BY MELISSA SOLANO
Successful Catholic CEO J. Christopher Donahue gave a talk in the Gentile Gallery at Franciscan University of Steubenville on January 28, presented by Students in Free Enterprise as well as the Business and Economics departments at the university.
His talk “Moral Leadership in the Marketplace” attracted a large crowd of students and faculty alike.
Donahue is currently the president and CEO of Federated Investors Inc., an investment management company based in Pittsburgh. He had a daughter who graduated from Franciscan in 2006, and comes from a devout Catholic family. In his talk, Donahue focused a majority of his points around the idea of “keeping your deals.” He said that in the business world, it is imperative for individuals to learn to do what they need to do. He also said workers must always come through on deals and promises in the interest of keeping one’s professionalism and trustworthy reputation.
“Knowledge, experience and aspiration for success are of course the obvious ones, but also someone who has a transcendent outlook on their work, no matter what their position may be,” said Donahue, giving his description of a ‘true professional.’
He also spoke highly of taking responsibility for one’s actions, and how that can be a major moral dilemma in the business world and workplace. Though it can be easy to put the blame on others, he compared the behavior to Pontius Pilate cleaning his hands of Jesus’ fate. He said a man can put the blame on others, but at the end of the day it is still his own fault. He also spoke of workplace fairness, and not reprimanding those who are not at fault, no matter what the situation.
“Punishing the innocent for the sake of political correctness is wrong,” said Donahue.
In regards to his own company, he said they are an understanding and close family. The hours are flexible to allow employees sufficient time with their families. Donahue values being a father to eight and a grandfather to 28. In regards to how he runs his business, Donahue said that he strives to respect his employees “talent and dignity of work,” while maintaining the necessary rules and regulations.
“I say you can paint your own picture, just stay on the canvas,” said Donahue.
In regards to his own experiences and faith, Donahue said that he found that family is the most important element to a person’s life, and that it is incredibly imperative that one not forget this while navigating through the business world.
“To build strong family, you need prayer,” he said.