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First of "Future Forward" Speaker Series Set for April 15

Published Thursday, April 04, 2024

Future Forward Speaker Series
Future Forward Speaker Series

The SMSU North Star Mutual School of Business will host the first installment of the “Future Forward” Speaker Series on Monday, April 15, 2024 at 3:00-5:00pm in the Conference Center Upper Level Ballroom.

The first of the series, this event will feature faculty from SMSU’s North Star Mutual School of Business talking about AI, machine learning, and other advancements shaping the business world. Insights on sustainability, leadership, managing digital overload, marketing trends, and applying AI in business strategies will all be part of the discussion. Interactive sessions with time for questions will allow for deep dives into these exciting topics.

Topics covered by SMSU Faculty Speakers from the North Star Mutual School of Business include:

Will Thomas, Professor of Accounting: Kick things off with a thought-provoking discussion on "Accounting and Sustainability: All You Need is Hope?" This session will explore how accounting practices can be adapted to integrate environmental and social responsibility metrics, fostering a more sustainable business landscape.

Ken Chukwuba, Associate Professor of Management: Following Professor Thomas's introduction to sustainability, Professor Chukwuba dives deeper with "Sustainable Innovation: Balancing Progress and the Planet." This session will explore practical strategies for businesses to adopt innovative practices that minimize environmental impact while maximizing growth

Heather Rickgarn, Associate Professor of Management: As technology rapidly shapes the business world, Professor Rickgarn's talk titled "Navigating Change: Strategies for the Tech-Driven Era" provides valuable insights. This session will equip attendees with strategies to adapt to technological disruptions, ensuring their businesses remain agile and competitive.

Marsha Grimes-Rose, Assistant Professor of Management: Following the focus on technology, Professor Grimes-Rose's talk on "Resilience: Building Strength in Uncertain Times" emphasizes the importance of preparing businesses for unforeseen challenges. This session will explore strategies for building resilience and adaptability to weather any storm.

John Rickgarn, Associate Professor of Marketing: In today's digital world, staying visible and generating sales requires unique strategies. Professor Rickgarn's session, "Staying Relevant and Making Sales in a Digital Overload," will empower attendees with practical tips for cutting through the noise and connecting with customers effectively.
Marta Almeyda-Ibañez, Professor of Marketing: Building upon Professor John Rickgarn's focus on sales, Professor Almeyda-Ibañez's talk on "Branding in a Digital World" explores strategies for crafting powerful online brands that resonate with customers and drive sales.
George Taylor, Assistant Professor of Management: Wrapping up the series, Professor Taylor delves into "AI and Business" exploring the rise of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on various business functions. This session will provide a glimpse into the future of business and how AI can be leveraged to enhance operations and achieve success.


The “Future Forward” Speaker Series will bring industry experts to campus to talk about the latest trends, strategies, challenges, and opportunities. The series is presented by the North Star Mutual School of Business at Southwest Minnesota State University. Visit the RSVP form at:

The speaker series is proudly sponsored by the following SMSU student organizations: American Marketing Association, Enactus, DECA, HR Club, and National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS).


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