Former compliance officer talks ethics with upper school students
Core values taught in high school can influence ethical behavior down the line, according to the latest speaker in RE’s Holzman Center of Applied Ethics Speaker Series. Josephine Linden, the former chief compliance officer at Goldman Sachs who is now chair of the board of Lands’ End, told upper school students on Feb. 6 that what she learned during her school days at the Kambala school for girls in New South Wales, Australia, guides her even now.
“You talk about ‘honor and excellence’ as being one of your core values,” said Linden, a Sydney native. “I try to live my life by my school motto … My school motto [at the Kambala school for girls in New South Wales, Australia] was esto sol testis, which is Latin for “let the sun be your witness.” And I try to live my life by that. Think about it: If somebody knows what you’re doing, you will do it correctly and honestly.”
Linden, Founder and CEO of Linden Global Strategies LLC, shared stories regarding ethical situations she faced throughout her life and career. Her years in compliance showed the benefit of having strong rules and regulations to help make ethical dilemmas and moral boundaries more clear. "Many people in this room may have thought at some point in time about cheating,” she said. “There does come a point in time when people are tempted ... There have been countless examples of situations back throughout history. And what you have to do is think about what is right, and what is wrong.”
Holzman Center of Applied Ethics Director John A. King Jr. interviewed Linden on the stage of the Lewis Family Auditorium before inviting students to ask questions. Linden is the fifth Holzman speaker this year, following judge Rudy Ruiz '98, U.S. attorney Markenzy Lapointe, and philanthropists Mike Fernandez and Armando Codina. Two days after her talk, Dr. Kenneth M. Zide, a cardiac electrophysiologist, continued his lunchtime roundtables on medical ethics at RE.
Steve Holzman, whose seed donation founded the Holzman Center of Applied Ethics at RE in 2021, was in attendance with his wife, Karen Holzman.
Lindman, who retired from Goldman Sachs in 2009, sponsors a fellowship for students at her former high school. She also serves on private and non-profit boards besides Lands’ End; is Ambassador Emeritus of the Advance Australia Global Advisory Board; and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned her MBA from the University of Chicago and BA from the University of Sydney. She served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s business school.
"We'd like to believe that everybody was honest every day," she said. "We'd also like to believe that our clients do things that are totally honorable. Unfortunately, every so often, somebody doesn't. If you put rules and regulations are in place that make it clear where the boundary lines are, it makes it much easier to know what is right and what is wrong.”
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.