Faculty & Speakers

kellogg reunion speakers

Cutting-Edge Business Education Doesn’t End at Graduation

Draw inspiration and insight from thought-leadership sessions with Kellogg’s world-renowned faculty and guest speakers. With more than 30 sessions to choose from, this is an event you don’t want to miss. See below for 2019 Reunion speakers, topics, and session descriptions.

Eric Anderson

Hartmarx Professor of Marketing / Director of the Center for Global Marketing Practice

Leading with Advanced Analytics and AI

Nearly every company wants to utilize advanced analytics and AI to drive growth, but few have succeeded. In this session, you will learn about how Kellogg is tackling this issue and helping firms have success with analytics and AI.

Bernie Banks Portrait

Bernie Banks '08

Architectures of Collaboration / Associate Dean for Leadership Development Clinical Professor of Management

Tim Calkins

Tim Calkins

Clinical Professor of Marketing


If you want to be a successful, impactful business leader, you have to present well. Presenting is critical to sell your ideas and have an impact. It also plays an incredibly important role in shaping your career. Unfortunately, many people struggle when it comes time to do a presentation; they procrastinate and then get nervous as the date approaches.Tim Calkins is author of a new book on creating powerful business presentations: How to Wash a Chicken – Mastering the Business Presentation. In this talk, he will highlight four concrete ways you can become a stronger presenter. Everyone can improve their skills at creating strong, strategic recommendations. If you are a tentative presenter or an expert, this event will help you develop your skills and become a stronger leader.

Kellogg on Branding in a Hyper-Connected World

Today’s hyper-connected world has raised the stakes for those who create and manage brands. The brand choices and the information about them are all but limitless, making it difficult for a brand manager to find a sustainable basis for differentiation. Further, brands are now expected to not only offer performance features tailored to consumers’ unique needs and preferences, but also to connect with consumers’ goals and identity by being serving a higher-order purpose. A tall order indeed!

In this session, Tim Calkins and Alice M. Tybout, editors of the latest book in the Kellogg on series, Kellogg on Branding in a Hyper-connected World, will be joined by chapter authors Kevin McTigue, Neal Roese and Brian Sternthal for a discussion of the latest thinking about how companies can build strong brands. Topics will include the role of brand purpose, how brands can connect to consumers’ fundamental motivations, effective touchpoint design, and choosing the right combination of traditional and digital media for a brand.

Greg Carpenter

Greg Carpenter

James Farley/Booz Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy / Director of the Center for Market Leadership / Faculty Director, Kellogg Markets and Customers Initiative (KMCI)


In the battle to win consumers, companies spend millions of dollars to understand consumers through focus groups, surveys, and sophisticated analytics. But too often, people don’t really know what they want. In some industries, firms shape what consumers want through disruptive technology. In markets where technology plays a less central role, firms shape customer thinking as well. But how? In this session, we’ll explore how firms use social influence to shape customer thinking and help create an enduring advantage over rivals.

Carter Cast

Carter Cast '92

Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The Right and Wrong Stuff: How Brilliant Careers are Made (and Unmade)

Carter Cast, a clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship and a venture capitalist at Pritzker Group, will discuss what impedes the progress of talented people, as well as the critical competencies that high potential, high performers have that enable them to soar in their careers.

Esther Choy

Esther Choy '09

Adjunct Lecturer of Family Enterprise in the Center for Family Enterprises / President & Chief Story Facilitator at Leadership Story Lab


What is reunion but telling non-stop stories? At the upcoming Kellogg Reunion Weekend, you and your classmates will be sharing stories all weekend long. How do we tell marathon stories that feel authentic and stay memorable to our audience? Esther Choy '09 lectures in Kellogg Executive Education programs and has recently authored Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success

Join classmates at this interactive workshop and learn how to:
1. Identify compelling stories
2. Apply a bullet-proof story formula to all your communications
3. Discover where your stories intersect with those of your audience

NOTE: This workshop has a $25 fee which includes a special breakfast, and a hard copy of Esther Choy's book. This workshop requires pre-Reunion prep work. You will receive a follow-up communication with additional instructions to the email address you used to register for Reunion.
Space is limited.

