Published: Jan. 9, 2024

Leaders and alumni from the biggest and the best companies impart sage advice to Leeds students.

 AJ Canaria

Glenn Sanford, CEO and Founder of eXp Realty, collaborated with a student team working on an assignment to write a strategic brief for his company. Photo by AJ Canaria.

Access to industry: It’s one of the most valuable aspects of a business education and something that the Leeds School is particularly effective in facilitating. Each semester, hundreds of experts from nearly every industry walk the halls of Koelbel, eager to give students real-world perspectives beyond textbooks and advice that informs their career preparation.

“It’s important that our students connect what they’re learning in the classroom with the realities of what’s happening in industry,” said Vijay Khatri, who serves as the Tandean Rustandy Endowed Dean at Leeds. “It also gives students an opportunity to ask questions about what it’s truly like to work in a particular field or occupation.”

Guest speakers typically include alumni, board members and Leeds’ corporate partners, including leaders from some of the most recognizable brands in business. Last fall’s roster of speakers was no exception.

Lessons from luminaries

Nike’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Noel Kinder, explained how to ‘Just Do Good’ at a fireside chat last fall.

Nike’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Noel Kinder, explained how to ‘Just Do Good’ at a fireside chat last fall.

During a fireside chat sponsored by the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility, Nike’s Chief Sustainability Officer Noel Kinder shared the company’s commitments to a sustainable future and also shared his career journey, including how his time in the Peace Corps shaped his future trajectory.

Jane Miller, CEO of Rudi’s Organic Bakery and Leeds Advisory Board Chair Emeritus, revealed the key traits required to be successful in the CPG industry at the Natural and Organic Bootcamp workshop, a highly interactive two-day intensive workshop for students who want to break into the natural products industry.

Pete Anderson, former chief ethics and compliance officer at Carnival Cruise Lines, ran a workshop on ethics in the workplace and provided students with insights about how company culture affects whether people consistently do “the right things, in the right ways, for the right reasons.”

The Women’s Collective event for MBAs and MS students also featured a substantial slate of prominent guest speakers, including Sevrin Huff, vice president of software engineering and head of Dish Grand Central at DISH Network, who shared her professional journey and tips for success.

“We are so grateful to all of our speakers who gave their time and shared their expertise with our students this fall,” said Carolyn Gleason, assistant dean of advancement at Leeds. “Business leaders bring concepts to life and enrich the learning experience. We’ve seen a 20 percent increase in the number of guest speakers since last year and look forward to welcoming even more alumni and leaders this spring,” she said.

Close to 400 guest speakers from finance to fashion, and sustainability to supply chain management made connections with students between August and December. The following list is but a sampling of those who took the time and effort to influence students’ lives.

Select guest speakers in fall 2023:

  • Ellen Balauger speaks to students

    Ellen Balaguer (Fin, Psych’82), retired Global Managing Director at Accenture & Leeds Advisory Board Chair Emeritus, inspired countless MBA women at the Women’s Collective last year.

    Ellen Balaguer, Retired Global Managing Director of Human Resources and Learning BPO services at Accenture
  • Eric Blank, Chairman of Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
  • Jeff Brown, Director at BlackRock

  • Courtney Carter, Contracts Administrator at Ball Corporation

  • Ali Clifford, Solution Engineer at HubSpot

  • Luke Giusto, Client Services Associate at Trailhead Wealth Management

  • Mark Hedstrom, retired COO of Colony Capital, Inc.

  • Demesha Hill, Head of Diversity & Community Relations at Janus Henderson Investors

  • Chas James, Investor Relations & Corporate Strategy at Crocs

  • Mo Jensen, Former Talent Acquisition Specialist at Charles Schwab

  • Jordyn Johnson, Events and Entertainment Coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens Football Club

  • Liv Landblom, Director of Project Management at Patagonia

  • Gary Lutz, Executive Vice President & Regional Managing Director at Wells Fargo Bank

  • Sarah Lyons, Manager of Procurement Sustainability at Danone North America

  • Matthew McConaty, Client Strategist at Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon)

  • Christopher Miller, Head of Global Activism Strategy at Ben & Jerry's

  • Glenn Sanford, CEO and Founder, eXp Realty

  • Matthew Siayap, Account Strategist at Ogilvy

  • Andrew Siegmund, Delivery Practice Manager, Global Financial Services at Amazon Web Services

  • Ian Silverman, Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte Consulting

  • Craig Smith, Retired Chairman at Owens & Minor

  • Larry Swonke, Principal Architect at Microsoft Corporation

  • Anna Tam, Core Assurance Associate at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)

  • Lucas Thelosen, Head of Product at Google

  • Adam Warner, President of KeyBank

  • Roland Warns, Former Executive Team Leader of Logistics at Target

  • Brock Weatherup, CEO and Founder of Metamorphosis Partners

  • Jeff Yorzyk, Senior Director of Sustainability at HelloFresh