Madeline Rogero, the mayor of Knoxville, spoke to an all-female crowd of 30 students, staff and faculty members at the Haslam College of Business on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Haslam’s chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA) organized the event as part of the “Ladies Leading in Business” speaker series.
Mayor Rogero spoke about corporate responsibility and the intersection of business and government. Noting that the two entities are very different, she said that they do share some common values and are inextricably intertwined in community development.
“You want any business to be well-managed, not spend more than it earns, have good planning, good strategies and good management,” Mayor Rogero said. “Those values are universal and apply to government as well.”
The mayor also talked about some of Knoxville’s burgeoning businesses and what the city is doing to encourage makers from hand-made craftsmen to technology innovators. Rayleana Schenkenfelder, vice president of professional development for Haslam’s NAWMBA chapter, said the organization thought it was important for MBA students to understand the impact of business on a community.
“When a business is profiting and growing, it's potentially the ultimate social platform—creating jobs, giving people a sense of greater belonging, bolstering families and tying communities together for a broader purpose,” Schenkenfelder said. “We asked Mayor Rogero to speak because she has both civic leadership experience and private sector experience in corporate social responsibility.”
Rogero was the first female mayor elected to any of Tennessee's four largest cities. Prior to holding the Knoxville mayor seat, she served as community development director for the City of Knoxville and as a consultant on corporate social responsibility programs for the Levi Strauss Foundation and Capital One Financial Corporation. She also has held executive director positions for national and local non-profits.
Other speakers in the “Ladies Leading in Business” series included: Katrina Hall, general manager of DENSO Athens; Myra Loveday, assistant executive director of Rocky Top Institute; Joan Cronan, UT women's athletic director; and Tanya Brown, executive director of marketing and public relations at the Haslam College of Business.