Linda Darragh

Linda Darragh

Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice / The Larry Levy Executive Director, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative / Executive Director, Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital


While the hype continues to focus on ‘launching’ new ventures, value is created in actually ‘growing’ ventures. Once a business model has successfully shown that it can generate sustainable profit, it is time to scale the company. However, scaling requires managing all the different functions of a business in concert. There are challenges in operations, marketing, finance, talent, culture and more. This session will present a live case on how an alum, Matt Elenjickal, scaled a company and raised over $100 million after launching his business at Kellogg 5 years ago.


The Entrepreneur Showcase is a forum for Kellogg alumni celebrating a reunion milestone to present to an audience of fellow alumni and guests. Each entrepreneur will deliver a brief pitch on their venture – including the problem they are solving, solution and status of company growth. Presenters will have the opportunity to network and talk further about their business concepts at a reception following the program. The event is hosted in partnership with the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI). The showcase provides a unique opportunity to highlight and support alumni in the process of building new ventures.Kellogg Reunion Entrepreneur Showcase. If you are interested in presenting as part of the Entrepreneur Showcase, please complete this APPLICATION by March 31.

Eli Finkel

Eli Finkel

Professor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences / Professor of Management & Organizations


The institution of marriage in America is struggling. But, as Eli J. Finkel’s most recent research reveals, the best marriages today are better than the best marriages of earlier eras. Indeed, they are the best marriages the world has ever known. Finkel combines cutting-edge scientific research with practical advice, introducing a set of quick-and-dirty lovehacks, considering tactics for optimizing communication and responsiveness, and offering guidance on when to recalibrate our expectations. Collectively, these strategies help not only to solve acute problems but also to put our marriage on a path toward flourishing for the long run.

Steve Franconeri

Steve Franconeri

Professor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences / Professor of Design, McCormick School of Engineering / Director, Northwestern Cognitive Science Program / Professor of Leadership


Your story – an argument, solution or a pitch – relies on solid data. Using the latest research in data visualization and visual perception, this session will combine an overview of design techniques with hands-on exercises to illustrate how to tell clear stories from your data, to upward and outward audiences of varied technical and topical expertise.

Carola Frydman

Carola Frydman

Professor of Finance


Craig Garthwaite

Craig Garthwaite

Associate Professor of Strategy / Herman Smith Research Professor in Hospital and Health Services Management / Director of Healthcare at Kellogg


Kent Grayson

Kent Grayson

Associate Professor of Marketing / Bernice and Leonard Lavin Professorship / Faculty Director, The Trust Project at Northwestern


Trust is an essential ingredient for running an effective organization. It can also give brands and products a leg up in the marketplace. Yet, many of us manage trust instinctively. Drawing from business examples and academic research, Professor Kent Grayson will offer frameworks for understanding trust more methodically, and will highlight the advantages that business leaders and marketing managers can gain by managing trust more systematically.

Ben Jones

Ben Jones

Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor of Entrepreneurship / Professor of Strategy / Faculty Director, Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI)


Einstein believed that great contributions to science came before age thirty. The classic image of a genius scientist or inventor is that of a great mind working alone. Indeed, the idea that singular, young people drive the advance of science and technology remains pervasive, including in entrepreneurial hotbeds like Silicon Valley. But, what is the evidence? Looking systematically at science, patenting and entrepreneurship, we find that great advances today are not the provenance of the young. In the 21st century, the greatest ideas, innovations and new firms increasingly come from individuals near age 40 and older. Moreover, technological progress is a team sport, with the breakthroughs increasingly coming from teams of individuals, rather than solo actors. This talk will review this evidence, discuss mechanisms at work and consider applications to building effective innovative teams today.

Dean Karlan

Professor of Economics and Finance / Frederic Esser Nemmers Chair / Co-Director, Global Poverty Research Lab, Buffett Institute

Pragmatic Optimism in the Fight Against Poverty: Lessons from Behavioral Economics

Megan Kashner

Megan Kashner '03

Clinical Assistant Professor of Public-Private Interface / Director of Social Impact

Intentional Impact

Wisely assess opportunities to make a difference with your money, talent, and resources. Professor Megan Kashner’s Intentional Impact Framework brings analysis and discernment to decisions that matter. Learn to ask the right questions, define the problem, and dig into the context and financial dynamics of a social or environmental problem, then make informed and strategic choices when it’s time to engage.

