Barret Lecture Series

Jason Dorsey – Barret Lecture Series Speaker 2017

Jason Dorsey is our featured Lecture Series speaker this year.

Jason Dorsey is the leading Millennials and Gen Z researcher and speaker. He has been featured on 60 Minutes, 20/20, The Today Show, and over 100 more TV interviews. His passion is solving tough generational challenges for organizations and leaders.
Jason has received over 1,000 standing ovations from audiences as large as 16,000. He brings a new approach to generations based on his breakthrough research. He’s funny, too. Just ask his mom. A key takeaway: Generations are not a box, but powerful clues that drive measurable results. More sales. Better leaders. Faster innovation.
Jason wrote this first bestselling book at age 18. His newest bestseller is Y-Size Your Business which solves the biggest challenges within a multi-generational workforce.
Jason is Chief Strategy Officer at The Center for Generational Kinetics. He leads research for companies and organizations around the world. The diversity of his clients allows him to uncover trends early so you stay ahead of the curve.
Jason won the Austin Under 40 Entrepreneur of the Year Award at age 25—one of the youngest winners ever. He now serves as a board member for venture-backed and emerging technology companies. Watch Jason dispel some of the biggest Millennial myths at Read his latest research at
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Kat Cole – Barret Lecture Series Speaker 2016

Kat Cole, Group President of FOCUS Brands, is our featured Lecture Series speaker this year. She will speak here at the CBU campus on May 26, 2016.

Kat Cole’s twitter handle reads “Connected-Creative-Conscious-Community building Capitalist, Biz Advisor, MBA, Coffee-loving Chronic Learner” – this not only describes her as a person, it describes the philosophies she applies to business, brands and life. As a leader who is unusually connected to communities through social media, is very active in advising and investing in start-ups, and is an avid humanitarian in some of the poorest areas of the world, Kat Cole sticks out like a sore thumb in the crowd of her foodservice and franchise industry peers. She is a YGL (Young Global Leader) of the World Economic Forum, is starting a foundation to fund creative, sustainable approaches to education and self-sufficiency, and is one of only two foodservice company leaders listed on CNBC’s Next 25 List Innovators, Leaders and Disruptors – 2014, which is dominated by tech start-ups and a few financial groups and Fortune 50 companies She is passionate about creating and highlighting opportunities, innovation and community building that come out of the foodservice industry.

For the past four years, Kat has been president of Cinnabon, Inc. where she was accountable for leading, evolving and building the team and multi-channel brand. In her four years as president at Cinnabon, her team and franchisees have accomplished franchise unit growth (1200 in 55 countries), profitability, franchisee satisfaction, philanthropic partnerships, and comp sales performance that is the strongest the brand has seen in over a decade. In that same time, Cinnabon’s awareness, cult following, social media engagement, and multi-channel retail products (70 products in 70,000 points of distribution) and brand extensions have been in the top of its segment and the industry at large. In 2013, Cinnabon passed $1 Billion in annual branded product sales globally through all retail channels and continued to grow beyond that in 2014.

As of January 2015, FOCUS Brands continues to grow in a new structure to leverage its scale and fuel continued global, multi-channel growth. Kat has been promoted to take on the role of Group President at FOCUS Brands Inc. (parent company to Cinnabon, Inc.) leading the innovative, high growth division building all brands at FOCUS in the US and internationally in consumer packaged goods, foodservice licensing, global licensed platforms and E-commerce. FOCUS has over 4,000 ice cream shops, bakeries, restaurants and cafés in the United States and 60 countries under the Moe’s, Shlotzsky’s, Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, McAllister’s Deli, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Cinnabon Brands. Prior to her role with Cinnabon and FOCUS Brands, Inc., Ms. Cole was Vice President of Training and Development for Hooters of America, Inc., company which operates and franchises restaurants and manages the Hooters® brand entities.

Her story is often shared for inspiration as she moved up from working as a hostess at 17 years old in restaurants to server, bartender, traveling globally to help open new franchises learning every job in the restaurant business. Kat joined Hooters’ corporate office at 20, advanced to various management and leadership positions, becoming a Vice President at Hooters at the age of 26, making her one of the youngest executives in chain restaurants. She was a member of the Hooters Executive team that built the franchise to 400 units in 28 countries, eventually being sold to private equity in late 2010. She completed her MBA at Georgia State University in her final two years as an executive at Hooters and while Chair of the Board of the Georgia Restaurant Association and Board member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

Kat is the co-founder of Changers of Commerce along with Amanda Hite, founder of Be The Change (BTC) Revolutions – a leading social movements agency. Changers is a movement and group of leaders that identify with mixing money and meaning and making as much of a difference in the world as they make a profit. Being a Connected, Creative, and Conscious Capitalist not only produces return on investment, it connects with stakeholders…including current and emerging employees and consumers – who will drive business and build brands for many years to come. Changers of Commerce is a group that believes the way forward in business and society is through thoughtful alliances and partnerships that build strong, profitable businesses that can be an engine for thriving communities.

