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In a major expansion of its alumni programming, Chicago Booth plans to stage weekend-long Alumni Forums featuring an array of speakers and special events in major cities in the United States and around the world starting this fall.

The new forums—there will be two sponsored by the school each year in the future—will be held in London on November 1–3 and in Seattle on December 7–8. The 2019 forums will be held in Hong Kong and a yet-to-be-decided US city.

The forums are an outgrowth of several regional forums Booth clubs have staged in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai over the last few years.

“We’ve seen amazing success with the forums format in Asia,” said Tracy McCabe, executive director of alumni relations. “These are massive-scale destination events that draw hundreds of alumni, students, and friends for a weekend of learning, connecting, and celebrating the Booth experience.”

The forums will include a program of TED-style talks, fireside chats, and panel discussions on a wide range of business topics along with numerous opportunities for socializing. The speakers will include both distinguished alumni and outside business and financial leaders.

In London, Hernando Bunuan, ’07, an organizer of the event, said the focus will be on Europe and business leadership in the twenty-first century and what to expect going forward.

“We’ve assembled some of the most distinguished leaders across several industries to share their insights on leadership and trends affecting their companies,” said Bunuan.

The speakers will include Luigi Zingales, Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and Charles M. Harper Faculty Fellow; Kathryn Mikells, ’94, CFO at Diageo plc; Rafael Oliveira, ’04, president, Europe zone, at the Kraft Heinz Company; and Vahé Torossian, ’10, (EXP-15), corporate vice president, Microsoft Corp. and president, Microsoft Western Europe. 

The Seattle Forum will examine executive decision-making in the digital age, said Patrick Ringland, ’09, one of the organizers. “Technology really is woven into all conversations at this point. We are excited to see how the speakers leverage the tools that technology has brought to the table.”

The Seattle speakers will include Howard Marks, ’69, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management; Kurt DelBene, ’90, chief digital officer of Microsoft; and Austan D. Goolsbee, Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics.

Based on previous regional events, Booth is expecting between 300 and 500 attendees for the initial forums.

“Alumni continually rank intellectual content and networking opportunities as the two most important reasons they attend Booth events,” McCabe said. “But we also designed the forums to be a regional reunion opportunity. Amid all the learning, there is also time for reconnecting with friends and classmates.”