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Xavier Magazine

Making Connections

A portrait of a stately woman adorns the entry to Hinkle Hall. Dressed in white gloves and a dark dress trimmed in white lace, she is modest, though clearly a woman of means. And a woman of business.

The portrait is of Mary Hinkle, whose $100,000 donation to the University in 1920 not only became the first six-figure gift to Xavier, it also made it possible for the University to construct its signature building and move to its new campus in Avondale. But the grand dame was the exception. The majority of donations that have come to the University in the ensuing decades have come from men. It only makes sense, considering the University was an all-male institution from its founding in 1831 until the fall of 1969, when women were first admitted as day students.

Now, however, all that is changing. As the University nears the 40th anniversary of the arrival of women, female students outnumber men on campus. This gender flip-flop is forcing the University to make targeted and lasting changes in the way it approaches women in terms of money, power and social status

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Xavier Magazine

The Hard Right

Judi Blair was devastated when the scandal broke. In an instant, much of her life savings was gone.

It was 2004, and Blair had then invested 38 years of her life—since age 18—and much of her savings in Dayton Power and Light. Then came the allegations of financial improprieties against three top company officials. Within months, the energy company’s credit rating tanked and stock prices nose-dived to roughly half of their previous worth. Emotional, fearful investors packed stockholders’ meetings.

It’s the kind of experience you don’t easily forget. “I’ve lived it, trust me,” says Blair, director of operations for Dayton Power and Light and a 2008 Executive MBA graduate. “I’ve worked at the company under good leadership and poor leadership, and ethics was right at the top of the reasons for each.”

Business ethics, or lack thereof, has been big news since 2001, when two companies most people had never heard of—Enron and WorldCom—achieved ignominious status as textbook examples of executive malfeasance. Shortly before the screaming headlines began proclaiming the naked reality of corporate greed in America, Xavier launched the Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. The goal was deceptively simple: Make certain faculty were comfortable talking about ethics in the classroom so students would be prepared to do the hard right as opposed to the easy wrong in the workplace. In hindsight, the timing couldn’t have been better.

For the past seven years, the center’s director, Paul Fiorelli, has staged workshops and lectures exploring both the heroic and the sinister aspects of business ethics. Whistleblowers such as Enron’s Sherron Watkins—a Time magazine Person of the Year—and Jeffery Wigand, who took on big tobacco interests and became the subject of the film, “The Insider,” revealed the dark side of corporate governance, while former Johnson & Johnson general counsel Roger Fine and ex-Navy SEAL Eric Greitens offered a view of responsible, moral leadership. In the process, the center has engaged faculty, students and the business community as stakeholders for greater awareness and continued development.

The Center’s growing presence and profile have drawn increasing attention, and on April 18 those efforts were rewarded with a generous undisclosed gift from the Farmer Family Foundation and the Robert J. Kohlhepp Family Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The gift supports the Center’s programs and its space in the new Williams College of Business building, and brings with it a new name: The Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier. The new support ensures not only greater visibility for the institute, but also opens the door to expanded programming.

In many ways, the phrase “ethics at Xavier” brings things full circle. The idea of ethics at Xavier is as old as the school’s Jesuit mission. Indeed, Fiorelli sees the center’s work as an extension of Xavier’s core values.

John Ritter, a 1994 graduate, bet his business future on those values. So far, it seems to be paying off big. In April, Ritter Daniher Financial, the six-person company he co-owns, received the International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence from the National Council of the Better Business Bureau, besting 78 companies across North America, including giants like Wells Fargo and Standard Oil. Ritter Daniher shared the award with CarMax, a company with about 15,000 employees. Ritter attributes the award largely to his company’s ethical underpinnings.

The realities of ethical practice hit home during Ritter’s senior year at Xavier working for a financial planning firm. “The company used a sales-focused approach,” Ritter recalls. “Financial planning was given away as a marketing tool to help sell a product. But I wanted to be in the role of a trusted financial advisor.”

Ritter saw the conflict of interest in such a situation and felt it was wrong—and very much the opposite of the principles he was learning at Xavier. “It sounds clichéd,” he says. “But a lot of what I learned at Xavier was how to do the right thing. What I gained at Xavier wasn’t just a diploma, but how to think and how to do something with an ethical compass in mind.”

