Alpha Rho Chapter Alumni Association's October 2020 Digest
Coca Cola’s Fred Clark III (Spring 2009) Drew On
Kilts Center Resources To Make The Leap
From Finance To Marketing — For One Of The World's Most Recognizable Brands
by LeeAnn Shelton www.chicagobooth.edu
When Fred Clark, ’20, landed an internship and then a full-time role at renowned Atlanta-based beverage maker Coca-Cola, he knew he had a marketer’s dream job. With a storied legacy to draw upon, the iconic brand and its focus on storytelling provided a plethora of inspiration and opportunity for the recent graduate. But Clark also brings to the role his own profound passion: a focus on multicultural marketing.
“I’m passionate about multicultural marketing because I want minority communities to be able to benefit from the marketing that targets our strong buying power and cultural influence,” said Clark, a Houston native. He’s driven to become a marketer who not only considers multicultural demographics, but also serves as a good steward of the marketing that reaches those communities. “By investing dollars with vendors and creatives in our minority communities,” said Clark, “we will be able to influence change related to systemic issues that still have an impact today.”
Clark’s introduction to marketing came from a company he launched with classmates as an undergraduate at Morehouse College. The group would curate fun events, primarily in nightlife and entertainment, which they advertised to fellow college students across Atlanta. “We turned it into a viable business—brands started to come to us and ask us to market for them at our events,” Clark remembered. “I always did it on the side, but I had an itch to explore it in a greater capacity.”
Graduating with a degree in business administration with a concentration in finance, Clark took a job in the oil industry and spent eight years working in finance at Shell. But he felt something pulling him back to marketing, so he enrolled in the Full-Time MBA Program at Booth. He found his MBA classes gave him a foundational understanding of marketing, as well as an appreciation for both the art and the science of the field.
In classes such as Data-Driven Marketing, taught by Kilts Family Professor of Marketing Günter J. Hitsch, Clark learned that the old-school, Mad Men-esque idea that “whoever has the most creative idea wins” is a thing of the past. “In this new age of technology and data, marketing is understanding consumer markets and being able to be predictive in your way of thought,” Clark said. “Classes like Data Driven Marketing gave me the tools to be able draw insights from a dataset and make informed marketing decisions to drive revenue.”
He also found support from the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing at Booth, which introduced him to programs and resources, and helped him further build connections with marketing professors. “All of the Speaker Series that the Kilts Center offered were very helpful in putting myself in a mindset of marketing, whereas my whole career I had been focused on the dollars and cents of finance,” he said.
Outside of the classroom, Clark participated in student-led groups, serving as the co-chair of Booth’s African American MBA Association (AAMBAA) and as a member of the Dean’s Marketing Advisory Committee (DMAC). He enjoyed building deep relationships with his classmates through various school programming and class trips.
"This year has also allowed me to build relationships with those willing to have the uncomfortable conversations. As an African American man, I was rightfully disturbed by the constant images of police brutality and racial injustice in the media," he said. "I was pleasantly surprised by a few of my classmates who reached out to express allyship and better educate themselves on critical issues facing the Black community."
For his summer internship between his first and second year at Booth, Clark landed a coveted role at Coca-Cola, working on the Diet Coke brand. His job was to build out a three-year strategy in the convenience retail channel, and he enjoyed working with creative agencies to see the visual components come together.
“Being able to sit down with creative agencies and tech companies to see the full potential of marketing/branding in the CPG industry was huge for me,” Clark said.
Clark ended up pitching a strategic campaign as the capstone of his internship, and was offered a job post-graduation as an associate brand manager for the company’s Gold Peak Tea line. In the first months of this new role, he’s excited to lead its social media and digital efforts.
With his Booth experience still so fresh in his memory, Clark has a keen awareness of how that business school community helped propel him to a critical role in the marketing department of an esteemed global brand. “I had such a strong appreciation for the level of intelligence and just the caliber of classmates that I had when I got into Booth,” said Clark. “Everybody was very welcoming, friendly. They all had unique backgrounds, and that helped me to grow and stretch my comfort zone.”
And as he begins his career in marketing, Clark is dedicating himself to making the kind of impact he wants to see in the world, especially in the realm of multicultural marketing. “I truly just want to use my position and influence to drive change and positive growth in our minority communities.”
