Bringing real experience
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 has just completed a year as an adjunct professor.
Brown teaches a course on Managing and Motivating Employees as part of the Baumhart Scholars MBA program. 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 summer, as part of the Big Life Series, Brown will be taking Big Ten student-athletes and administrators to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama and other historic civil right sites in Montgomery, Alabama, to view the site of bloody Sunday, learn about Black history including student’s impact on the civil rights movement, and 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.
“As a Black man, I always feel like it’s important to be an example,” Brown said. “There are many people who I think they see me do it and so they feel like they can do it. When I see these opportunities, I feel like I have to take it.”
Brown has had the opportunity to work across disciplines from human resources and consulting to finance, and DEI. Brown says his degree from Quinlan has enabled him to thrive in all of them.
“To go back to Quinlan and really help other people as their starting their journey and helping them understand that the degree has been great for me, it’s been powerful,” Brown said.