By Carl P. Cecil
On March 16th, the West Point Society of DC hosts the 10th Annual West Point Leadership and Ethics Conference (WPLEC17). My classmates, local alumni, and many many other dedicated servants have put their hearts and minds into providing an incredible one-day leader development opportunity. Our team’s mission is to Mentor and Guide emerging leaders to become better leaders of character. We have cadets and officers lead small groups through facilitation. These facilitators are from as far north as The Coast Guard Academy to as far south as The Citadel with others from West Point, George Mason University, University of Maryland, Georgetown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Military Institute, and The Old Guard. These outstanding leaders work with the delegate to fulfill our mission.
Since our event started in 2007, WPLEC 2017 has become the premiere one-day leadership event for high school students on the East Coast. Over 320 juniors, seniors, faculty, cadets, officers, VIPs, and volunteers will participate representing 50 high schools from the National Capital Region at George Mason University, Arlington campus. My co-chair and classmate, Philip Panzarella, has been an incredible force over the past 10 years in keeping us moving to our goal. Thank you Phil. So many others to thank …
2017 WPSDC Press Release
Now more than ever, our government, our businesses, our nation, and the world need leaders of integrity and character. The West Point Society of Washington DC (WPSDC), local business leaders, and individuals are doing their part to give our next generation of leaders the framework and experiences to become those leaders we so desperately need for our future.
The 10th Annual West Point Leadership and Ethics Conference (WPLEC) will take place March 16, 2017, at George Mason University Arlington Campus. For the past ten years WPSDC hosts this annual conference. Each year, about 50 local high schools participate in the conference by sending four 11th graders who have been identified as school leaders and have a grade point average of at least 3.5. A faculty member from each school also attends. Each will learn how to deal with leadership and ethical challenges using West Point’s ethical decision-making model. It is based upon the model and framework taught to Cadets at the United States Military Academy.
The day is designed to help develop leaders of character and instill a sense of lifelong integrity. This is accomplished in two ways. First, they will follow a workshop method where the students go through instruction, break-out sessions, and practical exercises, including scenarios that cause them to think and apply the Ethical Decision-Making Model. During the process, student delegates practice the arts of critical thinking and moral reasoning to explore the ethical challenges raised in the vignettes. Second, they will be given the tools and guidance to go and share their learnings with others when they get home. So, this day is not only an incredible experience for the select students, it is also a “train the trainer” event with the goal to enable them as leaders to share these methods and models with their peers, who can be their athletic team, the student body, or even various community organizations.
The student groups led by the facilitators will compete in a presentation at the end of the day. As a leadership challenge for each of the facilitators and to incentivize the students, the groups will have the opportunity to compete for team awards. Several top students will be selected to write essays to win college scholarship awards and all will benefit from this amazing program.
This year’s keynotes are Army Lieutenant General James C. McConville, Army Captain (retired) Florent “Flo” Groberg, and Karen L. Henley JD, CCEP.
Lieutenant General James C. McConville is the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1. He is responsible for developing, managing, and executing manpower and personnel plans, programs, and policies for the total Army. Prior to this assignment, he served as the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) and Fort Campbell, KY.
Flo Groberg is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military honor, for his extraordinary gallantry, intrepidity, and heroism while serving in combat operations in Afghanistan in 2012. He is currently Director Veterans Outreach & Eastern Region Community Engagement, Global Corporate Citizenship for Boeing.
Karen Henley is the Ethics Advisor, Ethics and Business Conduct (EBC), supporting Boeing Government Operations. Karen has 9+ years of compliance and ethics experience in several industries including health care, aerospace, and government ethics. She obtained her certification as a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) in October 2013.
This tenth year has an additional mission—taking this program national. The volunteers who have been doing this for the past ten years are diligently documenting the process and creating the operations manual for “how to” run this program so that it can be shared with the West Point Association of Graduates and the 139 West Point Societies throughout the United States. This will give them the knowledge, materials, and instructions they need to kick off their own Leadership and Ethics programs.
The material we explored with the student delegates was both thought-provoking and relevant to real challenges in the world today (said Captain Duncan Moore, a facilitator from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment). I believe this conference and events similar to it are vital to instilling within young Americans the desire to take on large moral and ethical problems of our time (Moore said). We need more student engagement like this across the country.
Anne Magro, PhD Interim Dean, School of Business at George Mason added:
This is our tenth year of partnering with the West Point Leadership Conference and its work to mentor the next generation of leaders. We at Mason are fully committed to the goal of raising up leaders of character who act in an ethical manner to bring about the common good—in government and in business.
WPLEC provides young leaders a great opportunity to work with peers to establish the habit of considering ethical issues in routine decisions and influence others (said Jim Carter, a faculty delegate from Robinson Secondary School in Burke, VA., where he is a guidance counselor). Complementing this opportunity, they benefit from exposure to successful leaders who challenge them to remain true to values with a strong ethical basis.
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About West Point Society of DC
The West Point Society of the District of Columbia and the National Capital Region is the local chapter of the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG), the Alumni Association for the United States Military Academy (USMA). The mission is to serve West Point and its graduates in the local area and to further the ideals and promote the welfare of the United States Military Academy. The objective of the Society is to provide a nonprofit organization through which graduates, former cadets, and Society members may foster and advance the principles and mission of the United States Military Academy.
About George Mason School of Business
Dedicated to excellence in teaching and research, George Mason University’s School of Business prepares the next generation of business leaders through a range of innovative academic degree programs, community engagements, and international alliances. The school is annually ranked among the top 100 undergraduate business school programs and part-time MBA programs by U.S. News & World Report.
About George Mason
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 35,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility