Lecture Highlights Business Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis

Lecture Highlights Business Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis

The Center for Accounting Ethics, Governance, and the Public Interest welcomed author and leadership expert Chris Lowney to the Hilton stage on Monday, February 24th as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. In his lecture, titled "Noble Vocation or New Idolatry? Business Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis," Lowney challenged the audience to ask themselves the following questions: Are you using your power to serve only yourself (new idolatry) or to serve others (noble vocation)?

According to Lowney, business can be a noble vocation if you see yourself as being challenged by a greater meaning. Are you serving the common good? He used Bill Gates as an example of noble vocation. 

Lowney also summarized the following three leadership lessons from Pope Francis:

  • "Missing the Train" - human beings are more important than profit margins; don't lose sight of the people in need
  • "Praying Alone" - On Pope Francis's first day on the job, he headed to church to pray. Remind yourself why you're grateful. Mentally relive what happened and take away a lesson.
  • "Doing Laundry" - Before he became Pope, Pope Francis's subordinates remember him doing the laundry. When you lead, you have to ask people to make sacrifices. 

Lowney chairs the board of Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation’s largest healthcare/hospital systems with some $19 billion in assets. He is a one-time Jesuit seminarian who later served as a managing director of J.P. Morgan in New York, Tokyo, Singapore and London until leaving the firm in 2001. Lowney is the author of four books, including Heroic LeadershipHeroic Living and A Vanished World. His latest work, Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, explores the Pope's leadership approach and draws crucial life lessons that were highlighted in his lecture at LMU. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University, where he also received his M.A. He is holder of five honorary Doctoral degrees.

A reception was held immediately following the lecture where audience members could purchase a copy of Lowney's book and have him autograph it. Lowney's Jesuit background, leadership expertise and ethics-driven mission made him an excellent choice to speak to LMU students and alums.