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The Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership leverages the intellectual capital of Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School to design courses and programs that teach the leadership skills and strategies necessary to create an optimal organizational culture. The Initiative was established through a generous gift from Reuben Mark, former chairman and chief executive officer at the Colgate-Palmolive Company.
Centralized within The Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics at the Business School, the Initiative integrates organizational culture into the School’s leadership development curriculum, programming, and research. Complementing this effort, the Law School is building new curriculum, including the creation of a Leader-in-Residence program and the establishment of the In-House Counsel Lab, which focuses on research and experiential learning opportunities.
Jointly, the Business and Law Schools work on cross-listed curriculum and unique programming that bring together students, alumni, and the greater Columbia community focused on highlighting real-world examples of exemplary leadership and the principles of organizational culture.
The Mark Initiative is committed to bringing together business and law students, alumni, and the greater Columbia University community for novel programs, such as:
The Reuben Mark Organizational Leadership Series: The series hosts preeminent business and legal executives from various industries to highlight their effective leadership styles in congruence with their companies’ strong organizational cultures.
General Counsel and CEO Conversation Series: A conversation series that highlights the strategic relationship between in-house lawyers and their business partners, and the competitive advantage that flows from those strong relationships. This series explores how this partnership can be leveraged to build companies with outstanding organizational culture.
Reuben Mark Roundtable Working Group: An invitation-only roundtable working group of dedicated and passionate practitioner leaders and academics who discuss timely and relevant research, share best practices, and engage outside perspectives relevant to the work of the Initiative. The composition of the Roundtable includes professionals and academics from various points in their careers and from a range of industries and backgrounds, in order to ensure that a variety of perspectives are represented. Particular attention paid to generational diversity, as current challenges surrounding corporate culture begin with differing generational work/life expectations, which are especially germane to the Initiative and its goals around teaching great organizational culture.
As a part of the Mark Initiative, Columbia Law School has established a Leader-in-Residence program, which brings an experienced in-house lawyer or c-suite executive to the Law School to teach a seminar, and also to provide career advice to students and participate in the Mark Initiative's activities and the activities of the broader Columbia University community. The goal of the program is to bring leaders to campus who have first-hand experience with the challenges of building organizational policies and practices premised on ethical values and optimal work environments.
Bruce Sewell, former Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Apple, Inc., served as the inaugural Leader-in-Residence in the Spring of 2019. Mr. Sewell taught a course titled "Leadership and Organizational Character: The Role of Inside Counsel."
Hilary Krane, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of Nike, Inc. followed Mr. Sewell, serving as the Leader-in-Residence in the Fall of 2019 and teaching a course titled "Becoming a Trusted Advisor: The Role of the General Counsel in the Modern Multi-National Corporation."
Columbia Business School
The Reuben Mark Co-Curricular Series: For Fall 2019, the Business School will pilot the Reuben Mark Co-Curricular Series featuring a set of workshops offered throughout the year which builds up our students' leadership skillset by teaching them the particular strategies or ‘how-tos’ of leadership on a variety of topics. This series will allow for more opportunities for our students to put theory from the classroom into practice.
Fall 2019 Workshops:
- Business Improv: Talking in Teams
- Managing Difficult Conversations
- From Dreaded Chore To Secret Weapon: Transform Your Management Practice Through Reflective Feedback
- Active Listening Workshop: The Superpower of Leadership
Columbia Law School
The Mark Initiative has led to the development of new curriculum focused on the goal of teaching law students how to be more effective leaders and business partners, including through experiential learning opportunities. Examples of those courses are listed below.
- In-House Counsel Externship and Seminar
- Professional Responsibility Issues in the Representation of Business Organizations
- Advising Complex Corporations: An Inside Perspective
- Organizational Misconduct
- Leadership and Organizational Character: The Role of Inside Counsel
- Becoming a Trusted Advisor: The Role of the General Counsel in the Modern Multi-National Corporation
- Ethics on the Edge: Business, Non-Profit and Government
The Reuben Mark Initiative for Organizational Character and Leadership is pleased to award following the faculty members and doctoral students with research grants for projects pertaining to the topics of values-based leadership, intergenerational leadership, the future of work, and workplace culture. In line with the mission of the Initiative, the research will further develop new tools and frameworks for thinking about leadership and organizational culture in order to better prepare future leaders in business at Columbia. The Initiative will present the research findings at colloquiums to be hosted during the next academic year.
Faculty Grant Recipients:
Wei Jiang, Arthur F. Burns Professor of Free and Competitive Enterprise, Finance Department
Research Project: “Women in the Boardroom: Why does Change come at a Glacial Pace?”
Christain Moser, Assistant Professor of Business, Economics Department
Research Project: “The Value of Leadership and Workplace Attributes in the Labor Marker”
Doctoral Grant Recipients:
Zaijia Liu, Management Division
Research Project: “Reactions to Observed Norm Violations: Differences between Moral and Conventional Domains and the Differential Role of Internalization”