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Courageous Leaders to Diversity Champions, 2019 Consortium Award Recipients Strive to Advance Equal Opportunity

Every year, The Consortium recognizes individuals and organizations that embody The Consortium’s mission, with several awards. In 2019, the organization honored eight individuals and one company for their work to advance its vision for the future. 

The following honorees have set themselves apart by demonstrating courageous leadership, championing corporate diversity, giving back to their communities and advancing the goal of equal opportunity in management. 

Kellee Scott
The Sterling H. Schoen Achievement Award

Established in honor of The Consortium’s founder, Dr. Sterling H. Schoen, this award recognizes individuals for their courageous leadership and commitment to advancing the goal of equal opportunity for underrepresented minorities in American business. In 2019, The Consortium bestowed this award on Kellee Scott, an alumna of the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business

Since graduating in 1997, Scott has remained involved with The Consortium in both direct and indirect ways, advocating for the organization among her colleagues during her post-MBA consulting career — ultimately prompting some to apply. In her current role as senior associate director of MBA admissions at USC Marshall, she presents business education as an option to USC undergraduates and consistently emphasizes to school leadership the importance of maximizing underrepresented student enrollment in the MBA program. “I am a firm believer in growing the pipeline,” Scott says. 

She makes an effort to support The Consortium financially as well, challenging herself to increase the amount she gives every year, with the goal of one day becoming an Eagle Club member. 

Lance LaVergne
The Wallace L. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award

Named for the man who contributed many years of service to The Consortium and touched the lives of thousands of students, the Wallace L. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award honors an alumnus who, among other things, has demonstrated a commitment to community involvement, mentoring, giving back and inspiring future leaders. Lance LaVergne, a 1991 alumnus of New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, was recognized as the 2019 recipient of this award. 

Now senior vice president of talent acquisition strategy and targeted programs at Wells Fargo, LaVergne says supporting the mission of The Consortium, as well as its students and alumni, has long been a part of both his personal and professional life. Initially giving back of his time by volunteering at alumni events on NYU Stern’s campus, he has since served on The Consortium’s Corporate Advisory Board and has used his influence to encourage his employers to also support the organization. “I very much appreciate the opportunity The Consortium represented for me, so I [have been] committed to helping other MBA students through the process the way prior Consortium alumni did for me,” says LaVergne. 

Courtney Schroeder and Jolawn Victor
Phyllis Scott Buford Young Visionary Award

The Consortium’s third leader, Dr. Phyllis Scott Buford, is known for modernizing the organization’s annual Orientation Program (OP), expanding collaboration with corporate partners and exposing diverse young leaders to more opportunities through OP. This award recognizes young alumni who are leaders in action — who demonstrate vision, collaboration and creativity in driving diversity and inclusion in their professional lives. The 2019 honorees are Courtney Schroeder and Jolawn Victor.

Schroeder, a 2013 alumnus of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, serves as diversity and inclusion manager at General Mills, where he leads diversity recruiting efforts. In addition to serving as a guest lecturer at Ross, writing recommendations for current Consortium students and donating to support The Consortium scholarship pool at Ross, he helps advance the organization’s mission through his career. 

“I drive the Consortium’s mission in my professional life through recruiting and mentorship and by helping to create a culture of belonging at General Mills,” says Schroeder. “By empowering our Employee Networks, creating opportunities for empathy and exhibiting the behaviors of an inclusive leader, my day-to-day job entails creating a workplace where we can attract, retain and advance diverse talent.”

A 2009 graduate of NYU Stern School of Business, Victor is currently head of emerging markets at Intuit and remains actively involved at her alma mater. “She encompasses Stern’s IQ + EQ value as a results-driven, passionate leader who inspires the people around her,” says Erica Hartsfield, associate director of MBA admissions and diversity recruiting at Stern. “Jolawn continues to be a voice for diversity in the tech industry.”

CVS Health
Consortium Corporate Pacesetter Award 

Established in June 2017, the Corporate Pacesetter Award recognizes a Consortium corporate partner that demonstrates dedication to the organization’s mission through extraordinary collaboration with Consortium constituents. Through communication, innovation and focus, the recipient of the Pacesetter award sets the standard for effective leadership in promoting diversity in corporate leadership. In 2019, The Consortium recognized CVS Health with this award. 

