With AAMBAA’s signature event, the 32nd Annual DuSable Conference, just around the corner, Chibus sat down with Zachary White ‘17 and Ameerah Phillips ‘17, the conference co-chairs to learn more about what makes this conference so special.
Chibus: The theme of “A Commitment To Doing Good & Doing Well” struck me immediately applicable to me a business school student. Tell me a little about why that was such an important theme for you to highlight?
ZW: “The idea was born out of our desire as leaders of AAMBAA to continue the conversation about our engagement with society as business leaders. For the last two years now, we've all observed the various movements and conversations our society is having about ensuring equitable treatment and access to opportunities for all members of our society. The reality is that we as business leaders have a voice in that discussion and the opportunity to have a positive impact. And we are excited to share this with other Business Students, recognizing that we are going to be at the forefront of leading businesses, new ventures, industry, and we can use this opportunity to think about how we can leverage our experiences to make an impact and give back to the communities in which we live. We've assembled an amazing lineup of speakers who will share their experiences at the forefront of business and community engagement.”
AP: "Moreover, it was really important to us to debunk the myth that doing good and doing well are mutually exclusive concepts. Given our current political and social climate, we want to encourage our colleagues--fellow emerging professionals--to integrate personal values into their work to make a meaningful impact, while still advancing their respective interests."
Chibus: Chicago Booth is known for being an engaged community. Did you see a desire for this particular conversation in the rest of the community?
ZW: “Absolutely. We have a long-standing legacy of students and alumni at the school who have been engaged in shaping community here in Chicago and elsewhere. AAMBAA had a few events throughout the year highlighting social issues such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement in addition to a few members participating in Booth Insights. We found that there is a hunger and desire in our classmates to have this type of conversation.
Moreover, we had the support to really make this vision come to fruition. At Chicago Booth, we’re privileged to have access to and the support of partners like the Social Enterprise Initiative, which has been instrumental in helping us shape this conference. With their help, we've assembled speakers and panelists that can share powerful insights on what it means to maintain a commitment to doing good and doing well.”
Chibus: Tell us a little about what we should expect?
ZW: “The DuSable Conference will be filled with powerful insights and practical takeaways from individuals who have had success in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Chicago Booth students continually look for ways to engage and hopefully, students will be encouraged to take action.
We're lucky to have Martin Nesbitt, Chicago GSB ‘89, join us to share his story in addition to providing some tangible steps for balancing one's career and community engagement. Martin is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Vistria Group LLC based in Chicago.
In addition to establishing a private equity firm, Martin has leveraged his network for civic engagement. He’s been incredibly involved as the Chairman of the Obama Foundation, leading the development of the Presidential Library and community center.
Additionally, with the help of the SEI, we were able to secure Elizabeth and Don Thompson. Don is a former CEO of McDonald's while Liz serves as a Trustee for The University of Chicago. Here are two people who are balancing business and philanthropy by creating an organization focused on the community, the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education alongside a successful business venture, Cleveland Avenue LLC, a VC firm and startup accelerator focused on building new food and beverage businesses.
And of course, if you didn’t have the opportunity to join Professor Epley’s Designing a Good Life last quarter, he will be there to set the tone of the conference and share research that supports the importance of doing good while also doing well.”
AP: "To add to Zac's point, we'd like to highlight the fact that the DuSable conference places a strong emphasis on interactive discussion and action. We'll have the opportunity to engage with these dynamic speakers, but it doesn't stop there, we hope that this conference will also encourage attendees to develop a plan of action to make a meaningful impact in their communities.
Beyond this, DuSable is also a great networking opportunity. It gathers current students, alums, graduate students from across the city, and Chicago civic and business professionals. It's a great way to meet new people and build relationships."
Chibus: What do you hope attendees with take away from this conference?
ZW: "Considering that this is Spring Quarter with Boothies close to graduation and summer internships, we hope that students take away from this day a greater sense of the impact they can have in their communities as business leaders. They can take inspiration from speakers and identify avenues in their lives where they can give back.”
Sign up for the DuSable Conference on Booth Groups. The conference will be held on Saturday, May 6th at the Gleacher Center and the ticket includes all the conference sessions, lunch, post-conference reception with unlimited frosty beverages, and entry to the late night social!