Keynote Speaker Bios
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
A powerful innovator in brand marketing, Steve Stoute has made a career out of identifying and activating a new generation of consumers to help Fortune 500 companies thrive in the world of popular culture. Steve is the founder and CEO of the industry-leading brand development and marketing firm Translation whose client roster includes iconic brands such as McDonald’s Corporation, Anheuser-Busch InBev, State Farm, Target, Estée Lauder, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Lady Gaga. In 2013, Advertising Age recognized Steve as their Executive of the Year.
Much of Translation's work is based on Steve’s philosophy about the changing landscape of American culture and how people are all moving towards a shared cultural complexion. Building on this idea, Steve authored his acclaimed 2011 book, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture that Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy, in which he teaches corporate America how to understand and reach today’s young adult market—what he describes as “The Tan Generation”—and stay true to their core brands without seeming inauthentic.
Steve has been the keynote or featured speaker at noted industry conferences including South by Southwest (SXSW), Fast Company Innovation Uncensored, AAF’s ADMERICA and the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Steve has been invited to share his views on culture and marketing as a guest on NBC’s The Today Show, Piers Morgan Tonight, ABC’s Nightline and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, as well as in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Insider. In 2011, Huffington Post produced and aired an online video series titled “The Tanning Effect with Steve Stoute.”
In 2009, the American Advertising Federation inducted Steve into the Advertising Hall of Achievement, and in 2010 he was recognized as Innovator of the Year by ADCOLOR at their annual awards ceremony. Later that year, he appeared in HBO’s The Black List Project as a leading African-American figure and was featured in Target’s “Dare.Dream.Do.” campaign.
Prior to founding Translation, Steve spent ten years as a senior executive at several leading music labels. He was first President of Urban Music at Sony and later Executive Vice President of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. During his time at Interscope, Steve was honored with an American Music Award as producer for the movie soundtrack of Wild Wild West. He would later go on to executive produce the Academy Award-winning 8 Mile soundtrack.
Steve is also involved in a variety of civic causes. He served as the co-chairman of the New York City Fresh Air Fund in 2003 which helps minority children experience life outside the inner city. He also played a key role in the development of minority recruitment campaigns for both the FDNY and NYPD for which he received the 2004 Humanitarian Award. In 2008, he joined forces with Mary J. Blige to co-found the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now whose mission is to educate and empower women through scholarships, grants and career opportunities.
Nneka Rimmer (’01)
Partner and Managing Director
Nneka Rimmer is a Partner and Managing Director in the Chicago office of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Nneka joined BCG in 2002 and focuses her time in consumer goods and public sector practice areas. In 2008 she was elected to be the first African-American female partner in the 50-year history of BCG. Today, Nneka serves on the Global Social Impact Leadership Team and the US Education Practice Leadership team. Nneka also serves as member of the Americas Leadership Team, responsible for ethnic diversity recruiting, retention and development.
In her client-service Partner role, Ms. Rimmer serves as an advisor to corporate senior executives (CEOs, EVPs and C-suite executive teams) providing counsel on a wide range of issues: competitive and growth strategies, go-to-market and trade strategy, leadership/talent development and change management.
During her tenure with BCG, Nneka has worked with clients in the consumer goods, high tech, pharmaceutical, and industrial goods industries. In her role as a regional trade expert Ms. Rimmer has led efforts to transform $5B+ of trade partnerships between consumer goods manufacturers and retailers.
In early 2012 she co-authored "Winning Practices of Adaptive Leadership Teams" – an acclaimed BCG study that details how adaptive executive teams use unique traits to outperform their industry peers.
Ms. Rimmer has also worked with multiple clients in the public sector, including large not-for-profits and district or state K-12 education providers. In 2011 Nneka led the BCG team that partnered with the Illinois P-20 Council and Advance Illinois to create a new user-friendly state-wide report card to be used for all public schools. After a multi-month stakeholder engagement process and unanimous consent from both the Illinois House and Senate, HB-605 was signed into law on January 24, 2012.
Nneka has also co-led the 2012/13 BCG team in Memphis/Shelby County who partnered to create a comprehensive plan to merge the Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools. Nneka and team were honored to be key partners that supported the implementation through to a successful and on-time "go live" on July 1, 2013
Outside of work, Ms. Rimmer has been recognized as one of forty outstanding Illinoisans selected for the inaugural class of the Edgar Fellows, a prestigious state-wide leadership cadre. Ms. Rimmer is also a 2011 Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, and she sits on the board of directors for Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL) and Girls in the Game.
Nneka holds an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management, a JD from Northwestern University School of Law, and a BS in Chemical Engineering, from Stanford University
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