Competition Connects Leading Students and Corporations to Drive Racial Justice and Equity
Emory University’s Goizueta Business School today announced the winners of the 2022 John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition. The first of its kind competition, launched in 2021, was spearheaded by Goizueta MBA alumnus Willie Sullivan to examine how companies can address racial injustice within their organizations. During this year’s competition, students from the Yale University School of Management took first place, the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business team took second place, and the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business team took home the Audience Award.
“At Goizueta, we work to reimagine and redefine a different, better way of doing business to solve the world’s greatest challenges with ingenuity, integrity, and grit,” said Goizueta Interim John H. Harland Dean Karen Sedatole. “In all of my years of academia, this competition represents one of the most poignant examples of the power of student voice and the unbreakable intersection between business and society.”
Lynne Segall 99MBA, associate dean for management practice initiatives and the competition’s faculty advisor noted, “The whole point of the competition is for student teams to propose bold initiatives. Once again, I am so impressed with the creativity of the recommendations and their grounding in evidence-based research. These student leaders have given our sponsors a lot to think about and act on.”
In December, the 76 applicant teams from more than 40 universities were narrowed to 20 teams of students from leading universities across the country. For this year’s competition, entrants were invited to complete industry-specific applications for the categories of consulting and professional services, food and beverage, healthcare, technology, and transportation and logistics.
The winners of the second annual John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition will divide their monetary winnings between the team and the racial justice/inequality organization of their choice. With members of the late Congressman John R. Lewis’s family in attendance, presenting the awards was John’s nephew, Jerrick Lewis.
- First Place ($20,000) – Team JAVELN of Yale University School of Management worked with IBM/Call for Code. Half of the winnings will be donated to Black Women Talk Tech.
- Second Place ($10,000) – Team Bridging the Business Gap of University of Southern California Marshall School of Business worked with Taco Bell. Half of the winnings will be donated to OneTen.
- Audience Award ($10,000) – Team Racial Justice League of Georgetown University McDonough School of Business worked with UPS. Half of the winnings will be donated to Dreaming Out Loud Inc.
The five finalist teams and their targeted industries were:
- Emory University—Team Disruption, consulting and professional services
- University of Southern California—Team Bridging the Business Gap, food and beverage
- University of Florida—Team I.D.E.A., healthcare
- Yale University—Team JAVELN, technology
- Georgetown University—Team Racial Justice League, transportation and logistics
This second annual competition, named for the late Atlanta Congressman John R. Lewis, was sponsored by Accenture, IBM / Call for Code, Moderna, Taco Bell, UPS, Momentive.ai, and Yahoo! Finance. Goizueta was joined by university partners Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Howard University School of Business, Rice Jones Graduate School of Business, and Yale School of Management who hosted preliminary and semi-final events and recruited top students, sponsors, and judges nationwide.
United States Ambassador to the United Nations, civil rights leader, and confidant to Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young delivered the keynote address as Goizueta’s Robson Distinguished Lecturer. Young served as the 55th mayor of Atlanta and served as a U.S. Congressman from Georgia. He was a key strategist and negotiator during civil rights campaigns that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“Business has taken the lead,” Young shared in reflection on how times have changed. He went on to say, “Business is far more powerful for dealing with social change than is government.” His two words to guide students in their quest for racial justice? “Vision and courage.” On inspiring college students to become leaders, he encouraged a balanced life, reassuring them that “You will know when your time comes.”
Other ceremony participants included Goizueta MBA students and Managing Director Kegan Baird 22MBA and Co-Managing Director Jasmine Burton 22MBA, John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition founder Willie Sullivan 21MBA, and Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves.
“This competition is all about education and action,” said Baird. “It gives students like me really powerful, hands-on experience and organizations access to some of the brightest emerging leaders in business. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished together.”
The John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition is part of The Roberto C. Goizueta Business & Society Institute. The Institute represents an elevated commitment by Goizueta Business School to address complex challenges confronting people, the planet, and the business community.