2020 GlobalMindED Conference
June 6-8
Sheraton Denver Downtown
GlobalMindED is a 501(c)(3) innovation network that closes the equity gap through education, entrepreneurship, employment and economic mobility to create a capable, diverse talent pipeline.
One of the most rewarding parts of being a member of the GlobalMindED community is meeting remarkable people, many of whom are First Gen to College and diverse. Ron McNeil is one of the " trail-blazers" who was a professional "first" as an African American male C-Suite Leader.  He is now a major philanthropist opening doors of opportunity to low income students in Detroit through the foundation he runs with his wife. You will meet Ron this June at GlobalMindED and many of the other African American luminaries you've read about this month as we Celebrate Black History.
How did your experiences in your younger years shape your success later in life?
I grew up with two parents as well as maternal and paternal grandmothers who had a strong faith. Growing up in Detroit in the 50's, I was surrounded by prospering Blacks (predominantly working class) who owned their own homes and who assumed positions of responsibility and authority in the community. I did not feel poor or disenfranchised. My high expectations of what was normal and possible were affirmed daily. 

My greatest hero was my Father. With a 6th grade education, he was a do it yourself, self-taught guy who could conquer any task with an innovative flair. He bought our home on a land contract and did everything from installing the furnace, the electricity, the roof...you name it. Working in the auto factory fueled his knowledge of repairing the old cars he was able to afford.

My father is in my ear every day:
  • Set your own standards
  • A good run is better than a bad stand
  • If you sweep the floors, get in the corners...do a great job
  • Change your oil and wash the salt off your car
  • Take care of your family
  • Don't just pass thru life
  • What you do and how you do it matters...even if only you know it
  • Take personal accountability
  • Education is non-negotiable
My father was the smartest man I knew.

My family, particularly my father, gave my three siblings and me a healthy sense of self and the expectation to exceed in life.  But I saw how hard he worked as a laborer and I wanted to travel a different path to success. From a very early age, I wanted to go to work carrying a briefcase and wearing a suit.

I excelled in elementary and middle school and followed my three siblings to Cass Technical High School-one of the best selective enrollment high schools in the country. The curricula were based on the field of study, and every curriculum was college preparatory. I eagerly enrolled in Business and was on my way to becoming the businessman I always wanted to be. Attending Cass Tech was not only beneficial for me academically but also personally. I met my wife at Cass; marrying her is the best decision of my life. 

Majoring in Business and Finance at Wayne State University, I worked my way thru college as a police officer. At this time, only 10% of Detroit's police force was Black. In an effort to integrate and upgrade the force, the Mayor of Detroit recruited Black candidates from local colleges. I then worked for an advertising company as a Financial Intern moving into a role as a Financial Analyst.
What was it like to be one of the only African American Leader of a Fortune 100 Company?
I presided over the largest business unit of Allstate, a Fortune 100 company. My unit was larger than most companies (responsible for 70,000 employees and $30 Billion in revenue). 

I was recruited by Allstate to integrate the Michigan location's financial department as no Black had ever been employed in the Financial department for Allstate nationwide. I went on to be the first Black Financial officer in the company's history. Succeeding in Finance was key to my being considered for more significant administrative roles. I understood how the company made money and I knew how to generate shareholder value, and I did. There were changes orchestrated under my leadership that led Allstate from making $1 billion a year to $1 billion a quarter. It was not only lonely at Allstate for Blacks in senior leadership, it was worse in the industry. I was typically the only Black representing the insurance industry so creating value for Allstate was key. This success earned me the capital to move forward with initiatives of diversity and inclusion and with creating opportunities for others like me. At that time, the mantra was "diversity is nice to do but what does it do for the bottom line?". I worked with McKinsey, Inc. to develop a cost-benefit analysis of diversity for Insurance and Financial Services. My background in Finance and my roles in Allstate added a degree of credibility that was invaluable. 

My contribution to the industry was recognized in the form of being designated a History Maker. History Makers, Inc. recognized me as a trailblazer and pioneer in the Insurance industry. My nomination to History Makers was also submitted by the CEO of a competitor company before Allstate had completed its nomination.
What led to your success in this role and how can others who are also firsts - women, people of color, ability status, LBGTQ learn from your pioneering experience?
My advice is about making choices, and I have an example to illustrate something invaluable to me. I had a friend that wanted to open a gas station. I looked at his layout and saw lots of pumps and no convenience center (store). I asked him if he knew that most stations' profit comes from the store. He was about to make a very uninformed choice. 

My advice comes in the form of something I have long advocated for, and that is Life is About Choices. The better you are at making these 4 choices, (Learn, Contribute, Lead and Share), early and often, the greater the impact on the overall quality of your life. 

Particularly important is choosing to share.  
Share your WISDOM, WEALTH and WORK in a way that makes you feel good. You will find that no credit is needed, sharing has its own rewards.

In 2002, my wife and I co-founded The Ronald D. and Regina C. McNeil Foundation, Inc. through our flagship McNeil Scholar Programs, we support our Scholars throughout their higher education years and beyond.

In 2019, the University of Michigan recognized Regina and me with the Hermelin Award-the highest honor for fundraising volunteer leadership the University of Michigan awards. There have been 60 awarded in the University's history. In our acceptance, we stated that being recognized for something you love is redundant; we mean it.

We are also responsible for re-launching the Urban Debate League in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. It is programs like this, as well as, our McNeil Scholars programs that truly drive us. The Foundation's motto is to "Reach beyond your Grasp" and to make Education the central part of your life plan.
Why did you start Great Ball of Light, Inc .?
I was sought out by a group of DC scientists for my financial perspective about an invention they had been working on for several years. The technology is rooted in the energy storage space and is poised to unseat Lithium-Ion as the king of energy storage. Given my expertise, coupled with my excitement about the company's potential, I was asked to run the company.

