, highly-leveraged profits in return for sustainable, long-term growth and sustainable, steady dividends.”

Bair was one of a handful of national fiscal leaders who was tasked with finding solutions to the catastrophic sub-prime mortgage failures. During the crisis, she navigated the politics of Beltway negotiations while asserting the interests of taxpayers, especially depositors and homeowners. Looking ahead, Bair encouraged the audience to deal with banks that they trust and have good relationships with.

“I hope bank customers will have a way of scrutinizing their relationship, especially with corporate customers,” Bair said. “Are you being treated well? Because you can go someplace else if you’re not. Go someplace where they’re going to appreciate your business.”

Lauded for her efforts, Bair has received numerous honors, including the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award and Forbes magazine’s second most powerful woman in the world distinction. In 2011, she was named by Harvard University and the Washington Post Magazine as one of America’s Top Leaders.

Also at the Forum, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes Chris Policinski was awarded the 2014 Hendrickson Medal for Ethical Leadership for his significant contributions to the Twin Cities’ community. This award ceremony was preceded by a seminar on “Managing Risk in an Interconnected World” that was held in the morning as four local experts on international trade analyzed the balancing of risk and consequences among financial institutions, companies, investors and consumers. The 2014 Hendrickson Seminar panelists included Curtis L. Hanson (Trade Acceptance Group, Ltd.), Mary Henehan (US Bank Foreign Exchange), Patricia Pelzer (United States Distilled Products, Co./Phillips Distilling Co.) and Timm Reifschneider (Rosenbauer America).

The Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership is an educational enterprise of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and serves as a transformational resource to the community. Founded in 1994, the institute serves current and emerging leaders. As part of its mission, the institute strives to provide programs that encourage and develop ethical, globally oriented leaders, offer integrative leadership models, promote ethical principles that are practical and infuse leaders with an appreciation of spirituality and free enterprise. The Hendrickson Institute is located at the Saint Mary’s University Twin Cities campus, 2500 Park Avenue, Minneapolis. For additional information, visit www.smumn.edu/hendrickson.

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