The General Curia of the Society of Jesus, in partnership with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Le Moyne College, and Esade Business & Law School, have developed a Certificate in Discerning Leadership to educate senior-level Church and business leaders in the combined disciplines of management education and Ignatian principles. The development of the certificate was among the topics discussed at a press conference with journalists on Oct. 25, shown above.
“In a world where there is so much division, good leaders reconcile. Good leaders bring hope. In a world where values are compromised and where realpolitik seems to always have the upper hand, we need to support leaders who stand for truth, justice, and freedom, leaders who believe in people, leaders who believe in God,” said Father Arturo Sosa, S.J., superior general of the Jesuits. “This course is working with leaders precisely for those goals so that they can lead organizations to build a different kind of world, a world where the poor are lifted up rather than broken and thrown aside. It is still not too late; we can still make a difference.”
The certificate currently is being offered to Church leadership, officials from the Vatican Dicasteries, male and female Superior Generals, Jesuits, and lay partners in leadership positions. As the program evolves, it is hoped that it eventually will be available for business leaders around the world.
David McCallum, S.J., vice president for mission integration and development at Le Moyne College, worked with other members of the General Curia of the Society of Jesus to teach the Ignatian leadership modules, including the topics of making space for grace, leadership for change, perils of leading, and reflective practices for leaders.
"Our work on discerning leadership in the Jesuit tradition is exploring how the Holy Spirit moves within groups and organizations and how we can follow the lead of the Spirit for the greater good," McCallum said. "As leaders within the Church, we seek to create conditions in groups and teams that allow us to form a deep understanding of and compassion for each other and develop the most adaptive way to respond to our needs and challenges together. This collaborative, discerning approach to leadership is the way to co-create the future we hope for, rather than the one many of us fear."
“As the world becomes more complex, we need leaders across the globe and across organizations who are ready to apply the best tools, techniques, and mindsets to solve society’s most pressing problems, successfully manage change, and bring people together to serve the common good,” said Paul Almeida, dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “As America’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning, Georgetown and its McDonough School of Business are proud to partner with the General Curia of the Society of Jesus and our Jesuit colleagues from around the world to develop and deliver this important program.”
The first iteration of the certificate began in May this year and concludes in October. Participants spent two one-week residencies in Rome gaining cutting-edge management and leadership insights from Georgetown University and Le Moyne professors, as well as Ignatian insights from Jesuit and lay partners. The program offers an executive-level curriculum with a global perspective that also has an ethical and values emphasis. It aims to offer senior-level leaders an opportunity to reflect and share on their leadership challenges and potential. The program has at its core modules on discernment, adaptive leadership, strategy, and communication, with remaining modules selected by participants based upon their individual context and challenges.
Four Georgetown professors, including Almeida, taught topics ranging from strategy and organizational behavior to creativity and innovation, building coalitions and alliances, and courageous conversations.
Participants also will identify their transformative areas of growth and will map their individual leadership journeys. They will be charged with returning to work ready to use the insights from the program to make an impact within their areas of leadership. In addition to the program developed by Georgetown and Le Moyne, Esade Business & Law School is linking with other Spanish language universities in the Jesuit tradition to create a version for Spanish-speaking participants.
“One relevant thing about this program is that it will reach participants from nationalities that rarely take part in top-ranked business school programs, and people who are leading organizations which often operate with very few resources and in extreme situations,” said Carlos Losada, associate professor of strategy and general management at Esade Business School.
John Dardis, S.J., general counsellor for discernment and apostolic planning, General Curia of the Jesuits, echoed the importance of combining lessons of the Church with those of the business world. “Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that our leaders - both within the Church and within society -- can have the confidence to combine the latest research-based leadership and management skills with the moral and ethical values found within Church teachings,” Dardis said. “The Church has so much to offer, so much wisdom that can be broadly applied when paired with modern business skills. We want to positively impact current and future generations of global leaders. We want to play our part in building a hope-filled future.”