Johnson Women in Business—A Day For and About Women
Prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, and staff took time to share experiences, network, and learn
December 01, 2014
Expanding the Scope of Diversity in the Workplace
Fred Keeton, chief diversity officer and vice president of external affairs for Caesars Entertainment delivered keynote speech at Johnson’s 2014 Diversity Symposium by Sherrie Negrea Diversity once focused on bringing underrepresented groups into the workplace, but today it has evolved into a strategy that embraces different types of cognitive abilities among employees to drive better business outcomes. Fred Keeton, chief diversity officer and vice president of external affairs for Caesars Entertainment, urged a group of Johnson students, prospective students, and faculty to broaden their definition of diversity at Johnson's 2014 Diversity Symposium. "Stop just attaching it to protected class issues and think about it in terms of business issues," Keeton said in a keynote speech at Sage Hall on Oct. 24. When companies include employees with different cognitive abilities on teams, for example, it can lead to better business outcomes, Keeton said. But companies that have nontraditional biases and judge employees based on their cognitive skills, such as having a predisposition to being action-oriented, become locked into following orthodoxies, which prevents innovative thinking and decision-making. This pattern can result in employees feeling overconfident and lead to poor business decisions, Keeton said. But by including diverse employees on teams, companies can avoid creating a "fixed capacity mindset" that doesn't empower employees from giving honest feedback. One solution that can move decision-making forward is to encourage employees to ask questions across functional roles and geographic locations. In addition, employees need to talk "across silos" and formalize this process, which may also yield more diverse viewpoints, Keeton said. "What we're talking about is using diversity to make sure you make the best decisions as we go along, rather than waiting until the end," Keeton said. The goal in creating effective teams is to "get outside your group" and bring in diverse employees who collectively can solve complex business problems, Keeton said. "The farther you go out to bring different people in and put them on your teams and look at issues, the more likely you are to get to a breakthrough," he said. Caesars Entertainment, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in 2013, has formalized this approach toward diversity and inclusion by creating Diverse-by-Design teams to work on specific projects. This allows the company, which has 68,000 people worldwide, to create what Keeton called "a solid-line connection between diversity and business outcomes." Keeton, who grew up in Mississippi as the youngest of 11 children, said that when he has spoken about the need to recognize cognitive diversity at the National Press Club, Boeing, and Kaiser Permanente, he has drawn criticism for his approach. "What I'm saying to you is not that you throw the baby out with the bathwater," Keeton said. But after ensuring that members of protected classes are reaching the top levels of management, he said, companies need to move to the next step. "Are we just going to say we are culturally competent and sound and have a nice organization or are we then going to use that to drive the outcomes? That's what this is all about, and that's the challenge."
November 28, 2014
Bringing Diversity to Teams
Panelists General George W. Casey Jr., Bain & Co. Managing Partner Hernan Saenz, and Mercer CFO Helen Shan discuss Leading Diverse Teams: How to Leverage Diversity in Your Career by Sherrie Negrea When Ann E. Dunwoody became the first woman to attain four-star rank in the U.S. military in 2008, the change at her first meeting with the Army's other top commanders was immediately apparent. "The first time she opened her mouth, the impact was instantaneous," said General George W. Casey Jr., a distinguished senior lecturer of leadership at Johnson. "She had a different view, and we all said, 'I wish I had thought of that.' ” Casey, who led the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2011, was one of three panelists who spoke about leading diverse teams in organizations at Johnson's 2014 Diversity Symposium at Sage Hall on Oct. 24. One of the ways to create diverse teams, Casey said, is to identify competent personnel and mentor them through the promotion process. Dunwoody, for example, was viewed as having the qualifications to become a four-star general, and top military commanders managed her for about seven years until she was promoted to the top rank. "We knew she had the capabilities, we gave her the experience, and when she got there she was qualified to do the job," Casey said. "And it wasn't enough to put the four stars on her. She had to be successful, and she was." Another panelist, Hernan Saenz, MBA ’98, MILR ’98, a managing partner with Bain & Co., recalled that when he became a consultant 20 years ago, the major challenge was "getting people in the door." Although that problem has been resolved, companies still need to focus on creating a "leadership supply chain" so that there are qualified candidates who can be promoted. "You can't just make generals in one day," Saenz said. Helen Shan, MBA ’93, the chief financial officer of Mercer, said it is more effective to advocate for diversity programs in organizations by using a "pull" — rather than a "push"— strategy. The reason companies should embrace diversity, she said, is because incorporating people with different views and backgrounds on teams creates the best business outcomes. "If you can show that by having diversity you'll have better products, that's far more powerful," she said. The three panelists attributed their success to a combination of luck and the ability to work for mentors whom they could emulate. When Shan worked for JP Morgan Securities, her supervisor was a woman a generation older who carved out a path for her. While their personalities were in stark contrast, Shan said, "There were things about what she did that I could do: listen, be empathetic, and learn what the client wants." Although companies and organizations such as the military have embraced diversity, they still need to continually prioritize it as a key management goal. Casey recalled that when he returned to Washington after leading the Coalition Forces in Iraq in 2007, he had to reenergize the Army's diversity program, because it was languishing. "There are a lot of folks who say we're done with diversity, that it's over, that we've succeeded," Casey said. "Most of those are white people. But it's the responsibility of the leaders of the organization to keep focused on it and not let it drop off, because we're not done."
