Aflac Foundation President Inaugurates 2016–17 Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program Speaker Series
By Laura Hennessey Martens
Aflac Foundation President Kathelen Amos kicked off the first of nine speaker sessions with the 2016–17 University of Virginia Tri-Sector Leadership (TSL) Fellows cohort, offering cross-sector perspectives based on her myriad roles within the Fortune 500 insurance company.
Having joined Aflac in 1985 as a staff attorney in its newly formed legal department, Amos’ career trajectory expanded to include human resources, public relations, advertising and philanthropy. In a dialogue with the fellows, she described how she “lived through the evolution of the company” and led a number of organizational efforts, such as the iconic Aflac duck advertising campaign.
As Amos addressed questions from the 22 Darden School of Business, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and UVA Law students in attendance, she offered personal examples from her career and insights on broader topics such as philanthropy, marketing, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Amos also discussed the early stages of Aflac, which began when the company’s three founders developed their idea to provide financial protection to people experiencing medical illnesses such as cancer.
“Entrepreneurs have the courage of their convictions,” Amos said. “Even if many of their ideas fail, they cling to the one that will succeed.”
As the session moved to a discussion on responsible leadership, Amos shared the three founding core values of Aflac:
- If you take care of the people, the people will take care of the business.
- Deliver a quality product.
- Do the right thing.
Amos illustrated each of these concepts as she detailed the organization’s success with its advertising campaign, insurance policy sales and charitable work.
Since 1995, Aflac has focused its philanthropic efforts on the treatment and cure of childhood cancer, donating $3 million to establish the Aflac Cancer Center at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. Today, Aflac has raised $108 million for the cause, with approximately 60 percent of the total coming from the company’s agents’ commission contributions.
“We all want to be a part of something good, and be connected to our community,” said Amos.
Throughout the academic year, the TSL students will engage with leaders across the business, government and social sectors in intimate dialogues hosted at UVA’s business, policy and law schools. The program will also include a full-day field experience in Washington, D.C., which will include meetings with top leaders across a range of professions.
The 2016–17 speaker lineup includes:
- David Brown, senior vice president of federal government affairs and public policy, Exelon Corp. Brown serves as the company’s primary liaison with Congress and federal agencies, and works actively with national trade associations representing the electric, natural gas and nuclear energy industries.
- Dontai Smalls, vice president, global public affairs, UPS. Smalls coordinates all international issues on Capitol Hill for UPS, particularly global trade and customs modernization policy, as well as UPS’ global aviation portfolio in Washington, D.C.
- Tom Wheeler, 31st chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. For over three decades, Wheeler has been involved with new telecommunications networks and services, experiencing the revolution in telecommunications as a policy expert, advocate and businessman.
- Rich Schrader, former chairman, Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. Schrader’s career at Parsons Brinckerhoff — a global leader in infrastructure engineering, planning, project and construction management and related services — encompassed strategic planning, organizational design, M&A, private-public partnerships, corporate governance, risk management and other strategic and tactical facets.
- Sarah Bloom-Raskin, deputy secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury. Raskin focuses on the macroeconomic impact of student loan borrowing and cyber security, as well as the drivers that bolster and sustain U.S. and global economic growth and recovery.
- Shamina Singh, president, MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. Singh is responsible for the center’s mission to advance sustainable and equitable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world.
- Paul Mahoney, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor and former dean of the UVA Law School (2008–16). Mahoney’s teaching and research areas include securities regulation, law and economic development, corporate finance, financial derivatives, and contracts.
- Ted Mathas, chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Co. Mathas runs all aspects of the New York Life Insurance Co., including U.S. and Mexico operations.
About the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program
Administered by the Darden School Institute for Business in Society, the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows program explores responsible leadership and the importance of multi-disciplinary perspectives in decision-making. The program brings together prominent leaders from business, government and social sectors with graduate students and faculty from the UVA Darden School of Business, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and School of Law for a series of engaging conversations throughout the academic year.
About the Darden Institute for Business in Society
The Institute for Business in Society, established at the Darden School in 2011, prepares leaders to positively impact society through business. The institute advances thought leadership and innovative practices through research, teaching, programs and convening events.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia