Ethical Leadership: Lessons from Dr. Laura Forese '83

March 16, 2022

This semester, in addition to his teaching his undergraduate class, affectionately called by students "Succeeding without Selling Your Soul," David has been teaching a new graduate course in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences with Michael Thate on Responsible Conduct in Research and Engineering Ethics (EGR501A). It is a required course for all engineering students in doctoral and post-doctoral programs. David and Michael have designed the course to consist of lectures from prominent guests who share real-world ethical dilemmas and lessons they have learned during their careers, and team presentations by the engineering students to help them consider the ethical challenges they may face in their own specific fields.

Our recent guest was Dr. Laura Forese, Executive VP and COO at New York-Presbyterian. Dr. Forese graduated from Princeton University (’83) in Civil Engineering and Operations Research.   

A challenge many engineering students will face and aren’t prepared for is the moment in their careers when they are promoted out of the lab and into management positions in firms and corporations. Dr Forese spoke to these challenges with great candor and wisdom. Dr. Forese stated that engineering is about solving problems; and such skills can be creatively deployed as leaders in organizational situations that touch on human factors as well.

Dr. Forese spent a great deal of time discussing leadership. In particular, she shared from her experience of leading through the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders are depended on for direction when turn arounds are tight and information is incomplete. Dr. Forese also spoke to the importance of having candid input from her team on big decisions, and the challenging issue of how to respond to talented individuals who have ethical or behavioral lapses of one sort or another.