Founder, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer
John W. Rogers, Jr. is founder, chairman and chief investment officer of Ariel Investments. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm offers six no-load mutual funds for individual investors and defined contribution plans as well as separately managed accounts for institutions and high net worth individuals.
After working for 2½ years as a stockbroker at William Blair & Company, LLC, Mr. Rogers founded Ariel Investments in 1983 to focus on undervalued small and medium-sized companies. Patience served as the cornerstone of a disciplined approach that still drives the firm today.
His passion for investing started when he was 12 years old when his father bought him stocks, instead of toys, for every birthday and Christmas. His interest grew while majoring in economics at Princeton University. In addition to following stocks as a college student, John also played basketball under Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril. He was captain of Princeton’s Varsity Basketball Team his senior year. There, Carril’s courtside lessons on teamwork profoundly shaped his views of entrepreneurship and investing.
Early in his career, John’s investment expertise brought him to the forefront of media attention, including being selected as Co-Mutual Fund Manager of the Year by Sylvia Porter’s Personal Finance magazine as well as an All-Star Mutual Fund Manager by USA TODAY. Today, he is regularly featured and quoted in a wide variety of broadcast and print publications and is a contributing columnist to Forbes.
Beyond Ariel, John currently serves as a board member of Exelon Corporation and McDonald’s Corporation. Additionally, he is a trustee of the University of Chicago, where he also chairs the board of the University of Chicago Laboratory School and a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
In 2008, John was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumni whose career embodies a commitment to national service. Following the election of President Barack Obama, he served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009.
Central City Marketing, Inc
After graduating from Northwestern University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in radio, TV and film in 1965, Mr. Jackson worked in the media and broadcast industries in sales at WBEE and WVON radio. He became the youngest and the first African American sales manager at WVON, the top radio station in the Chicago market at the time.
In 1970, Mr. Jackson founded Central City Marketing, Inc., a national television production, sales, and syndication company based in Chicago, IL. For over four decades the company has specialized in marketing, promotion, sales, and the production of media and television programs for African Americans.
Today, Central City Productions, Inc., is the full-service company that produces, syndicates, and manages advertising sales for all of the company’s local and national television programs. Central City Productions’ mission is to develop, produce, and market television programming which is designed to communicate positive, uplifting images of Black people all over the world.
Under his guidance and vision, CCP has launched many new and unique television programs to Black Americans nationwide. Many of these programs have more than 30 years of consecutive airing over local and national television.
Mr. Jackson is a former chairman of the board of the DuSable Museum of African American History. He has also previously served on the boards of Northwestern University, Junior Achievement of Chicago, Columbia College, Gateway Foundation and Chicago Transit Authority Board.
In addition, Mr. Jackson is the founder and a member of A.B.L.E. (Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs), which is the first business organization bringing Black Leaders together in the business community to network, address business issues and provide a legacy for future African American entrepreneurs. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his business accomplishments and community involvement.
Mr. Jackson is married to Rosemary Jackson. The couple has two adult children and two grandsons, Donovan and Dain. Their daughter Rhonda is a graduate of Syracuse University, and their son Baba Dainja graduated from the University of Minnesota.
Former Executive Director
Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council
Maye Foster-Thompson is a nationally recognized professional with a career that spanned more than four decades of designing, implementing and promoting successful business diversity initiatives for Fortune 500-1000 corporations and government organizations. She is a seasoned expert and lecturer on issues impacting minority- and women-owned business communities in Chicago and nationally. Her professional business career began in 1965 with the Chicago Economic Development Corporation, one of three business development organizations that founded the Chicago Business Opportunity Fair with AT&T. The Fair was the impetus for the founding of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. (NMSDC) under the leadership of Chicagoan Robert Stuart, then chairman of National Can Corporation. Today, NMSDC is the premier network for increasing value-added business opportunities between major buying organizations and minority-owned businesses. Ms. Foster-Thompson joined the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council in 1977 as its associate director. She assumed the leadership of CMSDC in 1984. Under her leadership, council membership increased more than 500 percent from 1984 to 2002. In 2001, Chicago-Area corporate members reported more than $3.5 billion in purchases from minorityowned businesses. In 2002, Ms. Foster-Thompson was recruited by Michelle R. Obama to develop and lead the Supplier Diversity initiative at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Medical Center. Special recognitions include the following:
As the result of an invitation from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, Ms. Foster-Thompson lectured on successful business development strategies throughout the United Kingdom.
Appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve on the U.S. Commission on Minority Business Development
Other recognitions from the following business development and trade organizations:
Minority Business Development Agency (U.S. Department of Commerce), U.S. Small Business Administration, Black Contractors United, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA), Women’s Business Development Center, Black Businesses in Birmingham (England) and the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.
United Building Maintenance, Inc
UBM was founded in May of 1979 and is currently one of the largest minority-owned firms in the Midwest, providing quality focused facility maintenance programs, including janitorial, HVAC, painting, elevator, landscaping and snow removal services.
United Building Maintenance, Inc. was started as a small carpet cleaning company with one simple philosophy: Quality Service and Total Client Satisfaction. This commitment to quality service and total client satisfaction transformed UBM from a small carpet cleaning company into the largest Hispanic-owned and operated facility maintenance company in the Midwest, with an impressive roster of longtime Fortune 100 clients.
Mr. Cabrera has served in the past on the board of directors of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council. He has served as the past president, chairman and treasurer and has been in a leadership capacity for the past 26 years. Through his efforts, Mr. Cabrera has helped to promote and assist minority organizations and individuals within the Chicagoland area to obtain and maintain jobs through mentoring programs. Mr. Cabrera has also implemented initiatives for private funding of scholarships for disadvantaged students.
Mr. Cabrera and United Building Maintenance, Inc. have been the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Minority Business Award for Outstanding Achievement; the Hispanic Heritage award from Citibank; the Supplier Diversity Award from Exelon; the Supplier of the Year award from JP Morgan Chase; the Safety Performance Award from BP; the Minority Company of the Year award from the Chicago Minority Business Development Council and 2006 Regional Supplier of the Year award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Most recently, UBM was the 2012 Supplier of the Year awarded by the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council and the 2012 National Supplier of the Year awarded by the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
Mr. Cabrera received undergraduate business training at Morton Junior College in Cicero, IL from 1970 – 1971 and attended the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management NMSDC Advanced Management Executive Education Program in 2000.
University of Washington
Foster School of Business
Dr. William D. Bradford joined the faculty of the University of Washington Foster School of Business in 1994, becoming the institution’s first African American dean, a position he held until 1999. His areas of teaching include corporate control, financial markets, management of financial institutions and small and minority business issues. He is also a professor in the university’s Minority Business Executive Program.
Prior to joining the faculty at UW, Dr. Bradford held various faculty positions at the University of Maryland, Stanford University and New York University.
His board memberships include Commerce Bank, Russell Trust Company, the UW Business and Economic Development Program and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Urban Enterprise Center.
Such bodies as the American Bankers Association, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and Ohio State University have recognized Dr. Bradford. Among Dr. Bradford’s many honors is being named Dean Emeritus at the School of Business Administration, University of Washington in 1999. That same year, the University of Washington Business and Economic Development Center instituted The William Bradford Minority Business of the Year award to honor top businesses in the state.
Dr. Bradford is a renowned expert in research on wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and economic development with an emphasis on minority-owned businesses. He is the author and co-author of numerous articles that have appeared in business and congressional journals. His most recent research has focused on venture capital firms.
Dr. Bradford is the author of several working papers on the subject of finance, banking and entrepreneurship that affect the minority community, including:
The Wealth Dynamics of Entrepreneurship for Black and White Families in the U.S., The Saving and Credit Management of Low-Income/Low- Wealth Black and White Families, The Financial Acumen of Black and While Families and Venture Capital Investment in Minority Business.
Dr. Bradford holds a Ph.D. and MBA from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree from Howard University.