Speakers at Northwestern State University’s 52nd annual J. Walter Porter Forum encouraged students to lead the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace. Themed “Leadership and Empowerment: Time’s Up,” this year’s forum featured Julie Couret and Keith Poirrier who discussed how to identify and speak up about inappropriate behaviors in the workplace and promote a culture of teamwork and accountability.
Couret discussed her personal experiences with sexual harassment at work and said you don’t have to be the one experiencing it to speak up.
“Your gut instinct is the guidepost to what is a hostile work environment,” Couret said. “Determine what a reasonable person would find acceptable in the workplace. Act appropriately for the environment.”
Couret is founder and Chief Executive Coach of her management consulting firm, 7602 Business Performance. She has been training leaders and developing team communication and problem-solving skills for more than 15 years. Earlier in the week, she led a leadership advantage seminar titled “The Leadership Edge Advantage: at NSU that addressed approaches to personnel management situations.
Poirrier said business and personal don’t mix and advocates promoting a team culture at work in which everyone participates and everyone is held accountable.
“Be proactive to circumvent the negatives that can happen in an office,” he said. “The team culture is established by the leader down and everyone who has a stake in building the culture. When you see something that is wrong, you stop it. It’s being part of the team.”
Poirrier founded Poirrier Group, LLC, in 2015, a specialty, high risk, commercial insurance agency, where he serves as president and CEO. At Poirrier Group, “Team Poirrier” focuses on writing complex commercial accounts and insuring the assets and liabilities of high net worth individuals.
The J. Walter Porter Forum is sponsored annually through NSU’s School of Business. The forum is made possible by the endowment established by the family and friends of the late J. Walter Porter in recognition of his interest in improving the image of business as a career field for college students and of his concern for moral and ethical standards as expressed in his philosophy of business. The forum is an effort to translate the textbook into practice by bringing capable, successful business executives to the campus to speak on selected topics in their area of expertise.