Business school hosts first annual leadership forum

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November 11, 2011

12:09 AM

The College of William and Mary’s Mason School of Business and Marshall-Wythe School of Law hosted the first McGlothlin Leadership Forum Nov. 1-3 at Alan B. Miller Hall.

“Academics are often disconnected from reality. The forum brought business into the business school,” Brent Allred, associate professor of international business and strategic management, said. “They helped discuss the state of affairs. They didn’t come with a preconceived agenda. They just answered students’ questions.”

James McGlothlin ’62 J.D. ’64 and now the Chairman and CEO of The United Company, inaugurated the forum to educate students about leadership, responsibility and accountability in global, political and economic systems.

The forum speakers included John Snow, 73rd U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and former CEO of CSX Corporation; David Boies, the Chairman and Managing Partner of Boies; and William C. Weldon, Schiller, and Flexner LLP, and Chairman and CEO of Johnson and Johnson.

Speakers interacted with business and law students in classroom sessions and discussed national and global issues at a plenary session open to the public.

National debt, tort reform and healthcare were among the main issues discussed.

Boies began the session with a discussion of the importance of tort reform.

“The current system imposes costs on our economy and society that are becoming increasingly intolerant,” Boies said. “In the past, when we were the dominant world economy and didn’t have to worry about global competition, we could impose a lot of costs on ourselves and still succeed. We can’t do that anymore.”

Weldon also spoke about problems associated with healthcare.

“The issue in the healthcare industry is, if there is negligence or bad behavior on our part, we should be put into a position where we have a responsibility to whoever is injured,” Weldon said. “However, a lot of the issues that go on are not due to negligence. You can have an MRI, X-Ray, or CAT scan when you know they are not needed. Too much protection is the wrong reason, and it drives costs up.”

Healthcare has contributed to an increase in debt amongst individuals. Snow argued that the cause of the national debt and the slow growth of the economy is the government’s substitution of public debt for private debt.

Despite the current economic conditions, many businesses remain optimistic that new, young leaders’ will facilitate their success.

“Young people have out-of-the-box, different viewpoints and bring new ideas to our companies; our success was always in these new ideas,” McGlothlin said. “Tomorrow will definitely have students from this school and others.”

Students and professors thought that the forum was beneficial because it provided a space for students to collaborate with the speakers in a small, intimate setting.

“The interaction with executives of such high caliber, especially in a small classroom setting was unique,” business professor Franklin Robeson, said.

With the success of the first McGlothlin forum, professors and administrators at the business school have started planning a second McGlothlin Leadership Forum next year to continue dialogue about leadership.

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