Beverly Kracher, PhD, inducted into Omaha Business Hall of Fame
We are following St. Ignatius’ lead when we tell our students, as he charged his friend and fellow missionary, Xavier, to “Go set the world on fire.” Indeed, The Flame sculpture outside the Harper Center reminds students, and every other passerby, of this daily.
But students aren’t the only ones responsible for setting the world on fire. Faculty also pick up this banner, influencing their students and sometimes the world beyond the bricked paths and campus buildings we call Creighton.
Bev Kracher, PhD, Robert B. Daugherty Endowed Chair in Business Ethics & Society at the Heider College of Business, has been setting fires throughout her career, sparking change in the process.
Most notably, perhaps, is the change in the narrative of what constitutes good business practice. “Good” has often been synonymous with “profitable,” which business ought to be. An aspiring restaurateur, for instance, doesn’t set the tables and hope nobody shows up. No, she wants to share her culinary creations with a packed house of hungry diners.
But for Kracher, “good” also means “ethical,” and “ethical” can – and should – be profitable. And she has championed this broadened understanding of good business and ethical business as being two sides of the same (gold) coin through Omaha’s Business Ethics Alliance (the Alliance), an organization she founded 15 years ago and whose purpose is to promote in Greater Omaha an environment in which the discussion and practice of business ethics is both encouraged and expected.
For her commitment to the business profession and Omaha community through her work with the Alliance, the Greater Omaha Chamber inducted Kracher into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame at an August 23rd gala at the Holland Performing Arts Center.
Says Kracher at the recent Omaha Business Hall of Fame gala: “The vision of the Alliance is for Greater Omaha to be a beacon of business ethics excellence across the nation and the world. It won’t be easy. The times have become more complex. But you must ensure that your children, your children’s children, and 7th generation children are touched by The Omaha Way – which is to make a ton of money and develop our community with integrity, honor and fair deals.”
Kracher has spent her career bringing positive, practical ethics education to business, tapping the moral principles of community leaders and organizing programs that bolster economic growth through profitable, ethical business practice and thus setting the tone for upcoming business leaders. She has brought business ethics to life through products, workshops and national keynotes and has worked internationally in such countries as China, England, Uganda and Singapore.
The Alliance's community-based platform for business ethics education is unique. It is a partnership between the business community, the Better Business Bureau, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and Creighton University. Under Kracher’s leadership, the Alliance developed into the most comprehensive and CEO-engaged business ethics networking group in the nation. Through this tone-at-the-top, Omaha sends the message that our business community values honor, integrity and fair deals in tandem with managing profitable businesses that grow the economy.
Timothy J. Burke, retired president and CEO of Omaha Public Power District and Alliance trustee, says that the Alliance had a formative effect on how OPPD leadership evaluated its business practices, policies and operational controls.
“Bev and her team led our leadership team through a deep dive of ethic leadership training, which significantly impacted our internal and external bias identification” and ultimately resulted in important changes within the corporation.
A first-generation college student, Kracher graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bev, earning her PhD in philosophy before joining the Heider College of Business faculty in 2008.
“To end up at Creighton was a real coup. My parents were very proud,” Kracher says.
A professor for more than 30 years, Kracher has impacted thousands of students with her positive and practical business ethics message. They leave her class knowing that ethics is front of mind for savvy business leaders.
Creighton graduate and senior manager of ESG strategy at Indeed.com Alexis Taylor, BSBA’14, says that ethics “includes social justice and fairness and raising your voice when you see something adversely impacting others,” and Kracher emphasized this way of thinking.
“The Heider College of Business forms future leaders of industry who value integrity before profits and who seek to impact positively the business profession to make the world a better place,” says Anthony Hendrickson, PhD, dean of Creighton University’s Heider College of Business. “Dr. Bev Kracher is a classic example of how we live the values we espouse. She has demonstrated here in Omaha and across the globe that ethics, like shareholder profits, should guide business practice. We are exceedingly proud of her work in the classroom and community and believe the Chamber’s recognition is well-deserved.”