“In this new age of technology and data, marketing is understanding consumer markets and being able to be predictive in your way of thought.” Fred Clark, '20 reflects on a career switch from finance to marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, the ongoing critical importance of multi-cultural marketing, and the support the Kilts Center offered via programs and relationship building. At the core of Fred's drive is making the impact he wants to see in the world. “I truly just want to use my position and influence to drive change and positive growth in our minority communities.”
Brand management professional focused on value optimization and strategic marketing. Adept at identifying areas of value leakage/opportunities and working with cross-functional teams to increase P&L performance. Proven record of leadership and ability to deliver results that directly impact the bottom-line.
Founded in 1999, the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing advances marketing at Chicago Booth by facilitating faculty research, supporting innovations in the marketing curriculum, funding scholarships for MBA students, and creating engaging programs aimed at enhancing the careers of students and alumni.
Brother Wesley L. White (Spring 2002)
Named 2020 “Rising Star” By Super Lawyers
Reichman Jorgensen Associate Wesley White has been recognized as a 2020 “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. The Rising Stars directory is comprised of the top up-and-coming attorneys who are under 40 years of age or have been in practice for less than a decade. Only 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from 70+ practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition & professional achievement.
Wesley is a trial attorney in Reichman Jorgensen’s New York office who represents both plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes patent disputes. Earlier this year, he played a key role in helping the firm secure a $236 million patent infringement verdict for Densify against tech giant VMware. The verdict was announced on January 24, 2020, following a nine-day jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, where jurors found that VMware willfully infringed two Densify patents which cover virtualization technology.
Wesley’s contributions to the Densify trial team were many. As case manager, Wesley was responsible for the herculean task of managing an accelerated trial schedule (the case was set for trial only five months after a preliminary injunction hearing), including managing deadlines, resourcing, and interfacing with the client, among other duties. He led discovery efforts, including written discovery, document collection, handling briefing of discovery disputes/motions, and assisting with drafting expert materials/reports. Wesley was also extensively involved in taking depositions, including deposing VMware’s technical expert and defending the deposition of Densify’s key technical expert.
In particular, Wes conducted the pivotal rebuttal examination of his client’s technical expert at trial. This was the last witness called before the case was sent to the jury. It was a huge responsibility for a fifth-year associate, but as lead counsel Courtland Reichman explains “Wes did a truly masterful job throughout the entire Densify trial. He is the perfect example of that rare young talent you come across, who is mature beyond their years and has the instincts and high acumen to really shine in the courtroom. He’s a bonafide star.”
Wesley is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was the Business & Bluebook Chair on the Harvard Law Review. He also earned joint degrees in applied physics and electrical engineering from Morehouse College and Georgia Tech. Before embarking on his legal career, Wesley worked in the financial services industry as an associate with Goldman Sachs in New York and Chicago.
Pictured Above: Kelvin J. Taylor, who joined Midwest BankCentre in November 2019 as executive vice president-chief information officer, remains in that role while also serving as managing director of Rising Analytics.
‘Rising’ Black star (Brother Kelvin J. Taylor -- Spring 1985) at Midwest BankCentre, Inc. Region’s only Black-led bank acquires Black-led data analytics firm
By Chris King Of The St. Louis American
Midwest BankCentre, Inc. is getting more analytical – and adding yet more Black leadership in the financial sector.
The parent company of Midwest BankCentre, the only regional bank led by an African American, it has now acquired Taylored Analytics to launch a new subsidiary, Rising Analytics. Founded in October 2007 by the husband-wife team of Kelvin and Tamila “Tammy” Taylor, the firm helps small to mid-sized businesses harness their data to drive business strategy and processes. It has worked with Fortune 500 companies in the financial, retail, restaurant, utility and telecommunications sectors. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.
Kelvin Taylor joined Midwest BankCentre in November 2019 as executive vice president-chief information officer. He remains in that role, while also serving as managing director of Rising Analytics. “Kelvin’s strengths in the application of data analytics provide a tremendous advantage to businesses and organizations that want to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of their sales and marketing decisions,” said Orvin T. Kimbrough, chairman and CEO of Midwest BankCentre.
“He is passionate about equipping business leaders to effectively translate their financial goals into well-informed business strategies and actions. We’re excited to make this practical expertise readily accessible to Midwest BankCentre’s clients and other small to mid-sized businesses and nonprofits.”
