Guest Speakers

Guest speakers are invited to speak at Graduate Business classes on occasion in an effort to continually bring the real-world into the classroom experience. Some of these speakers include the following:

Shanthi Flynn, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Walmart-Asia

Photo of Shanthi FlynnShanthi Flynn is currently the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Walmart Asia. In this role, she is responsible for China, India and Japan.

Shanthi has over 25 years of experience and an exceptional track record of improving organizations, by supporting corporate acquisitions, heading up change programs, recruiting, training and developing individuals and teams, up to the Board level. She worked for Ford Motor Company in the UK for 10 years and focused on succession planning, organization development and union negotiations. She then moved on to the Boots Company for seven years as Director of Human Resources - International. After that, she served for three years as Group International Human Resources Director for A S Watson Group based in Hong Kong.

Ms. Flynn has served on five Business Executive Boards and from 2006 to 2010, she ran her own Human Resources Consultancy to give her more time at home with her three children. In 2010, Shanthi joined Walmart to oversee the Talent initiatives for Walmart Asia and was promoted to her current role in September 2010.

Brett Biggs, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Walmart, U.S.Photo of Brett Biggs

Brett Biggs is Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walmart U.S. He is responsible for U.S. finance functions including strategy, merchandising, logistics, financial services, real estate, operations and financial planning and analysis.

Before being appointed to his current role, Brett served as Senior Vice President, Operations for Sam’s Club. In this role, he led all facets of Sam’s Club operations in the southern part of the U.S., encompassing 13 states and Puerto Rico with over 230 clubs and 40,000 associates. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, International Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions. In this capacity, Brett led the strategy and execution for Walmart’s entry into Japan and India, as well as acquisitions and partnerships in China, the U.K., Brazil and Central America. 

Brett has also served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance, in which he led Walmart’s Treasury operations and capital markets functions, including managing global banking relationships. He was then promoted to Chief Financial Officer, Sam’s Club, leading the finance and strategy functions for Sam’s Club.

Prior to joining Walmart in 2000, Brett held various M&A and corporate finance positions with Leggett & Platt, Phillips Petroleum Co. and Price Waterhouse.

Brett is involved in various civic functions including serving on the Board of Directors for MANA, a nonprofit group focused on acute malnutrition in African children. He also serves on the Cancer Challenge Board and is a former member of the Board of the First Tee of Northwest Arkansas. Brett graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harding University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and later received an M.B.A. with Honors from Oklahoma State University. He serves in various advisory roles at Harding University. Brett and his wife, Kara, have two daughters and live in Rogers, Ark.

Marybeth Cornwell, Senior Vice President, GMM, Ladieswear, Intimates, Jewelry & Accessories, Walmart, U.S.

Photo of Marybeth Cornwell Marybeth Cornwell joined Walmart U.S. in January 2012 after over two years with Sam’s Club as SVP/GMM Home & Apparel.

 Prior to joining Sam’s Club, she was a Merchandising Vice President with Lowe’s Home Improvement for eight years, leading the Seasonal Living and Fashion Bath divisions. She also held VP Marketing roles at Lexington Furniture and at Hanesbrands Inc.

Marybeth is an officer sponsor of Walmart's PRIDE associate resource group and a member of the President's Global Council of Women Leaders as well as a member of the Board of Directors of SoNA (Symphony of Northwest Arkansas) and Hope Cancer Resources.

Marybeth earned her M.B.A and a B.A. in Sociology from Wake Forest University.



M.L. Hillard -- Senior VP, Peter F. Drucker AcademyPhoto of ML Hilliard

M.L. Hilliard is currently the Senior Vice President for the Peter F. Drucker Academy in China. He formerly served as Vice-President of ServiceMaster, one of the world’s top 500 enterprises where he was responsible for personnel development and specialized in helping various types of organizations to establish and improve their training systems and train their trainers.

In M.L.'s current position he has successfully developed and delivered a large number of series courses concerning leadership and personnel development based on his several decades of experiences in management practices and business management training.

Dow Famulak, Executive Director, Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd.

Dow Famulak is the EPhoto of Dow Famulakxecutive Director for Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd. He is also the President of DSG (dedicated sourcing group servicing Wal-Mart globally), LF Beauty and LF Europe. Dow Joined Li & Fung in 2000 at the time of the acquisition of Colby International Limited where he was an Executive Vice President.

Dow was also previously a partner at Baker & McKenzie.



Lavenski Smith, Federal Judge

LavPhoto of Lavenski Smithenski Smith serves as a Federal Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit. He was nominated to that court by President George W. Bush in 2001.

An Arkansas native, he graduated with both his B.A. and his J.D. from the University of Arkansas. Before joining the federal bench, Smith worked in both private and public service. Notably, he was a Commissioner on the Arkansas Public Service Commission from 1997-1999 before Governor Mike Huckabee appointed him Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court to serve out the remainder of retired Justice David Newbern’s term from 1999-2000. He was re-appointed to the Arkansas Public Service Commission in 2001 where he was serving a six-year term until his appointment to the Eighth Circuit.

Smith has also been an assistant professor at John Brown University as well as Executive Director of the Rutherford Institute.

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