Ritter soon joined forces with another like-minded hire at the company, Jeff Daniher, and the pair took their ideas and launched Ritter Daniher. The company, which operates on a fee-only basis that stresses fiduciary duty to its clients, has since moved into the forefront of fee-only firms nationally.

Financial Advisor magazine has twice recognized the firm as one of the nation’s best. The company manages about $120 million for 125 clients, and this year Ritter Daniher is responsible for the entire educational agenda at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’ 25th anniversary conference in Long Beach, Calif.

But in spite off the growth, Ritter says competing against Fortune 500 companies for the Torch Award was daunting. “We don’t have a dedicated ethics department,” he says. “It’s more the fiber of how we run our business.”

And while he admits business in general has gotten something of a black eye in the public consciousness over the past seven years, Ritter takes heart that the next generation of business people is reaching for this thread, as well. “The younger generation is really looking for this. The idea that greed is good has to some degree gone away, and they’re looking for a more well-rounded, balanced look at how they’re living.”

This idea resonates powerfully with Blair as well. She credits the values-based approach of Paul Barbas, who became CEO of Dayton Power and Light in the wake of the scandal, with turning around the company’s fortunes —and her own. Stock prices are back to where they were prior to the controversy, the company has returned to an investment-grade credit rating and employee morale has skyrocketed.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was working for a different company,” Blair says. “He truly has created an ethical climate, and he leads by example.”

Leading by example, doing the right thing and keeping sight of the human aspect permeate Ritter’s approach to ethical practice as well. And he sees those not as things reserved for the workplace, but rather, as a way of life.

“It’s just one of those things,” he says. “I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I’m not taking any shortcuts—not taking the easy way. I think about any service provider, that I’m open and honest and giving all the facts to my clientele. And in my own life, my wife and I are trying to raise our children to be honest and kind. Everything is easier if you get it right at the beginning.”

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Xavier Magazine

Global Discovery

When it was time to say goodbye, Kristi Horstman cried. It was the last thing the senior expected. When she arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, four weeks earlier, she was so flustered by travel troubles that she just wanted the trip to end.

“It was like, ‘OK, one month, I can do this, I’ll be able to get through it by myself,’ ” she says. “But by the end I did not want to leave.”

Brought to Nairobi as part of her studies as a Winter-Cohen Student Fellow through the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Horstman found herself transformed. Overwhelmed by the community and kindness of the people living amidst oppressive poverty in the world’s largest slum, she shifted the course of her dreams 180 degrees, abandoning her longtime goal of a law career to focus on attending graduate school and working with international nonprofits.

Such transformation is what the Brueggeman Fellows program is all about. The fellowship lasts for two semesters and a summer, but the select nature of the group creates a special atmosphere. “Once you’re a Brueggeman Fellow, you’re a Brueggeman Fellow for life,” says the center’s director, James Buchanan.

Horstman is one of 33 fellows selected since the program’s inception in 2005. Fellows take part in Brueggeman Center activities and engage in monthly marathon reading-group discussions, but it’s the student-initiated projects that set the program apart. Fellows design projects related to the work of the center and receive a $3,000 travel stipend to do field work in the country of their choice. In doing so, they move out of their comfort zones—setting up their own sites and making their own travel plans—to study the issues of a globalized world at their root.

Thus far, fellows have traveled to 16 countries, with current fellows studying issues such as microfinance, ecosystems, infectious diseases, free-market socialism, tribal marriages and interfaith issues in places like Tanzania, Costa Rica, Gambia, Iran, Israel, China and Nepal.

Horstman’s trip to Kenya focused on democracy and religion. She taught at St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a school for AIDS orphans, and made solo treks into Nairobi for research interviews. “I think the first time it felt uncomfortable was when I had to go to downtown Nairobi alone,” she says. “I had to talk to people. I had to do things on my own. That really helped me adjust.”

About 60 students apply to become fellows each year, and the selection process is meticulous. “It’s not just the GPA or the project,” Buchanan says. “We talk to their advisors and the people who know them, because I have to make sure they are the type of person who can handle this kind of individual challenge.”

Often, the effects of these challenges extend beyond the fellows to their parents, who come to see their children in a new light. Even Buchanan is surprised by the transformations he sees. “When I designed the program, I saw fellows learning in an interdisciplinary way, a global way and a systemic way,” he says. “I never imagined that it would end up being about watching the growth and the confidence and the self-assurance of these young adults.”

