News & Events

Award-Winning Owen Forward alumni engagement series

Professor Kelly Goldsmith hosts best-selling author and former Best Buy Chairman & CEO Hubert Joly  

On June 23, 2021, Professor Kelly Goldsmith hosted an Owen Forward Fireside Speaker Series with best-selling author and former Chairman & CEO of Best Buy Hubert Joly to discuss his new book THE HEART OF BUSINESS: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism.  Hubert Joly—an orchestrator of Best Buy’s spectacular turnaround—unveils his personal philosophy to achieving extraordinary outcomes for all stakeholders by putting purpose and people first. Joly has written THE HEART OF BUSINESS as a playbook for leaders who are ready to abandon old paradigms and eager to lead with purpose and humanity.   In their lively and inspiring conversation, Joly shared his unique approach to marshalling high-level philosophical insights and distilling them into tactics that allow each leader and employee to write themselves into a company’s success story. Says Joly, “Our role as leaders is not so much to come up with the right answer, that part is easy, it’s to create an environment where you can unleash human magic and create energy.” 

Professor Kimberly Pace hosts Women In Business in partnership with Commodore Classroom 

In June, Kimberly Pace, professor for the practice of communication at Owen, lead a virtual Women in Leadership event to discuss some of the attributes that can help women land a position in the C-suite, and how they can manage and mitigate risk while continuing to thrive in executive roles.  

The event was part of the Owen Forward Summer Leadership Series presented in partnership with Vanderbilt Alumni Association and was co-moderated by Megan Lynch, BA’15, Boston Chapter Co-President, and Neema Mehta, MBA’06, Global HR Business Partner at Philips Medical Systems and Owen Alumni Board Member. 

In addition to her role at Owen, Pace is the CEO and Co-Founder of Executive Aura, LLC, a consulting firm providing business strategy, leadership development and culture solutions that engage employees. Drawing on her extensive experience, Pace underscored the importance of striving to meet your goals and surrounding yourself with people who will give you honest, constructive feedback, even when it is difficult to hear. She also emphasized the importance of authentic, confident self-branding. Says Pace, “Throughout your career, at every stage of your career, understand what that unique value is that you bring to the organization.” 

Mehta added to this, saying, “Be authentic, be who you are, but remember you may need to adapt your communication skills so that you can have clear intent. There are ways to be successful as yourself.” 

Asia Alumni Board hosts country-by-country “Closing Bells” 

In keeping in the spirit of Closing Bells, we brought the community together across Asia for three virtual networking events this fall as an engaging opportunity for alumni and potential students to learn more about Owen’s alumni footprint in Japan, Korea, and across Asia, network with the Owen community, and ask questions to our Asia Alumni Board Members. 

According to Asia Alumni Board Chair Derek Young, “It’s a personal exercise of devotion of time and energy to get this connectivity.” He encouraged alumni attending the Closing Bell in India to dream big about what they can accomplish in the region to bolster the Owen brand, increase student recruiting, and deepen connections between alumni in the region. Young says, “the only thing that’s going to limit what the footprint is in India is your imagination and your creativity. You have the opportunity to define what it is for us. You’ll get our support, I can guarantee you.” Dean Johnson echoed this, noting, “This is a new day and a new opportunity and there is tremendous support across campus.” He mentioned successful trans-institutional programs for Owen, such as the Undergraduate Business Minor and a new computational finance focus in collaboration with the Data Science Institute. “The linkages across campus are much tighter,” Johnson says. This spirit of community extends to Owen, and Vanderbilt’s, focus on creating opportunities for alumni and prospective students to engage in key regions like India. 

Owen Forward Wins Award!

We are proud to announce that the Owen Graduate School of Management team received The Association of Business School Alumni Professionals 2020-2021 Most Innovative New Initiative Award for the Owen Forward alumni engagement programming initiative. This association is made up of alumni leaders from the top 30 business schools as ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek 

Originally conceived as a one-time, week-long event, Owen Forward has evolved into an umbrella brand with a portfolio of virtual, in person and on-demand engagement opportunities to inspire inquiry, close-knit collaboration and discovery among the entire Owen and Vanderbilt community – directly supporting the mission of Owen Graduate School of Management. After a successful launch in November 2020, the alumni engagement team expanded the Owen Forward brand through new positioning, tagline, logo and themed content to drive engagement not only with alumni, but also with students. 

Owen Forward is now the umbrella brand under which all current and future alumni programming will fall, inspiring Owen business leaders to connect and grow together on a personal scale. Owen Forward reached more than 1500 alumni with 25 virtual events over the past year, and the team is looking forward to expanding that in the future. 

Owen Forward has been a great tool to help us connect with our global Owen community, especially throughout the past  year as we had to find new ways to stay engaged with our diverse alumni base,” said MK Rosack, senior director of alumni engagement and annual giving at Owen. “While the idea of creating branded content is not revolutionary, doing it in a professional and innovative way that aligns with the Owen Graduate School of Management and Vanderbilt University mission and becomes a competitive advantage is what’s expected from us as a top-tier business school and what I look forward to continuing to deliver for Owen.