Ella Bell Smith | The 2021 MAKERS Conference

Ella Bell Smith, Professor, Tuck School of Business, opens our 2021 MAKERS Conference.

Video Transcript

ELLA BELL SMITH: Hi, everybody. Welcome to MAKERS. Welcome to my home, first of all. I'm so delighted to be doing this, and I'm so delighted that you're in my home. And we're going to talk about MAKERS. Some of you might remember me from February where I had the honor to talk to you about this wonderful, wonderful organization. For the record, my name is Auntie Ella, and I'm the auntie to MAKERS.

Now, let me explain to you what that means in the Black community. The auntie-- she's the wise woman. The auntie is the one you come to when you need a little support, a little love, and you need a swift kick in the butt. The auntie is just there. And I am delighted to be the auntie to MAKERS because this is such an important organization and event and conference and all those kind of good things.

Seems like it's been a hard time, though, since we were last together. I don't know about you, but every time I'm feeling a little down, when I think about last year-- COVID, us being locked up, Black Lives Matter-- oh, my gosh, the Capitol, the attack on the Capitol, the state of our nation right now, and just an overall sense of deep, deep grief of all the loss that we have experienced this year.

But you know what? As hard as it has been, we keep on going. And here's some things. As rough as last year was-- and believe me, it was really rough for me-- I learned that I had more strength than ever. I learned that I am more determined than ever. And I've learned that I've got a deep, deep, deep faith.

And that's all important to know, but I also know that it's time for me to replenish my cup. I'm running on empty. And for the next three days, I'm going to sit back on my sofa, get all comfy, a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, and maybe even a glass of wine, a glass of champagne, because it's time for me to renew.

And the way that I renew-- next three days, I am renewing with MAKERS. 20 years ago, I wrote a book. And it was called "Our Separate Ways-- Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional q And I wrote it with a wonderful woman, my colleague, co-author Stella Nkomo. And you know what? That book is being republished. It's going to come out in July with a new prologue and a new epilogue.

So with all the stuff that has been going on, I still found a way to make my voice heard. I still found a way to make a difference. And that means a lot because we are all finding our way. We're all looking for ways that we can make a difference. We are all trying to get enough strength and energy to continue the fight.

But we can't keep doing things the same old way. We've got to shake it up a little bit, you know? We've got to do things differently. I love what my Congressman would say. I forgot his name. John Lewis. I'm old, so I forget names, OK? But making good trouble. It's time for us to make some good trouble.

It's time for us to reinvent the wheel. It's time for us to be bold together and stand together in one voice. So the next three days, I want you to sit back. I want you to have fun. I want you to soak everything in. And I want you to enjoy the magic of MAKERS because each and every one of us, we're co-conspirators in how we want to change the crazy world that we live in now. Because we've got work to do.

So with that, let the MAKERS begin. Oh, I'm so excited! I just can't wait. I'm getting comfortable, guys. Let me get my wine. Roll it.