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Seminar promotes business leadership as a vocation

By Susan Gately - 17 May, 2014

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

A seminar on the ‘Vocation of the Business Leader’, which is hosted by Focolare’s Economy of Communion group, will take place in Prosperous, Co Kildare next weekend.

According to one of the seminar’s speakers, Dr John McNerney of UCD, “Going to work is not just about getting an income, or profit, it unleashes my creative capacity, so business is a calling to fulfil myself as a person.”

Pope John Paul II in Laborem Exercens wrote that work transforms the person.

The seminar at the Focolare Centre at Curryhills House in Prosperous is due to take place next Saturday 24 May 2014 from 10.30am to 4pm and is open anyone with an interest in business.

Dr McNerney will introduce the seminar in a talk based around a document from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace of the same title.

Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, he said the day would not just be “theoretical” but would feature experiences from the workplace.

Vocation of the Business Leader

Vocation of the Business Leader

The Vatican document, Vocation of the Business Leader, talks about a calling in business to see a situation clearly, judge with the principles that foster the integral development of people, and act in a way that implements those principles in the particular circumstances.

The document is a collaborative effort of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought at the University of St Thomas, Minnesota, USA.

“It is the first time I’ve heard of a document like this, not being written from ‘on high’ but from the bottom up,” commented Dr McNerney.

He said the challenge is to be a certain type of business leader, citing as an example, Warren Buffett who runs Berkshire Hathaway.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

An interview in the May 2014 edition of the Economist, says of Buffett, “He favours firms with strong ethical cultures and management that is interested in doing a good job and not just making money.”

Accounts are important, but Buffet makes decisions about companies based on meeting the people who are involved in it.

A UK-based psychologist, Matt Driver, will address the topic of how to enhance the dignity of people in the workplace.

Driver is author of ‘Coaching Positively – Lessons for Coaches from Positive Psychology’.

The final session will focus on a joint initiative between Fr Expedit Gnoum, a priest in Burkino Faso in West Africa, and a Cavan optician, Paul Connolly which focuses on the development of a farm school to improve the education of Burkino Faso farmers.

The Economy of Communion (EOC) is an economic paradigm where the profits of the business are split, with a portion going to help economic initiatives in the most disadvantaged parts of the world. There are about 800 EOC businesses worldwide.

The emphasis in EOC-based companies is ‘communion’ – living in communion in the business.

“That is not just a sharing of money but the way decisions are made and the whole sharing within the business,” according to company director Donal Lawlor. There are EOC businesses in Dublin, Kildare, and Cavan.

The EOC seminar costs €10. For further information contact Dónal Lawlor at 087 2595132.

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