The Executive Leadership Council, the pre-eminent organization committed to increasing black executive leadership worldwide, held its annual National Business Case Competition, sponsored by Exxon Mobil Corp., and announced the winners.
And the first place winner is… three M.B.A. candidates from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. The business case that the teams were challenged to solve: “How to Stop the Diversity Pipeline Leak: Averting a Leadership Crisis.”
The Haas Berkeley team, comprising team captain Breona (Bree) Jenkins; Andrew Briggs, who also leads a multimillion-dollar venture capital fund; and Erin Gums, received a cash award of $35,000, ELC announced in a statement.
The second-place team, from the Duke Fuqua School of Business, received a $20,000 cash award; the third place team, from Howard University’s School of Business, won $15,000.
All competing teams had black team leads.
The annual ELC National Business Case Competition provides a venue for invited students to form teams and develop solutions to real-world business problems. According to the ELC statement, the teams “… analyze a timely business issue that demonstrates the students’ critical thinking, analytical, and communications skills.”
“The Berkeley Haas team delivered a strong and compelling case,” Skip Spriggs, ELC president and CEO, is quoted as saying in the statement. “In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, there is a great need for thoughtful, intentional, and courageous leaders. However, minorities and women entering the pipeline for leadership roles seldom stay on the path to leadership. This business case sought to identify barriers to retention and suggest ways to overcome them.”
The teams were charged with developing a corporate diversity strategy that included a communications plan, comprehensive financial analysis, and key metrics.
“All the teams did an excellent job of identifying and offering effective ways to retain diverse talent in the leadership pipeline for succession planning,” JoAnn Lee, assistant general counsel for ExxonMobil, says in the statement. “ExxonMobil is proud to recognize these future business leaders for their great work and creativity.”
“The ELC’s mission is to increase the number of successful black executives in C-Suites and on boards,” Spriggs told me in an email. “Recent developments and data show a decline in the number of black executives at the CEO level compared with other minorities and women. This year’s business case sought suggestions for strategies and practices to retain and advance black executive talent to the highest C-suite levels.”
ExxonMobil has sponsored the ELC Business Case Competition for the past nine years. Previous cases have examined STEM education, and energy plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ExxonMobil and ELC jointly developed this year’s case, according to the statement.
For more information about ELC, visit its website.