1993…A Triumphant Return To New York…
How fitting it was to return to New York for the tenth anniversary of the GBC! However, in 1993, it was the newly dedicated N.Y.U. Stern School of Business providing a spectacular venue. Delegates convened on this anniversary year to explore the issues surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility with a number of influential leaders from many walks of business and society.
Responsibility to the Greater Community
The Stern School of Business provided not only an excellent series of venues, but also treated delegates to a first-class slate of speakers. Our first keynote, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, electrified the crowd with a decidedly “un-MBAish” tale of her organization’s evolution and the manner in which social responsibility was woven into the fabric of the firm. Roddick’s presentation, complete with slides of Body Shop sojourns to six continents, had a tremendous impact on each delegate.
Not to be outdone, Larry Weinbach, CEO of Arthur Andersen & Co, S.C. followed, and provided an equally inspirational address which assessed the roles and responsibilities of leading corporations in the greater community. Together, Roddick and Weinbach provided a complete framework for the sessions to follow.
New Speakers and New Standards
The 1993 Conference was memorable in several other regards. Stern lay down a new standard for speaker support, with participants including Alan Hassenfeld, CEO of Hasbro, Joseph Smith, President of Warner-Lambert Pharmaceuticals, and Erwin Shames, President and CEO of Stride-Rite. Together with other speakers on diversity and community responsibilities, delegates were treated to an exceptional program.
Innovating for the Future
Stern contributions to Conference tradition included a custom-developed case study on Hydro-Quebec, a significant hydroelectric project that promised a new, cheap energy source but would sacrifice thousands of acres of native hunting lands in northern Quebec. This project, sponsored by Citicorp, included a spirited lunchtime discussion facilitated by several Stern faculty members.
Conference chairperson Jonathon Zimmerman’s “one-up” for future Conference hosts included a spectacular Friday evening awards banquet in the United Nations Banquet Facility overlooking the East River. One could not help but think great thoughts in these halls, and Business Leadership Award Recipient Michael Levitt (representing the Businesses for Social Responsibility) provided additional inspiration.
Leadership Models for the Future
Friday evening closed with the 1993 Student Leadership Award presentation. Following a special commendation to the student leaders U.S.C. Graduate School of Business, Marc S. Weinsweig of the Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Administration, took the podium to receive the 1993 honor. Weinsweig conceived and executed a unique Pittsburgh-wide community service initiative, which became a reality when the City Of Pittsburgh issued a resolution declaring March 14th as “Dare To Share” Day in recognition of graduate business student community service. This resounding endorsement of student initiative heralded a weeklong volunteer effort at locations like the Rainbow Soup Kitchen and the Salvation Army Center. Along the way, GSIA alumni provided $6,000 in contributions, and local corporations stepped in with t-shirt donations and additional pledges. A 10,000-can food drive was initiated on each campus with a massive house-to-house campaign as its finale.
A Full Slate
The remainder of our 1993 Conference was filled with superb workshops, another first of ongoing GBC traditions, the President’s Leadership Forum (sponsored by the Graduate Business Foundation), and a blur of social activities including a “tenth anniversary Chinese banquet” (thank you, Stern), a Greenwich Village bar hop, and an “only in New York” visit to Webster Hall, a 2,000+ capacity nightclub offering several themed dance venues and a continuous parade of “beautiful” people, Manhattan style.