President's Messages

As the 2014 Winter Olympics come to an end this Sunday, February 23, we are left with a profound example of what makes Northwood University unique. Like the Olympics, Northwood University’s mission is to build a better world around a unique philosophy which inspires and directs what we do in light of who we are.

As important as our work in the classroom is, Northwood University’s impact in the world today is due in large part to what takes place outside the typical learning environment. In fact, one of the “secrets” to our success is the emphasis we place on the intersection between our University and the communities we serve.

Why the change? As Association President and CEO Kathleen Schmatz explained, “Because it more accurately reflects the industry we represent.” Whether member companies manufacture, supply, distribute, or sell auto parts or provide auto service and repair they “play a key role in the care of people’s automobiles.”

From our founding in 1959 through today, Northwood University has taught and promoted the principles of "conscious capitalism" as outlined by our current Omniquest authors. Since 1981, we've gone a step further by annually recognizing those business leaders who epitomize these same principles with our Outstanding Business Leader (OBL) Awards.

According to John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, the authors of this semester's Omniquest selection, Conscious Capitalism, the difference between an unconscious and conscious business is the difference between work which is "an ordeal to be endured" and "a great source of achievement and authentic fulfillment." As we move forward in the new year, we should look for ways we consciously and creatively serve all Northwood's stakeholders.

As highlighted in last week's message, creativity takes courage, and there few better examples of this in our age than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But as his life also demonstrates, creativity requires action and hard work.

One of the great paradoxes in business and life involves creativity. Although we respect creativity—including those who are most successful at being creative--we tend to sidestep creativity in general because it means change. And change isn't always easy.