John Winthrop Wright Ethics in Action Award
Welcome to SEE's John Winthrop Wright Ethics in Action Award page. With this award, SEE honors a leader who has authentically demonstrated ethical business or leadership practices. John Winthrop Wright founded SEE in 1995 and left a major donation from his estate to perpetuate SEE’s mission. Mr. Wright desired to promote internationally respected values such as-- fairness, respect, responsibility, caring, justice, honesty, courtesy, citizenship, and the principles of the Golden Rule. The Ethics in Action award is given in his name to recognize a business or community leader that demonstrates a commitment to ethics and character.
2018 Ethics in Action Recipient
Mr. John R. Ciulla, President and CEO of Webster Bank
John R. Ciulla is the President and CEO of Webster Financial Corporation and Webster Bank, recieved the 2018 John Winthrop Wright Ethics in Action award, as presented by The School for Ethical Education (SEE) at its twelfth-annual Character Celebration on May 2th in New Haven.
SEE’s President David Wangaard noted, “The Ethics in Action Award recognizes a business or community leader who demonstrates a commitment to ethics and character in their leadership. Mr. Ciulla is widely respected for his commitment to ethics in his personal and professional life.” Peter Donovan, SEE’s board chair and retired Director at Wright Investors’ Service along with Mickey Herbert, President and CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Association presented the Award to Mr. Ciulla.
In his introduction to Mr. Ciulla, Mickey Herbert noted comments from several testimonies provided by colleagues and associates. Terry O’Conner noted, “John is exceptionally conscientious in potential conflict of interest situations. His thorough, thoughtful analysis of complicated problems helped the Cardinal Shehan Center’s Board reached consensus. One of the qualities of a successful person in any walk of life is his or her character. Do they possess the moral compass needed to succeed and do the right thing when no one is watching. The answer for John Ciulla is a resounding YES!”
Jeffrey Klaus, one of Webster Bank’s Regional Presidents recalled the trying times of 2008 when John Ciulla accepted the extremely difficult task of helping the bank navigate the national banking crisis. He stated, “ So in the midst of banks big and small being swept up in the regulatory aftermath of the great recession. It was increasingly hard for community minded banks like Webster to continue to serve their customers, some business clients which had lost 30-40% of their revenue from one quarter to the next and who for them the bank was the only thing standing between them and bankruptcy. John, never rattled, always was forthright about the problems within the portfolio and never hesitated once to be outwardly optimistic and encouraging - knowing that we would all come out of the darkness a stronger company and better for our trials. This is what character looks like.”
Mr. Ciulla joined Webster in 2004 as senior vice president for Middle Market Banking and has held several executive management positions with increasing responsibility, including as chief credit risk officer from 2008 to 2010. He was promoted to executive vice president and head of Middle Market Banking in 2011, to head of Commercial Banking in 2014, and to president in 2015. Ciulla became the third CEO in Webster’s 82-year history in January 2018.
Prior to joining Webster, Ciulla was with The Bank of New York, most recently as managing director. He practiced law in New York as an associate with McDermott Will & Emery and Hughes Hubbard & Reed. Ciulla also serves on the board of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and is the immediate past chairman. In addition, he is a member of the board of the Business Council of Fairfield County. Ciulla earned a bachelor's degree in political science and history from Williams College, an MBA from the Columbia Business School, and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law.
The Ethics in Action Award was presented during SEE’s spring Character Celebration, which also recognizes Connecticut’s top ten Laws of Life essayists and Academic Integrity PSA producers. Ten student essayists from among approximately 3,100 Laws of Life essay writing participants will also be recognized at the Celebration. The Connecticut students receiving top honors come from Ansonia, Amston, Enfield, Marlborough, Stratford, Trumbull and West Hartford and represent middle and high school students in public and private schools. Winning Academic Integrity PSAs were produced at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Griswold High School and The Williams School (New London). SEE’s PSA contest seeks students to advocate for academic integrity with a brief video message that is broadcast in their school community.
Award Nomination Form
2018 Celebration Program
2018 Celebration Pictures
May 2, 2018 Celebration Outline
May 1, 2019 Character Celebration Invitation & RSVP (TBA)
Past Ethics in Action Award Recipients
2017 Merle Berke-Schlessel, President and CEO of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County
2016 Marna Borgstrom, CEO of Yale-New Haven Health System
2015: Oz Griebel, President and CEO of the Metro Hartford Alliance
2014: Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO of Bigelow Tea
2013: Mickey Herbert,
President & CEO of Bridgeport Regional Business Council, former CEO of ConnectiCare
2012: Archbishop William E. Lori, former Bishop of Bridgeport
2011: Curtis R. Welling, former CEO of AmeriCares
2010: Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr., former Superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools
2009: Dr. Susan Davis, President & CEO of St. Vincents Health Services
2007: James C. Smith, Chairman & CEO of Webster Financial Services
Monday - Friday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Saturday - Sunday: Closed
Director : (203) 783 - 4439
Program Coordinator : (203) 783 - 4436
326 West Main Street,
Milford, CT 06460