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Lecture series focuses on changes in business

SAM STRYKER | Friday, January 29, 2010

Anticipating changes in the culture of the business world is a valuable skill in today’s fast- paced world, and to keep pace, the Mendoza School of Business is hosting a series of lectures throughout the spring semester titled “Ten Years Hence.”

Mendoza has hosted a spring lecture series for the last nine years, and for the last six they have all held the common theme of “Ten Years Hence.” This year’s lecture series is focused on “The Future of Capitalism.”

The series began Jan. 22 with a panel discussion titled “The Ascent of Money,” hosted by Scott Malpas, vice president and chief investment officer at the University of Notre Dame, and Professor Richard Mendenhall. It will conclude April 16 with a lecture by Catherine Mathis, senior vice president of Marketing and Communications for Standard & Poor’s.

There will be a total of seven lectures, and if students attend all seven, they can receive one academic credit.

Professor James O’Rourke, director of the Eugene D. Fanning Center at Mendoza College, said he believes the “Ten Years Hence” theme holds especially important in today’s financial times.

“I think it is important to not just study history and current events for our lessons, but to look forward in some structured speculation to see what life will be like in 10 years time,” he said.

O’Rourke said this approach of tackling future problems today is a very logical one in the business world.

“Many of the issues such as water and oil are foreshadowing problems,” he said. “It’s entirely possible we may devise interventions for altering the outcomes.”

O’Rourke also said the series will involve a number of events, ranging from a two-part discussion on PBS’s popular series “The Ascent of Money” to discussions with noted leaders in the business community such as John Mackay, chairman and CEO of Whole Foods, who will speak March 26 on the subject of “Conscious Capitalism.”

“We look for people with a connection to Notre Dame who feel that this is part of their pro bono mission,” O’Rourke said.

While the theme “Ten Years Hence” has run for the past six years, O’Rourke feels that this years focus, “The Future of Capitalism,” is an especially topical subject.

“This is really a response to the chaos we’ve seen in markets and the anxiety we’ve all felt in the last 24 months as this recession has dragged on,” he said.

In addition to the discussions on Jan. 22, March 26 and April 16, Mendoza will host the second part of “The Ascent of Money” panel on Feb. 5; Fred Dust, partner and practice lead for IDEO, on Feb. 12; Harris Diamond, CEO of Weber Shandwick, on Feb. 26; and Hazel Henderson, founder of Ethical Markets Media, on March 19.