18 Dec 2020

Harvard Business School and the Executive Leadership Council Team Up to Build Pipeline of Black Executives

Collaboration will focus on providing access to HBS educational opportunities to ELC members, leveraging ELC to provide greater diversity of perspectives in HBS educational programs

Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) announced they have entered into a collaboration to provide enhanced programming opportunities for ELC scholarship recipients (ELC Scholars) and executive education opportunities for the most senior Black executives in corporate America. The ELC’s mission, to open channels of opportunity for Black executives to positively impact business and communities, aligns well with the goals of the recently announced HBS Action Plan for Racial Equity, a plan to advance racial equity both within and beyond the School.

“HBS must do more to create opportunities for Black talent to succeed and take up leadership roles,” said HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. “The Executive Leadership Council has demonstrated the ability to create these opportunities and harness the power of Black talent. Together, we can create a tremendous and unique opportunity for ELC scholarship recipients, ELC members, and the HBS community.”

“The ELC looks forward to launching this unique collaboration with HBS. It is an advantage to be able to provide another development opportunity for our ELC Scholars,” said Crystal E. Ashby, ELC Interim President and CEO. “Adding this component will enrich their overall experience, providing financial support, networking and education as benefits for the Scholars. We are energized to offer executive education opportunities for our members, and to do so with one of the most highly-regarded academic institutions around the world.”

The collaboration will focus on three main areas: support for ELC Scholars, Executive Education, and MBA programming and case development.

Building the pipeline of Black business leaders for the future

The mission of The ELC’s Scholars program is to build a pipeline of Black corporate talent by supporting the academic achievement and development of Black undergraduate and graduate students. HBS will provide financial support to the student scholarship program and assist in identifying potential internship opportunities for ELC Scholars at HBS, partner companies, and alumni-led organizations.

Cultivating high-potential executive leaders

Leveraging the School’s existing Executive Education platform, the two organizations will work together to create a course customized for ELC members, while also providing them with access to existing HBS Executive Education courses and programs, which offer fully immersive and transformational living-learning experiences, networking opportunities with executives from around the world, and the opportunity to engage in programs led by HBS faculty.

Infusing diversity into the MBA curriculum

Throughout the fall, HBS hosted a speaker series featuring diverse thought leaders covering a range of inclusion topics. Going forward, HBS will tap into the vast ELC network, many of whom are HBS alumni, as potential speakers, giving MBA students access to different and unique perspectives, and providing the speakers with greater exposure. In addition to speaking opportunities, HBS and ELC will work on developing community events that allow for deeper interactions between ELC and HBS community members.

A key component of the HBS Racial Equity plan is the development of additional cases featuring Black protagonists. HBS and ELC will work together to identify potential topics and individuals to feature in cases from the more than 800 current and former Black CEOs, senior executives and board directors at Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies, and entrepreneurs at top-tier firms comprising ELC’s membership.

“ELC’s commitment to professional growth of blacks in the corporate sector and to leadership in the Black community in general is uplifting and powerful,” said Ron Chandler, HBS Chief Information Officer and Co-Chair of the School’s Anti-Racism Taskforce who played a key role in bringing the groups together. “A strategic partnership between the Executive Leadership Council and Harvard Business School would not only cultivate immediate greatness but can have phenomenal second- and third-order impacts for years and decades to come.”

About The Executive Leadership Council

The Executive Leadership Council opens channels of opportunity for the development of Black executives to positively impact business and our communities. An independent non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 1986, The ELC is the pre-eminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of global Black executives in C-Suites, on corporate boards and in global enterprises. Comprising more than 800 current and former Black CEOs, senior executives and board directors at Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies, and entrepreneurs at top-tier firms, its members work to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline that empowers global Black leaders to make impactful contributions to the marketplace and the global communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.elcinfo.com.


Mark Cautela

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.