Alumni Awards to be presented at Johnson Diversity Symposium



Roberto M. Cañizares ’71, MBA ’74, and Kenyattah A. Robinson, MBA ’06, will be honored with Johnson’s Diversity Awards

Alumni Awards to be presented at Johnson Diversity Symposiuminline-block

The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management will honor two alumni with distinguished alumni awards at its Seventh Annual Johnson Diversity Symposium and Alumni Awards Dinner, to be held on the Ithaca campus, Oct. 20-21, 2016.

Kenyattah A. Robinson, MBA ’06, president and CEO of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District, was selected to receive the Wilbur Parker Distinguished Alumni Award.

Created by the Black Graduate Business Association in honor of its first recipient, Wilbur Parker ’50, MBA ’50, the school’s first African American graduate, this award recognizes alumni who demonstrate outstanding professional achievement and commitment to their community. Robinson has amply demonstrated both qualities in his personal and professional life. As head of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District, he is responsible for the enhancement and economic development of the vibrant and growing Mount Vernon Triangle community in downtown Washington, D.C. In his former role, as a senior vice president and national director on the public institutions team at global commercial real estate advisory and investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle, he and his team developed strategies to help public-sector organizations achieve their mission objectives through public-private partnerships and other venture opportunities to leverage, better utilize, monetize and maximize the value of their real property assets.

Robinson credits his educational experience at Johnson with playing a key role in his personal and professional success, and says his Cornell connections have helped him to unlock his personal and professional potential. In 2014, Robinson received the Robert J. Swieringa Young Alumni Service Award, in part for helping fellow alumni stay connected to Johnson and to one another through his involvement with the Johnson Club of Washington, D.C., which he served as the club’s co-president.

“Kenyattah Robinson is a tremendous alumnus,” says Sara Andress, director of Alumni Affairs. “As a student, he dedicated his free time to improving the Johnson experience for his classmates. As an alumnus, he is always willing to connect with students on campus or near his home in Washington, D.C. He regularly attends and participates in the Annual Johnson Diversity Symposium and Johnson Means Business, a high-impact event that is the largest underrepresented minority recruiting weekend Johnson hosts, critical to helping the school achieve its goal of recruiting a diverse student body. He has served on the inaugural Johnson Alumni Board, assisting the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development in a review of the alumni life cycle and peer benchmark that helped to identify opportunities for increased student and alumni engagement and helped to re-shape what we do and how we do it. Kenyattah’s contributions to Johnson began while he was a student and continue strong today.”

Roberto M. Cañizares ’71, MBA ’74, retired president of MSA International, was selected to receive the Carlos R. Quintanilla Distinguished Latino Alumni Award. Named in honor of Carlos R. Quintanilla, MBA ’80, a Johnson Advisory Council member and champion of the school’s efforts in Latin America who received the Distinguished Latino Alumni Award in 2011, this award recognizes alumni for exceptional achievements and significant contributions to their professions, community, and society as a whole, for their demonstrated commitment to Johnson, and for promoting the advancement of Latinos in the business world. Cañizares, also a member of Johnson’s Advisory Council, is a recognized leader in successfully building and transforming businesses around the world and has led successful globalization efforts in several senior executive roles, focusing on building, coaching, and developing multinational organizations.

A senior advisor at independent management practice Jubilant since 2012, Cañizares advises and mentors founders of entrepreneurial companies and delivers lectures on management, organizational transformation, and coaching. At Cornell, he also serves on the board of Johnson’s Emerging Markets Institute and as a mentor at the Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences. Born in Colombia, Cañizares earned his undergraduate degree in engineering and applied physics. He and his wife have lived and worked in four continents and speak four languages fluently.

“Rob is a fantastic alumnus, a wonderful volunteer, and a perfect choice for this award,” says Sean Scanlon, associate dean of Alumni Affairs and Development. “Rob is a member of the Johnson Advisory Council as well as an advisor and donor to the Emerging Markets Institute at Johnson. He pushes us to be our best and supports his words with his own actions and financial support. Everywhere I meet Cornellians, from Shanghai to Weill Hall, people admire Rob and the effect he has had on their careers and lives. Most importantly, Rob is a wonderful, caring person. He and his wife Gail have a wonderful family, are active in many causes they believe in, and are models for us all.”

Dean Mark W. Nelson will present Robinson with the Wilbur Parker Distinguished Alumni Award and Cañizares with the Carlos R. Quintanilla Distinguished Latino Alumni Award at the 2016 Diversity Awards dinner at the Statler Ballroom, Oct. 21, 2016.

About the Johnson Diversity Symposium

The annual Johnson Diversity Symposium, held in conjunction with Johnson’s diversity recruitment event, Johnson Means Business, provides an opportunity for prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, and staff to join together and celebrate diversity at Cornell. The theme of this year’s Diversity Symposium, to be held on the Ithaca campus, Oct. 20-21, 2016, is “The Business Case for an MBA.”