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A Fresh Look at Integrity

By: Joe Combs

Two friends enjoying coffee together in a coffee shop viewed through glass with reflections as they sit at a table chatting and laughing

Some time ago, my colleague Joe James wrote about the EPIC principles that drive our business – Excellence, Participation, Integrity, and Collaboration. While each of these principles is important, I’d like to take a minute to do a deeper dive on one in particular – Integrity. When asked to define integrity, many people immediately search for synonyms: honest, ethical, or a person of high moral fiber. While these definitions are certainly true, and my colleagues highly represent these qualities, there is a second definition of integrity that helps to complete the picture.

Let me take you back to grade school and what we learned in math and vocabulary classes. Many of our words share a common root: integer – whole numbers, integral – being a necessary part of the whole. Integrity, integer, integral: it is no coincidence that these words share a common root. True integrity takes into account the whole person; it cannot be turned on or off and it cuts across all aspects of our lives. Last month, my colleague, Stephanie Freihofer, shared a touching and personal experience of tragedy in her life personal story on this blog. As I read her post, I remembered the emotions that all of us at SEI felt and the way we all came together to provide comfort. This level of compassion from our consultants has been demonstrated several times over the years and it’s clear that it’s part of our collective soul. It’s the fiber of who we are as consultants and as people. Inspired with this thought, I conducted an informal poll over the weekend. I asked my peers “What do you do when you’re not engaged in client delivery?” and I was blown away by the responses. Here are just a few:

  • Board member of Paint the Town, a nonprofit providing exterior home painting and light maintenance for homeowners without the resources or ability to do this themselves
  • Board member of the Natick Education Foundation in Massachusetts
  • Cincinnati Arthritis Walk committee member
  • Lieutenant in a volunteer fire department
  • Previous board member of Give Back Cincinnati and active volunteer with Give Back Beyond, volunteering in Cuba last year and Greece this fall
  • Scout leaders, youth sports coaches and league chairmen – soccer, baseball, hockey, you name it!
  • Church volunteers – sound crew, school & parish web site administration, bible study and fellowship leaders
  • Steering committee member for the Oakley community (Cincinnati) master plan
  • President of a college alumni council
  • Leadership committee members for various professional associations and local user groups

It comes as no surprise that the same consultants who delight our clients and tackle their most challenging problems apply these same skills in their family, their community and the broader world. Are you a person of Integrity (in both definitions)? If you answered yes, come explore our many career opportunities.

Joe Combs


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