Recently, I attended a conference on service learning and ethical leadership at which many speakers discussed the concept of servant leadership. There are diverse definitions for this form of leadership, but, at its core, servant leadership involves leading with the aim of helping one’s followers and community to flourish, to identify and meet their best possible goals. It is not a form of leadership that seeks personal recognition, but rather, often occurs behind-the-scenes. For the servant leader, the true success is the success of one’s followers.

Upon reflection, I imagine many of us have encountered servant leadership in our lives: perhaps in the form of a teacher or counselor who went above and beyond working hours to help us reach our academic and personal goals; or in the activist who stood up for what was right and served as a voice of reason in our community, even when it wasn’t popular or personally beneficial to do so; or in the friend or colleague who stood by us and others in challenging times, showing a courage and conviction that rippled out such that it influenced the actions of others.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. As director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at Cal State Bakersfield, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to come into contact with many servant, ethical leaders in our community. Since 2012, KIE has strived to recognize these individuals – both youth and adult – through the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards. These awards were founded in honor of another servant leader, Wendy Wayne, a CSUB alumna who spent much of her life in service to others both in Bakersfield and internationally.

Given annually to one adult and one youth, the Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards come with a $5,000 charitable donation (in the name of the adult awardee) and a $5,000 college scholarship (towards the college education of the youth awardee). The awards are made possible due to the generous support of Kaiser Permanente and Adventist Health Bakersfield.

As we look ahead to the 2020 Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards, my colleagues and I need your help to continue this important tradition. Namely, we ask you to reflect on your own community and ethical leaders who have made a difference, served others and deserve recognition and support. KIE is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Wendy Wayne Ethics Awards and we welcome your submissions. Nominations for individuals in the Bakersfield Metro-Region are easy to complete and can be submitted online at: https://www.cs.csubak.edu/~kie/wendy-wayne-ethics-award/ 

The deadline for 2020 nominations is Nov. 29.

Questions can be directed to me at mburroughs1@csub.edu or by calling KIE at (661) 654-6263. Awardees will be celebrated at an invitation-only ceremony at the Seven Oaks Country Club.

Michael D. Burroughs, Ph.D, is the director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics and assistant professor of philosophy at CSUB. He can be reached at mburroughs1@csub.edu.