Maryam Kouchaki

Associate Professor of Management & Organizations

Jose Liberti

Jose Liberti

Clinical Professor of Finance / Joseph Jr. and Carole Levy Chair in Entrepreneurship

Keeping it all in the Family: Control-Enhancing Mechanisms to Perpetuate Control

Why are some entire industries dominated by family firms? What are the benefits and costs of family ownership—and of family control in excess of ownership— in some businesses? In order to answer these questions, one needs to keep in mind the perspectives of different stakeholders: the family, activist shareholders, other non-family shareholders, and even society at large. The New York Times Co. case contrasts the long-term outlook of the Sulzberger’s and other families in the newspaper industry with the short-term approach of widely held newspaper companies. This session will introduce some of the basic control-enhancing mechanisms that are available to family firms to perpetuate their control over multiple generations. These mechanisms include: simple majority, dual-stock structures, pyramidal ownership structures, disproportionate board representation and the use of trusts. In the case of The New York Times Co., we will explore how the combination of a series of trusts with a dual class structure gives the Sulzberger family control of the NYT far in excess of the family’s economic stake in the company. The structure also shields the company from potential changes in control—including hostile takeovers as well as activist shareholder attacks. The case features these mechanisms at work and their associated corporate governance problems.

Kevin McTigue

Kevin McTigue

Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing

Creating a Differentiating Experience

There are no shortage of headlines admonishing marketers to embrace “experience,” but they usually stop short of explaining what that actually means. In this session we’ll talk about how brands are differentiating by taking a more holistic view of the customer’s needs and finding new ways to intersect to create value. As customer’s expectations for experience evolve in this digital environment, what are the things marketers need to consider? Key takeaways will be an understanding of customer journey mapping as a tool to identify and prioritize touchpoints, an understanding of the current changes in customer expectations, and a set of core principles for success in driving valuable experiences for the customer and the company.

Rachel Mersey

Rachel Davis Mersey

Associate Professor | Northwestern University / Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications / Executive Director | Media Leadership Center / Fellow | Institute for Policy Research


Whether your media diet is more business or more pleasure, more digital or more print, more socially-driven or more a product of your daily habits, often what you see is being controlled by data. Rachel Davis Mersey will discuss how what you see contributes to your worldview. She will discuss how people interact with and process information; how they judge its veracity, the role of technology in the presentation of information and concomitant public discourse; the consequences of the blurring between news and entertainment in such discourse; and how existing views informed by partisanship or prejudice resist change.

Thomas O'Toole

Tom O’Toole

Clinical Professor of Marketing / Senior Fellow

Customer Loyalty: Strategy and Latest Developments

Customer strategy today is about customer value management at the individual customer level. Loyalty programs are a well-established marketing practice in travel, financial services, retail, restaurants and other sectors, and are expanding in a growing range of categories such as health care, energy and other new categories. Today, loyalty programs are shifting from being rewards programs to being customer value management systems. How should marketers take a strategic approach to managing customer value? Where are loyalty programs headed? What new business models and approaches are emerging? In this session, Professor O’Toole will address both the strategy and practice of customer value management and loyalty programs across categories.

Nicholas Pearce

Nicholas Pearce '12 (PhD)

Clinical Associate Professor of Management & Organizations


Luis Rayo

Luis Rayo

Erwin P. Nemmers Professor of Strategy


Our lives are driven by a desire to attain happiness; many of us are convinced that a higher income is key to attaining this goal. The link between income and happiness, however, is elusive: while higher income does raise happiness, its effect is extremely short lived. In this session, Professor Rayo will discuss groundbreaking research -- co-authored with the late Nobel Laureate Gary S. Becker -- that combines economics, neuroscience, and psychology to get to the bottom of this paradox. This session will also discuss lessons for both business and life.

