“It was a great honor to speak at the Harvard Club of Boston, and appreciate the opportunity for a thoughtful discussion about the future of travel with a such a well-informed, engaged audience.”

~ Ed Bastian, CEO Detla Air Lines

C-Suite Events

HBS Association of Boston has produced hundreds of C-Suite executive programs, hosting over 200 CEOs for an up close and personal discussion around topics spanning from innovation, trends, market shifts, strategy, marketing and leadership.

Prior Event Highlights

Ed Bastian, CEO Delta Air Lines - CEO Conversation: Leadership and Vision Amid Crisis

On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, HBSAB hosted a virtual leadership conversation with Ed Bastian, CEO Delta Air Lines. The event was moderated by Larry Gulko, Brand Strategist & Executive Coach.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear Ed’s insights on:

  • How Delta is navigating through the pandemic.
  • Permanent changes Delta will make as a result of the pandemic.
  • How previous crises experience helped shape his leadership today.
  • Building trust with customers to instill confidence in the safety of travel.
  • The future of Delta, the airline industry and travel in a post-COVID-19 world.
Brands With A Purpose 2020: Featuring David Heath, Bombas CEO

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, HBSAB hosted a virtual fireside chat with David Heath, Bombas CEO.

The subject of this year’s event was: REDEFINING SUCCESS WITH SOCIAL IMPACT –
How Mission-Driven Brand Bombas Changed the Sock Industry for Good. The event was moderated by
Larry Gulko, Brand Strategist & Executive Coach.

Attendees learned that, as a brand founded to support the homeless community, Bombas is committed to helping those individuals in need and those on the frontlines during COVID-19.

David Heath the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bombas discussed the evolution of product offerings and how Bombas’ mission plays into the company’s culture and social impact.  Prior to the 2013 launch, David dedicated two years to rigorous product testing and refinement to create the best performing and most comfortable socks, while staying true to their mission of helping those in need.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear David’s insights on:

  • David’s entrepreneurial journey;
  • Bombas founding story and mission;
  • How Bombas is helping those individuals in need and on the frontlines during COVID-19; and
  • Evolution of product offerings and social impact.
The Future of Travel: A Strategic Discussion with Ed Bastian, CEO Delta Air Lines

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On March 5, 2019, Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines led a strategic discussion covering:

It was a packed house at the Harvard Club of Boston on Tuesday, March 5th as Brand Architect Larry Gulko conducted an informative and engaging strategic discussion with Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian.

Bastian shared with an audience of nearly 200 attendees his thoughts on how Delta withstood some very turbulent times in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, which dramatically impacted the entire airline industry.

That period, according to Bastian, forced the airline to make some very tough decisions that would result in short-term layoffs and disruption but would eventually allow the airline to emerge stronger than ever.

And it was that period that dramatically underscored just how vital Delta’s frontline and behind-the-scenes employees were going to be to the airline’s survival.

Bastian shared with the assembled audience how he had to embark on very frank conversations with airline workers and pilots around what measures were going to have to be taken to ensure the airline’s survival.

Having such honest conversations, he believes, are the mark of a true leader and is what creates a culture of respect and dedication.

When asked about what he thinks allows a brand to thrive, Bastian came back to asserting that if you put employees first, they will put customers first. And communicating your company values, has to be backed up by company decisions.

Regarding building a brand’s impact through social media, Bastian remarked that he “doesn’t call it social media. It’s all media. People spend so much time online that you have be as thoughtful there as you would in print or television.”

On a lighter note, moderator Larry Gulko inquired as to whether it was true that Bastian, the CEO of one of the world’s leading airlines, actually flies coach. “Yes, that’s how you really learn about the passenger experience,” Bastian replied.

He went on to joke about how on occasion he’ll walk past members of Delta upper management comfortably settled in in first class as he makes his way down the aisle to coach. “That has made for some awkward conversations,” he said, laughing.

Bastian took obvious and understandable pride in being able to report Delta has shown its employees just how much it values them by offering generous profit sharing that resulted in paying out bonuses of over $1.3 billion in February 2019.

When asked about what he thinks allows a brand to thrive, Bastian came back to asserting that if you put employees first, they will put customers first. And communicating your company values, has to be backed up by company decisions.

Regarding building a brand’s impact through social media, Bastian remarked that he “doesn’t call it social media. It’s all media. People spend so much time online that you have be as thoughtful there as you would in print or television.”

Gulko wrapped up the evening with a series of rapid fire questions for Bastian. Among them was, “Looking back on your career, what’s one thing you regret?” Without hesitation, Bastian responded, “Nothing, I don’t look back.”

That approach surely keeps Ed Bastian and Delta soaring to new heights.