Horstman agrees with this assessment. “It absolutely changed me,” she says. “It’s probably the biggest milestone that I’ve come across so far. And I don’t think that anything that I’ve done or will do would change me that much in that short amount of time. I took the LSAT three days before I left for Kenya. And then when I got back I just realized that there’s no way I could go to law school. If someone had said on the first day, ‘By the end of your month, you’re not going to want to go to law school,’ I would not have believed them.”

Horstman says there’s no doubt she’ll return to Kenya. She keeps in contact with people there, and she’ll stay in touch with the Brueggeman Center as well, because, she explains,  “I’m kind of a Brueggeman Fellow for life.”

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Xavier Magazine

Profile: Tom Clark

TOM CLARK
Bachelor of Science, 1970
School psychologist, Clermont County Educational Service Center
Cincinnati

Time Out | Clark spent 34 years officiating sporting events. Active in basketball and baseball at Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, he originally wanted to be a coach in Clermont County. There were no openings, so his boss helped him get started officiating pee wee sports. From there, he moved to high school and, finally, to the college ranks.

Hey, Ref | In the 1980s, Clark officiated Big Ten football games and basketball games in several conferences, including the Mid-America Conference and the Big Ten. He worked 14 NCAA Tournaments, 15 conference championship games and several bowl games.

Fast Lane | For 22 years, he was on the road 37 weekends a year, averaging 12 football and 40 basketball games. The pace finally got to be too much. He left college football in 2003 and college basketball this year.

Xavier Roots | Clark recalls that former Xavier basketball coach Bob Staak was instrumental in helping him break into college basketball. Likewise, former Xavier football standout Tom Balaban, record-setting football coach at St. Xavier High School, paved the way for Clark’s entry into college football.

Big Call No. 1 | Clark was on the floor—and was responsible for making the shot call—when Duke University’s Christian Laettner hit the winning basket to defeat the University of Kentucky 104-103 in the Final Four of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. The game has been called the greatest in college basketball history.

Duke Revisited | For six weeks after the Duke-Kentucky game, Clark told other officials, friends and guests at speaking engagements that .2 seconds were on the clock when Laettner hit the shot. He sensed skepticism from most of them. Duke coach Mike Krszyzewski sent Clark a photo of Laettner’s wining shot. The backboard clock read .2.

Big Call No. 2 | Officiating a football game between Ohio State and Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium, Clark flagged the Irish for holding, negating an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.  Then-Irish coach Lou Holtz calmly told Clark that the call better be correct or “I’ll go national on you.” The call was determined to be correct.

Life Partners | Clark found more than his degree at Xavier. As a senior in 1969, he began dating Kathy Achten, a first-year secretary in the Department of Psychology. The two were married six years later. Professionally, Clark has been a school psychologist in Clermont County for 35 years. Virtually all of that time has been spent in the county’s Goshen district. “All facets of my life lead back to Xavier.”

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Profile: Patrick Odongo

PATRICK ODONGO
Bachelor of Psychology, 2005
Family service coordinator, Pressley Ridge
Hamilton, Ohio

The Pastor | In 1999, Odongo was translating Swahili for Dave Lemkuhl, a Cincinnati pastor working in Kenya. Lemkuhl introduced Odongo to Bill Krumpe, a fellow pastor and a friend of former Xavier President James Hoff, S.J. Krumpe spotted a potential Xavier student in the young Kenyan.

St. Patrick’s Day | After Krumpe left, a St. Patrick’s Day card arrived from the priest. Odongo proudly showed it to his friends saying, “Look at this card. It’s just for me.” Lemkuhl broke the news that it was really for the annual Irish festival. Odongo laughed at his mistake, but he wrote back to Krumpe about his desire to study in the United States. Next thing he knew, Hoff was offering him a full-ride scholarship to Xavier.

Near Miss | Odongo’s Xavier education almost slipped away when Krumpe died of a brain tumor one month before Odongo was to leave Kenya. Krumpe’s church could not supply the lodging and financial support he’d promised. Lemkuhl stepped in, however, and found Odongo a place to stay with a Xavier family.

Coming to America | Odongo arrived in Cincinnati in December wearing sandals. “It was not good,” he says. His host family met him at the airport with a pair of socks and a fleece jacket 25 hours after he’d left Nairobi. He thought it strange to see the father cooking that night, and stranger still to see the snow on his windowsill. Xavier eventually found him student housing.

