November 04, 2002

Thousands Gather For the First-Ever West Coast Business Leadership Conference

Distinguished Speakers Provide Insight into Issues Affecting Today’s Business Leaders

Joining thousands of business executives and political leaders, students, alumni and the Board of Visitors of UCLA Anderson gathered at STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles for the recent West Coast Business Leadership Conference.

The 2002 West Coast Business Leadership Conference was designed as a one-day executive professional development conference, organized by Impact Education LLC. The successful event, featuring UCLA Anderson Forecast Director Ed Leamer as part of a “Dream Team” of speakers, was co-sponsored by UCLA Anderson.

“As a leading institution for management education, our Board of Visitors saw an opportunity for us to partner with the West Coast Business Leadership Conference and demonstrate our commitment to developing and delivering high caliber educational programs,” said Bruce G. Willison, dean of UCLA Anderson. “We truly see this platform as an opportunity for UCLA Anderson to foster professional development within the Southern California region and beyond.”

Among the day’s highlights was a motivational talk by In Search of Excellence author Tom Peters and an analysis of the Middle East conflict by both former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Former Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson recounted his own athlete-turned-businessman success story, emphasizing to the audience that opportunities are particularly available in urban areas of America’s cities.

Dr. Leamer discussed issues familiar to those following his forecasts throughout the year, among them the notion that the recent recession was the first “business cycle.” According to Leamer, prior recessions were caused by reductions in consumer spending. This time around, businesses that failed to be profitable during the Internet boom of the late 90s cut spending on equipment and other infrastructure, which led to recession. If free spending consumers can’t sustain the economy “business will have to ramp up investment significantly, otherwise we’re going to have that second dip,” Leamer said.

Other “Dream Team” distinguished speakers included: Sir Richard Branson, founder, chairman and CEO of Virgin and Voyager Groups of Companies; Lou Dobbs, anchor and managing editor of CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Moneyline;” Marcus Buckingham, author and global practice leader for The Gallup Organization; Martha Rogers, author, management consultant and partner, Peppers and Rogers Group; Ken Blanchard, management consultant and author of The One Minute Manager; and Harry Dent, consultant, author and publisher of the H.S. Dent Forecast Newsletter.

These impressive speakers provided the conference attendees with tools, tips and techniques to enable them to better understand the effect of the economy and world issues on business and acquire a better understanding of leadership and management.

In conjunction with the conference, the school's Board of Visitors held its quarterly meeting in a private conference room at STAPLES Center. Their special guest for the meeting was Sir Richard Branson, who regaled the board during an informal Q&A session.

Media Relations