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  Cyrus Freidheim
© Nathan Mandell
Cyrus Freidheim, CEO and chairman of Chiquita, delivers a conference keynote.

‘Quest for innovation’ marks annual social change conference

The fifth annual Innovating Social Change (ISC) conference in May brought together Kellogg School students, faculty, alumni and business leaders to explore issues related to corporate social responsibility.

“Redefining the Boundaries of Business” continued the strong tradition established by previous student efforts and extended a dialogue that bridged nonprofit and for-profit sectors to define some of the best practices at work in the business world today. Panel discussions and keynote speakers engaged participants on such topics as multinationals and corporate responsibility, creating effective global nonprofits and new models of philanthropy.

 Student Conferences
  Black Management Association
  Innovating Social Change

Keynote speakers included Wendy Kopp, president of Teach for America, who created the blueprint for the national corps of teachers from her dorm room at Princeton University, and Cyrus Freidheim Jr., CEO and chairman of Chiquita Brands International.

Kopp offered some lessons on the relevance of good management to nonprofit organizations.

“I realized that whether or not we fulfill our mission has everything to do with becoming a very well-managed organization,” she said.

Freidheim discussed the often controversial history of Chiquita and spoke frankly about the challenges faced by the company as it sought to overcome a century-old image problem stemming from its policies on labor rights, discrimination and environmental issues.

Today, Chiquita is much more transparent publicizing both its successes and failures in its “responsibility reports” available on the company Web site, Freidheim said.

Said Professor Donald Haider, director of the Kellogg Center for Nonprofit Management, the event’s co-sponsor, “Our students are interested in ‘what works’ regardless of sector. This quest for innovative leaders and best practices brought an extraordinary breadth of practitioner talent to this year’s ISC event.”

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University