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posted: 4/1/2014 1:01 PM

BenU lecture series highlights business innovation

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By Ryan Blackburn
Benedictine University

Former Olympic speed skater John Coyle and Ace Hardware Corporation board chairman David Ziegler will address the next Leadership Lecture Series event hosted by Benedictine University's Center for Values-Driven Leadership.

The event, sponsored in part by the Chicago chapter of Conscious Capitalism, will be from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. The theme of the roundtable is "Cultivating a Culture of Innovation."

Coyle, a 1994 Olympic speed skating silver medalist and senior vice president at the consulting firm Maddock Douglas Inc., will explore the characteristics of organizations that excel in fast-changing environments and the role culture plays in responding to the marketplace with innovative products and services.

Coyle and his colleagues have helped more than 25 percent of all Fortune 100 companies innovate for success.

Ziegler will share how innovative responses to economic challenges and competition led Ace Hardware through the recession to find a path of growth that continues to defy expectations. In 2013, Ace posted its best sales year in the firm's 90-year history.

"Leaders today face seemingly intractable challenges and know they need constant innovation to conquer new markets and shape a positive future," said Jim Ludema, director of Benedictine's Center for Values-Driven Leadership. "This event will offer powerful ideas for driving innovation and equipping companies to thrive."

Senior leaders travel to the CVDL at Benedictine University to increase their knowledge for creating sustainable organizations that transform society through values-driven leadership. The center is the first university program in the world to offer a doctorate in values-driven leadership.

The Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Business Administration (Ph.D./D.B.A.) in values-driven leadership are specifically designed for senior leaders committed to using the creativity and discipline of business to create short-term and long-term shareholder value, enrich people's lives, and produce products and services that benefit society and contribute to the sustainability of the planet.

The center's Leadership Lectures are an ongoing series designed to inform and inspire senior executives committed to leading at the intersection of ethics, sustainability and business results.

"Finding the capacity to thrive is grounded in a company's higher purpose," said Thea Polancic, founder and executive director of the Conscious Capitalism chapter of Chicago.

"We know purpose, values and resilience shape a company's ability to innovate and unlock potential. Together, we will explore how these connections are made."

Additional information and registration is available at For details, email Amber Johnson at