WashU Olin’s Leadership Perspectives Series has connected audiences with leaders from all types of organizations for more than 35 years. Hear highly regarded business leaders and influential academics speak about today’s most relevant topics and trends. Take the opportunity to strengthen your ties to the Olin community, develop partnerships, and stay informed.
Knight Hall, Emerson Auditorium Throop Dr St. Louis Missouri
Emerson Auditorium, Knight Hall Throop Drive St. Louis
Leadership Perspectives Summaries and Videos
March 8, 2023
For International Women’s Day, WashU Olin is proud to celebrate the successes of professional women who have faced challenges and made an impact. This year’s impressive panel includes women from a wide spectrum of lived experiences who exemplify the talent, drive and leadership women bring to the workplace. Building on the IWD’s #EmbraceEquity theme, the panel will share stories, lessons learned, business philosophies and how their values have impacted their decision-making. Join us for this engaging event that lifts up women and honors their accomplishments.
February 22, 2023
Entrepreneurship is a journey, and often an arduous one. Much work goes into making that first inspiration into an actualized product. The proverbial blood, sweat and tears translate into many steps, including developing the product, scaling production, assessing risk, pitching investors, determining organizational structure and securing distribution, to name a few.
Join us for a robust conversation with Olin alum Ray Colletti, who has worked on both sides of the fence in high-growth startups for over a decade—as an early employee of tech startups AppNexus and Datadog and most recently as a founding partner of VC firm Zag Capital. He’ll sit down with Olin professor Rebecca Dohrman to share his thoughts on startup strategies, taking chances and the wealth of opportunities available to aspiring entrepreneurs.
6 executives. 60 ideas. 60 minutes.
January 26, 2023
How did great leaders get where they are today? Aside from talent, drive and smarts, how do they do it? Join us for our special event: 6 executives. 60 ideas. 60 minutes.—a fast-paced panel that gives successful business leaders the opportunity to boil down their philosophies and insights to a few choice words. Each panelist has 10 minutes to share 10 thoughts that have helped them achieve success in their careers. You’ll leave invigorated and armed with thoughtful, provocative and actionable tools to put into practice immediately.
Antiracism and Social Justice
December 7, 2022
Olin welcomed Dr. Ibram X. Kendi for a discussion of recent progress in antiracism efforts, the role businesses can play in antiracism efforts and how individuals can work to make change within their organization. Dr. Kendi is one of America's foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times best-selling author of six books for adults and five for children. Dr. Kendi is also the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.
November 17, 2022
Business has never been more tech-driven. Yet what we think of as state-of-the-art technology today will likely be old news in just a few years, months or even weeks. That's the reality for all organizations, not just the Apples, Metas and Alphabets of the world. Technology is embedded into every business, and it's key to strategy, growth and long-term success.
Olin hosted a panel on the evolution of technology in modern business with Alfred Koh, Shaun Vaid and Rovina Valashiya, all Olin alums and active in the tech industry, who tackled the subject from their unique viewpoints and career experiences.
Shake it up
October 13, 2022
Data, modeling, financial projections, shareholder value. Those are key inputs in decision-making for any business today. For some organizations—particularly the most successful ones—values, sustainability, commitment to customers and company ethos are equally important factors.
Katie Fogertey, Shake Shack’s chief financial officer conversed with WashU Olin professor Peter Boumgarden about staying true to your values, building consensus and living a people-first philosophy.
September 1, 2022
Something you never saw coming ... a fire, a financial crisis, a pandemic. Some business challenges you can anticipate, while others come out of the blue. How do you grapple with the unexpected? What's your next move after the floor caves in?
This panel discussion featured four business leaders who have shared their stories on WashU Olin's On Principle podcast. Join us to hear them talk about their uh-oh moments, how they dealt with them and the lasting impact of their solutions.
March 8, 2022
For International Women’s Day, WashU Olin celebrated the successes of professional women who have faced challenges and made an impact. This year’s impressive panel exemplified the talent, drive and leadership women bring to the workplace. Building on the IWD’s #BreakTheBias theme, the panel will share stories, lessons learned, business philosophies and how their values have impacted their decision-making.
Like a boss
February 17, 2022
What makes a great team great? It’s not thanks to the planets aligning or a wizardry concoction of potions. Building a top-notch team—and keeping it thriving—takes a talented leader with vision, commitment and empathy. So how do you put together that dream team? Is every leader up to the task? And what if you inherit a team that needs a complete overhaul?
