Legends Lecture Series

Fisher's Black MBA Association (BMBAA) hosted its annual Legends Lecture Series throughout February, providing faculty, staff, and graduate and PhD students an opportunity to engage with leaders who bring an element of diversity to business as well as unique career and life experiences.

"All our guests were more than happy to support Fisher and are excited about the opportunity to speak with us," said second-year MBA student Aerica Meacham. "Of course, we were just as excited to have speakers who have achieved great accomplishments and who were willing to share their experiences and insights on how to create a legacy in business."

Meacham, who serves as director of special initiatives for the BMBAA, is responsible for coordinating the organization's events, programs and community service initiatives. For the Legends Lecture Series, which takes place during Black History Month, she began lining up speakers in November and was able to secure a wide range of business leaders from the financial services, construction, automotive manufacturing and utility industries.

To achieve the organization's goal of presenting enriching lectures, the BMBAA leadership team drew from their respective professional networks when contacting potential speakers. For Meacham, that included Darnita Bradley, local government affairs manager at Columbia Gas of Ohio. Meacham met Bradley during her summer 2017 internship.

Additionally, the BMBAA leaders contacted Dadrien Barnes (MBA '17), former BMBAA president, who works with Meeta Huggins, chief diversity officer at Ford Motor Company.

"It was through these connections, along with contacts from Fisher's Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services, that we were able to provide excellent speakers for this year's series," Meacham said. "The experience of organizing the series was a great opportunity to tap into the relationships we have established through our professional networks."

2018 Legends Lecture Series - Stanford Williams

Stanford Williams
Vice President, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Messer Corporation

Williams shared with students his insights from a business career in which he has served in leadership positions in industries ranging from printing, to community development to construction.

In addition to the importance of family and friends to a successful professional career, Williams stressed that “believing that you belong” at a firm, business or organization can go a long way in determining success.

“You have to be comfortable in an environment where not everyone looks like you,” he said. “As a leader, you have to meet people where they are and work to build meaningful connections.”

2018 Legends Lecture Series - Darnita Bradley

Darnita Bradley
Local Government Affairs Manager
Columbia Gas of Ohio

Bradley, who has risen through the ranks at Columbia Gas of Ohio throughout a 30-plus-year career, spoke to students about the building a personal brand and the important role mentorship and sponsorship opportunities have had on her professional development.

“Your personal brand is how people describe and talk about you when you’re not in the room,” she said. “Your brand includes the traits that come naturally to you, and a big part of that is knowing who you are, your strengths, and the areas of your professional career you want to stretch.”

Legends Lecture Series -- Coleman and BMBAA leaders

Hosetta Coleman
Multicultural University Relations Program Lead
Fifth Third Bank

Coleman spoke about the perspective she's gained as a human resources professional and career coach, primarily in the banking industry. She also provided insights about the importance of strategic thinking in career planning and avoiding the trap of habitually focusing on the day-to-day.

Additionally, she stressed that students should invest in themselves throughout their career by continuing to grow their knowledge through reading, and by cultivating a professional network starting while they're students.

"Invest in things that impact your long-term vision," she said. "You are your best product and brand."


Meeta Huggins
Chief Diversity Officer and Talent Acquisition Operations
Ford Motor Company

Huggins kicked off her lecture with a story about her childhood and her path to corporate America. As the daughter Indian immigrants, she quickly learned during her early years that her heritage, culture and customs made her different from her Canadian peers.

But in addition to helping her become a better wife and mother, she credits her life experiences with ultimately helping her to become Ford's first chief diversity officer.

Huggins noted that career success goes beyond doing quality work, adding that allies within one's professional network are important. At Ford, she's found success by enlisting passionate colleagues to work with her as advocates in helping implement the company's diversity and inclusion initiatives.

"We need to celebrate diversity more and more," she said.