CBA Students Win International Award for Excellence in SDG Impact

CBA rising seniors Christian Jackson and Dezmin “Dez” Hemmans were selected as recipients of the inaugural PRME Student Recognition Award for Excellence in SDG Impact. Sponsored by PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education), an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, this award honors student achievements in integrating the SDGs (sustainable development goals) into business school strategy, and whose leadership exemplifies the important work of social and environmental responsibility. The award was announced before an international audience during the 2021 Virtual PRME Global Forum on June 17.

As co-presidents of the LMU Black male student group Brothers of Consciousness, Christian, an entrepreneurship major, and Dez, a finance major, have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of institutional racism within and beyond the LMU community. After the murder of George Floyd, they launched a social media fundraising campaign for justice, bringing together 40 student groups across campus and raising over $50,000 for organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement such as Nation Black Food and Justice Alliance, The Bail Project, Black Girls Code LA, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In the process, they attracted national attention and were even featured on The Today Show.

Christian and Dez also spearheaded student-led initiatives such as #BlackatLMU, which strives to ensure an inclusive community for Black students at LMU. #BlackatLMU has presented the LMU administration with student concerns and demands, resulting in productive conversations with the university president and first steps toward institutional change.

“Christian and Dez have had enormous impact on the LMU community through their leadership, advocacy and engagement,” said Dayle Smith, dean of LMU College of Business Administration. “We are so proud of their work and contributions to raise awareness, spur action and address the need for systemic change.”

In fall 2020, Brothers of Consciousness partnered with the LMU Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainability to develop the Business as a Force for Good Annual Ethics Symposium, bringing 14 Black female entrepreneurs together in a virtual forum to share powerful stories of resilience and grit. In spring 2021, a new group of captivating and successful entrepreneurs told their stories as part of Reset the Room: Presenting Equity Through Narrative.

For both events, Christian and Dez stepped into the role of producers, recruiting speakers, creating artwork, leveraging cutting edge technology from Black female founders to bring human connections for mentorship and bonding despite limitations during a pandemic. They even partnered with Represent to create a merchandising campaign with influencers with proceeds donated to support Black female entrepreneurs through IFundWomen.com.

“Christian and Dez led a movement using an entrepreneurial mindset and a compassionate heart to mobilize our community to stand up against racial inequality,” said Jason D’Mello, LMU associate professor of entrepreneurship. “They are visionaries who deserve this award more than anyone, and as their professor, I know that none of their work was done with any expectation of recognition. In addition to their leadership skills, business acumen, values, integrity, compassion, and creativity, they are two of the humblest humans I know.”

“It has been a rough yet inspiring year for a lot of us,” said Christian. “Though I am filled with gratitude looking back on what has been started, there is much left to be done to ensure that 2020-2021 was simply the launching point for many great LMU initiatives, opening the door for more students to far surpass what Dez and I worked to accomplish this year.”