Adam Stanley, recently retired CIO of global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield and active board member in the tech space, discussed team leadership strategies, the lasting impact leaders have on direct reports and how hybrid work situations has changed the game. With more than 20 years of achievement in driving value from technology and operations investments, Stanley has led teams of all kinds with members from dozens of countries with various backgrounds and skills.
6 executives. 60 ideas. 60 minutes.
January 13, 2022
How did great leaders get where they are today? Aside from talent, drive and smarts, how do they do it? Find out in a fast-paced panel that gave successful business leaders the opportunity to boil down their philosophies and insights to a few choice words. Each panelist had 10 minutes to share 10 thoughts that have helped them achieve success in their careers. You’ll leave invigorated and armed with thoughtful, provocative and actionable tools to put into practice immediately.
Are you talking to me?
December 14, 2021
Today’s consumers expect a lot from their brand interactions—and the more personalized, the better. That’s where conversational AI comes in. Conversational AI goes well beyond chatbots, automating highly personalized customer service experiences that are richer and more relevant than manually written scripts. Each customer engagement feels unique and personal while saving time, effort and resources. It’s a win-win for all involved.
Vinita Kumar, analytics and cognitive conversational AI expert at Deloitte in Chicago discussed re-imagining the human experience, transforming businesses and improving outcomes with artificial intelligence.
Start Me Up: Venture Capital and Transforming Traditional Industries
October 26, 2021
There's nothing like a pandemic to inspire innovation. Whether it's individuals starting a business (more than 4 million in the United States in 2020) or established businesses' quick turn to eCommerce, the times they are a-changin'.
WashU Olin alumna and entrepreneur Megan Berry, MBA '15, and entrepreneurship professor Doug Villhard talked about the entrepreneurship process, the ins and outs of venture capital investing, and digital transformation's place at the center of leading through change for virtually every sector of business.
Grow your own way
September 29, 2021
WashU Olin alumnus Andrew Rubin, BSBA '98, CEO and cofounder of Illumio, a hypergrowth late-stage cybersecurity company joined Olin marketing and entrepreneurship professor Michael Wall for a conversation that touched on how to manage the collision of data-driven strategy with the ever-present need to deliver value, building and marketing a differentiated product offering, and how to systematically encourage and motivate employees during this tidal shift in workplace expectations.
Reality Bytes: The real story on women and leadership in the tech space
September 9, 2021
There are two truisms about the tech field. One is constant change; the other is it's a man's world. Women make up about 25% of all IT employees, a seemingly low number except for the fact that it's been steadily growing over the past decade. So what's the secret for women to break into tech-related business? How can they be successful? And what leadership skills will keep them at the top?
WashU Olin welcomed Lisa Nichols, CEO and cofounder of Technology Partners, a provider of premier IT staffing, solutions and software, for a conversation that touched on many aspects of business in the technology space, including female representation (or, more appropriate, the lack thereof), innovation, entrepreneurship and values-driven leadership. She also hosts the interview podcast Something Extra, which shines a light on each guest's distinct leadership qualities.
Reflections on Leadership with Dean Mark Taylor and General John R. Allen
April 7, 2021
Shakespeare said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” This gets to the heart of the question: What makes a great leader? For insights on the subject, two reflected on what constitutes greatness, their leadership philosophies and the importance of considering both data and values in decision-making. WashU Olin’s Dean Mark P. Taylor and The Brookings Institution’s General John R. Allen shared stories and observations from their long and distinguished careers in business, academia, government and the military.
March 8, 2021
For International Women’s Day, WashU Olin is proud to celebrate the successes of professional women who have faced challenges and made an impact. This year’s impressive panel exemplifies the talent, drive and leadership women bring to the workplace. Building on the IWD’s #ChoosetoChallenge theme, the panel will share stories, lessons learned, business philosophies and how their values have impacted their decision-making. Join us for this engaging event that lifts up women and honors their accomplishments.
Culture, Character and Communication: Today’s Global Leader
February 3, 2021
WashU Olin alumna Lori Lee and Professor Samuel Chun discussed many facets of global leadership in an interconnected world: the necessity of understanding culture in international business, the impact of disruption in the communications industry and how to combat racial inequities around the world.
