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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Meet Board Member Peggy Bradshaw

Margaret “Peggy” Bradshaw has been a perennial feature at Santa Clara University for five decades since her graduation from SCU in 1972. An active alum, Bradshaw has also served as the vice-chair of the SCU Board of Trustees, as chair of the Board of Regents, and as chair of the recent presidential inauguration committee for Dr. Julie Sullivan. Through her constant volunteer work on campus, Bradshaw has become well-acquainted with the inner workings of SCU and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Bradshaw’s first exposure to the Ethics Center, however, came during a series of guest speaker breakfasts hosted over 35 years ago. This particular event included a panel discussion on ethics and its role in commerce and finance, which boasted former SCU President Rev. Paul Locatelli S.J. (a close friend of Bradshaw’s), Mike Markkula, and former Ethics Center Director Thomas Shanks, as panelists. The panel was not only a highlight for Bradshaw, it also became one of the most well-attended in the history of the series, drawing twice as many attendees as any other event. Ethics was a huge draw for a reason, says Bradshaw. “Many managers in [Silicon] valley at the time were young, and they needed guidance.” The emphasis that the speakers placed on prioritizing ethics when it comes to career decisions was motivating for Bradshaw and sparked her lifelong interest in ethics. 

“People in business don’t always put ethics at the top of the list of things that make them successful, but they should,” says Bradhsaw. In a banking relationship, she explains, you have to be on the same wavelength as your client, willing to fight for them, and willing to tell them know when things aren’t going well. The decision of when to talk about the positives and negatives of someone’s money is one area where ethics typically plays a large role in a banking relationship. One of the hardest things in recent years for Bradshaw was the advent of the internet and the resulting lack of face-to-face interaction. “We don’t do enough by talking in person,” Bradshaw laments. Communication and human interaction are large parts of what has defined Bradshaw’s career and life, and ethics, she says, plays a role in every interaction we have.

“Most SCU students want to do something to change the world in a positive way, and the Ethics Center is a pathway to make those kinds of changes happen.” - Peggy Bradshaw

When a seat on the Ethics Center Advisory Board was vacated in 2021, Bradshaw saw this as an opportunity to contribute to the campus community in a different way. By working on the Ethics Center Advisory Board, Bradshaw has been able to “look at the university through the eyes of the Ethics Center instead of at the Ethics Center through the eyes of the university.” 

Through her involvement in the campus community, Bradshaw has spent much time with other alumni and the Alumni Relations Office. As she puts it, the Alumni Office “has an obligation to understand the university as a whole,” which includes the Ethics Center. Bradshaw hopes her involvement with both organizations will provide new and unique opportunities to foster increased awareness, understanding, and a sense of community between the Ethics Center and campus. Bradshaw wants to focus on real, personal connections and create opportunities for students and alumni. “Most SCU students want to do something to change the world in a positive way,” says Bradshaw. “The Ethics Center is a pathway to make those kinds of changes happen.”   

Nov 18, 2022

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