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Coca-Cola executive speaks on ethics in business

Nov. 16, 2010

By Meghan Hendrickson
Staff Writer

Thursday night the Hankamer School of Business hosted "Doing Business in His Kingdom," a lecture focusing on bringing meaning to one's work as a part of the Dale P. Jones Business Ethics Forum.

The ethics forum was held from Nov. 3-12 this year under the theme "Marketing: Reputations, Rights, Responsibilities." The forum was open to all Baylor business undergraduate and graduate students and included six different seminars.

Thursday's seminar featured Bonnie Wurzbacher, senior vice president of global customer leadership at the Coca-Cola Co.

"Business, just like every other field, is filled with flawed and sinful people who do not always live up to the ethical principles," Wurzbacher said. "We need more people in business who understand how and desire to glorify God in both the product and the process of their work."

Wurzbacher grew up in a family of missionaries and ministers and thought that in order to serve God, she needed to go into the ministry.

In time, however, she believed God was calling her to serve in business.

Cabot, Ark., junior Marley Huckabee attended the event for a class but found herself taking notes throughout the presentation.

"I loved the fact that she decided to go a different route when she graduated college and entered the business world, even though her family was involved in the ministry," Huckabee said.

"This shows me that I can integrate my faith in my business career one day and I don't have to go into vocational ministry to still glorify God."

Dallas junior Catherine Peterman attended the lecture and hopes to someday be a lawyer and a mother.

"I was inspired by her humility in her professional achievements and how she accredits her success to following God's plan for her life," Peterman said.

Wurzbacher said that about 12 years ago she intentionally set out to try to understand how God uses business in the world for good and for God.

She made it clear the Coca-Cola Co. is not a Christian company, but that it is important people find a greater meaning in their work each day.

"As my pastor, Dr. Frank Harrington says, 'We don't get meaning from our work, we bring meaning to our work," Wurzbacher said.

Wurzbacher pointed out the importance of not only using business to create wealth responsibly, but to use wealth responsibly.

She said that not-for-profit organizations and charities are in desperate need of business professionals so they may be good stewards of wealth and not misuse and mismanage resources.

Wurzbacher shared advice about marriage as well.

Wurzbacher wrapped up her presentation with five lessons she hoped students would take away.

Those lessons were to identify a calling, trust God to lead you down the right path, choose your spouse wisely, recognize the important role God plays in life and demonstrate God's love outside of the church.