Chief Executives Club Continues Success

CSOM business forum drawing top speakers and high praise

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Peter Rollins has some straightforward guidelines for the successful operation of Boston College's Chief Executives Club of Boston , the top-rated speakers' forum in the nation.

"We provide an audience that is at least 85 percent corporate chairmen, presidents and managing partners, and we always treat our guests perfectly," said Rollins, executive director of corporate and government affairs for the Carroll School of Management . " A nd we always give our speakers a BC jacket when they finish."

Rollins' simple rules, combined with a significant amount of hard work, have produced a speaking forum that has not only earned national acclaim, but has provided CSOM with enhanced visibility and respect in the corporate boardrooms of Boston and beyond.

Speakers appearing before the 268-member CEO Club - as it is informally known - have included top executives from virtually every key American and international corporate sector, ranging from presidents of the nation's major automakers to communications magnate s Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner. Last week, the group heard former Senate Majority Leader George L. Mitchell, and newly-appointed Coca-Cola CEO Douglas Daft will keynote the group's next event on May 3. The club holds its in-town luncheon meetings seven times each year.

BC's eight-year-old CEO Club is currently rated the outstanding venue for business speakers in the United States by Top Speakers Forums, the nation's leading business speakers service.

But Rollins feels that the club's contribution to the University exceeds even this lofty ranking.

"The CEO Club emphasizes what a world - class educational institution we have become," he said. "It's one way - and I can't think of a better way - to make this point."

Peter Rollins, organizer for the Chief Executives Club of Boston, greets the forumís most recent guest, former Senate Majority Leader George L. Mitchell.

Boasting a membership that includes prominent business leaders from Boston and New England, the club also provides an advisory function to the University through its Associates Program, a partnership between CSOM and the business community. By working closely with the program's members, noted Rollins, "we get to know what types of business students they want to hire."

Acting CSOM Dean Robert J. Taggart concurs with Rollins' assessment.

"I would characterize the CEO Club as the Carroll School's primary 'portal' to the business community," Taggart said. "At least as important in my mind is the fact that Peter has always invited a cross section of CSOM faculty and administrators as well as a few students to attend each luncheon. This gives us a tremendous opportunity to keep local business leaders abreast of activities at the school."

Taggart added that contacts made at CEO Club luncheons have resulted in guest speakers for CSOM classes and employment opportunities for students, as well as the business community's direct knowledge of CSOM accomplishments.

Rollins came to Boston College in 1992 after spending nine years at Northeastern University , where he founded that school's CEO Breakfast Forum. He also has been vice president for field operations for the National Association of Manufacturers, vice president of member relations for Associated Industries of Massachusetts and an executive for the Forum for Economic Research in Needham.

"I have been working with CEOs for 30 years, and I think I know the CEO mind," Rollins said. "Drawing an audience that is mainly chief executives will in turn produce the speakers that we want to have. We have been able to establish that reputation here.

"We have really come a long way," Rollins said. "I am thrilled to have been a part of the small way that we are able to contribute to Boston College's reputation as a world-class education al institution."

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