Alumni, faculty and staff connect at Schulich forum

York’s Schulich School of Business was abuzz with close to 400 returning alumni, as well as  faculty, staff and friends at the Nov. 23 CONNECT 2013 event. This year, Schulich’s annual alumni forum and networking event featured a keynote address from alumna Kathleen Taylor (MBA/JD ’84), chair designate of the Royal Bank of Canada and former president and CEO Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

“When she assumes the role of chair at RBC in January, she will become the first female executive to lead the board of a major Canadian bank. Kathleen Taylor is literally making history,” said Dezsö J. Horváth, dean and Tanna H. Kathleen TaylorSchulich Chair in Strategic Management at Schulich, who introduced the keynote speaker. “She is a shining example of the kind of globally oriented strategic leader the Schulich School of Business seeks to cultivate through our MBA program.”

Kathleen Taylor

In his welcome remarks to alumni, Horváth said the school has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past year, driven in large part by constant innovation. “We are growing our portfolio of degree programs. We are growing the number of specializations we offer. And we are growing our global footprint.

“We could not have done this without the commitment and enthusiasm of our faculty and staff, and the support and advice given to us by alumni and friends within the corporate community.”

CONNECT 2013 offered a full day of networking opportunities, as well as panel discussions, presentations and interactive tutorials. Session topics ranged from the economic outlook for Canada and globally, cutting-edge marketing trends, and emerging topics in the finance and retail sectors to learning about trends affecting Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, entrepreneurial success and more.CONNECT group shot

From left, CONNECT 2013 Program Chair Howard Lichtman (JD ’79, MBA ’82), president, Lightning Group; CONNECT 2013 Conference Chair Willy Kruh (MBA ’83), partner, Globak Chair, Consumer Markets, KPMG LLP; Kathleen Taylor; Dean Dezsö Horváth; Bill Graham (MBA ’86), president, Schulich Global Alumni Network; and Mark Rittinger, executive director, Schulich Development and Alumni Relations

Other speakers and panellists at CONNECT 2013 included Benjamin Tal, managing director and deputy chief economist of CIBC World Markets; Stephen G. Wetmore, president and CEO of Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd.; and Bill Graham (MBA ’86), president, Quartham International and president of the Schulich Global Alumni Network.

Willy Kruh, MBA’83, partner, Global Chair Consumer Markets, KPMG LLP, was the CONNECT 2013 conference chair and Howard Lichtman (JD’79, MBA’), president, Schulich alumni, faculty and staff listen to speakerLightning Group, was the CONNECT 2013 program chair.

Schulich alumni, faculty and staff listen intently to speakers at the CONNECT event

Lorna Wright, inaugural director of Schulich’s new Centre for Global Enterprise and EDC Professor in International Business, moderated a panel discussion, titled “Canadian SMEs: Bordering on Success”. Also on the panel was Carl Burlock, vice-president – Commercial Markets and Small Business for Export Development Canada. EDC is one of the founding members of Schulich’s Centre for Global Enterprise. Douglas Cumming, professor, finance and entrepreneurship, and Ontario Research Chair in Economics & Cross Cultural Studies, led a session on “Fraud, Ethics, Finance”.

Dezso Horvath addressing the CONNECT groupDezsö J. Horváth addresses CONNECT participants

CONNECT 2013 also featured the Executive Coach Connection, a session where forum attendees had an opportunity to ask some of Canada’s top leadership and business coaches questions related to career success.

The Schulich Global Alumni Network includes more than 25,000 Schulich alumni living in over 90 different countries. Schulich boasts 86 alumni chapters in 63 countries.