Business Society Series

Fostering constructive conversations about the role of business in society, politics, and economics.

Business and Society 2020-2021 is dedicated to issues regarding race and business, as a part of the Ross Commitment to Action. Events focus on topics ranging from the role of business in tackling systematic oppression to solving problems related to racial injustice.

Upcoming 2020-21Events

Overcoming Systemic Barriers to Entrepreneurship

Friday, March 26, 2021
Time: Noon - 1:15 p.m. EDT
Format: Zoom webinar

Over the past five years, less than 3% of venture capital funding went to Black and Latinx founders. Hear from founders and funders who are working to expand equity in entrepreneurship.

Vasco Bridges, Chief of Staff, Distribution, Northwestern Mutual
La Tresha (LC) Howland, Co-Founder, Breadless 
Marc Howland, Co-Founder and CEO, Breadless
Harlyn Pacheco, BD and Strategy, Microsoft Viva
Marlo Rencher, Director, Technology-Based Programs, TechTown Detroit

Rashmi Menon, Entrepreneurship Lecturer, Michigan Ross


Previous 2020-21 Events


February 9 | Follow The Leader: DEI Through C-Suite Activism

Explore how executives at the highest levels are taking the lead in shifting attitudes, behaviors, and policies surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion within their organizations.

Brett J. Hart, President, United Airlines
Nichole Jordan, Chief Operating Officer, Remix
Mark Kennedy, President, University of Colorado
Brenda Pak, Co-Founder, BackPac Social Activism

Moderator: Jerry Davis, Professor, Michigan Ross

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December 4 | Toward A Racially Just Workplace

What does it mean to be black in corporate America today? How do we balance changing racial dynamics and build inclusive organizations? Laura Morgan Roberts and Tony Mayo, authors of Race, Work and Leadership, discuss how race matters in people’s experience of work and leadership.

Laura Morgan Roberts, University of Virginia Darden
Tony Mayo, Harvard Business School

Moderator: Michael Gardner, BBA '12

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November 11 | A Discussion with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi: author of Stamped from the Beginning

Co-sponsored with the School of Education, the Rackham Graduate School, and the Ford School of Public Policy, Dr. Kendi leads a conversation about the deeply entrenched history of anti-Black racist ideas upon which our nation was founded and continues to function.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Boston University

Moderator: Elisabeth Birr Moje, University of Michigan School of Education

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October 13 | Race and Business Education: Deans Panel

A power panel of deans from leading business schools discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in preparing their graduates to be inclusive leaders of a racially diverse workforce.

Bill Boulding, Duke Fuqua
Kerwin Charles, Yale SOM
Francesca Cornelli, Northwestern Kellogg
Scott DeRue, Michigan Ross
Nicole Thorne Jenkins, Virginia McIntire
Jon Levin, Stanford’s GSB
Raghu Sundaram, NYU’s Stern

Moderator: David Wooten, Michigan Ross

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2019-2020 Business & Society Events

The Purpose of Business — Robin Washington 

Business Won’t Save the World — Anand Giridharadas

Building Trust in Crisis — Tim Sloan 

The Purpose of Business: Shareholders and Stakeholders — Francine Lafontaine, Elizabeth Anderson, Jerry Davis, Paul Clyde, and Jagadeesh Sivadasan

The Intersection of Business, Politics, and Marketing — A. Yesim Orhun

Creating Change: A Leadership Diversity Dialogue — David Wooten, Bo Young Lee, and Brian Johnson