1998…Meet Me in St. Louis
1998 brought the GBC to the gateway of the west and a new page in the Conference history. The John M. Olin School of Business presented a stellar program on the role of Business in the Community. Robert Shapiro, Chairman and CEO of Monsanto introduced our Conference at Friday’s breakfast. He explored the theme and presented examples of the way Monsanto integrates its operating philosophies with its community involvement. The entire delegation then took to the streets and spent the rest of the morning volunteering at four worthy causes in greater St. Louis. Inspired by this effort, we returned to hear Albert Suter, Senior Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer of Emerson Electric echo the morning’s sentiment and challenge each of us to consider the leadership roles we would seize in the future.
Student Leadership in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Following a VIP tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery and a brief respite from our busy program, Friday’s events concluded with the 1998 Student Leadership Awards banquet at the 9th Street Abbey. Student Leadership Award recipient Valerie Gregory was recognized for conceiving and executing a South African Small Business Community Outreach Program which brought motivated Notre Dame summer interns to South Africa, established faculty mentorships at the University of Capetown, and ultimately helped foster small business development and entrepreneurship in black and colored townships. Her conviction to this program was clearly demonstrated when she declined an inaugural internship so that a fellow classmate could make the journey in her place.
Discussion, Ideation, and Convergence
Saturday’s program consisted of a great series of roundtable discussions ranging from global corporate citizenship to corporate participation in local communities. The President’s Forum (now an entrenched Conference tradition) enjoyed spirited brainstorming on fundamental leadership issues, and commitments were made to create an ongoing e-mail network and inter-school liaisons on several issues. Finally, Susan Knobler, Director of the Lenscrafters gift of Sight program presented a spirited case study of how her organization is well on its way to supplying one million free pairs of eyeglasses to needy people around the world by 2003.
Relaxing, St. Louis Style
After an all-too-brief rest period, the assembly found itself at the stately Missouri Athletic Club for a gala dinner and casino party. Festivities abounded, with high stakes gambling (with play money, of course) and dance competitions comprising the main events. Committee chair Kevin Joy and his fellow steering committee members at Olin did a most outstanding job hosting GBC 1998.