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Brenda Emmanus (pictured) will host an illustrious panel of award-winning black entrepreneurs

The Exeter MBA launches free and inspirational online events to tackle today’s biggest global challenges

The Leading Edge: Ideas shaping a better world

Some of the world’s leading thinkers for social and environmental change are to take part in an exclusive series of free online events launched by the University of Exeter Business School’s MBA programme.

The Leading Edge speaker series will see world-renowned leaders and entrepreneurs come together with students, faculty and alumni, chief executives and senior leaders to discuss the most pressing global challenges facing business – and consider how we can shape a better and more sustainable world.

The Leading Edge autumn series will feature world-renowned leaders who each display a unique and provocative approach to leadership within their field.

They include business writer, entrepreneur and CEO mentor Margaret Heffernan; Henry Timms, an expert in digital movements and head of New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; revered presenter, broadcaster and journalist Brenda Emmanus, who will be in conversation with a panel of black entrepreneurs Erika Brodnock, Jabo Butera and Pavita Cooper as part of Black History Month; and respected organisational psychologist, best-selling author, sought after public speaker and executive coach, John Amaechi OBE.

Based within the Exeter Centre for Leadership at the University of Exeter Business School, The Exeter MBA is recognised as one of the leading MBA programmes in the world. The programme seeks to prepare managers from around the world for the responsibility of leadership and provide the space and opportunity to learn about and apply ideas at the fore of positive change.

Jackie Bagnall, Director of the Exeter MBA, said: “As an MBA focused on sustainability, innovation and responsible leadership we are committed to hosting events that bring international speakers with a fresh perspective to the most pressing leadership challenges across the globe.

“The Leading Edge programme will spark debate, share inspiration for the future and give senior leaders the chance to hear directly from a range of diverse voices about issues that are pivotal in society today.”

In the first event in the series on 23 September, Margaret Heffernan will share insights from her new book Uncharted: How to Map the Future Together in which she challenges readers to think differently about planning for a future that is volatile and unpredictable.





Then, as part of Black History Month on 14 October, revered presenter and arts, culture and entertainment correspondent for the BBC Brenda Emmanus will host an illustrious panel of award-winning black entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs include Erika Brodnock, a digital parenting expert, MBA and Research Fellow at King’s College London, business entrepreneur, advisor and trustee Jabo Butera and leading talent and diversity expert and founder of More Difference, a talent and career insight business, Pavita Cooper.



On 18 November, Henry Timms, President and CEO of the Lincoln Center – the world’s leading performing arts centre and co-founder of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving founded as an antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will speak about his journey from growing up in Exeter to the heady heights of New York, where he has become an award-winning author, business leader and expert in the concept of “new power”.




The last event in the autumn series, on 9 December, will feature the CEO of business consultancy APS Ltd, psychologist, best-selling New York Times author and former NBA player, John Amaechi OBE.

John will share his story about overcoming adversity, and will challenge audience members to rethink everything about who they are, what they do and what they believe in, to help audience members develop clear and creative strategies to overcome their own challenges.


“These talks will stimulate, provoke and inspire you to think differently; they will encourage our students, our alumnae and our network of partners and CEOs within and beyond the region to engage with creative new ideas and to step out of the immediate challenges they are currently facing within their day-to-day roles” said Ciara Eastell OBE, Professor of Practice at the Exeter Centre for Leadership and curator of The Leading Edge series.

She continued: “I’m keen that these talks reach all those who may be interested in what these speakers have to say so am extremely pleased that most of our series will be open and free of charge for the wider business community.”

The events have been designed for MBAs and the wider business community. They will provide a unique opportunity to connect with some of the biggest names in responsible and creative leadership. All attendees will have the chance to have their questions answered, gaining insight from these prestigious thinkers that can be applied to their current or future work practices.

The programme is open to The Exeter MBA students and alumni, University of Exeter alumni and University partners and stakeholders. A limited number of tickets will also be available for senior leaders from across the world who want to be part of these exciting conversations.

For full details of the programme and booking information, visit


Date: 7 September 2020