2023 Nell and John Wooden Ethics in Leadership Award

Over 185 community leaders gathered at The Modern this fall to celebrate the presentation of the annual Nell and John Wooden Ethics in Leadership Award. Hosted by the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership, the 2023 award event honored Justin Rudd, Chief Inspiration Officer of the Community Action Team (CAT). The Ukleja Center’s annual $10,000 award is given to a person or organization whose contribution to a community – local, national, or global – is built on ethical behavior and visionary leadership. It is designed to promote ethics in leadership and to honor the Woodens, whose lives epitomized the Ukleja Center’s mission, vision, and values.
Thanks to his hands-on leadership style, Justin Rudd is seen and felt everywhere in Long Beach – from CAT’s monthly beach clean-ups to its popular Touch-a-Truck and Turkey Trot events to the establishment of Rosie’s Dog Beach, and so much more.

Justin’s love of bringing people together through kindness and inclusivity provides opportunities for people of all ages to participate in making Long Beach a better place in which to live, work and play, while also fostering a lifelong commitment to voluntarism.

The evening’s festivities began with a reception overlooking the private jet runway at Long Beach Airport. Many corporate sponsors hosted a student and/or CSULB faculty member with their other guests, making for stimulating table conversations. The dinner program began with Janey Roeder, director, and Karyn Scissum Gunn, CSULB provost, warmly welcoming everyone on behalf of the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership and the University. They shared the center’s vision of having an ethics module in every CSULB course through its Ethics Across the Curriculum  program, which awards $3,000 stipends to faculty who integrate ethics modules into their curriculum. Since 2005, the Ukleja Center has awarded over $450,000 to over 175 faculty.

Board chair Mark Guillen greeted attendees and encouraged them to join him in embracing the center’s mission of equipping people with the transformational power of ethical leadership. Recreation and Leisure Studies professor Katie Dudley shared a faculty member’s perspective on teaching ethics and the difference it is making in her students’ lives. Nia Salapare, a program graduate, shared the impact of the center’s Student Leadership Institute and how it helped shape her core values and build a strong foundation for ethical decision-making. President Conoley championed the center’s vision before introducing Justin Rudd, who shared his journey of discovering the joy of giving through servant leadership.

The inspirational evening culminated with the presentation of the Nell and John Wooden Ethics in Leadership Award to Justin Rudd by Mark Guillen and Greg Wooden, Nell and John’s grandson. Greg remarked that Justin’s love of being of service to others reminded him of his grandparents, who would have been so pleased to see Justin receiving this award.

The evening concluded with Janey Roeder expressing her gratitude to everyone for their support of the event, which raised over $64,000 for Ethics Across the Curriculum as well as many new friends of the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership.