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UW College of Business Program Has Audience Beyond Wyoming Borders

April 15, 2013

A workshop using author James P. Owen’s “Cowboy Ethics” book as its organizing concept is being used by the University of Wyoming College of Business and the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership.

The initiative, “Standing Tall in an Upside-Down World,” was created with the goal of inspiring business executives to serve as principled leaders in their companies, industries and communities. While originally created for Wyoming businesses, the program is now impacting corporate, government and community leaders well beyond the state’s borders, says Kent Noble, UW College of Business assistant dean of external relations. He leads the “Standing Tall” workshops.

“This was one of my best experiences in the United States,” says Shumaila Khalid from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, who recently participated in the workshop. “One of my main objectives in coming to America was to learn leadership behavior, and I think this course has largely provided me with what I need.”

“Standing Tall” sessions are designed to promote a lively exchange of ideas and opinions. Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts regarding issues of the day, as well as concerns within their industries and communities.

“Participants discuss the principles identified in the ‘Code of the West,’ while also discovering the reason why everyone needs a code to live by,” Noble says.

“I thought the program was able to communicate the principles of Cowboy Ethics in a manner that was thought provoking and inspiring. Also, getting the participants involved in the discussion through the development of a set of personal principles was brilliant,” says Andy Worshek, of McGee, Hearne & Paiz, LLC, another participant.

“The key to the 'Standing Tall' workshop is its ability to inspire participants to look inward to discover and declare their own values,” Noble says. “But, it’s the accountability process that brings real meaning to the program with participants making a commitment to 'stand tall' within their personal and professional lives.”

“This is, hands down, the best program I have attended on personal accountability,” says Justin Grider of the Los Alamos, N.M. Fire Department. “My new code is displayed alongside my degree because these two pieces of paper signify personal conquests I could not be more proud of accomplishing.”

Since February 2012, approximately 50 “Standing Tall” sessions have been conducted for various organizations and entities. Graduates hail from 40 Wyoming communities, 20 states and seven countries.

Referrals are primarily what drive the success of the Standing Tall initiative. Graduates are vocal advocates and their testimonials help spread the influence of the program, Noble says.

“The Standing Tall workshop was incredible,” offers Jake Anfinson with First Interstate Bank in Laramie.  “I would encourage anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to step back and examine their life to do so with the guidance provided in this course.”

More sessions are planned nationally for business and community leaders. Students also benefit from the program.      

“I was inspired to create a personal code by the ‘Standing Tall’ session,” says Josi Wambach, a recent UW MBA graduate. “The workshop caused me to reflect on my past and challenged me to create a better version of myself.”

To learn more about the program, contact Noble at

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