Drake’s gift, the largest ever from a female graduate of Kellogg, will establish a new network, expand scholarships and programming to support and connect women leaders
February 3, 2021
Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has received a transformative gift from Ann M. Drake ’84 to establish the Drake Scholar Network, a powerful, intergenerational network of women students, faculty and alumnae fostered through Kellogg. The launch of this formal, global network will underscore Kellogg’s long-standing commitment to training future women business leaders.
“Kellogg has a long legacy of breaking new ground in the education and professional advancement of women, but there is still much work to be done to address gender-based disparities in the business world,” said Dean Francesca Cornelli. “Ann’s gift will help reinforce Kellogg’s standing as the premier global business school that equips high-potential women to become impactful, inclusive leaders.”
The Drake Scholar Network will focus on three areas: 1) enhanced educational programming and intergenerational network building, 2) recruitment of faculty thought leaders, and 3) continued scholarship support through the Drake Scholars program, which has provided significant student funding since 2017. In all, over five years the gift will fund a network that reaches more than 5,000 women, a bi-annual women’s summit, the recruitment of five to seven new faculty and two full-time staff, and 30 to 35 student scholarships.
The new program builds on Kellogg’s strong history of supporting, educating and advancing women business leaders. The school’s many milestones include the establishment of the Kellogg Center for Executive Women in 2001, the first of its kind at a major business school. In 2010, Kellogg became the first top-ranked global business school to appoint a female dean, Sally Blount ‘92. Recent milestones include the convening of the inaugural Global Women’s Summit in 2018, and in 2019, Kellogg appointed its second permanent female dean, Francesca Cornelli.
Drake built her reputation in the logistics and supply chain management field after joining her family enterprise, the former Dry Storage Corporation, in 1990. She grew DSC Logistics into one of the nation’s leading supply chain management companies, becoming CEO in 1994, in a male-dominated industry. By the time of its majority sale to CJ Logistics, a South Korean conglomerate, in 2018, DSC Logistics had pioneered “dynamic supply chain leadership,” an approach to reducing total system costs, improving service to customers and facilitating growth and change. For spearheading this transformation, Drake received the Committee of 200’s Entrepreneurial Champion Luminary Award in 2018..
“My experience at Kellogg gave me not only a foundational education to transform my company, but a tight network of women who were crucial sounding boards and partners as I advanced in the logistics industry,” said Drake. “With this gift I hope to make that possible for more women, equipping them to pursue, navigate and sustain careers that drive organizational and societal impact and create lives of personal meaning.”
Throughout her career, Drake has dedicated herself to advancing the careers of women around her. She founded AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education), a 501(c)(3), in 2013 to help women network and excel in the supply chain industry. In 2019, she founded Lincoln Road Enterprises, which seeks new ways to advance the influence and contributions of women in business, supply chain, engineering and technology, infrastructure and design.
Drake pursued her MBA through Kellogg’s Executive MBA program to expand her entrepreneurial skill set, learn about large-scale business leadership and take her career to the next level. She has been highly engaged with Kellogg, establishing the Drake Scholars Fund, supporting the Global Women’s Summit and leading through Kellogg’s Global Advisory Board. In 2018 she received Kellogg’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
Kellogg is home to many renowned faculty conducting research on crucial issues related to gender in business. For example, Kellogg professors Leigh Thompson, Nicole Stephens and Maryam Kouchaki have researched the impact of gender on ethical behavior and punishment for ethical violations. Professor Victoria Medvec has published seminal research on the topic of women and negotiations, finding that although women are comfortable asking for what their teams and colleagues need, many are reluctant to negotiate for themselves. Professor Lauren Rivera’s research explores how hiring and performance review practices reinforce inequalities in the workplace. A study by Professor Brian Uzzi, which helped to inspire the Drake Scholar Network, found the most successful female job-seekers rely not only on a wide network of contacts, but also on a close inner circle of women who provide support and gender-specific job advice.
“Joining the Kellogg alumni community is a monumental and significant moment in my life and career,” said Drake Scholar alumna Dawn Cornelius ’20. “It has meant access to a network of incredibly talented individuals who have helped me navigate issues in my current work or solutions for launching my next venture. Being a Drake Scholar gave me the opportunity to complete my Kellogg journey. I continue to be grateful for this support and distinction.”
Kellogg is very grateful to Ann Drake for spearheading this initiative and leading the way as a role model. The launch of the Drake Scholar Network and Kellogg’s continuing commitment to advancing women will ensure the school remains a place where women leaders are empowered to drive significant impact in the global business community for decades to come.