The Rise of Responsible Leadership: How CEOs Can Create Change with Mohamad Ali and Cornell William Brooks

This week on World Reimagined, host Gautam Mukunda talks with two influential leaders about how businesses can and should step up and take responsibility for positive change.

Today, business leaders have the power to create positive change. Not just within their organizations, but in society and in the world more broadly.  

In this episode, Host Gautam Mukunda speaks with Reverend Cornell William Brooks, former head of the NAACP and the Professor of Practice and Public Leadership and Social Justice at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Mohamad Ali, CEO of International Data Group, about the challenges and opportunities of corporations in the wake of Covid-19, profound social and economic upheaval, the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.

So, in terms of this moment in which we find ourselves, in terms of ethical leadership, and responsibility of those in the business community, I would just simply say this, that on a regular and recurring basis, people in the business community are charged with the responsibility of delivering products, and services for this country are not merely disaggregated marketplaces, but a democracy and republic.

Cornell William Brooks

Business leaders have a responsibility to our planet, our people, our justice. And so, the answer is that emphatic yes, that I think many business leaders recognize that they have this privileged position from which to articulate the need for justice. Businesses are in an interesting position, because yes, they can stand up.

Mohamad Ali

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Books Referenced on World Reimagined Season 2, Episode 4:

Stakeholder Capitalism, by Klaus Schwab

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein

Guest Information for The Rise of Responsible Leadership:

Cornell William Brooks is Hauser Professor of the Practice of Nonprofit Organizations and Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also Director of The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at the School’s Center for Public Leadership, and Visiting Professor of the Practice of Prophetic Religion and Public Leadership at Harvard Divinity School. Brooks was most recently visiting professor of social ethics, law, and justice movements at Boston University’s School of Law and School of Theology. He was a visiting fellow and director of the Campaign and Advocacy Program at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics in 2017.

Brooks served as the 18th president of the NAACP from 2014 to 2017. Prior to leading the NAACP, Brooks was president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. He also served as senior counsel and acting director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities at the Federal Communications Commission, executive director of the Fair Housing

Council of Greater Washington, and a trial attorney at both the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the U.S. Department of Justice. Brooks served as judicial clerk for Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin, III, on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Brooks holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Master of Divinity from Boston University’s School of Theology, and a B.A. from Jackson State University. Brooks is a fourth-generation ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mohamad Ali is Chief Executive Officer at IDG, Inc., the world’s leading technology research and media company. Prior to this, Mohamad was CEO of Carbonite, a publicly traded data protection and security company where he grew the company’s revenues four-fold to over a half-billion dollars in four years. Before that, Mohamad served as Chief Strategy Officer at Hewlett Packard where he played a pivotal role in the company’s turnaround and led the decision process to split HP into two companies. At IBM, Mohamad acquired and integrated various companies to create the firm’s eight billion dollar analytics software unit. At Avaya, he oversaw the two billion dollar services group and served as the head of the company’s research labs.

Mohamad holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering, a B.A. in History, and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, each from Stanford University. He was named 2018 CEO of the Year by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, member of 2018 Public Board of the Year by National Association of Corporate Directors New England, 2011 All-Star by Massachusetts High Tech magazine, 2008 40-Under-40 by Boston Business Journal, and was a finalist in America’s prestigious 1988 National Science Talent Search.