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HBSAB Kick-Off Event with GE Chairman, Jeff Immelt, MBA ‘82

On September 28, 2017, Jeff Immelt, HBS 1982 and GE Chairman, along with Ben Shapiro, Professor of Marketing Emeritus, held a fireside chat for over 500 Harvard C-Suite Executives HBS alumni, students, and faculty.

Their conversation ranged from Jeff’s reaction to being a first-year MBA student in Ben’s marketing class to Jeff’s vision for GE as a major player in the industrial internet. Jeff felt two principals were key to his tenure as CEO: 1)The market rules and 2) The future always comes.

When Jeff took over as CEO, GE was a conglomerate that made money on things as diverse as refrigerators and consumer loans. The company had a US focus and had to reinvent itself as a global player.

The world changed in a large part due to the global financial crisis of 2007-2009. In 2010, Jeff realized that GE customers were increasingly interested in outcomes, not buying products. GE had to change from a company that sold products and services to one that could help their customers generate more revenues and profits from the existing $2 trillion in assets that GE customers had already purchased.

To do this, GE had to become more collaborative with their customers so they could become more profitable and in turn, so could GE. Instead of focusing on economies of scale, they had to be smart and able to deliver products and services at units of 1.

GE had to embark on this journey even though it was uncertain how it would evolve over time.

Greg Norman’s Harvard Club Takeover
On Monday, October 2, 2017 HBSAB and the Harvard Club co-hosted a reception followed by a fireside chat with Golfing Legend and Entrepreneur Greg Norman and Larry Gulko, Brand Strategist & Entrepreneur.

Over 200 people attended to learn more about the business success of Greg Norman. After a golfing career that included 90 victories worldwide, two British Open Championships and the No. 1 position in the world rankings for 331 consecutive weeks, Greg was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. Showing the same level of tenacity and pursuit of perfection off the course, Greg has built a multi-national corporation, the Greg Norman Company, where he serves as Chairman and CEO. The company is a mini-conglomerate with numerous businesses including apparel, wine, golf course design, asset-based debt lending and more innovations in the pipeline.

The 90-minute conversation was followed by energetic Q&A. With his trademark charm and eloquence, Greg shared the secrets behind his myriad achievements. Illustrating the principles at the core of his success, he offered concrete advice for success. Practical, engaging, and incisive, the lessons Greg Norman shared demonstrated how anyone, at any stage of his or her career, can be a champion.

Trynka Shineman, CEO of Vistaprint
On February 28, 2018 along with over 120 attendees, we sat down with Trynka Shineman, CEO of Vistaprint. In her nearly 15 years at Vistaprint, Trynka has overseen significant growth and transformation – from a business of about $35 million in revenue, to one well over $1 billion today.

Trynka discussed the fundamental shift in focus that Vistaprint made 5 years ago, from a company that prioritized internal growth and transactions to a firm that is creating amazing value for its customers. She shared the steps the company took to become a customer-centric organization – enabling Vistaprint’s success for decades. The same steps can be applied to other organizations to create similar outcomes.

Trynka is responsible for the strategy and execution of the Vistaprint brand in North America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. She has been instrumental in improving the customer value proposition of the Vistaprint brand and driving the culture to become more customer centric.

She brings more than 15 years of experience in market research and analysis, strategic planning, database marketing and e-commerce to her role. Prior to her CEO role, Trynka was responsible for global marketing and was also chief customer officer of Vistaprint.

Before joining Vistaprint, Trynka was a director and senior manager for PreVision Marketing, an Inc. 500 and Software 500 innovator in direct marketing where she developed programs for several major accounts.

Trynka holds a B.A. in psychology from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Lizanne Kindler, CEO,Talbots, and Joi Gordon, CEO, Dress for Success
On October 31, 2018, in partnership with the Harvard Club of Boston, HBS Association of Boston welcomed over 100 senior executives to join Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success & Lizanne Kindler, CEO of Talbots for an inspirational morning conversation.

Larry Gulko, brand strategist and co-host of CBS Boston/WBZ-TV Name Brands, engaged Lizanne and Joi in a deep dive ‘fireside chat’. The attendees learned strategy behind Talbots’ strategic partnership with Dress for Success and how the company revamped their image and brand under the guidance of Lizanne Kindler. Joi Gordon discussed why she joined Dress for Success and created a strategic partnership with Talbots that is truly making a difference enriching women’s’ lives.

Additional topics discussed included:

  • What is the social responsibility of businesses to support global jobs creation, prosperity, and positive economic and social impacts?
  • Why C-Level executives feel it is critical for a company to genuinely support key initiatives and issues that align with their customers’ values, efforts and actions.
  • The intersection of brand loyalty, technology and strategies for success.