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Navigating Information Is Every Business Leader’s Challenge and Responsibility

Energeia members listen to one of the presentations during the media literacy workshop at the AW offices.

Austin Williams has always been about incorporating values into our work. We are committed to supporting the local communities where we work and live.

One of the many local groups AW plays a role in is the Energeia Partnership at Molloy University, which brings together a diverse group of ethical leaders from Long Island’s public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to help address this region’s most complex issues: education, institutional racism, poverty and the working poor, land use, energy, transportation, healthcare and media/social networking.

“We have always believed that we have a responsibility to both be leaders in our local communities and to take an active role in solving problems that affect us all,” said Rick Chiorando, CEO of Austin Williams and graduate of the Energeia class of 2018. “It takes a commitment from people who have the connections and resources to make decisions that can benefit everyone and make our communities better places to work and live.”

AW recently hosted a workshop on media literacy and consumption for the Energeia group. Speakers included Joye Brown, columnist at Newsday; Howard Schneider, executive director at the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University; and Elizabeth Hashagen, morning anchor at News12 Long Island.

“Business Leaders need to know how to discern what real news is,” said Paul Tonna, director of the Energeia Partnership. “With so much misinformation out there, leaders are challenged to find reliable information that can help them make the best choices to lead their organizations and serve their constituencies.”

The group also spoke about telling the difference between advertising and news, and how one can easily masquerade as the other.

“When it comes to digital advertising, many consumers feel like big tech is more like Big Brother,” said Andrew Catalano, chief innovation officer for Austin Williams, who also spoke at the summit. “The truth is that these businesses, along with most web publishers, rely on advertising to operate. The advertising community argues that as long as you are seeing ads anyway, wouldn’t you rather those ads be personalized to your preferences? When it comes to your personal data, of course there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, but right now that line is a little blurry for most tech companies.”

The Energeia Partnership is committed to educating leaders for the benefit of all people who live and work on Long Island. Each year, the program assembles a “class” of no more than 50 ethical, proven leaders that participates in a dynamic, two-year academy featuring a series of one-day programs, each focusing on a particular issue.

Take a look at more photos from the day on our Instagram.


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