Exploring Ethics in Business with Tyler Shultz at the Mitchell Lecture Series
The Ross School of Business welcomed Tyler Shultz, a Theranos whistleblower and entrepreneur, as the speaker for the second annual Mitchell Lecture Series.
Approximately 400 people attended this year’s Mitchell Lecture, which was presented by the Mitchell Program for Business ethics and Communications at Michigan Ross. The lecture series highlights thought leaders who are trailblazers in media and business, and who exemplify the importance of ethics.
In a conversation with Sharon Matusik, Edward J. Frey Dean of Business, Shultz shared his experience as a 20-year-old working for Theranos, the fraudulent blood-testing practices he witnessed first-hand, and the steps he took to expose the company.
Shultz also described what it was like to work with Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of Theranos who was recently sentenced to 11 years in prison. A major takeaway from his talk was related to the culture of fear that Holmes had created, which prevented many people from coming forward with the truth. As a result, Shultz emphasized how fostering a positive culture is crucial when it comes to creating ethical organizations.
“I think you need to build a culture where people are encouraged to talk to each other, where it's okay to disagree with each other, it's okay to disagree with the CEO, and you should have ways of discussing disagreements,” said Shultz.
Additionally, Shultz noted how ethical dilemmas can occur at any point during a professional career, and he encouraged the audience to speak up when they witness wrongful practices, even at the smallest scale.
Donor-funded scholarships at Michigan Ross
Prior to the Mitchell Lecture, approximately 200 donors, scholars, and staff gathered in Michigan Ross’ Davidson Winter Garden for the annual Donors and Scholars Celebration, recognizing the impact that donor-funded scholarships have on students. In addition, the Mitchell Lecture began with remarks from an alum scholarship donor and a first-year MBA scholarship recipient. Both discussed the importance of scholarships and the impact they have on the student experience.
The Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts has endowed $5 million to the University of Michigan to establish the Mitchell Program and honor the legacy of John H. Mitchell, Columbia Pictures Television founder, and his wife, Patricia Mitchell. Besides sponsoring the Mitchell Lecture Series, the Mitchell Program supports students in Michigan Ross and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts through the John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell Internship and Scholarship Funds. These funds are used to sponsor students in the entertainment industry and students who are especially dedicated to ethical business practices.