Leaders Studied: UCWBG

flower theme by Liane Sebastian
The University of Chicago’s culture permeates business in Chicago. In the background of my journey, in my perriferal vision, this educational institution, which I’ve never attended, has influenced my career even more than the schools I did attend! Witness:

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flower theme by Liane Sebastian My father graduated from The University of Chicago, inspiring stores of this city; I had to move here after college. If they had an art school, I would have gone there. Instead, I ended up at the School of the Art Institute.

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flower theme by Liane Sebastian The Great Books Foundation, founded by UofC illuminaries such as Mortimer Adler,  was one of my most influential clients for 15 years. I designed 16 children’s books, leadership training materials, and marketing collateral for the Junior Great Books Program.

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flower theme by Liane Sebastian I watched the UofC’s Gleacher Center being built below my office window, at 401 North Michigan. It houses the business school and the Graham School.

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flower theme by Liane Sebastian I taught a publishing seminar at the UofC’s Graham School of General Studies on the lower level of the Gleacher Center. Though the publishing curriculum was phased out, I continue to attend functions, events, and sessions there.

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flower theme by Liane Sebastian The University of Chicago became a design client: both the Graham School and the office of student services. I designed course catalogs, PDF system, Student Orientation packets, and helped to define the Writer’s Studio Program formats.

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flower theme by Liane Sebastian I spoke last three weeks ago at University of Chicago Women Business Group’s Annual Meeting to a sold-out audience.
This latest date in my affair with this school shows why my orbit seems to find The University of Chicago central. Thinking I’d write here about the topics we discussed at the Gleacher Center dinner and the perceptions that members shared, the piece became too long for a blog.

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Every group I speak to has a culture and an energy. What surprised me most about UCWBG is their openness and curiosity. I expected that top-educated women would be less engaging and more authoritative. After all, I don’t hold an MBA—I am an entrepreneur from the trenches! I went to art school, not business school! Expecting a bit of cultural-mismatch, instead I found such a welcoming warmth of smart but curious ladies! Each a bit more eclectic than the next!

Khloe Karova, MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said: “I enjoyed hearing your presentation. The part about having a flexible management style was very poignant and I have been reflecting on your insight on the value of understanding the client’s goals and objectives. Your book has been a joy to read and I like that it’s small so I can keep it in my handbag at all times. I have already started quoting from it!”

What cultural influences do universities have in your career? Apart from the Alumni Associations, I am impressed with how many educators are concerned to bridge interests with the business community. The UofC’s Graham School and NU’s School of Continuing Studies have invited me to engage. And, I am reaching out to others because the connections of business to education can always be stronger.
Please enjoy these related publications:

Women who Win at Work, my book profiling 35 exemplary businesswomen
“Dealing with Decision Makers”  blog profiling my talk at Executive Women International

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer

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One Response to “Leaders Studied: UCWBG”

  1. Avoid Author Traps « Wisdomofwork's Blog Says:

    […] with educators. My relationship with the University of Chicago and Northwestern, so far, top my inspiring moments of the past season. Unfortunately, my alma mater […]

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