Ethics in Sin City


Max Oliva, MBA 71

St. Christopher Parish,

Las Vegas


One could easily miss Father Max Oliva’s collar. The upright, outgoing Jesuit priest casts an imposing figure. He stands an erect 6’3”, and at age 72, is still going strong, as a lecturer, consultant, and author.


Ordained a Jesuit in 1972, a year after earning his Berkeley MBA, Oliva has built an unusual career establishing himself as a leader in the field of ethics and spirituality in the workplace.


Oliva had an epiphany at age 24, working as a salesman for a San Jose cannery. “I returned from a business trip when a startling desire to become a priest just came into my head.”


Jesuit training takes up to a decade. Oliva’s training included earning his MBA with a focus on organizational behavior. After graduation, his path took him to Ireland, South Africa, and Canada, though he has remained in Northern California for much of his career, including six months as a visiting scholar at Santa Clara University.


Along the way, Father Oliva has written five books. In addition to offering seminars to business groups, Oliva also publishes a monthly email newsletter that explores everything from simple rules of ethical behavior (never sign a false document) to the link between ethical business deals and the 10th commandment (You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods).


Oliva moved from Alberta, Canada, to Las Vegas, a community that he says “needed me to fill a niche,” to teach Ethical Decision-Making at Regis University in Henderson, Nev. He resides at St. Christopher Parish in North Las Vegas, and his main ministry is called “Ethics in the Marketplace” (


Today, men and women in the corporate world come to Oliva for mentoring on both spiritual and ethical issues, anything from conflicts of interest at work to dealing with a wayward teenage son. Says Oliva, “The people I meet are my most enjoyable reward.”



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