Kelvin Taylor earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and mathematics at Morehouse College and completed post-graduate studies in economics at University of Maryland, College Park. He has served locally on the United Way and Urban League boards of directors. He and his wife, Tamila Taylor, annually host a charity golf tournament to fund scholarships to Morehouse College, the nation’s top producer of Black males who continue their education and receive doctorates.
Kelvin Taylor said the acquisition is timely and strategic. “It’s estimated that 90% of all the data in the world has been generated in the last two years. That explosive growth in customer, financial and operational data has changed the way businesses can achieve their goals,” Taylor said. “But the majority of data projects fail when the data science team is unable to translate ‘geek speak’ to business language or when overly complex models fail to deliver one source of truth within organizations.”
Rising Analytics’ seven-member team focuses on capturing and using reliable data to help small to mid-sized business owners, franchises and nonprofits gain customer insights and automate routine tasks. “We apply the skills and insights used by industry giants to develop data strategies that deliver actionable insights through advanced analytics,” Taylor said. “Our implementation roadmaps, customer segmentation analyses, sales pipeline scoring and customer profitability analyses help organizational leaders better plan and communicate their priorities, concentrate their brainpower and create stronger futures.”
Midwest BankCentre’s assets exceed $2 billion and deposits total more than $1.5 billion. The bank employs a staff of about 280 working at 18 bank locations in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Charles counties in Missouri and St. Clair County in Illinois. The bank is a local leader in the St. Louis Regional Financial Empowerment Coalition (formerly the St. Louis Regional Unbanked Task Force) and its Bank-On Save-Up St. Louis initiative.
Brother Sean A. Haley Ph.D. (Spring 1987) Joins Board Of Directors Of Houston, Texas-based Patient Care Intervention Center
Patient Care Intervention Center (PCIC) is proud to introduce Dr. Sean A. Haley, Ph.D. to its board of directors. Dr. Haley is an executive consultant and educational leader who focuses on organizational efficiency, equity and individual and community empowerment. As a strategist, thought partner, facilitator, developer, and executive coach, he has impacted outcomes in diverse communities, while working with hundreds of community leaders, stakeholders, and educators nationally. His diverse array of experiences and leadership roles in the education and public health sectors will bring a refreshing perspective to the PCIC team.
PCIC is a nonprofit organization that leverages technology, health data sharing, and public health best practices to empower patients and providers to achieve enduring health outcomes and financial sustainability. We work with local governments, hospital systems, health plans, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and social service agencies to streamline care coordination and patient data sharing.
Sean is an executive consultant and educational leader who focuses on organizational efficiency, equity and individual and community empowerment. As a strategist, thought partner, facilitator, developer, and executive coach, he has impacted outcomes in diverse communities, while working with hundreds of community leaders, stakeholders, and educators nationally. He is President of the Haley Responsive Education Corporation (HREC) which he founded in 2008.
While in this position Sean has served as a consultant on high-impact projects for the: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement, International Center for Leadership in Education, Institute for Public School Initiatives, Texas Charter Schools Association, Engage2Learn, and National CARES Mentoring Movement. In the field of education, Sean has developed successful schools and tools that empower educators and students. In total, his educational consulting work has taken him across 15 states and 1 U.S. Territory where he has provided direct school improvement and transformation support to leaders and teachers at all levels (Pre-Kindergarten through 12).
He currently promotes individual and community empowerment through direct training services, partnership development, community engagement and advocacy in 4 areas: Affordable Housing, Health/Healthcare, Safety/Criminal Justice, and Education. This work also leads to regular, direct engagement with community-focused efforts of institutions and organizations such as the: University of Houston College of Medicine, University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs, University of Texas Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis, Children’s Museum Houston, and Third Ward Health Collaborative.
In addition to serving on the PCIC board, Sean serves on the Board of Directors of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Houston Galveston. He also is a member of the Texas Health Institute’s Statewide Steering Committee on Aligning Systems for Health in Texas, as well as a Steering Committee member for the Greater Houston Coalition for Social Determinants of Health. He grew up in Houston and is a graduate of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. Sean earned a B.A. degree in Psychology from Morehouse College, and is also a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction.
