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Dean's Executive Leadership Series event

Dean's Executive Leadership Series

The Dean’s Executive Leadership Series (DELS) invites today's top business practitioners and thought leaders to share their insights with the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School community. We carefully select senior executives whose values resonate with those of Pepperdine, and whose real-world success stories reflect the ethical business models we teach.

Our diverse roster of past guests includes men and women who have led organizations such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Yum! Brands, Xerox, Norton, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Paramount Pictures, and the San Francisco 49ers. Our previous speaker was Dr. Jerry Brown, Time Magazine's 2014 Person of the Year and world-renowned doctor and ebola fighter. Get his take on the future of the medicine and the ebola epidemic.

Past Events

Bill OBrien speaking at DELS event


Coca-Cola: Being Local Matters 

Speaker: Bill O’Brien
CEO of Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling

November 7, 2019
Irvine Marriot

In November of 2019, Graziadio had the pleasure of welcoming to the stage the CEO of Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, Bill O’Brien. During the event, Dean Deryck van Rensburg and Bill held a “fireside chat” to discuss Bill’s leadership experience, emphasizing the importance of leveraging local connections, creating a healthy internal work environment, and cultivating a customer-centric business model to increase the organization’s bottom-line. 

Deryck and Bill share a rich history, having worked together during Deryck’s 20-year employment at Coca-Cola. At one point during Deryck’s tenure, he acted as Bill’s supervisor, mentoring him on best business and leadership practices. This history brought a new flavor to the event, having both come to the stage as equals as they share their successes with the rest of our community.  Aside from the main discussion, attendees enjoyed a night of networking and “taste-testing” of signature Coca-Cola products.



Steve Cahillane, CEO of Kellogg Company


Kellogg: Returning to Gr-r-reat! 

Speaker: Steve Cahillane
CEO of Kellogg Company

January 29, 2020
Marina del Rey Marriot 

As a start to the new year, Graziadio welcomed Steve Cahillane, CEO of Kellogg Company, for a "fireside chat" with Dean Deryck van Rensburg. Steve shared his experience implementing a new business strategy within a mature company and deploying its full resources toward a return to growth. Steve also highlighted the importance of trusting your employees; facilitating an autonomous environment that improves overall satisfaction and performance. The event ended with a networking social which included many delicious Kellogg snacks and products.