2019

Stories related to "Social Impact."

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Building on Big Ideas

Though you might not realize it, you’ve likely encountered USG Corporation’s landmark product recently, maybe even today. In fact, it may very well be in the room where you’re sitting right now. That’s because the company’s drywall, flooring, ceiling, and roofing products are part of countless homes and buildings. As the creator of the iconic and ubiquitous Sheetrock brand of wallboard, Chicago-based USG has led the building-materials industry for more than 116 years, with a storied history of innovation and sales of $3.2 billion last year. It made panels for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. It helped build homes for American GIs returning from World War II. And in November 2016, Jennifer Scanlon, ’92, became the first female CEO in the company’s history. “We are a transformed company,” Scanlon said, just days before leading USG’s first-ever Investor Day in New York City. “That transformation came in a number of ways—interestingly, from a lot of the initiatives that I led prior to becoming CEO.” A Chicago-area native, Scanlon joined USG in 2003 after studying government and computer applications at the University of Notre Dame and holding roles at IBM and in operations consulting. In recent years, she has made USG more global and more responsive to its customers. She was named president of the international division in 2010, when it included only Canada, Mexico, Europe, and a small operation in Asia. She went on to lead the divestiture of the European business, and then assembled an Asian joint venture called USG Boral, with $1.2 billion of revenue in 2017.

perspectives

This Is Working for Me: Martin Nesbitt, ’89

Entrepreneur and civic leader Martin Nesbitt, ’89, is five years into his latest co-venture, Chicago-based Vistria Group, a $1.7 billion private equity firm that invests at the intersection of public and private sectors in healthcare, education, and financial services. Before that, he was CEO and cofounder of the Parking Spot, the first nationally branded airport parking company, which has grown into a business worth more than $1 billion. The public good is always on his plate: he was recently named to the transition team for newly elected Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker; he’s chairman of the Obama Foundation; and he served on the board of the Chicago Housing Authority. Dubbed “the first friend,” Nesbitt raised funds and weathered the campaign trail from the very beginning of former president Barack Obama’s political career. Said Nesbitt: “Going to the White House never got old: it was awe-inspiring every time.” According to Nesbitt: "The one thing I bring to business and civics: 'It’s not about me.' It’s about the capacity to put the interests of others (the institution, the company, and the people) ahead of my own. People empower you with leadership opportunities when they trust that you have their best interest in mind. That’s what leads to success, and it’s one of the fundamentals of Vistria, the firm I started with my partner, Kip Kirkpatrick. We thought to ourselves, 'What if we started a firm that’s not about us? What if it’s about Us—our partners, our investors, our portfolio of companies, and their employees?' We thought there was a value proposition at the intersection of private and public interest, in doing the right thing for the broader community. For example, we bought an online high-school completion program for adults. There’s a skills gap in this country—we have people who are undereducated and undertrained. Our investment serves the students, the corporate community, and our broader society. That company fits squarely into Vistria’s mission."