6 Executives. 60 Ideas. 60 Minutes.
January 28, 2021
This fast-paced panel gives successful business leaders the opportunity to boil down their philosophies and insights to a few choice words. Each panelist has 10 minutes to share 10 thoughts that have helped them achieve success in their careers.
Driving an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Any Organization
November 10, 2020
You often hear about entrepreneurs, but what about intrapreneurs—those people who push innovating thinking inside an established organization? What’s the overlap between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, and how do the two differ? With the rate of change in today’s world, this kind of forward thinking isn’t just valuable, it’s indispensable. WashU Olin business pioneer and alum Carl Casale engaged in a dynamic discussion with Doug Villhard, a serial entrepreneur and the school’s resident expert on entrepreneurship. They shared great ideas on how to tap into an entrepreneurial spirit to advance your career—whether you’re helming a startup, firmly entrenched in corporate America or somewhere in between.
Active Inclusion: More Than a Seat at the Table
October 27, 2020
Diversity, equity, inclusion. Over the past months, DEI has become a top priority in many organizations. Olin alum Joyce Trimuel, career strategist and professional speaker, discussed the importance of active inclusion and how it extends well beyond representation. She’ll address our collective and individual responsibility in creating an inclusive culture and the downside of not doing this important work.
Human Capital-AI and the future of human-machine collaboration
October 15, 2020
The two founders of Ai4—Marcus Jecklin and Michael Weiss—are on a mission to help provide a common framework for what AI means to both enterprise and the future as we transition into a new era of responsible human-machine collaboration. Moderated by Peter Boumgarden
Leading during COVID-19
September 29, 2020
Around the world, this year has been unlike any other in modern history, and universities are no exception. From an abrupt campus shutdown to unplanned virtual course delivery to transitioning to a remote workforce to the suspension of elective surgeries, WashU has rapidly responded to the impact of COVID-19. Through it all, the guiding principle has been the safety, health and well-being of the university community. Chancellor Andrew Martin and Dr. Steven Lawrence, infectious disease expert from the School of Medicine, shared their approach on leading through a global pandemic and thoughts about what's on the horizon.
She Suite 2020
March 6, 2020
In honor of International Women's Day, WashU Olin celebrates the successes of professional women who have risen to the top of their respective organizations. They are entrepreneurs, corporate executives and thought leaders. They are innovators, disruptors and visionaries. Most importantly, they are role models, mentors and lifelong learners. The dynamic panel shared stories, lessons learned, business philosophies, and how their values have impacted their decision-making. Participants included Staci Thomas, Lecturer in Communication and Interim Director of MCC; Jennifer Fuller, BSBA '03, Managing Director, Fintech & Financial Services Investment Banking, KBW; Cheryl Jones, President and CEO, Girls Incorporated of St. Louis; Merry Mosbacher, MBA '82, Principal, Edward Jones (retired); and Amanda Signorelli, BSBA '13, Founder, The Leafist and Owner, Golden Steer Steakhouse.
What the tech?
February 12, 2020
It’s quite a journey from MBA student to CEO. After 40 years in the tech world, Quorum President and CEO Gene Austin has a lot to share about his career, including his top 10 lessons learned along the way. Austin shared what it’s like to run fast-growing—and not-so-fast-growing—tech businesses and about the strategies and skills necessary to lead three uniquely different companies.
6 executives. 60 ideas. 60 minutes.
January 30, 2020
Hire people smarter than you. Be grateful. Sleep on every big decision. Remember to say thank you. Great leaders can boil down their philosophies to a few choice words. In this special event, we brought 6 St. Louis leaders to WashU Olin to share their top ten great "ideas" for leadership.
January 22, 2020
The words “machine learning” are more than the latest business buzz words. If you’re not tapping into the power of big data analytics, you’re already behind the curve. Washington University’s Professor Seethu Seetharaman discussed how to harness big data and machine learning to drive business forward. He examined how machine learning algorithms can predict product sales and compares machine learning approaches with traditional marketing mix models.
Do What You Love
November 5, 2019
What’s the key to loving your work? It starts with understanding yourself and knowing what makes you happy. With that, you’re in a position to help others and make a difference in their lives. Brent Sobol, president and founder of Legacy Community Housing Corporation and a specialist in multifamily apartment turnaround and crime prevention, shared his personal story about transforming communities and turning housing into homes.
