The announcement of a $3-million donation to the Diocese of Orange Department of Catholic Schools was the highlight of the 20th Annual Conference on Business and Ethics, held April 21 at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort.
BISHOP KEVIN VANN PRESENTS THE BISHOP’S AWARD FOR EXEMPLARY BUSINESS INTEGRITY TO DR. ELYSABETH NGUYEN DURING THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON BUSINESS AND ETHICS HELD ON APRIL 21. COURTESY PHOTOS. PHOTOS BY DEAN MACHIN
Hosted by The Orange Catholic Foundation, which serves the Roman Catholic community through philanthropy and supporting diocesan ministries, the Conference on Business and Ethics celebrates influential business leaders for using their faith as the guiding principle in how they operate their businesses.
BISHOP KEVIN VANN ALSO PRESENTS THE BISHOP’S AWARD FOR EXEMPLARY BUSINESS INTEGRITY TO MATTHEW J. HESLIN DURING THE 20TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON BUSINESS AND ETHICS HELD ON APRIL 21.
The conference also serves as a fundraiser for the Orange Catholic Schools Fund and School Tuition Assistance Endowment.
The generous $3-million gift was from the estate of Andrew “Andy” Joseph Kessler III, a longtime parishioner of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Irvine, who died in May 2022 on the eve of his 83rd birthday.
“What a beautiful, beautiful gift of generosity that will continue to help Catholic school education for years to come,” said Dr. Erin Barisano, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Orange. “I’m so touched. My heart is filled with gratitude.”
Bishop Kevin Vann also presented the Bishop’s Award for Exemplary Business Integrity to Dr. Elysabeth Nguyen and Matthew J. Heslin.
Nguyen is an inventor and CEO of multiple businesses. She serves as the CEO of the OLLV Foundation, which manages fundraising and construction for the Our Lady of La Vang Shrine and
St. Callistus Chapel and Crypts projects on the Christ Cathedral campus.
“We’re going to recognize her heritage, but most especially, we’re going recognize her business skills and amazing ability to engage people in various parts of Orange County, especially at Christ Cathedral,” Bishop Vann said of Nguyen.
“I’m grateful to say she is a friend of mine.”
Nguyen praised the institution of family and the power of education, not only education attained in classrooms but from the individuals.
“You think I have a doctorate and I’m smart,” Nguyen said. “But all these people here are my teachers. The past 10 years in the Diocese of Orange, what an education! An education in stewardship, in giving and loving.”
Nguyen and Heslin each spoke about the importance of giving, reiterating the promise that you will get more in return.
“Because we left our country and came here with nothing,” Nguyen said. “It was all taken from us, and God gave it all back and more.”
Heslin is the founder and CEO of Green Sands Capital, founder and chief executive officer of Heslin Holdings, and co-founder and managing partner of Oak Coast Properties. Heslin is also a major donor to St. Joseph Hospital and is involved in several nonprofits, including Food for the Poor and the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging.
The husband and father also serves on the Real Estate Council for the Diocese of Orange and is a parishioner at St. Kilian Catholic Church in Mission Viejo, where he serves within the finance ministry.
Heslin spoke about the two best lessons he has learned in business, the first being to operate with integrity.
“Integrity equals trust,” he said. “Earning the trust of your people, your investors your colleagues and your coworkers is an irrefutable path to monumental success. A soulful commitment to operating ethically always with crystal-clear guidance from God. All we have to do is listen and have faith in his direction.”
And the second truth?
“You can never out-give God,” Heslin said.
The Orange County and San Juan Capistrano chapters of Legatus received the Farmers & Merchants Bank Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors those who have made a significant contribution to the Orange County community and beyond.
Legatus is a membership organization of Catholic business professionals and their spouses involved in networking through monthly meetings and retreats.
Legatus Orange County was the organization’s third chapter in the nation.
Harry M. Kraemer, an executive partner with Madison Dearborn Partners and professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, was the keynote speaker.
Lucy Dunn, CEO emeritus of the Orange County Business Council, was the emcee.
Over its 20-year history, the Conference on Business and Ethics has raised more than $6.3 million and earned the distinction of the No. 1 breakfast by the Orange County Business Journal.