IBGC Speaker Series

Each academic year, the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC) Speaker Series hosts a number of high profile events featuring a industry leaders and entrepreneurial visionaries from diverse international business fields to share their experiences, insights and advice with students and the community at large. These international business leaders render culturally stimulating, entertaining and thought-provoking discussions on topics as compelling as cross border trade and finance, developing capital markets, emerging market entry strategy, business diplomacy, and international entrepreneurship.

Check Out IBGC’s 2019 Events on the Fletcher Calendar

Since 2001, our Speaker Series has hosted these executives, entrepreneurs, and innovators to share insights and debate the issues shaping global business. Our purpose is to examine inclusion, sustainability, risk, innovation, and other challenges as experienced by leaders navigating them firsthand, inspiring and offering a “breadcrumb trail” for the next generation.

Past speakers have included:

  • Ajay Bhalla | Chief Security Solutions Officer, Mastercard
  • Bill Browder | CEO, Hermitage Capital
  • April Rinne, Fletcher alumna ’04, global investor, keynote speaker
  • Subir Gokarn | Executive Director, International Monetary Fund
  • Angela Hansen| Partner, Dalberg
  • Paul Polman, Former CEO, Unilever 
  • Gabrielle Maguire, Fletcher alumna ’12, Operating Principal, JetBlue 
  • John Gordon | Chief Digital Officer, Current, powered by GE
  • Rachel Hudson | CFO, ADM
  • Scott McDonald | CEO, Oliver Wyman
  • Art Peck | CEO, Gap, Inc.
  • Christina Sass | Co-Founder & COO, Andela
  • Guadalupe Phillips | CEO, Empresas ICA
  • Richard Plepler| Former CEO, HBO
  • Amlan Roy | Senior Managing Director, State Street Global Advisors
  • C.B. Bhattacharya, H.J. Zoffer Chair in Sustainability and Ethics; Professor of Business Management, Pitt Business, University of Pittsburgh 
  • John Sculley | Former CEO, Apple
  • Shamina Singh | President, MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Sunny Verghese | CEO, Olam
  • David Young | Senior Partner & Managing Director, Social Impact, Boston Consulting Group

Online Speaker Events


Navigating Your Career and the Future of Work in a World of Flux | IBGC Speaks with April Rinne

Our world was in flux even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Now the situation is more dire, with sectors of the economy in free fall, prospects of slow recovery and a future full of doubt. April Rinne (F’04) has been weaving a story about how to thrive amid flux, drawing on her history as a global development executive, microfinance lawyer, investor, advisor, mental health advocate and insatiable hand-stander. Having worked in or visited over 100 countries, April is as comfortable at Davos as she is talking with microfinance borrowers in an urban slum. Her vision is for better business through better policies and responsible leadership, building a world that works for all.

In this IBGC Speaks session, April discusses why the career of the future looks more like a portfolio rather than a clear cut path. April will also detail how a ‘flux mindset’ can help students and professionals as they navigate the future of work- or a global pandemic.


Small Actions, Big Difference: Leveraging Corporate Sustainability to Grow Business and Societal Value | IBGC Speaks with CB Bhattacharya

IBGC Speaks invites Professor CB Bhattacharya, Author “Small Actions Big Difference,” to share stories and sustainability strategies that companies can implement using profit in service of people and planet. CB Bhattacharya is the H.J. Zoffer Chair in Sustainability and Ethics at the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. He is a world renowned expert in business strategy innovation aimed at increasing both business and social value. His research and teaching focuses specifically on how companies can use under-leveraged “intangible assets” such as corporate identity, reputation, corporate social responsibility and sustainability to strengthen stakeholder relationships and drive firm market value.


Competing Through Sustainability and the Private Sector’s Role in the COVID-19 Response | IBGC Speaks with Paul Polman

This exclusive video segment is taken from Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti’s Innovation Models for Building Inclusive Businesses class, featuring Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and co-founder and chair of Imagine, a benefit corporation and foundation accelerating business leadership to achieve the Global Goals; chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team and Oxford Said Business School; and vice-chair of the U.N. Global Compact. Dean Chakravorti and Paul Polman discuss his role as former CEO of Unilever and his current work to propel the private sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Optimizing for Social and Business Value | IBGC Speaks with David Young

In the coming years, business will have to be about more than just business. Companies will need to create value not only for their shareholders but also for society by confronting humanity’s toughest challenges. Organizations are uniquely positioned to tackle societal issues, but leaders must think beyond traditional initiatives for corporate social responsibility and center their purpose on doing good while doing well.

In this IBGC Speaks session, we explore how businesses can optimize for social and corporate value with David Young, Managing Director & Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group. Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School, moderates the session.


A World Online: Which Countries are Ready for the Great Lockdown and Which are Ready to Ease Up? | Research Webinar

Countries around the world are struggling to find the right balance between epidemiology and economics. As the economic costs pile up, there is increasing pressure to lift lockdowns. What is sorely needed is data on which countries have been more effective in responding to the public health challenge (the epidemiological side) through locking down and testing and which countries have the digital systems in place to keep the economy running. This includes the platforms needed for keeping workers connected and productive, the Internet infrastructure, and digital payments along with public services online and an inclusive Internet. IBGC’s Digital Planet research team examined this critical issue by evaluating 42 countries and the “social distance readiness” of their economies. Learn the results of this essential research for timely action and how it can be used to give policymakers, business leaders and innovators a sense of where their socially distant work policies are at odds with what they need to do to reduce the economic costs of COVID-19.

This webinar marks the launch of IDEA 2030: Imagining a Digital Economy for All, an initiative based on research conducted by The Fletcher School’s Institute for Business in the Global Context. This initiative is supported by the Mastercard Impact Fund, and in collaboration with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.