Life in Sega | Life in America was far different than it had been for him as a boy. His seven siblings and parents lived in a one-bedroom house on a farm, and going to sleep at night was a matter of finding a spot on the bed. It was rowdy at times, but fun despite the poverty.

New View | One summer he lived in Over-the-Rhine, the impoverished neighborhood near downtown, with three Xavier students. “I learned the different side of America. The poverty. Back home we are materially poor, but we have a family. The people in Over-the-Rhine are so dysfunctional, without hope. I’m poor, but I have a piece of land at home where I know I will be buried.”

Grateful | Odongo earned his degree in psychology and is using it to counsel troubled children and families. He wants to show his gratitude to Krumpe and Hoff for his education by coordinating the construction of a library for the elementary school and high school in his hometown of Sega, Kenya. A University of Cincinnati architecture student is designing the library building as her senior project, and the Sega school donated the land.

The Gift | “I want to dedicate the library to Fr. Krumpe because he changed my life. It’s amazing how someone can touch your life and then disappear like that. I keep wondering who is this guy who touched my life? If he saw me today, how would I thank him? This is my gift to him.” Odongo’s web site is at www.ugaliyouth.org.

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Profile: Cleaster Mims

CLEASTER MIMS
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, 1971; Master of Education, 1976
Founder, Cleaster Mims College Preparatory School
Cincinnati

Enterprising Start | Mims, who grew up in Enterprise, Ala., attended Tuskegee University for one year before dropping out because of a lack of funds. “I came to Cincinnati because there were no jobs for me in the South at that time if you did not have a college degree. So I came here to live with an aunt to work.”

Early Education | She wound up working with Cincinnati Public Schools in the business manager’s office, as secretary to the controller. She later married and had a son. When he was 2 years old, she enrolled him in preschool and started taking classes at Xavier. The year was 1966, before women could officially enroll, but she was able to attend as a non-traditional student. Not only was she one of a handful of women, but she was also the first African-American female on campus.

Continuing Education | Mims found that the students, most of whom were about 6 to 8 years younger, were intrigued by her experiences during the Civil Rights Era. “Frequently, we would gather in the dining room over in the cafeteria, and they would just gather around me and ask me questions about things. It was an extension of the classroom, our discussions.”

Behind the Name | Mims made a career of teaching high school English in the Cincinnati Public Schools. She also taught a speech communications course every Wednesday night at Xavier for a number of years. Mims retired from the public school system in 1991 to found the Marva Collins Preparatory School, recently renamed Cleaster Mims College Prep, a private school for children from pre-K to eighth grade. “We started the school with volunteers.” Mims still volunteers her services today.

Track Record | The school focuses on interactive learning in the classroom, use of the Socratic method and phonics. “We have found that 100 percent of students who start with us in pre-K and go all the way to eighth grade have gone on to highly selective schools and are in college, or are on their way to college.”

Developing Her Destiny | Today the school has about 50 or 60 children, down from 250 in 2001, which Mims attributes to the economic downturn, but she’s slowly rebuilding enrollment. “I think sometimes it was my destiny to do this. I had been through hard times in my life and to develop this school took a lot of patience, a lot of fortitude, a lot of frugality, which I had.”

Daily Joy | “People ask me, ‘How can you do this for so long?’ It’s because I wake up in the morning excited about what I’m going to face during the day. There’s nothing greater than to see a 3-year-old running down the hall to my office and saying, ‘Mrs. Mims! I can read!’ And then you pick them up and sit them on your lap and have them read to you, and then you make a big
to-do over that, as if they just had a birthday party.”

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Profile: Barbara Henshaw

BARBARA HENSHAW
Master of Business Administration, 1982
Vice President and Officer in Charge, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cincinnati Branch

Humble Beginnings | Shortly after graduating with an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting, Henshaw took a management trainee job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland where she’s worked for the past 30 years.

Fast Money | “When I started in the Fed, I had an opportunity to get onto a system project where we were developing high-speed currency processing equipment for the whole Federal Reserve System, and I was a product manager for one of the four prototype systems. Because of that, I got the opportunity to travel to Japan and work with a manufacturing company there in connection with the project.”

