As the lines between business sectors become more blurred, teams become more multi-disciplinary and innovation becomes more paramount, the demand to take risks, chart new territory and face unexpected challenges continues to rise. Consequently, there is a great need for leaders who are unafraid to deviate from the mainstream, challenge the norm and exhibit resilience in the midst of hardship.
This is courageous leadership.
This is disrupting the status quo.
Given this trajectory of the business landscape, the 2015 Black Management Association Conference will highlight individuals who have led courageously and found both personal and professional success in disrupting the status quo.
This year’s conference will take place on Friday, Oct. 24, at Kellogg’s James L. Allen Center on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.
The conference will feature a keynote address from Amy Hilliard, who joined Johnson Publishing Company as President of Fashion Fair Cosmetics in February 2014. Fashion Fair is the largest Black-owned cosmetics company in the world. Prior to her current role, Hilliard was Founder/CEO of Chicago’s ComfortCake® Company. Launched in 2001, customers have included the Chicago Public Schools, Walmart, Jewel, Safeway, Nordstrom’s, United Airlines and Home Shopping Network.
An avid community volunteer, Ms. Hilliard was selected for the Urban League’s nextONE Program and The Clinton Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Mentor Program. She is the author of “TAP INTO YOUR JUICE — Find Your Gifts, Lose Your Fears and Build Your Dreams” – a motivational book endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The conference will also feature a chat with Martin Nesbitt, co-CEO of The Vistria Group, a Chicago-based investment company focused on the education, healthcare and financial services industries. Prior to co-founding Vistria, Nesbitt served as CEO of The Parking Spot, an owner and operator of off-airport parking facilities. He previously was an officer of the Pritzker Realty Group and an investment manager at LaSalle Partners.
Nesbitt is a Trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and serves as Chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation. He is former Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority and a former board member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. He also served as treasurer of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
Additionally, the panel will feature three separate panel discussions:
- YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS: The level of dynamism, passion, and creativity that lies within an entrepreneur is not only admirable but can also be incredibly inspiring, especially when those entrepreneurs are our peers who courageously bring new ideas to fruition and chart new territory. This panel will explore this enterprising path, offering insight and advice on what it means to be a young entrepreneur.
- FROM ENTRY TO EXECUTIVE: In this discussion, we will engage successful professionals to gain a practical understanding of how to courageously navigate and master career paths toward executive-level roles.
- CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH: Whether it’s an entry-level position, an entrepreneurial venture or an executive role, it can be difficult to set yourself apart from your peers and as a professional. Understanding that there is no “one size fits all” career path, this panel will feature individuals from various backgrounds who have diverted from the status quo, pursuing unique paths and initiatives to set themselves apart to achieve success.
The day before the conference, Kellogg will welcome nearly 100 prospective students to campus as part of the school’s Diversity Preview Day. Attendees are welcome to attend the BMA conference to learn more about Kellogg’s vibrant and diverse academic community.
In the lead up to this year’s conference, the Kellogg BMA student leadership team asked fellow Kellogg students what they think disrupting the status quo means, how they have led courageously and what they are looking forward to most about the conference. See some of their answers below, and find more on the Kellogg BMA Conference Facebook page.