Section Image: Speaker panel at the Supply Chain Summit

Innovation Week: Demystifying Sustainability with Thought Leadership Across Energy, Supply Chain and Management

The TCU Neeley School of Business welcomed industry leaders, scholars and policymakers to Innovation Week for three events steeped in identifying sustainability solutions from human capital to energy resiliency across the value chain.

May 05, 2023

By Amber Billops

In the second consecutive year of Innovation Week, the TCU Neeley School of Business continues to elevate its wide array of thought leadership on impactful business trends in a concentrated opportunity for stakeholder engagement over several days. This year’s Innovation Week events explored the theme “Demystifying Sustainability."

To demonstrate that sustainability is not just about ‘going green’, the business school organized around three activations for Innovation Week – the TCU Global Energy Symposium hosted by the Ralph Lowe Energy Institute, the Supply Chain Summit hosted by the Center for Supply Chain Innovation and the final Spring 2023 Tandy Executive Speaker Series.

The three events covered a broad range of sustainability topics including varied methods used to power the world, establishing fresh business ventures, facilitating organizational change and the impact on human capital across industries. Each of the events featured a series of panel discussions, keynote speakers and networking opportunities, attracting industry-leading professionals, scholars and policymakers from around the world.

The week opened with the Center for Supply Chain Innovation hosting a deep-dive discussion on sustainability with leaders in geographic information systems (GIS). The Supply Chain Summit included thought leaders from BNSF Railway, Uber Freight, Southwest Airlines, Boeing Global Services, Esri and others.

Supply Chain Panelists Maasha Kay, La Quita Odomore, Farah Lawler, Kim Smith and Demond Dortch

In the panel on “Sustainability through the Supply Chain,” speakers explored the complex links between energy production, transportation, and consumption, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to sustainability that considers the entire value chain. They discussed the importance of transparency, accountability, and stakeholder engagement in promoting sustainable practices.

During the panel on “Diversity in Transportation and Supply Chain,” the conversation focused on improving global supply chains from end to end by developing talented professionals and fostering innovation.

Panelist Kim Smith, the vice president of Total Quality at Boeing Global Services, said it is important to “be intentional with great leadership around the globe.”

The Global Energy Symposium drove the sustainability discussion with speakers and participants who explored the future of energy resilience through the lens of energy security, affordability and resilience.

Ann Blunzter on the Energy Panel

During the Global Energy Symposium, the institute introduced a collaboration with the Department of Defense, known as Pacific Island Energy Initiative, that involves students and faculty at TCU, OSU and other higher education institutions transferring data to experts around the country in an effort to identify viable solutions to drive the future of energy.

“When the rubber meets the road, we have to come up with solutions,” said Ann Bluntzer, executive director of the Ralph Lowe Energy Institute. “If they are not economic, we are leaving the world behind in regard to their own personal prosperity.

To close the symposium, the institute hosted the first “Legends in Energy” dinner to celebrate the achievement of key figures in the energy industry whose hard work, passion and dedication have made a lasting impact on TCU and energy resilience. The honorees included, Mary Ralph Lowe, Trevor Rees-Jones, Wil VanLoh ‘92, Barry Davis ‘84, Tom Bates and TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini.

Leaders in Energy trophies

“It’s great to be a part of such a great resource for energy students at TCU, and I hope to see a successful future for energy interactive programs,” said Luke Fravel, a junior finance major with a minor in energy. “There was a lot of good insight on the energy transition in Texas and beyond.”

Innovation Week wrapped up with the Tandy Executive Speaker Series, a long-standing Neeley School of Business event that brings a mix of North Texas business professionals together for networking and thought leadership. The featured guest was Sandra Taylor, CEO of Sustainable Business International and former SVP of Corporate Responsibility at Starbucks.

Hettie Richardson, interim dean for TCU Neeley, hosted the conversation with Taylor through a lens of what sustainability means to Taylor and her partner and client business organizations, and the topics included advice for future generations.

Taylor tackled the challenge of transforming business sustainability by decoding risks, opportunities and management priorities. She provided insights on how organizations can navigate at the intersection of profitability and societal well-being, and how sustainable practices must consider not only the impact on the planet but also the impact on people and communities. Read more here.