November 28, 2014
When Business Must Go Beyond
Fred Keller, Founder and Chairman of Cascade Engineering: “Why Business, Why Now: Solving the World’s Toughest Problems” When Fred Keller, founder and chairman of Cascade Engineering, came to campus Nov. 13 as a guest speaker in David J. BenDaniel’s course on business ethics, he made the case for businesses to get engaged in solving the world’s toughest problems. A pioneer of sustainability in manufacturing as well as visiting senior lecturer of management at Johnson, Keller addressed a room filled to capacity with Johnson students and students from other Cornell University schools. How long can we sustain the world’s growing population, already an unprecedented seven billion people, given the planet’s finite resources? Keller asked. He pointed out that our current narrative still hinges on Milton Friedman’s doctrine of maximizing shareholder value; however, that is no longer enough. It is time to move from corporate social responsibility (CSR) to corporate social opportunity (CSO). Earlier, at a student round-table, Keller had made an interesting point about aligning emotion and duty: Doing something good and feeling good about it, vs. not doing something good and feeling bad. Cascade Engineering has a history of doing good because that has been Keller’s intent from the outset. When Keller founded Cascade Engineering, he knew he wanted to make a positive impact on society and the environment along with achieving financial success — to create a business that would faithfully implement the triple bottom line. Cascade has a number of programs that support these goals. The most notable one is its welfare-to-career program, which employs people on welfare, giving them a chance to work, earn, and gain a respectable livelihood. While this program initially faced resistance within the company, it has resulted in many instances of people who have achieved success by becoming independent, self-supporting individuals. Cascade also encourages its own employees to come up with initiatives that support the company’s triple bottom line goals. One employee’s initiative resulted in the “pink cart” program for breast cancer awareness, whereby the company makes and sells pink garbage carts and donates $5 to the cause for every cart purchased. On the environmental end, Cascade focuses on renewables, recycling, and zero landfill policies. ”Lazy thinking” as Keller calls it, is the downfall of business. “[Businesses] just do the math to make more money,” he said citing the BP disaster and the GM ignition system failures as results. Other companies, such as Herman Miller and Patagonia, are leaders in sustainable thinking. He also cited the $100 million Closed Loop Fund as a prime initiative of sustainable thinking involving mega-consumer goods conglomerates like Unilever, PepsiCo, P&G, Walmart, and several others that aim to provide zero percent interest loans to municipalities and below-market interest loans to private companies to develop local and recycling infrastructure. Keller is a member of the advisory group at the fund. Keller urges businesses to work with B-Corp, Shared Value Initiative, and the Center for Higher Ambition. Today, business is at a tipping point, said Keller, noting: “We can take it from here towards the good or the bad.” At Johnson, Keller teaches the course “Sustainability as a Driver for Innovation.” He is a former member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council, advising Secretaries of Commerce 2004-2011, and serving two years as chairman. Keller serves as chairman of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation board of trustees and has served as a director of Fifth Third Bank and Meijer, Inc. He also chairs Talent 2025 in Michigan, a CEO-led organization that aims to improve the quality and quantity of the regional talent pool. A Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Keller earned a BS in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and an MS in business management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. — Pallavi Rao
November 26, 2014
Corning CEO Wendell Weeks Outlines Strategy for Companies to Thrive
Corning’s commitment to innovation and ability to constantly reinvent itself have allowed the company to thrive for 163 years in an environment where it is increasingly difficult for businesses to remain relevant long term. Wendell P. Weeks, Chairman and CEO of Corning, shared one recent innovation at Cornell’s 27th annual Lewis B. Durland Memorial Lecture— a flexible glass that could be used in high-end, rollable displays such as those featured in the company’s viral video, “A Day Made of Glass.” “This is a piece of glass that will form the basis of the first flexible displays that are commercially viable,” Weeks said as he slowly bent a small sheet of glass before an audience of about 140 people in Gates Hall Auditorium at Cornell University. The flexible glass represents the direction the 163-year-old company has followed to achieve its success — investing in research and development while collaborating with customers to create products that solve technology challenges. In a speech sponsored by the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management on Nov. 17, Weeks outlined four strategies that allow companies to thrive in what he called “a world of creative destruction”: understanding why your institution is here, organizing staff to deliver that core message, collaborating with others who share your vision, and having a clear framework for guidance. This approach helped Corning develop one of its key products — Gorilla® Glass, a durable material used to shield a variety of mobile devices. Corning began experimenting with chemically strengthened glass in the 1960s but was unable to find a viable commercial application. In 2005, Weeks explained the material to Steve Jobs, and the late Apple co-founder and CEO said he wanted to use it for the first iPhone. Corning modified the glass composition, developed a new engineering process, and Gorilla Glass was born. Less than a decade later, the glass is featured on more than 3 billion mobile devices and being incorporated into a broad range of other applications from automobiles to architecture. Discussing Corning’s customer collaborations, Weeks said, “Most great things that are done are done in groups, teams, institutions, companies, cultures, great universities. We celebrate the individual, but that’s actually never the true story.” Corning’s ability to respond to market needs has enabled the company to grow after weathering economic declines that have occasionally reduced demand for some of its products. Today, the company employs more than 30,000 people worldwide and had $8 billion in revenue in 2013. Soumitra Dutta, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean at Johnson, said he hopes the relationship between Corning and Cornell will be strengthened in the future. Corning now employs 150 Cornell alumni, said Christy Pambianchi ’90, Corning’s senior vice president of human resources.
