Charles Olin Norton Memorial Lecture

Courtesy: Thunderbird School of Global Management
Courtesy: Thunderbird School of Global Management

The Charles Olin Norton Memorial Lectureship in Corporate and Business Ethics of Thunderbird School of Global Management was instigated as a memorial to Charles Olin Norton who was a Thunderbird Student. Every year Mrs. Bonye Norton, mother of Charles organizes this lecture, visits Thunderbird and participates in the lecture.  This year her daughter Leslie Norton accompanied her. This lecture series is facilitated and supported by the Thunderbird Honor Council.

In the words of Howard and Bonye Norton, parents of Charles Norton – The Charles Olin Norton Memorial Lectureship is the acknowledgment and celebration of both the nature of the School’s challenge and Charles Norton’s spirited and total response: the intellectual challenge of academic excellence, the moral challenge to “love thy neighbor as thyself” and the religious challenge to “love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might “.

The Charles Olin Norton Memorial Lectureship in Corporate and Business Ethics for 2014 featured an inspired speech by Mr. Ted Paff, President and Founder, Customer Lobby, a software-as-service application that enables businesses to collect, manage and publish customer reviews online. Prior to Customer Lobby, Ted was the founder and CEO of Goldline Research, a marketing and information services firm that was ranked #649 on the Inc 5000 fastest growing private companies in the America list.

Ted’s speech revolved around the topic “How to use Ethics to Get What You Most Want”. He started his speech explaining how he started his career as an investment banker after his MBA from the Columbia University. He said that  – MAKING MONEY was his primary purpose to choose investment banking.  Once he had made enough money, he was not satisfied which turned him into a venture capitalist. He got the POWER to make entrepreneurs. He was again unhappy and started his own company. He worked very hard and made his company a very profitable one. He embraced the EXCITEMENT. But again after few years was not happy and sold the company and got retired.

Ted believed that this retirement would bring him all the happiness of the world but unfortunately after few months of golfing and surfing, he felt exhausted and desired to return to work. He finally understood the reason behind his unhappiness – that all his life he was running behind wrong things: – Money, Power and Excitement.

Ted gave us the recipe for leading a HAPPY LIFE. He said when one goes behind money, power and excitement, it is a never-ending road and at the end of the road there is restlessness and dissatisfaction. He said only 10% of the external circumstances could affect a person’s happiness. The intentions of a person contribute 40% towards his/her happiness. So Ted urged us to have good intentions in life. He said instead of trying to HARM someone, we should always try and HELP one another; instead of TAKING things from others, we should try to GIVE; instead of speaking LIES, we should always speak the TRUTH.

Ted explained that his new venture – Customer Lobby is aimed at helping people. He said that in his company, importance is given to his employees’ career growth. His first question for a new joiner would be “What would you want to achieve towards your career growth by joining our company?” He went on to explain that he goes to work everyday to HELP his customers to achieve their goals. This change in mindset has made all the difference for Ted and he is enjoying his work every single day.

Ted was very enthusiastic during his entire speech. He combined his ideas with examples from his life and this made the listeners get hooked onto his speech. The lecture was well appreciated and the audience applauded at the simple but very effective idea; the idea that leading a HAPPY LIFE is the most important goal in life, which can be achieved by HELPING others whenever possible.

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