Derek Rucker

Derek Rucker

Sandy & Morton Goldman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies in Marketing / Professor of Marketing / Co-chair of Faculty Research

Emotionality in Language: Measurement, Theory Development, and Findings

Word-of-mouth communications are a central feature of both consumer and human behavior. Consumers recommend products, attempt to persuade one another, and draw inferences from everyday communications. Past efforts have used sentiment analysis as a common quantification tool to understand consumer behavior in these domains. The current talk discusses the importance of moving beyond valence to explore the emotionality of people’s language. The talk begins with a discussion of recent advances in how to impute emotionality from textual analysis. Based on this tool— the evaluative lexicon— applications to theory tests are considered. First, I share recent work on how the intent to persuade affects language. Second, I discuss ongoing efforts to explore the predictive power of emotionality. Finally, future directions in text analysis are discussed.

Mohan Sawhney

Mohan Sawhney

McCormick Foundation Chair of Technology / Clinical Professor of Marketing / Director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation

AI for Business Executives: What, So What and Now What

The Artificial Intelligence revolution is sweeping across industries and functions. What is hype and what is real? What is AI and how can it help your business? Where should you look for opportunities to use AI to solve problems in your business? How do you get started with implementing an AI initiative? What are the risks and dangers of AI? In this session, we will answer these questions by understanding the landscape of AI, the applications of AI across the enterprise value chain and a step-by-step framework for putting AI to work in your organization.

David Schonthal

David Schonthal '09

Clinical Associate Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship / Faculty Director of Zell Fellows Program


Design is not just a verb – it is a way of solving problems creatively. This session will highlight some of the fundamentals of design thinking and discuss how they can be applied to everything from products and services to business models. In this session, we will explore how these principles are used across a variety of industries, in small companies and large enterprises alike. You don’t need a background in design or engineering to benefit from this session – you just need a bit of curiosity and a desire to view the world through a more human-centered lens.

Matthew Temple Portrait

Matthew Temple '93

Director of Alumni Career & Professional Development


Still trying to figure out how your career and life fit together? Ready to shake things up? Then join us for this two-hour workshop based on the New York Times bestselling book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, who use a design mindset to help people build fulfilling careers and lives. During the workshop you will engage in several exercises, including:

- Mapping your energy to learn what energizes you and what drains you
- Practicing radical collaboration, learning how you can leverage people from different walks of life to help you generate new ideas and fresh perspectives
- Creating three different "odyssey plans" for the next five years

When will you start that company that you’ve been thinking about? When will you finally hike Mount Kilimanjaro? And what about that marathon?

To learn more please contact Kellogg's Alumni Career & Professional Development office at cmc-alumni@kellogg.northwestern.edu.

Leigh Thompson

Leigh Thompson

J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations / Professor of Management & Organizations / Director of Kellogg Team and Group Research Center / Professor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences


In this session, you’ll have the opportunity to “audit” your negotiation skills and receive intensive feedback that will improve your ability to reach win-win outcomes. The goal is to improve your negotiation performance and build your confidence.

Alice Tybout

Alice Tybout '75 (PhD)

Harold T. Martin Professor of Marketing

Kellogg on Branding in a Hyper-Connected World

Today’s hyper-connected world has raised the stakes for those who create and manage brands. The brand choices and the information about them are all but limitless, making it difficult for a brand manager to find a sustainable basis for differentiation. Further, brands are now expected to not only offer performance features tailored to consumers’ unique needs and preferences, but also to connect with consumers’ goals and identity by being serving a higher-order purpose. A tall order indeed!

In this session, Alice M. Tybout and Tim Calkins, editors of the latest book in the Kellogg on series, Kellogg on Branding in a Hyper-connected World, will be joined by chapter authors Kevin McTigue, Neal Roese and Brian Sternthal for a discussion of the latest thinking about how companies can build strong brands. Topics will include the role of brand purpose, how brands can connect to consumers’ fundamental motivations, effective touchpoint design, and choosing the right combination of traditional and digital media for a brand.


Inspire your community by sharing your Kellogg experience in our video story booth.


Share your favorite Kellogg photos and memories using the hashtag #KelloggReunion.


Stay connected throughout Reunion. Mobile app download available in April.

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