3M Frontline Initiative Conference 2009
The 3M Frontline Initiative Conference in partnership with the Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science (CBIS) convened April 15-18th. Participants from 3M along with sales and marketing higher education instructors from across the country gathered to share ideas focused on diversity as an impetus for organizational excellence. Since its inception fifteen years ago, the 3M Frontline Initiative Conference has provided a forum for collaborations between industry and academia to share ideas and implement common projects. “These collaborations have resulted in enhanced curricula, shared research, and community partnerships,” says Anthony Freeman, conference chairperson and coordinator of the CBIS sales and marketing program. The collaborative relationship between industry and academia positions higher education to train the next generation of sales professionals for immediate entry into the profession.The theme of this year’s conference was “Leveraging Diversity to Achieve Excellence.” Frontline Mission:To provide collaboration that enables teamwork and leadership among students, faculty, and 3M in order to develop sales ready talent.To address the challenges and opportunities for the Customer Frontline Community.Frontline Vision:To provide collaboration between academic institutions and 3M in order to develop curricula and address research issues (demographics, technology, and global competitive environment) involving entry level sales professionals and other customer contact-points.3M:3M is a diversified technology company serving customers and communities with innovative products and services. Each of their seven businesses has earned leading global market positions. The conference opened with a tour of the Tuskegee Airmen Museum followed by a tour of the Tuskegee University campus, and a welcoming reception.During the welcoming reception, remarks were given by Mr. Getchel L. Caldwell (VP of University Advancements), Dr. Benjamin F. Payton (President of Tuskegee University), Ms. Coretta Lee (3M – Team Leader), Mr. Anthony Freeman (Conference Chairperson), Dr. Tejinder Sara (Interim Dean of the Brimmer College of Business and Information Science), Dr. Luther S. Williams (Provost of Tuskegee University), Ms. Paula Mitchell (3M National sales Manager) and Mr. Mike Smith (3M ?).Over the course of the conference, participants toured George Washington Carver Museum, the Civil Rights Museum (Montgomery, AL), and the New Brimmer College of Business and Information Science building (where a demonstration of the 3M Media Room capability was shown); gave awards to Ms. Barbara Kaufmann, Ms. Cindy Bintzler, Lt. Colonel Herbert Carter (Tuskegee Airmen), Ms. Paula Mitchell, and Mr. Jimmiee L. Gaulden.; and participated in healthy dialogue surrounding the theme of the conference and other topics. Some of the dialogue topics included: “Leveraging Diversity to Achieve Measurable change” (facilitated by Mr. Jimmiee L. Gaulden), “Future Education Grant Funding Requirements and Allocation” (Ms. Barbara Kaufmann – Guest Speaker), “What Does Excellence Look Like?” and “Talent Development” (facilitated by Mr. Anthony Freeman), “How Tuskegee Airmen Leverage Diversity to Achieve Excellence” (Lt. Colonel Herbert Carter – one of the original Tuskegee Airmen), “Determinants of Innovative Capability of A Nation” (Dr. Tejinder Sara – Tuskegee University - Research); “Benchmarks In Sales Productivity” (Mr. David Hoffmeister – DePaul University - Research), “4 Generations In the Workplace” and “Growing Into A Diverse Workforce” (facilitated by Ms. Joann Jackson VP of Diversity Marriott), “Twelve Keys to Leading Diverse teams” (facilitated by Mr. Danny Lanier Author of The Power of Personal Leadership), and “Differences Can Make A Difference” (Ms. Cindy Bintzler – Guest Speaker – 3M VP of Human Resources); Conference closing remarks were given by Ms. Paula Mitchell and Mr. Mike Martinez of 3MWhat follows is a quote from Mr. Jimmiee Gaulden (Talent Solution Manager of 3M). “Just a short note of my thanks and appreciation for the great conference and Tuskegee experience. You guys really put together a great agenda and really worked tirelessly to drive a very difficult and compelling theme. I’m sure you’ve heard this from everyone that your conference was distinctively different and in many ways transformative.
For me, this marked the first time I’ve ever wanted to sit and linger because I just did not want to leave; I did not want the conference to end. The honor of having my colleagues and friends experience all that has been great about diversity first hand was simply remarkable. I’m sure most of them merely thought of World War II as a milestone in history where America’s beacon shined and provided liberation of Europe; not knowing or understanding the real potential we have as the human race. What struck me most was the genuine intellectual curiosity of the theme that shaped both the planning, execution and delivery of the conference. Not sure I could ever examine all the dimensions as some wanted to, but the theme certainly makes you think, doesn’t it? But clearly, the examples of the theme were there everywhere we turned, from the lobby of the Kellogg Center; where Washington and Carver are prominent to the pristine Chapel that towers outside its door, and Colonel Carter, who really mesmerized us without one ounce of bitterness.”
Statements like the one above were echo by all participants. In light of the above, I would like to thank all of the TU family who participated in making the 3M conference a huge success. Here’s to you!