Alex Sink speaks to a large group of students in a classroom
Alex Sink, right, speaks to Heavener School of Business students about ethics in the world of business.

Alex Sink on business, politics and ethics

My name is Tiffany Felcoski, and I am a Business Ethics Ambassador and second-year information systems major at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. Alex Sink, a business woman and politician who served as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer from 2007 to 2011, uses ethics not just in theory but also in practice, as she explained when she spoke to students at the Heavener School of Business on placing ethics above a political or business win based on her personal experience. Sink’s remarkable story is one that, particularly in the world of politics, most people don’t hear quite often.

Alex Sink encompasses a unique background when it comes to business and politics, yet the value she places on ethics is tremendous. Originally, Sink started off working in the classical banking field, but decided to seek a career in which she felt she was helping others. Following her time in corporate and middle market banking, she decided to pivot her career towards Florida’s political field in 2006 by running for Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. Sink also felt she could make a difference by joining the board of directors of Tampa Bay Wave, a nonprofit technology consulting-based firm that helps startups generate more capital.

The most striking moment of hearing Sink speak was when she said she always speaks on the record when talking about politics, no matter what. While campaigning once again for office 2010, Sink was offered a large sum of money to run false negative ads. Despite being in need of the money and knowing not taking the offer would likely cost her the election, she didn’t take the money because it wasn’t the ethical thing to do. Sink ended her presentation by saying just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is the ethical thing to do and told the audience to stand by their characters and values. As a Business Ethics Ambassador, Sink’s story on valuing ethics over a political win is one that I hope to hear more often in the world of politics.

Story by Business Ethics Ambassador Tiffany Felcoski (BSBA Information Systems ’20). Connect with her on LinkedIn.