Answering The Bell: Missouri City Councilman Christopher Preston (Spring 2009) Reflects On Overcoming Battle With Lymphoma
Pictured above: Missouri City Councilman Chris Preston, right, rings the bell signifying the end of his cancer treatment at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston on Nov. 8, 2019, with his wife Alexandria at left. Preston had battled lymphoma since September 2018 and is nearing the anniversary of his remission.
by Stefan Modrich, www.https://fortbendstar.com/ October 2020
Two years ago, life as Chris Preston knew it began to change.
He first began to notice the abnormal lump on his neck in September 2018. Initially, he surmised it was a result of sleeping in an awkward position. But as it continued to linger, so did his concern. And then, in July 2019, the diagnosis for the Missouri City councilman arrived after a biopsy and a visit to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT): He had Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, at age 32.
“I’m a young guy, right? I’m a young male, and I have always engaged in a healthy lifestyle, I exercise a lot, I’m very active,” Preston said. “And so the last thing that came to mind was, you know, something like cancer. It was not even a thought.” It was after the biopsy when the notion that the disease could be “life-altering” and when Preston began to prepare to hear “some pretty intense news from the doctors.” Cancer.net projects that about 8,480 people will be diagnosed with the disease by the end of 2020.
Preston’s cancer entered remission on Nov. 8, 2019, as he rang the ceremonial bell with his wife at his side to symbolize the completion of the most daunting chapter of his life. As he nears the anniversary of the completion of 11 months of grueling chemotherapy, Preston said he wanted to use his platform as a public servant to encourage others to get regular health screenings and to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
First elected in 2014, Preston is running for a fourth two-year term on the Missouri City council. He’s facing challengers Lynn Clouser and James Mable in an election scheduled for Nov. 3. “Dealing with this cancer for me was a challenge,” Preston said. “But through the support of God, my loving wife, family, friends and this community at large, the Missouri City community, it really helped me cope with what I was dealing with. (There were) definitely some rough days during the journey, but it was helpful to have the love and support of the community throughout that journey.”
While September and Blood Cancer Awareness Month is winding down, Preston said consulting a doctor and recognizing the signs of blood cancer early on is crucial. “I’m extremely thankful to still be here with you all, with this community,” Preston said. “I am very determined to use this platform to shed light on these issues. Because it affects a lot of people.” Preston underwent treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, where he said many of the nurses and doctors he met were Missouri City residents.
“It really just highlighted a sense of community and how everything is connected,” Preston. “And how we’re all in this together. Quality of life, environmental quality — all of those things tie in together for our health, the longevity of our lives and how we live our lives.” Chemotherapy was emotionally and physically taxing on Preston, but nonetheless, he continued to serve in his role on the council as At-Large Position 2 and was a constant presence at City Hall in 2019.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve, because it was during those moments that really reminded me what I enjoy and what I am passionate about,” Preston said. “I found myself attending all of my council meetings, engaging, and it was really beneficial to me because it allowed me to have a sense of normalcy.” Preston suffered from fatigue and nausea after long days of chemotherapy, but he was determined not to allow his condition slow him down. But his hair loss and changes in his physical appearance raised some eyebrows among some of his constituents.
At one point during the course of his treatment cycle, a senior citizen at a local event asked him a pointed question. “She walked up to me and said, ‘Chris, now you know I notice everything about you. What happened to your eyebrows?’ ” Preston recalled. “And we shared a laugh, and that was her way of knowing that I was dealing with some health issues.”
The lengthy treatments gave Preston a greater sense of appreciation for first-responders and those studying in or working within the medical field. “They are on the front lines, and they really are the lifeblood of our community,” Preston said. “I appreciate them so much.”
Preston’s diagnosis, after the initial shock, brought him clarity and a renewed sense of purpose. He had personal and professional aspirations — marriage, having children, and continuing to improve the community he served. “I just felt like it was time to let myself go into the hands of the medical professionals, the doctors, whom I trust,” Preston said. “And work towards eradicating the cancer that was in my body.”
To escape the monotony and the grind of time spent in the hospital, Preston sought fresh air at Missouri City’s Edible Arbor Trail, which he frequented with his wife Alexandria and their bulldog. He had an extensive reading list, including the Bible and the Book of Job, “Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson” by Robert Caro, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama as well as Ted Gup’s “The Book of Honor” about CIA officers who died anonymously in the line of duty. He also became immersed in NPR’s “Texas Standard” news program.
