The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University wants to recognize the cream of the crop in international executive positions.
Since the establishment of its International Executive of the Year award in 1974, this recognition has gone to individuals in the private sector.This year, for the first time, the school chose to honor an individual from the public sector - Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, the president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), an international human relations organization.
BYU President Rex E. Lee said the award is not given to organizations, but to people.
"In many respects, it is the most prestigious award that BYU gives," Lee said. "The award is especially appropriate because we (BYU and the LDS Church) have been the recipients of your (Wexler's) good work of many years."
Elder David B. Haight, a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presented Wexler an award as well as a compilation of her genealogy for six generations.
"She has demonstrated exceptional leadership and high moral standards," Elder Haight said. "We acknowledge that this organization has opposed false information and has uplifted that which is good."
The NCCJ has proved that Christians and Jews can work together for common goals and break down barriers to friendship and interfaith relations, he said.
Haight quoted Wexler as saying that if democracy is to flourish, people of different and even divergent backgrounds must learn to live together. Wexler is Catholic and her husband is Jewish.
"I have come to see the extraordinary emphasis that the LDS Church puts on service," Wexler said. "My acceptance of the award is in that spirit of service."
Wexler said her life has been built on the premise that parenting, mentoring and managing all work with the same principles.
"Parents look for a special value or talent in each child and develop that," she said. Managers should do the same thing.
Good managers should see every person as their own "detective story" that they need to work with and discover, Wexler said. They should "see the intimate" and work with it, then pull back and look at the big picture.
"There is a greater need for harmonizing," she said. "Rev down the problems and rev up the sisterhood and brotherhood in the nation."
In addition to serving as president of NCCJ, Wexler has been president of two colleges, is a member of the board of trustees for the University of Pennsylvania and holds honorary degrees from 16 colleges and universities.
K. Fred Skousen, dean of the Marriott School of Management, said, "Mrs. Wexler is an outstanding administrator who has influenced positively the way America looks at higher educations and who, more recently, has become known for her contributions to interfaith relations, social justice and human rights."
Other recipients of the award in past years include: Robert D. Lilley, president of AT&T; Philip Caldwell, CEO of the Ford Motor Co.; and Sanford N. McDonnell, CEO of McDonnell Douglas Corp.