As part of its Enterprise Diversity Strategy, CVS Health established Diversity Leadership Teams that implement action plans in accordance with the company’s Strategic Diversity Management objectives; these include workplace representation, inclusion and belonging, talent systems and diverse marketplace. This effort is overseen by the Diversity Management Leadership Committee, which reports directly to the CEO. To ensure support for diverse affinities and cultures while driving growth and innovation, CVS Health also created 15 Colleague Resource Groups that educate, equip and empower colleagues to effectively navigate differences and similarities. 

“Addressing the country’s most pressing healthcare challenges requires the very best our company has to offer,” says Andréa Juliano, program manager of corporate university relations at CVS Health. “Leveraging the diverse talents of our colleagues is critical to meeting the unique needs of our customers and communities and delivering on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health. [This award] is a testament to our partnership with The Consortium and reflects our organization’s commitment to recruiting top diverse MBA talent.”

James Fripp
The Peter C. Thorp Corporate Leadership Award

In honor of The Consortium’s longest-serving Corporate Advisory Board chairman and board member, the Peter C. Thorp Corporate Leadership Award was established in 2001. Thorp was a staunch supporter and long-time champion for the organization as it has worked to fulfill its mission to provide the best education possible to underrepresented minorities pursuing an MBA. In 2019, The Consortium recognized James Fripp with this award. 

Recipients must demonstrate generous financial support of MBA fellowships, leadership as a corporate champion of ethnic diversity, support of innovative approaches to solving problems related to equal employment opportunity and a recognition by their peers as a leader and champion of diversity. Individuals must also show evidence of leadership and achievement in their industry, long-term corporate partnership with The Consortium, the largest number of Consortium hires, respect for diversity and the active pursuit of educational growth to advance diversity

Wiley Price
Circle & Flame Honorary Fellow Award

The Circle & Flame Honorary Fellow Award recognizes an individual — living or deceased — who through his or her work, actions and personal principles has exemplified a commitment to the mission of The Consortium, regardless of whether they have any formal connection to the organization. In 2019, The Consortium recognized St. Louis American photojournalist Wiley Price with the award. As the long-time resident photographer for The Consortium’s OP, he has demonstrated extraordinary support, mentorship, friendship and dedication to the cause of increasing diversity in corporate leadership. 

Price was recently inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame for his significant contributions to St. Louis media — specifically, photojournalism. For more than 30 years, his work has been seen in the St. Louis American and The Suburban Journals. He is known for capturing the riveting stories of St. Louis, including the unrest that occurred in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown. Price is also a member of the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame and a well-respected member of the St. Louis community

“As a photojournalist, it’s an extremely big deal to receive an award from an educational institution. For me, it means I’ve documented education in action,” says Price. “It’s been even more meaningful to have been around long enough to see things evolve. I think about the students I photographed when I began my journey with The Consortium several years ago — they have now gone on to do great work and are now serving as mentors to others. I love The Consortium and what it stands for. The founder, Sterling Schoen, was truly a visionary.”

Erika H. James
Earl Hill Award

Established in May 2019 in honor of past Consortium board member and faculty member at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, the Earl Hill Jr. Faculty Achievement and Diversity Leadership Award recognizes outstanding academic and professional leadership on campus and to the community beyond the boundaries of the university. In the award’s inaugural year, The Consortium recognized Erika H. James, the John H. Harland Dean at Goizueta.

An award-winning educator, accomplished consultant and published researcher, James was the first African American woman to be appointed dean of a top-25 business school — a position she has held since 2014. “It’s a great honor to receive the very first Earl Hill Jr. Faculty Achievement Award,” she says. “Earl was a crucial member of the Goizueta community and an inspiration to many, including me. Valuing diversity and ensuring inclusion are crucial to the work we do here at the Goizueta Business School and ideals that we live every day.”

An advocate for and a believer in the value that diversity brings, James has demonstrated a commitment to The Consortium’s mission, fostering an inclusive environment both on and off campus.

“History has proven that the best decisions are arrived at through a diversity of opinions, ideas and experiences. Through this diversity, we arrive at the right solutions,” she says. “That’s why I have worked to increase the number of underrepresented minority and women tenure-track faculty, conducted workshops on unconscious bias and committed myself and our faculty to continually eliciting and embracing a diversity of thoughts and perspectives.”

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