GBC 1994

1994…A Jumpstart for the Rust Belt
The Changing Face of American Industry, hosted by the Weatherhead School of Management, brought a much-needed focus on the re-emergence and development of our nation’s industrial base. 1994 Conference co-chairs Ed Schwartz and Jenny Layman welcomed us to Cleveland in style. From our first reception to our farewell brunch, it was clear that Weatherhead’s superb planning committee was out to change any misperceptions about Cleveland.

Friday’s program began with an excellent address from Wolfgang Schmidt, CEO of Rubbermaid. Schmidt’s comments focused on the qualities necessary for an American manufacturing company to retain a worldwide competitive advantage. Interestingly, he suggested that the answer lay not only in consumer-focused American innovation and process re-engineering, but also by an aggressive infusion of global awareness via a foreign national training program.

Innovating with Style…
Following a morning of panel discussions, Weatherhead created its own legacy for future GBC hosts. Amidst an excellent luncheon venue in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Weatherhead dean Scott Cowan personally captivated the assemblage by creating our first GBC “live case study”. Flanked by former Revco president Bok Sells and former Revco Board member Norton Rose, Cowan crafted a live study of the leadership challenges faced when one’s organization is freefalling toward certain demise. Sells and Rose captivated the audience with a surprisingly candid personal narrative on the organizational, motivational, and political issues Sells encountered at the helm of the troubled drug chain. Future hosts, take note!

Expanded Leadership Recognition
Friday afternoon’s panels soon gave way to our evening itinerary at the Crawford Auto Museum and our gala Leadership Awards banquet. In the Business Leadership category, Richard F. Shatten, executive Director of Cleveland Tomorrow accepted accolades for his outstanding work in the greater Cleveland area. Next, the Graduate Business Foundation recognized the Kellogg School of Management’s student body with the inaugural Community Outreach Award. This new honor was created to formally recognize leadership initiatives which increase a school’s contribution to its greater community.

Our evening concluded with the presentation of the Student Leadership Award to Joaquim Weidemanis of the Stockholm School of Economics. In his student tenure, Weidemanis managed to not only create and endow an exchange program in Stockholm for students in the Baltic republics, but to also serve as the school’s principle emissary in founding a school of management in Riga, Latvia.

The reminder of 1994’s events flew by with an all-too-characteristic blur. Saturday’s workshops and Leader Forum soon gave way to Saturday evening’s dinner dance at Windows on the River (an excellent venue in the famous ‘Flats’). Late night barhopping rapidly dissolved into Sunday morning’s brunch, compliments of the Haas School of Business, another first of GBC traditions. And, yes, before we knew it, we were stumbling onto planes hoping to gain a few hours sleep on the way back to our former lives.

Attendees from this Conference