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The Lessons of Enron: The Importance of Ethical Corporate Leadership

Nov 16, 2021 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

Guest Speaker Sherron Watkins:

Known internationally as the Enron whistleblower, Sherron speaks around the globe to a
broad range of audiences about ethics and leadership, and the lessons to be learned from the collapse of Enron, where she served in a variety of executive positions for 8 over years. Sherron was employed for over two decades as an executive for three large global companies, the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, Metallgessellschaft AG, the German metals giant, and Enron Corp. All were multi-billion dollar companies brought down by scandal. Sherron has seen firsthand the cost of an erosion in values. Her journey through the Enron crisis has inspired many, and has crystallized her focus to share and to improve the lot of whistleblowers and would-be whistleblowers.

Sherron Watkins is the former Vice President of Enron Corporation who alerted then
chairman Ken Lay in August 2001 to accounting irregularities within the company, warning him that Enron “might implode in a wave of accounting scandals.” She has testified before
Congressional Committees investigating Enron’s demise from both the House and the Senate. Sherron received national acclaim for her courageous actions and TIME magazine named Sherron along with two others, Coleen Rowley of the FBI and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom, as their 2002 Persons of the Year, calling it “The Year of the Whistleblower.”
In recognition of her outstanding demonstration of ethics in the work place, Ms. Watkins
has received numerous honors, including the Court TV Scales of Justice Award and its Everyday Hero’s Award, the Women Mean Business Award from the Business and Professional Women/USA Organization, and the 2003 Woman of the Year Award by Houston Baptist University. Glamour Magazine named her one of its 2002 Women of the Year, and Barbara Walters included her as one of the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2002. In 2003, the National Academy of Management presented Ms. Watkins with their Distinguished Executive Award and the Women’s Economic Round Table honored her with the Rolfe Award for Educating the Public about Business and Finance.

Watkins now lectures on leadership and ethics as the Executive-in-Residence at the
McCoy College of Business at Texas State University and as Professor of the Practice at KenanFlagler at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Watkins is co-author of Power Failure, the Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron (Doubleday, 2003).

Ms. Watkins is a Certified Public Accountant. She holds a Masters in Professional
Accounting as well as a B.B.A. in accounting and business honors from the University of Texas at Austin.

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