» Speaker Spotlight
More than 23 executives and 35 academics shared their experiences with business students throughout the year through a variety of lectures, symposia and academic panels.
Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox Highlights Leadership and Immigration Reform During College Address
Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, presented the keynote address at the Future Leaders Conference sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) and the UTSA College of Business.
During his luncheon address to a crowd of more than 300 students, business leaders and elected officials, Fox discussed trade, leadership and immigration reform.
“The relationship between the United States and Mexico is complex and diverse,” said Fox, who was accompanied by his wife, Marta Sahagún. “We are friends, neighbors and partners who worked together to build a future of understanding, economic growth and a better life for our citizens through NAFTA.”
Fox said that NAFTA was successful for Mexico. He noted that the per capita income increased from $3,500 to $8,500 under the agreement. He also promoted his vision that the United States, Mexico and Canada should expand on their current trade agreements and develop a more cohesive relationship similar to the European Union.
“I believe that leaders are created in every single human being,” said Fox. “The challenge is building leaders with ethics, leaders with moral values. The leadership of this great nation should go back to exercising compassionate leadership. I am optimistic that the new leadership in this nation provides a new hope for change between the United States and Mexico.”
Fox was president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. His presidency addressed the issues of trade relations with the United States, the drug trade, governmental corruption and calming civil unrest.
“The call of action is in the hands of our leaders now,” he said. “I am not for open borders, but for an orderly immigration process. If we were wise enough, we would have solved the border issue by now.”
Ford Marketing Vice President Keynotes College’s Signature Speaker Series
Jim Farley, group vice president of marketing and communications at Ford Motor Company, discussed the state of the automobile industry during the college’s Signature Speaker Series in November.
“We are in a crisis,” said Farley, who joined Ford in 2007 after 20 years at Toyota. “In the last year, I can’t imagine if anyone could have predicted what has happened in the automobile industry.
“I think this crisis has stimulated an important debate in our country about the importance of manufacturing.”
With the recent bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, Ford has remained the lone solvent American automaker. “The odd place that Ford is in is that we don’t need the government’s help,” said Farley. “We have operations in South America and Europe that are very profitable. But, if General Motors and Chrysler do not make it, we won’t have parts for our cars or trucks or engines. Our suppliers are in common.”
Noting this new world economy, he also shared with students his insights for finding success. “Pick something that you really love,” said Farley. “Because in a world where things are complex and difficult, if you can go to work and enjoy it every day, you will persevere through adversity.
“The paradigm you will inherit is completely different than the one I’ve grown up with. It will be infinitely more fascinating and challenging, and your diversity of experiences and understanding of the diversity of America will leverage your
success,” he said.
Farley, whose grandfather was the 389th employee hired at Ford, joined Ford to help build a vibrant new company. Farley said that, as part of its new lineup, Ford is building cars with best-in-class fuel economy, exciting design and world-class handling.
“As a sales and marketing guy, I hate to be so commercial, but it would be great if you gave us a try.”
San Antonio CEOs SHARE INSIGHTS IN FROST LECTURE SERIES
Josue Robles Jr., president and chief executive officer of USAA, discussed his personal learning journey and imparted lessons that he learned from the military that carried over to the business world. “Never compromise your values and your integrity,” he said during the spring 2009 Frost Distinguished Lecture Series.
Robles oversees a corporate organization that includes USAA’s Property and Casualty Insurance Group, Federal Savings Bank, Life Insurance Company, Investment Management Company, Alliance Services Company and Financial Planning Services.
Robles joined USAA, one of America’s leading financial services companies, in July 1994 as special assistant to the chairman after retiring from the U.S. Army as a major general. He was named chief financial officer and controller in September 1994, and he added corporate treasurer to his responsibilities in 1995. He assumed the position of president and chief executive officer in December 2007.
Lanham Napier, president and chief executive officer of Rackspace, shared with students his advice on launching a successful career and the philosophy behind Rackspace’s “fanatical” customer service. “Our company is full of geeks and freaks,” he said. “Our culture differentiates us in the workplace. Culture eats strategy for lunch.”
Immediately after joining Rackspace, Napier recognized that customer service was at the very core of Rackspace’s business and helped introduce the “fanatical customer support” culture that Rackspace is known for today. His efforts went into instilling a deep concern for and interest in the customer at every level of the company, rewarding positive behavior and quarterly growth, as well as customer acquisition and retention.
During his tenure, he has seen the company grow from fewer than 100 employees to more than 2,000, and from a single data center to eight facilities in Texas, Washington, D.C., and London, England.
The Frost Distinguished Lecture Series brings prominent business and community leaders to UTSA to share their knowledge and experiences with students and others in the university and business community. The lecture series, which began in 1988, presents a forum for business leaders and academics to share their experiences so that students can broaden their understanding of the business world and the individuals who lead it.
GLOBAL BUSINESS FOCUS OF Ethics Symposium
“Ethical Leadership in a Global Environment” was the theme for the college’s Business Ethics Symposium last October. The daylong program featured presentations by the Rev. David Schilling, director of contract supplier systems for the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility; and Dr. Andrew Gustafson, associate professor of business ethics at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. The symposium concluded with a panel discussion featuring prominent San Antonio business leaders Kathleen Acock, president of Alpha Building Corp.; Earnie Broughton, executive director and ethics program coordinator at USAA; Al Silva, general manager and COO, Labatt Food Service; and Tim Swan, chief executive officer of the general partner of Metropolitan Contracting Company. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the UTSA Methodist Student Movement.
COLLEGE Panels ADDRESS THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN
In response to the economic crisis, the UTSA College of Business hosted two panel discussions addressing the reasons behind the financial crisis as well as the progress toward economic recovery. “Addressing the Financial Meltdown” discussed the nature of the financial crisis, the cause of the meltdown, consequences for the U.S. and global economies, and implications for the average consumer. The second panel, “The State of the Economy Following the Meltdown,” assessed the stimulus plan and the state of the financial markets and provided a regional and international economic overview.
Participants included Dr. Lynda de la Viña, dean of the College of Business, Dr. Julie Dahlquist, senior lecturer in finance; Dr. Palani-Rajan Kadapakkam, U.S. Global Investors Inc. Fellow in Finance; Dr. Lalatendu Misra, U.S. Global Investors Inc. Fellow in Finance; Keith Phillips, senior economist and policy adviser for the San Antonio branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Dr. Tom Thomson, director of the Real Estate Finance and Development program; Dr. Yiuman Tse, U.S. Global Investors Inc. Fellow in Finance; Dr. John Wald, associate professor of finance; and Dr. Ken Weiher, chair of the Department of Economics.
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