Journalist to speak on ethical challenges

The Penn State scandal and challenges of ethical behavior in the workplace will be the topic of Francine McKenna’s two-pronged lecture today.

The School of Business asked McKenna, a journalist and forensic auditor, to be this year’s speaker for its Bertrand P. Holley Ethics Awareness Speaker Series.

“Who will slay the Dragon? Penn State and College Football: How an ‘ethical’ institution dropped its sword and shield” will take place at 3:30 p.m. and “Stay On Your Feet: how ‘new hires’ can successfully negotiate the slippery slopes of the workplace” will take place at 7 p.m. 

Both events will be in the Roberson Auditorium in Lumpkin Hall. 

James Sysko, a business professor, said the first lecture will delve into the unethical behavior of those at Penn State. 

“The students can better appreciate how an organization doesn’t effectively respond to oppressing needs because they’re more concerned about money and image,” Sysko said.

Sysko said the presentation will help students determine an unethical situation while also establishing steps and having dedication required to correct it.  

In her second lecture, she will talk about what happens to students after college, should they enter an unethical workplace. 

Sysko said although McKenna is best known for her career as a professional writer, the journalist and forensic auditor is familiar with a variety of workplaces. 

Her work can be seen in such publications as: the Financial Times, American Banker, and the Boston Review. 

She has also worked for over 25 years in consulting and professional services. 

“She’s very qualified to address the issues of ethics. Here’s someone who has been in the trenches as an accountant and who has done things by the book successfully,” Sysko said. 

Sysko said McKenna came recommended to the school by last year’s speaker Justin Paperny,. 

“Justin Paperny described her as a firecracker,” Sysko said. “I’m expecting to see some lively discussion.” 

McKenna also incorporates anecdotes into her lectures to relate with her audience and convey the importance and difficulty of ethical behavior, Sysko said.

 “I would encourage everyone to attend, because ethics is not relative,” Sysko said. “There really are right and wrong answers.” 


Katie Smith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].