Economic Education | Now Henshaw is responsible for the seven-member board of directors for Cincinnati. “We also have responsibility for the community outreach activities, which might include different kinds of public programs. For example, we’re getting ready to have a research seminar on financial education, and we’ll be inviting people who are involved in doing economic education, whether it be for children or for adults. Some of them will be teachers. Some of them might be non-profit agencies that provide economic education for low- and moderate-income adults.”

Dollars and Sense | “This is one of the areas I’m very, very interested in, because I also serve as chair of the board of trustees of the Economic Center for Education Research at the University of Cincinnati. Their mission for 30 years has been to incorporate economics and personal financial education into the classroom, and they train teachers in our region to do that. I feel very strongly that if our economy is to grow and prosper, we really must do a better job in educating our citizens on how to make appropriate financial decisions for themselves and their families.”

Banking 101 | The Cincinnati native also helped facilitate a joint conference on the Hispanic population. “When you have an influx of individuals from other countries who may not be familiar with the banking system or they don’t trust the banking system, there’s a real educational learning curve on how our banks here can provide products and services that will be useful and acceptable to, let’s say, the Hispanic immigrant populations that are coming more into the Midwest.”

Safety and Soundness | “As the central bank, you can see things sort of from a very macro level. From a policy level and because we’re not a for-profit organization, our motivation is not returning value to shareholders, per se. But we are always very concerned that what we do is in the best interest of the public in terms of safety and soundness of the financial system—and being transparent and being prudent with the funds that are entrusted to us. But I think that having the ability to have a major impact in the work that we do gives you that opportunity.”

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Xavier Square

Students, University officials and representatives of local print and television media outlets gathered May 8 to witness the demolition of a landmark: the Norwood Café. The bar, known fondly to many current and former students as “The Woods,” was taken down, along with a number of houses on Cleneay Avenue, to make way for the construction of the Xavier Square development. Groundbreaking for that project is scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

This phase of demolition on the site follows on the heels of the April implosion of the Zumbiel Packaging facility. Material from the Zumbiel building is being recycled as the site is cleared. As of April 30, workers recycled more than 37,000 tons of brick, concrete, asphalt and steel.

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Honoring a Father

Robert A. Jalbert was a man of deep Catholic faith and conviction who understood the importance of his roots and believed in the value of a Xavier education. So when Jalbert, father of 1993 graduate Michael Jalbert, was killed aboard United Airlines Flight 175 on Sept. 11, 2001, his family decided it most fitting to establish a scholarship in his name. 

The result was the Robert A. Jalbert Scholarship Endowment Fund, which will provide a student with a scholarship valued at more than $11,000 a year. The new annual award assists a graduate of St. Dominic’s High School in Auburn, Maine—Jalbert’s alma mater—in attending Xavier.

“There are so many ways to honor someone’s memory,” says Jalbert’s widow, Cathie. “My kids talked about setting up a foundation to serve people who are sick or who fall through the cracks. But I think they were our ideas. They didn’t reflect who Bob was. I never felt right, so I hesitated for a long time. In the end, it dawned on me that a scholarship for someone from St. Dom’s was the thing to do.”

Cathie made the decision at the end of 2007 and approached Xavier Provost Roger Fortin, her husband’s high school classmate and a long-time family friend, to aid in the process.  “Sept. 9 was Bob’s birthday,” Cathie recalls. “That day, he was very content with where our children were in their lives. He was happy with where we were. He was always grateful. I think this would honor his spirit and keep it going.

“Our family’s hope is that we can find someone who has the need of a scholaship and who will grow from a Xavier education the way my son did,” she says.

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The Hard Right

Judi Blair was devastated when the scandal broke. In an instant, much of her life savings was gone.

It was 2004, and Blair had then invested 38 years of her life—since age 18—and much of her savings in Dayton Power and Light. Then came the allegations of financial improprieties against three top company officials. Within months, the energy company’s credit rating tanked and stock prices nose-dived to roughly half of their previous worth. Emotional, fearful investors packed stockholders’ meetings.

It’s the kind of experience you don’t easily forget. “I’ve lived it, trust me,” says Blair, director of operations for Dayton Power and Light and a 2008 Executive MBA graduate. “I’ve worked at the company under good leadership and poor leadership, and ethics was right at the top of the reasons for each.”

Business ethics, or lack thereof, has been big news since 2001, when two companies most people had never heard of—Enron and WorldCom—achieved ignominious status as textbook examples of executive malfeasance. Shortly before the screaming headlines began proclaiming the naked reality of corporate greed in America, Xavier launched the Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. The goal was deceptively simple: Make certain faculty were comfortable talking about ethics in the classroom so students would be prepared to do the hard right as opposed to the easy wrong in the workplace. In hindsight, the timing couldn’t have been better.

