is an Ethics and Law Professor at the University of Denver, and will also be a keynote speaker at BAP Annual
in Washington D.C. this year. Corey was gracious enough to sit down with us to give us a sneak peek of what his keynote speech will be about and how we can implement it to lead more meaningful personal and professional lives.
1. How did you get involved with BAP?
Tina Cataran, a BAP Faculty Advisor from San Francisco State University, heard me speak at an event. She reached out to me and asked if I’d like to do the Keynote Presentation at BAP Annuals. In addition, since I was a business school professor who taught ethics, Tina knew that aspect would be important to touch on for the BAP members and knew it would be a good fit.
2. Can you give us a sneak peek of what your keynote speech is going to be about?
I’ll be talking about what it means to live an authentic life—understanding what makes you truly happy as opposed to more money, being better looking, or gaining more popularity. While there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, my presentation will focus on what should you orient your life toward if you’re seeking genuine happiness, and how to prioritize that in a world full of things demanding your attention.
3. Why did you choose this topic? Why is it important to you?
I teach ethics, and what that essentially means is character development. In my experience, I know people who are successful lawyers, doctors, or businessmen. They have the best jobs out of all their friends and yet they’re miserable. After encountering these situations time and time again, I wanted to dig into the idea of why people chase things that don’t make them happy—and at what cost? I wanted to figure out how people could reorient their lives to extract more meaning from an ethical, character standpoint.
4. What do you want BAP members to walk away with after your presentation?
I want them to think, “The world is lying to me.” I want to really get them to think everyday about what matters: How I treat other people, making exceptions for myself, working on my virtues, being kind, compassionate, and courageous. I want them to think more about their character and less about superficial impressions. If I can make that happen, then we’ll come to a lot of the same conclusions.
5. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned to be successful in your career?
Always put your family first. If you do that, you’ll be happy at home, which means you’ll have a better chance at being happy at work. Because that’s what your heart wants. That’s what everyone’s hearts want. People are scared to do that, so they prioritize work first and then their family suffers and they’re miserable.
It’s important to remember that priorities are not the amount of time you spend on something, but what you choose to spend time on first. For example, I do work a lot, but I never miss dinner with my kids unless I absolutely have to. The mistake people make is trying to prioritize two things at the top; but in real life, it just doesn’t work that way. Something’s going to give; something always wins. So in whatever job you take, understand what it demands of you; but also keep in mind that it is still the fourth most important thing in your life.
The more you consult your character, the easier it becomes to prioritize.
When I give this talk, it doesn’t matter if I’m talking to junior high school students or members of a federal reserve bank. The message doesn’t change because it’s fundamental, universal, and timeless.