Preston also participated in the DEA and FBI citizen academies, which were additional outlets for him to learn and to meet new people as he continued his fight against cancer. “I’m very into knowing how things work and their roles in the larger scheme of things,” Preston said. “It was also very informative and educational for me just learning more about (the DEA). … It was a great experience.”
Preston said the recent death of actor Chadwick Boseman, widely celebrated for playing Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson in “42” and T’Challa in the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” was a wake-up call. But, Preston added, it was also notable that Boseman had not made his diagnosis public, and had worked on four films after he had been diagnosed with colon cancer. “I wanted to stay in stride and stay in service,” Preston said. “And not let (the cancer) become a distraction. When you’re dealing with something like that, you know physically and mentally how tough it is. You just want to stay focused because you don’t know what the future holds for you. You don’t know what the future will bring for you, and you just want to give all you can while you can to whatever it is that you care about.”
If Boseman was an inspiration for Preston, so too was the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the former Supreme Court justice who died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 18. Both Boseman and Ginsburg exhibited a passion for their careers, Preston said, that was evident in the results of their work.
At M.D. Anderson, Preston met with people from all over the U.S. and the world who were undergoing treatment for lymphoma and many other forms of cancer. In addition, his father died after battling leukemia, and so Preston feels an obligation to be a sounding board for people who may not know where to turn after receiving their diagnosis. “People just want to continue doing the things that they enjoy,” Preston said. “When you’re going through treatment you have enough to deal with physically, so anything you can do to take your mind off of that, bring peace and happiness and joy to you, you want to do that, and for me it was serving and working towards solutions for this community and growing closer to this community, and trying to put (the cancer) behind me.”
Whether it was befriending Donna Parker, a Quail Valley resident in the hospital who worked as a phlebotomist, or a serendipitous encounter with a chaplain who prayed with Preston and his wife as they were contemplating whether or not to go through with another lumbar puncture procedure, the councilman said he’s grateful for the moments that helped remind him of the importance of compassion and shared experience. “Those experiences are real, they’re helpful, and sometimes you will be the one on the giving end, and sometimes you will be the one on the receiving end,” Preston said.
Preston said everyone can play a role in spreading awareness about blood cancer and living a healthier lifestyle. One way he’s giving back is by participating in the Great Cycle Challenge. His goal is to ride 500 miles and raise $1,000 for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. “Tomorrow is not promised,” Preston said. “So it is important for all of us to do what we can not only for the betterment of ourselves and for our loved ones and the community that we share.”
Brother Wayne Herman Davis (Fall 1998) Maps Out GE Appliances' Strategy On Selling The ‘Dream’ Of Café Via Influencer Marketing
Pictured above: Wayne Davis, Café brand director for GE Appliances, a Haier Company, said the manufacturer looked to bring custom appliances into the 'mass-premium' space as the dream of one's perfect kitchen was so often relegated to the luxury market segment.
by Sarah Shadburne – Reporter, Louisville Business First
GE Appliances, a Haier company, launched its Café series appliances with the at-home dreamer in mind. Wayne Davis, Café brand director, said when he looked out into the marketplace, it was characterized by an explosion of home designing with the dream of a perfect kitchen at the center. The possibilities for customization were endless for the dreamers, except when it came to the finishes on their appliances.
“People are dreaming of these gorgeous kitchens and then, when they actually get to the point where they’re ready to buy their appliances, they’re kind of let down because when you walk into a store it’s a sea of stainless steel, we called it a ‘sea of sameness,’” Davis said. “That was really the spark for Café.
“There’s always gorgeous kitchens out there, (but) a lot of the choice in making a gorgeous kitchen only lives up in the luxury space. So, Café’s mission was really to be the first brand to bring what’s going on in the luxury space, into what we call ‘mass premium,’ that next level under ultra-premium or luxury space.” Davis said the best way to reach such a dreamer is online, which is why the company chose to employ a social media influencer marketing campaign. Especially as the Covid-19 global pandemic has extended that at-home dreaming phase for many, Davis said social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have been like caffeine for the brand because they are go-to apps for easy inspiration.
Café launched in 2018 with The Matte Collection as its first line of customizable appliances and allows consumers to choose the hardware and finishes on refrigerators, stoves and other kitchen appliances. In late 2019, the company launched its second finish, Modern Glass, for lovers of contemporary design, Davis said. “I want people to feel this is their choice. I want them to feel like this is their kitchen,” Davis said. “They’re not thinking about resale value, they’re not thinki