The Good, the Bad and the Bottom Line October 29, 2019
Both ethics and productivity affect an organization’s bottom line. But managers view them separately when designing policy. Firms implement intrusive surveillance systems then are surprised when morale and productivity slump. Managers set sales quotas then are shocked at what employees will do to meet them.
Olin expert Lamar Pierce brought to light the key drivers of productivity and misconduct and shared ways managers can create more holistic solutions to jointly address both.
Learning from Failure - Recovering Your Way to Success September 11, 2019
How do you recover from failure? What lessons will carry you toward your next success? A panel of WashU Olin alumni and faculty shared personal stories of failure to explore how the experience shaped their values and helped them find a new path to success. Moderated by Dedric Carter, WashU Vice Chancellor for Operations and Tech Transfer, the panel included Lisa Hu (PMBA ’16), Founder and Owner, Lux and Nyx; Mark Pydynowski (BSBA ’04), Entrepreneur; former Senior Director of Product, Experian; and Doug Villhard (EMBA ’14), Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship.
The She Suite
March 8, 2019
A standing room-only crowd of enthusiastic visitors—along with another 140 by live stream—attended WashU Olin’s second annual “She Suite” event commemorating International Women’s Day. The panel, moderated by Linda Haberstroh, EMBA ’10, president of Phoenix Textile Corporation, also included Ratna Craig, EMBA ’11, account executive at Slalom Consulting; WashU Olin Professor Hillary Anger Elfenbein; Vicki Felker, EMBA ’12, vice president and general manager, Golden Products Division, Nestlé Purina; and Valerie Toothman, BSBME/BSAS ’01, MBA ’08, executive vice president for brand and beverage marketing at Drinkworks. Read more on OlinBlog.
6 executives. 60 ideas. 60 minutes. January 31, 2019
Hire people smarter than you. Be grateful. Sleep on every big decision. Remember to say thank you. Great leaders can boil down their philosophies to a few choice words. In an exciting hour overflowing with ideas, we brought together a diverse panel of six business leaders for a lightning round of leadership insights. Each panelist had 10 minutes to share 10 thoughts that have helped them achieve success in their careers.
- Carla Bailey, Senior Manager of Learning and Organizational Development, Washington University in St. Louis
- Adrian E. Bracy, CEO, YWCA Metro St. Louis
- Steve Degnan, Chief HR Officer, Nestlé Purina
- Dana Lorberg, Executive Vice President, Mastercard
- Lisa Nichols, CEO, Technology Partners
- Rebecca L. Saunders, Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Amplifey Health
Big Data, Big Rewards: Using Data to Understand Customer Behavior
January 16, 2019
Big data is a big deal in business today. The amount of information available to organizations is staggering. But having data and understanding data are very different things—not to mention knowing how to maximize the data to achieve results. When are customers most likely to buy your product? When they buy one product, are they more likely to buy another? How can you most effectively use consumer data to drive customer loyalty? WashU Olin professor Seethu Seetharaman and Olin alumna Bridget Blaise-Shamai, vice president of customer insights and loyalty and president of the AAdvantage Program at American Airlines, discussed big data, machine-based learning, and loyalty marketing.
Risky Business: Logistics in Today's Global Environment
January 15, 2019
In today’s complex business landscape, an organization’s logistics play a key role in its success. What supply chain challenges do companies face in an increasingly global environment? What forces are at play when leaders make strategic and tactical supply chain management decisions? How can company logistics keep pace with the rapid rate of change in the world? What risks result from an increasing reliance on technology? Andrew Clarke, chief financial officer of C.H. Robinson, shared his insights on how his organization helps clients navigate their most pressing supply chain challenges. From volatility in supply chain pricing to access to capacity to the impact of tariffs on the bottom line, Clarke touched on current trends and key concerns that organizations must consider in a world where disruption is the new normal.
The Promise and Peril of Purpose at Work December 6, 2018
Who among your workplace colleagues is the hardest worker, the most committed, the most valuable? Is it the well-paid person? The one who bonds with teammates? Or is it, instead, the one who views work with a sense of purpose and passion? Stuart Bunderson reviewed surprising research on how "work as a calling" influences motivation and commitment among today's workers, who demand to know that their work matters. At the same time, hose workers present unique challenges for leaders as they confront employees' values and serve all their constituents. Stuart Bunderson, director of Olin Business School's Bauer Leadership Center and professor of organizational ethics and governance presented this Leadership Perspectives session in Washington, DC.