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Bringing real experience | Crain’s Chicago Business

Omar A Brown (MBA ’07) is on a rocket ship trajectory in his career, serving the Big Ten Conference as the senior vice president and in a newly created position, people and cultural officer. Now, he has returned to his alma mater where he recently completed a year as an adjunct professor.

As part of the Baumhart Scholars MBA program at Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business, Brown teaches a course on Managing and Motivating Employees. Over the course of 10 weeks, he challenges students to reflect on themselves to be better leaders.

“The journey has to start with self,” Brown said. “Managing and motivating people has to start with self-awareness. You have to know yourself and then you can add the different tools that we talk about to make yourself a better leader.”

Making an impact

In his work with the Big Ten, Deloitte, Chicago Transit Authority, and the University of Illinois, Brown has worked to increase social and cultural awareness. This past summer, as part of the Big Life Series, Brown took Big Ten student-athletes and administrators to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and other historic civil rights sites in Montgomery, Alabama. There, they viewed the site of bloody Sunday, learned about Black history including students’ impact on the civil rights movement, and discussed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery.

“It’s time for change,” Brown said. “I think it’s really important for us to drive what diversity means for the Big Ten.”

Being an inspiration

Brown’s mission to educate and teach diversity in the workplace has brought him back to Quinlan. In returning, he is hoping to shed light on how tomorrow’s leaders can shape their workspace through his own experiences.

He wants those experiences to also serve as inspiration for Black students.

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