November 26, 2014
The Parker Center: Leading in Portfolio Management Education
Hear MBA students and investment professionals talk about the powerful education, networking, and career development opportunities at the Parker Center for Investment Research
November 25, 2014
Cornell MBA's Share Why They Chose Johnson at Cornell
"You come across so many people with so many different backgrounds. Everybody has a different story." Abhishek Chattopadhyay and fellow Cornell MBA '15 students share why Johnson at Cornell University is the right fit for them.
November 25, 2014
We Can All Grow as Leaders, with General George Casey
General George Casey (U.S. Army Ret.), distinguished senior lecturer of leadership, writes on keys to continuously improving leadership skills.
November 13, 2014
Corning, Inc. leader gives Durland Lecture Nov. 17
Wendell P. Weeks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Corning, Inc. will deliver the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management’s 27th Durland Lecture Monday, November 17th, at 4:30 pm in the Bill and Melinda Gates auditorium. This lecture is free and open to the public with limited seating. Corning is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have created new industries and transformed people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in R&D, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and close collaboration with customers to solve tough technology challenges. Corning’s businesses and markets are constantly evolving. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. Weeks career at Corning, Inc. has spanned 31 years of working in financial, business development, commercial, and general management roles, including strategic positions in the company’s television, specialty glass, and telecommunications businesses. Weeks was named Corning’s chief executive officer in 2005 and chairman of the board in 2007. Previously, he served as chief operating officer and helped lead the company’s restructuring and return to profitability following the telecom industry crash. Weeks is a graduate of Lehigh University and earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University as a Baker Scholar. The Durland Lecture series was initiated in 1983 by Roy H. Park and a group of supporters. Durland lecturers have included Thomas W. Jones, co-chairman and CEO of Citigroup’s SSB Citi Asset Management Group; Abby Joseph Cohen, managing director of Goldman, Sachs and Co.; Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna; and Lucio A. Noto, chairman and CEO of Mobil Corp.
November 10, 2014
Top Marketing Executives Converge for Career Coaching
Some 36 executives will provide one-on-one coaching to Johnson MBA and Cornell undergraduate students
November 05, 2014
Fourth Annual Emerging Markets Institute Conference: China, Reaching Out to the World
Over 100 Cornell alumni and business professionals in attendance. The Fourth Emerging Markets Institute conference “China, Reaching out to the world: Global investments and partnerships,” held in New York City in mid-October was well attended by over 100 Cornell alumni and business professionals. The topics, Chinese investment in the United States, ensuring natural resources, technological hubs and emerging multi-national corporations, were covered during panels held throughout the day at the Cornell Club. During the first panel, Chinese investment in the US, Thilo Hanemann, Research Director with the Rhodium Group, shared that China's foreign direct investment in the US totaled $14 billion last year. China's FDI in the US for the first half of 2014 was slightly lower than the same six-month period last year, and the focus is shifting from acquisitions of assets to real estate, advanced services and manufacturing. Such states as Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois are top recipients of Chinese investment in energy and auto industries. "On the Chinese side there is a lot of demand to go global, on the US side there's a good supply of a system that welcomes investments," said X. Rick Niu, President, Starr Strategic Partners. "As domestic GDP in China goes down, money has to go elsewhere to find a better return, and if you flip the coin you'll see why America is ideal." Niu said the world's two largest economies want to have a bilateral investment as the US remains "an ideal destination for FDI from China". At the close of the conference, EMI Executive Director Richard Coyle announced that planning would begin for next year’s Emerging Markets Institute conference to focus on India and relations with the U.S.
November 03, 2014
Faculty Research Showcased in "Johnson Scholar"
Published and accepted research papers and book chapters by Johnson faculty are compiled in the annual edition of the "Johnson Scholar."
October 22, 2014
Fusing good citizenship with business strategy
Leaders in Sustainable Global Enterprise speaker Chris Librie, senior director of living progress and strategy at Hewlett Packard corporate affairs, claims that “sustainability is more than charity. It is a tool to drive competitive advantage.” Speaking to a Sage Hall lecture room filled with Johnson and other Cornell University students Sept. 24, Chris Librie, senior director of living progress and strategy for corporate affairs at Hewlett Packard, focused on driving sustainability within and outside the organization, and the actions HP has undertaken to see them to fruition. Librie spoke as a guest lecturer in a course offered by the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise: Leaders in Sustainable Global Enterprise Colloquium. Sustainability is not just about compliance for HP, according to Librie. It is the fusion of good citizenship and business strategy. “Sustainability is more than charity. It is a tool to drive competitive advantage,” he said. With this in mind, HP uses its technology to drive economic, social, and environmental sustainability — the three pillars of sustainability, or the triple bottom line — through such programs as HP Life, eHealth Centers, and HP Earth Insights. HP Life is a program focused on encouraging entrepreneurs through business and IT education. HP’s ten eHealth Centers in India are mobile health care units created from used shipping containers that operate on cloud-based IT and connect rural doctors to urban medical centers. The company plans to launch 25 more of these in the next year. HP Earth Insights concentrates on providing software assistance to wildlife conservation efforts. Librie also touched on HP’s recycling initiatives. One way in which it is addressing rudimentary methods of recycling in less developed countries is through its partnership with East African Compliant Recycling. Together, they have established a first-of-its-kind electronic waste recycling plant in Kenya. “We want to expand this to other countries too, but collecting material back from the consumers is quite challenging,” he said, emphasizing that communicating to consumers and changing their habits about recycling is an uphill task. “Having a nuanced understanding of sustainability, this lecture gave me a picture of how HP markets sustainability rather than an in-depth look at practice,” said Amber Thomas, MBA ’15, who attended the lecture. “I did find it insightful that significant internal marketing and influencing is necessary to achieve change within a corporation.” The lecture elicited a number of questions from students about the actual, quantifiable nature of these projects. Librie explained that while a lot of actions by HP relating to sustainability cannot yet be directly translated into numbers, correcting this is next on his agenda. Along with current financial goals (to drive reputation and ratings), Librie plans to introduce sales goals. How much will sustainability contribute to the bottom line? This might be the question many companies are asking and looking for answers to. — Pallavi Rao
October 17, 2014
Johnson’s Radcliffe Explores Ethical Leadership with Army Generals
Dana Radcliffe was invited by the U.S. Army to share principles of ethically wielding power and responsibility with top officers
October 15, 2014
Investment in Innovation: Johnson Cornell Tech MBA on Bloomberg TV
Zach Shulman, Cornell University's director of entrepreneurship, talks to Bloomberg West about the Cornell Tech campus and its programs
October 13, 2014
Johnson Marketing Students Present Recommendations to Tour Operators’ Board
Two teams from the Strategic Marketing Immersion were invited to share consumer insights gained through a sponsored project
October 07, 2014
A Day in the Life of an MBA student at Johnson at Cornell
Chinese student Ada Chan takes us through her daily routine
October 02, 2014
How Popular Are Your Keywords? Less Popular Keywords Better Suited for Paid Search Advertising
Consumers are more likely to click a sponsored link when their searched keywords are less-popular, according to new research by Johnson Professor Young Hoon-Park and his co-authors
October 01, 2014
Cornell’s Emerging Markets Institute appoints Humberto Luiz Ribeiro
Ribeiro, a former senior member of the Brazilian Federal Government, will focus his studies on the services industries in emerging markets
September 29, 2014
Johnson's LinkedIn Strategy Featured by TopMBA.com
September 29, 2014
Grant Miller, MBA '16, Promoted to Lt. Commander, USN, While Earning his MBA
Classmates of Grant Miller, MBA '16, gathered in Sage Hall to attend his promotion to Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy. Bill Huling, associate dean for alumni affairs and development and retired Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, officiated at the ceremony. Debbie Feng, MBA '16, affixed Grant's rank insignia.
September 25, 2014
Johnson MBA Students Organize and Lead Climate March Contingency
Business is the largest catalyst for change, when it comes to transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy, writes Jeremy Kuhre, MBA ‘16
September 24, 2014
Johnson Club Fair 2014
MBA students flock to annual event
September 23, 2014
Sustainability is a business opportunity says Prof. Mark Milstein
Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise Director Mark Milstein delivers the inaugural lecture in Johnson’s Thought Leaders Series.
September 17, 2014