Louis O’Reilly, founder and president of 306 Records, said it’s people that contravene faith, not businesses. Photo courtesy of Louis O’Reilly

Combining faith and business ethics

By  Eunice Hii, Youth Speak News
  • December 23, 2011

Christina Leurer has a question that speaks to Catholic business students across the country.

The fourth-year commerce student at the University of British Columbia wonders if faith and business can co-exist and if business can put faith before profit.

“There are a lot of people focused on the bottom line,” said Leurer. “I’m worried I’d have to make a decision I’m opposed to. I certainly believe the business world does compromise faith.”

It’s a question many may ask, particularly following the 2008 meltdown and the continuing economic turmoil faced by the European Union.

But there are many who believe faith has a place in business.

James Peloso is president of Golden Triangle Construction, a construction management company in Calgary. He disagrees with the premise that business compromises faith.

“That would be like saying driving on a highway constitutes speeding tickets,” he said. “It’s how you conduct your business. What are your intentions?”

Peloso said keeping your faith intact doesn’t have to be done through grandiose acts.

“It can be as little as cleaning up after a board meeting so the receptionist in the morning doesn’t have to do that,” he said.

Business is an opportunity to serve and take care of all stakeholders, said Peloso.

“It is an opportunity to witness without saying any words. My faith informs all that I do.”

Christ came for sinners and “I’m one of them,” he said.

“I’m a Christian under construction in a construction company. Yes, it’s easier to not have a faith and it’s easier to leave faith out of business. But if someone’s excited about something, they share it wherever they are. If you’re excited about Christ, then why not share that?”

The world needs courageous business leaders — people who are willing to lead by example, he said.

Louis O’Reilly is founder and president of 306 Records. A former Catholic Christian Outreach missionary from Saskatchewan, O’Reilly runs his record label in Nashville.

“It’s people that contravene faith, not businesses,” said O’Reilly.

He stresses the importance of young people valuing their honesty and integrity.

“Give your employer what they ask of you, not cheating them in time, creativity or effort,” said O’Reilly. “We are called to serve others. It’s not a master-subordinate relationship. It’s about finding value.

“I’ve seen many people climb the corporate ladder and it’s easy to do without compromising their faith. If you have talent and integrity, isn’t that what every boss wants? I will hire people with great work ethics and integrity over people with letters after their name.”

After hearing the advice of Peloso and O’Reilly, business student Leurer is encouraged.

“It showed me that it is possible to bring faith to work,” she said. “It’s really up to future leaders to continue to witness.”

(Hii, 21, is a human resources and international relations studies student at the University of British Columbia.)


YOUCAT and ethics

YOUCAT: The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church has lots to say about business ethics, referencing the seventh commandment: “Thou shall not steal.”

It says the Seventh Commandment pertains to the following:
• setting employees to work in inhumane conditions
• not abiding by contracts into which one has entered
• wasting profits without any consideration for social obligations
• artificially driving prices up or down
• endangering the jobs of colleagues for whom one is responsible
• bribery and corruption
• misleading depending co-workers into illegal actions
• doing shoddy work or demanding inappropriate remuneration
• casting or negligently managing public property
• counterfeiting or falsifying accounting records
• tax evasion

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