Her personal story, business approach and perspectives on leadership have been the subject of feature articles in Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan and many other business, trade and interest publications. Ms. Cole is a sought-after speaker and consultant on Leadership Development, Brand Building, Change Management, and Brand Innovation and Growth. She has been a featured guest on CBS, CNN, Bloomberg CNBC, MSNBC and more. Kat was awarded the Distinguished Young Alumni award from Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson School of Business in 2011, was featured with Cinnabon on CBS’ “Undercover Boss” in 2012, was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 in 2013 and CNBC’s Next 25 List of Innovators, Leaders and Disruptors 2014. In January 2015, she assumed the role as Chair of the Board of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

She has made her mark in franchising, business leadership and brand building with a servant leader mindset, approachable style, penchant for business model innovation, and ability to build flexible, entrepreneurial-minded teams that love what they do and drive strong financial results. She is often quoted as saying “don’t forget where you came from, but don’t you dare let it solely define you”… a mantra she applies still today to encourage learning, constant improvement and helping teams and businesses embrace their roots while driving innovation and growth.

Reception to follow sponsored by:

Vining Sparks logo

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Tony La Russa spoke at Barret School of Banking on May 21, 2015


2015 Barret Lecture Series Speaker: Tony La Russa

Anthony “Tony” La Russa, Jr. is the Chief Baseball Officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks and former infielder, best known for his tenures as manager of the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals.
La Russa was signed by the Kansas City Athletics as a middle infielder on high school graduation night at the age of 17 and in 1963 he was the first 18 year-old to start a game at shortstop in MLB history joined later by Robin Yount and Alex Rodriguez. La Russa is the winningest manager in St. Louis Cardinals history, with 1,408 wins and 1,182 losses (.544) as manager of the club since 1996. He was 522–510 (.506) with the Chicago White Sox 1979–1986, and 798–673 (.542) with the Oakland Athletics 1986–1995.
La Russa ranks third in major league history in victories (2,728), trailing only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). He managed 5,097 games, joining Mack as the second manager or coach in American sports history to reach 5,000 games. In 2004, he became the sixth manager in history to win pennants with both American and National League teams; in 2006 he became the first manager ever to win multiple pennants in both leagues and the second manager to win the World Series in both leagues.

La Russa is co-author of The New York Times best-selling book, One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season (September 2012) and was unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame.
Past Speakers:
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The 2014 Barret Lecture Series – featuring David Gergen 
Senior Political Analyst, CNN

“A trusted advisor to four presidents and to both political parties, David Gergen offers a bipartisan analysis of the Obama Administration, a divided Congress and what today’s headlines mean for the future of America.

A true public servant, David Gergen put his country above his personal politics, serving as an advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and then Clinton. Today he helps audiences break through ideological barriers to recognize simple and lasting political truths. Gergen’s unique vantage point—serving as an Oval Office insider to presidents from different political parties—provides him with insights that few others can match. For more than 30 years, Gergen has been an active participant in American political life. He currently serves as editor-at-large ofU.S. News & World Report, as director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and as a regular television commentator for CNN. Author ofEyewitness to Power: The Essence of LeadershipNixon to Clinton and an upcoming book on presidential transitions, he offers an inside glimpse into the corridors of power and the leadership challenges presidents face, bringing clarity to the most complex international and domestic issues.”Via:

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The 2013 Barret Lecture Series featuring Robert Gates

Barret’s 11th Annual Lecture Series featured Dr. Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, 2006-2011, who entertained a crowd of approximately 500 guests. His remarks lasted 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute Q&A with the audience. A photo opportunity and reception with Dr. Gates was made available immediately following the lecture.One of the most respected leaders in recent U.S. history, Robert Gates served as a trusted advisor to eight U.S. presidents, driving U.S. intelligence and defense policies over the past four and a half decades from the Cold War to today’s ongoing war on terrorism. Gates shared candid insights on global politics and world affairs, U.S. intelligence and defense strategies, leadership and leading change in a large institution and the global challenges of the 21st century.
Dr. Robert M. Gates served as the 22nd Secretary of Defense (2006-2011) and is the only Secretary
of Defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly-elected President.
President Barack Obama is the eighth president Gates has served. He previously served under
President George W. Bush.On Gates’ last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of
Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.Before becoming Secretary of Defense in 2006, Gates was the president of Texas A&M University,
the nation’s seventh largest university. Prior to assuming the Texas A&M presidency, on August 1,
2002, he served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at
Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001.Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence
professional. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, The
White House, serving four presidents of both political parties.Gates served as director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. He is the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. He served as deputy director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush.Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three
times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received
CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

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The 2012 Barret Lecture Series featuring Bill Courtney

Barret’s 10th Annual Lecture Series featured Bill Courtney, coach, entrepreneur and star of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Undefeated”, addressed Barret Graduate School of Banking participants, Regents and invited guests on the topic “What is Success?” at the annual Lecture Series event held May 24, 2012.

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The 2011 Barret Lecture Series featuring Dick Vitale

Barret’s 9th Annual Lecture Series featured ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitaleaddressed Barret School of Banking participants, Regents and invited guests on the topic “The Game of Life” at the annual Lecture Series event held May 26, 2011.

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2010 Fred Smith

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Past Lecture Series Speakers:


Paul W. Barret, Jr. was a Shelby County, Tennessee banker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. An endowment from his estate has allowed the School to enhance its educational program and to recognize Mr. Barret’s lasting contributions to the community by providing an annual lecture by a distinguished speaker for students, faculty, regents and invited guests from the Mid-South region.Paul W. Barret, Jr. School of Banking has offered excellent educational opportunities for those in financial services careers since it was established in 1972 by a group of Memphis bankers. Originally named Memphis School of Banking, it became Mid South School of Banking in 1979 to reflect its regional expansion. In 2001, Mid South School of Banking became Paul W. Barret, Jr. School of Banking in honor of Mr. Barret and his achievements in the profession.

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