North Central College - Naperville, IL

Leader put ethics, values to work in real world

Lori Nita 02 Novak sees the principles she studied in the Leadership, Ethics and Values program applied in her line of work on a daily basis. As assistant vice president for foreign exchange at Newedge USA in Chicago, she oversees sales transactions for the firm, which offers brokerage services to institutional investors and fund managers.

With Ponzi schemes and other unethical behavior contributing to the worldwide financial crisis, Novak understands the value of conducting business with integrity.

The LEV program enhanced her ability to evaluate others as well as improve her own decision-making skills, she says. “We have the potential to deal with people who are deceptive but very good at pretending they aren’t,” she says. “I can evaluate whether people have bad intentions, or if they’re trading in a way that’s not acceptable in the marketplace.”

Novak majored in psychology and minored in professional conflict resolution. Participating in the LEV program helped prepare her for her responsibilities as a manager, she says. “You have to have quick decision-making skills, but at the same time your decisions must be well thought-out because in this business, mistakes cost a lot of money.”

Dean Frieders 01 took several courses in LEV while majoring in political science and participating in the American Mock Trial Association and Model UN. “While many North Central programs improve your critical-thinking skills, the LEV program expands the scope of your concerns, and helps you to consider all aspects of a decision, including the ethical implications,” Frieders says.

Frieders is a partner with the legal firm Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi & Andersson, P.C., based in Aurora, IL. He concentrates on local government, municipal law and other issues. His LEV studies helped shape his manner of doing business, Frieders says. “LEV really helps participants evaluate decisions from a bigger-picture perspective,” he adds.

As director of constituent services for U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), TJ Birkel 04 sees how ethics and values play out in government and politics. A history and political science major, he was involved in student government. He remembers the LEV program as being a beneficial way of teaching young adults about responsible conduct and behavior. “When you’re away from your parents for the first time, you’re making decisions you previously haven’t had to make,” he says.

Birkel’s responsibilities include providing services to and handling correspondence with Johanns’ Nebraska constituents. “You encounter situations where you’re put to the test. Having had that background at North Central where I learned about decision-making was incredibly helpful.”  

“LEV really helps participants evaluate decisions from a bigger-picture perspective, so that informed and sustainable choices may be made.” - TJ Birkel ’04

North Central NOW Spring 2009