AAMBAA Honors Two With Turnbull Awards At Dusable Conference
By Hakeem Yusuff ‘13 | november, 2012, Issue 1
2012 Arthur Turnbull Award winners Kenneth N. Thompson ('98) and Ava D. Youngblood ('85) being congratulated by AAMBA Co-Chairs Edi Ekhomu, '13, and Jessica Harmon, '13 at this year's Dusable Conference in Chicago. Photo by Gem McCreary '13.
Organized by the Chicago Booth African-American MBA Association, the 2012 Dusable Conference took place at the University Club of Chicago on Friday, November 2, 2012 with huge success and reception by its attendants. Sponsored by Credit Suisse, American Express, Citigroup, John Deere, Accenture, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, and Abbott Labs, the Keynote speech was delivered by Valerie J. Van Meter (XP '04), Senior Vice President, CFO, and Director of Office of Women Inclusion at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The DuSable Conference is named after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, the first non-native settler of Chicago (he is believed to originally come from Haiti), and one of the city's earliest entrepreneurs as he founded a trading post in the second half of the 1770s.
Since DuSable was a pioneer the conference theme focuses on how to take charge of your own career. For this year in particular the theme was The Politics of Business: Navigating Workplace and Industry Politics. This was the topic of discussion for the panel that kicked off the event. Moderated by Ava Youngblood ('85), panelists included Ms. Anka Twum-Baah, '08, of American Express, Ms. Burleise Bailey of Accenture, Mr. Michael Awori, '10, of Citigroup's Investment Banking, Mr. Rhet Mitchell, '07, of Deloitte Consulting, and Mr. Vincent Lozada, '02 of Credit Suisse Investment Banking. The years of experience and diversity of career exposures on the panel made for a candid discussion. Everything from asking from feedback to workplace relationships were covered.
The night continued with remarks by Dean Kumar who thanked the sponsors of the conference and went on to comment on the state of the institution and what Chicago Booth is doing to "expand its mission." He spoke particularly of such undertaking as the Social Enterprise Initiative and encouraged the Booth community to leverage such resources the institution provide as metaphorical ship that could bring them closer to their goals.
The keynote speaker, Ms. Van Meter, also gave insight into navigating workplace and industry politics. She spoke of the need to learn and to promote your professional brand while learning and adopting "servant leadership" in the workplace. "You need to find great talent, help them understand the business need, and get out of their way," she said on the subject of leadership and empowerment.
Finally, the night ended with the announcement of the Arthur N. Turnbull award winners, Mr. Turnbull was the first African American to graduate from The University of Chicago's business school in 1926. AAMBAA's website describes him "as a native Chicagoan, who was deeply interested in the well-being of the entire Chicago community. His devotion to achievement and to community service was illustrated throughout his life, but most profoundly in his commitment to children." Thus, the award in his honor is given to alumni who exhibit professional achievement, promote public service, and continually give back to the Booth community.
One of the 2012 Arthur Turnbull Awards recipients is Ava D. Youngblood ('85). Ms. Youngblood is the Founder and CEO of Youngblood Executive Search. Her outfit helps clients identify, recruit, develop, and retain executives. The second recipient, Kenneth N. Thompson ('98), is the Founder and Managing Director at Level X Consulting, Inc. His entity is a finance, accounting, and management consulting firm serving Fortune 1000 and private equity clients across a range of industries. Over the years both Youngblood and Thompson have dedicated their time to helping current Booth students and staying connected with the alumni population. Youngblood has participated in other AAMBAA events and Thompson was the former president of the Chicago Black Alumni Association.