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Roslyn Brock ’99, chairman of the NAACP, spoke March 5 to an audience of Kellogg Executive MBA students.

Roslyn Brock

'Move this nation forward’

Roslyn Brock ’99 has big plans as the new chairman of the NAACP — and she wants Kellogg students to contribute to the cause

By Rachel Farrell

3/11/2010 - Pacing the room with a twinkle in her eye, Roslyn Brock ’99 said she had a question for the students seated in the McCormick Tribune Auditorium.

“Do you know what the NAACP is and what it does?” she said, eyeing the audience. Brock was speaking at the Kellogg School March 5 as part of the Executive MBA Luncheon Speaker Series.

One student near the front raised his hand. “I know what the NAACP is — the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,” he said. “But I don’t know what it does.”

Brock wasn’t surprised. Many Americans don’t know about the work or mission of the NAACP, she said. It is her job, as the recently appointed chairman of the board for the NAACP, to change that.

And she would begin by telling this crowd more about it. “The NAACP is, at its core, a multicultural, multiethnic organization,” she said. “Its membership is open to all people across this country who believe in leveling the playing field and how we manage relationships in this country.”

There are a lot of misconceptions about the NAACP, she continued. “Some black people think that the NAACP is an elitist organization that doesn’t do anything for [the lower class],” she said, adding that others believe that the NAACP just provides handouts to the less fortunate. In reality, the goal of the NAACP is to clear the way for people of every race, color and creed to succeed. “We want to … to create a more perfect union, where all of us have the ability to achieve.”

Among her many goals as chairman, Brock is trying to tighten and clarify the organization’s mission — something that she learned the importance of as EMBA student at Kellogg. “No mission, no margin; no margin, no mission,” she said. She added that her Kellogg education also gave her the know-how to cut costs and increase revenue at the NAACP, two areas that were in need of improvement before Brock stepped in.

She urged EMBA students to think about how they can contribute to the NAACP’s objective of fostering a more equal society. “I’m asking people to join us, to move (toward) a more perfect union so we can keep having tough discussions about race.

“Go back to your workplaces and have a conversation with your colleagues of color,” Brock concluded. “I think you’ll find that there’s a willingness to talk about how to move this nation forward.”