Other thoughts?
  • Dream. So much of what determines what we do is what we think about doing. Do not limit your thoughts and dreams.
  • Consider becoming an entrepreneur early in life.
  • Do something that creates value beyond financial rewards.

Join us to recognize the most inclusive leaders in key industries for their innovations and bold actions to promote access and equity for women, people of color, and underrepresented populations in their recruiting, development, senior management on their boards, and in their pipeline strategies from education to employment. 

If you would like to nominate a student from your institution for the 
2020 GlobalMindED First Gen Student Leadership Program so that they can meet role models and mentors while networking for internships and jobs with companies who are dedicated to creating a capable, diverse talent pipeline , please encourage them to apply HERE
If you are an educator, you can attend  by yourself, a team or with your First Gen student delegates. If you come with more than 5 people from your institution, you are eligible for the discount.

GlobalMindED and the SDG Impact Fund are delighted to announce GlobalMindED's Donor Advised Fund for your year-end giving and planning your 2020 investment goals. 2020 is the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and and the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Women's Declaration and Action Platform. Many from around the world are thinking of 2020 as the gateway to our most vital decade for delivering equity, the Sustainable Development Goals, and a world where all can thrive. Our key time for these outcomes is 2020-2030.

GlobalMindED DAF and the SDG Impact Fund are a powerful combined force for good as the 2019 year comes to a close and we reflect on the gratitude and the commitments we make to the causes we care most about. The DAF offers immense power and flexibility for giving prior to the year's end as you plant seeds of generous intention for 2020 and the decade ahead.

When you contribute to GlobalMindED, you support students like Emanuel Walker whose story is below. He was in the class of 2018. Since 2015, we have served more than 300 students by connecting them to role models, mentors, internships and jobs. Your generous support will allow us to take our work 10x and reach these talented students at scale who lack the resources and support we provide. Your support also helps teachers who can't afford the conference fees, faculty at colleges which are under resourced and students who persist at those universities despite food insecurity and/or housing insecurity.
The ILO is calling on individuals and organizations to share innovative ideas and solutions to address the skills mismatch challenge. The ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call will recognise and support the development of solutions that aim to address the different forms and dimensions of skills mismatch.   

Submission deadline: April 13, 2020.

As you start the New Year, are you looking for ways to re-engineer your classroom culture? Check out Designing the Future: How Engineering Builds Creative Critical Thinking in the Classroom. The associated website has lots of activities, projects, and resources you can implement immediately. Our fall workshops using the book as a roadmap for change have been highly successful. Start designing the future today - try using the customized Study Guide for a book study in your PLC. Or contact ProjectEngin or Solution Tree to learn how you can bring professional development based on Ann's book to your school, district, or conference.


Since 2006 when the flagship TGR Learning Lab opened its doors in Anaheim, CA, TGR Foundation has had a lot to celebrate, including its most recent milestone of one million students impacted by TGR EDU: Explore, alone.

Developed in partnership with Discovery Education, TGR EDU: Explore is a free digital resource library that offers interactive web experiences, lesson plans, training videos and tools for educators, students and families to explore new disciplines and gain skills for a modern and expanding workforce.

The climate crisis, rape culture, the wall-we think the patriarchy has done enough. Introducing " When Feminists Rule the World", a new podcast series from the Nobel Women's Initiative and producing partner MediaStyle. Hosted by Nicaraguan-born comedian, Martha Chaves, we're talking to badass feminist changemakers around the world about the future they are creating. It shouldn't be groundbreaking. But it is.
Entertainment For Change creates original song and dance (#SDGGROOVE) to educate young people on the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Like any meaningful social change, the original song and dance is a collaborative effort between more than 20 singers, dancers, writers and choreographers. Lauded vocalists Natalie Weiss and Antonio Cipriano lend their voices to the powerful lyrics, while each SDG is  danced by performers of all calibers.

To learn more about Entertainment for Change and #SDGGROOVE, visit our  website
Join the #NeedHerScience Campaign that is aimed at addressing journal-level gender bias. For decades, studies have demonstrated gender bias in publishing. This may occur at various stages in the process, including at the level of the 
journals. The equitable inclusion of women editors at every level is long overdue. Addressing journal gender bias starts at the top. 

AMWA is a strategic partner for the Need Her Science Campaign which is part of the Be Ethical Campaign. More information is available at www.SheLeadsHealthcare.com.

The goal: To raise awareness about gender bias in publishing and share with stakeholders, including journal editors and owners, the overall number of scientists, healthcare professionals and others who have taken the pledge. The pledge can be taken anonymously. Educators and others are encouraged to take the pledge and share information about this issue with colleagues and trainees. 

Here are 3 quick and easy things you can do to join the #NeedHerScience Campaign: 1. Disseminate the infographic Tips for Publishing in Medical Journals. 
2. Take the #NeedHerScience pledge. 
3. Encourage others to take the pledge. 

PLEDGE: "As part of determining where to submit my manuscripts, I will look at the list of editors and consider whether a journal has equitably included qualified women at every level."

The Conrad Challenge is an excellent opportunity for industry, government, research and academia to help support the youth of today and take an active role in shaping our future workforce. Students participating in the Conrad Challenge create innovative solutions to real-world challenges, while preparing for success in a global workplace. The competition encourages creativity, critical thinking and entrepreneurial collaboration among teams around the globe. Learn more and become a judge HERE
GlobalMindED | 303-327-5688 | contact@globalminded.org | www.globalminded.org