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News & Events

The 25th annual Black Management Association Conference drew about 200 students, alumni, faculty, professionals and prospective students and explored the theme “Standing at the Crossroads: Building on the Past to Execute for the Future.”

25th annual Black Management Association Conference

A 'never-ending ripple' of influence

The Black Management Association Conference marks its 25th year with a slate of inspiring speakers and events

By Daniel P. Smith

3/6/2012 - In keeping with the spirit that has characterized the group for 25 years, the Kellogg Black Management Association (BMA) Conference featured high energy and dynamic events.

Kellogg’s longest-running student conference assembled about 200 students, alumni, faculty, professionals and prospective students Feb. 24-26 under the theme “Standing at the Crossroads: Building on the Past to Execute for the Future.”

Words of wisdom

On Saturday, Feb. 25 at the James L. Allen Center, morning keynote speaker Edith Cooper ’86 addressed the conference via video teleconference after inclement weather grounded her in New York. The global head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs stressed the importance of making an impact by pursuing excellence and maintaining professional passion.

“I have had more successes in life because I have not only embraced these principles myself, but have surrounded myself with people who share these same principles,” Cooper said.

Saturday also included panel discussions on community impact, entrepreneurship and multicultural marketing as well as a keynote from Capri Capital Partners president Gwendolyn Butler ’84.

Attendee Derrick Wortes ’13 said he gained important takeaways on the value of mentorship and confronting challenges.

“There’s really no such thing as ‘made it’ so long as you’re paying attention.  There’s always a challenge that deserves your engagement,” Wortes said.

Celebrating 25 years

A welcome reception for alumni at Chicago’s Spiaggia Restaurant on Feb. 24 opened the weekend conference. The following morning, conference co-chairs Evan Sharp ’12 and Natasha Aarons ’12 paid tribute to late BMA conference founder Ed Thompson ’88. 

Sharp said the first BMA conference set a “never-ending ripple” that students have strived to continue.

“Each year, students consider it both an honor and a duty to add another patch to the quilt that has been woven thus far,” Sharp said.

A legacy of leadership

The spirited events continued through the evening of Saturday, Feb. 25 with “A Silver Soiree: Celebrating a Legacy of Leadership” at the W City Center in downtown Chicago.

The elegant affair honored four distinguished alumni: Cooper; Robinson Hill Hospitality Group founder Dee Robinson Reid ’88; AREA Property Partners’ James H. Simmons III ’96; and Eli Lilly chief diversity officer Shaun Hawkins ’00. Accenture global managing director Dwight Hutchins ’91 and Xerox corporate vice president Kevin Warren offered the evening’s keynote addresses.

The conference concluded on Feb. 26 with a gospel brunch at the Allen Center.

“[The BMA Conference] is a critical connection point for students, alumni and corporate professionals,” Sharp said. “Every year presents an opportunity to re-engage and re-energize so that we can continue to be successful in our professional and personal lives.”

Further reading

Real Estate Executive Speaker Series: Gwendolyn Butler ’84

Kellogg finance expertise well represented among alumni leaders in fund management