The Black Management Association (“BMA”) hosted the 24th Annual BMA Conference last weekend February 25 through 27 at the Kellogg School of Management. The event is one of the largest business school conferences at Kellogg, not only because of the number of students and alumni who attend but also because of the participants who come in to speak for the weekend and the message delivered by the speakers and panelists.
BMA members and conference leaders worked tirelessly to make the weekend a success. Leveraging the alumni and professors networks, we brought in keynotes and panelists such as Soledad O’Brien, Terdema Ussery, and Bridgette Heller, and they discussed topics such as media, business, entrepreneurship and investing. The panels and discussions were engaging and interactive.
The conference kicked off Friday night with an alumni mixer event downtown on the waters of Chicago, featuring both students and alumni. And bright and early on Saturday, Soledad O’Brien kicked off the actual conference and discussed about storytelling. One big theme that emerged from her discussion was that it’s important to have difficult conversations and ask the difficult question in order to tell some of the most important stories about race and ethnicity.
Next up, was a series of speakers and panels all day Saturday afternoon. One panel included James Reynolds Jr. (KSM ’82), Founder, Chairman and CEO, Loop Capital Markets and John W. Rogers Jr., Founder, Chairman and CEO, Ariel Capital Management, in the “Billion Dollar Roundtable panel”. And another panel included Tim King, Founder, President and CEO, Urban Prep Academies, and Carmita Vaughan (KSM ’04) in the “Investing in Education” panel.
After the set of panels was the Saturday Gala event downtown, which nicely concluded a great day of speakers and panels. The keynote speaker for the Gala was Terdema Ussery, President and CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. And finally on Sunday, there was the Gospel Brunch, where a diverse set of students from the Kellogg community came together for food and fellowship while the University of Chicago Soul Umoja Choir sang a set of songs during the event.
In the end, the Conference was a resounding success, and it even elicited a short article the next day in the Small Business Chicago online. Thanks to Co-Chairs Stephanie Dorsey and Brianna English for their work over the past year.
Currently, the BMA Club is already thinking about at next year to see not only who wants to have leadership positions in the club but also who wants to help orchestrate the 25th BMA conference.
We hope you can make it to the event.