For the past seven years, the center’s director, Paul Fiorelli, has staged workshops and lectures exploring both the heroic and the sinister aspects of business ethics. Whistleblowers such as Enron’s Sherron Watkins—a Time magazine Person of the Year—and Jeffery Wigand, who took on big tobacco interests and became the subject of the film, “The Insider,” revealed the dark side of corporate governance, while former Johnson & Johnson general counsel Roger Fine and ex-Navy SEAL Eric Greitens offered a view of responsible, moral leadership. In the process, the center has engaged faculty, students and the business community as stakeholders for greater awareness and continued development.

The Center’s growing presence and profile have drawn increasing attention, and in April those efforts were rewarded with generous gifts from the Farmer Family Foundation and the Robert J. Kohlhepp Family Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The gifts—from Cintas Corp. executives Richard Farmer and Bob Kohlhepp—support the Center’s programs and its space in the new Williams College of Business building, and bring with it a new name: The Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier. The new support ensures not only greater visibility for the institute, but also opens the door to expanded programming.

In many ways, the phrase “ethics at Xavier” brings things full circle. The idea of ethics at Xavier is as old as the school’s Jesuit mission. Indeed, Fiorelli sees the center’s work as an extension of Xavier’s core values.

John Ritter, a 1994 graduate, bet his business future on those values. So far, it seems to be paying off big. In April, Ritter Daniher Financial, the six-person company he co-owns, received the International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence from the National Council of the Better Business Bureau, besting 78 companies across North America, including giants like Wells Fargo and Standard Oil. Ritter Daniher shared the award with CarMax, a company with about 15,000 employees. Ritter attributes the award largely to his company’s ethical underpinnings.

The realities of ethical practice hit home during Ritter’s senior year at Xavier working for a financial planning firm. “The company used a sales-focused approach,” Ritter recalls. “Financial planning was given away as a marketing tool to help sell a product. But I wanted to be in the role of a trusted financial advisor.”

Ritter saw the conflict of interest in such a situation and felt it was wrong—and very much the opposite of the principles he was learning at Xavier. “It sounds clichéd,” he says. “But a lot of what I learned at Xavier was how to do the right thing. What I gained at Xavier wasn’t just a diploma, but how to think and how to do something with an ethical compass in mind.”

Ritter soon joined forces with another like-minded hire at the company, Jeff Daniher, and the pair took their ideas and launched Ritter Daniher. The company, which operates on a fee-only basis that stresses fiduciary duty to its clients, has since moved into the forefront of fee-only firms nationally. Financial Advisor magazine has twice recognized the firm as one of the nation’s best. The company manages about $120 million for 125 clients, and this year Ritter Daniher is responsible for the entire educational agenda at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’ 25th anniversary conference in Long Beach, Calif.

But in spite of the growth, Ritter says competing against Fortune 500 companies for the Torch Award was daunting. “We don’t have a dedicated ethics department,” he says. “It’s more the fiber of how we run our business.”

And while he admits business in general has gotten something of a black eye in the public consciousness over the past seven years, Ritter takes heart that the next generation of business people is reaching for this thread, as well. “The younger generation is really looking for this. The idea that greed is good has, to some degree, gone away, and they’re looking for a more well-rounded, balanced look at how they’re living.”

This idea resonates powerfully with Blair as well. She credits the values-based approach of Paul Barbas, who became CEO of Dayton Power and Light in the wake of the scandal, with turning around the company’s fortunes —and her own. Stock prices are back to where they were prior to the controversy, the company has returned to an investment-grade credit rating and employee morale has skyrocketed.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was working for a different company,” Blair says. “He truly has created an ethical climate, and he leads by example.”
Leading by example, doing the right thing and keeping sight of the human aspect permeate Ritter’s approach to ethical practice as well. And he sees those not as things reserved for the workplace, but rather, as a way of life.

“It’s just one of those things,” he says. “I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I’m not taking any shortcuts—not taking the easy way. I think about any service provider, that I’m open and honest and giving all the facts to my clientele. And in my own life, my wife and I are trying to raise our children to be honest and kind. Everything is easier if you get it right at the beginning.”

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