In the fall of 2014, President Kerry Healey called Kim Kimball into her office. “She said, ‘Kim, I have this amazing campus. I have alumni from 114 countries. I can’t get them all to come here for Back to Babson and alumni weekends. We need to go to them,’” says Kimball.
Thus began Babson Connect: Worldwide, a global entrepreneurship summit for the Babson community and business leaders. Kimball is the managing director of the three-day conference, which includes educational sessions, a gala and awards dinner, cultural events, and plenty of opportunities for networking.
The first summit, in the spring of 2015, was in Cartagena, Colombia. “The thinking was, if we can’t make this summit work in Latin America, then we can’t make it work. Our alumni in this region are so passionate about the school,” says Kimball. Trustee Carlos Mattos, MBA’76, P’17, ’20, suggested Cartagena both as a destination that people would be interested in and for its cultural significance. Despite last-minute worries—“Two weeks before the event we had only 70 people registered,” says Kimball—the conference was a resounding success, with more than 230 attendees and positive feedback from all.
Since then, the summit has continued its travels around the world and grown in attendance. In 2016, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was the destination, and the following year the summit journeyed to Bangkok. This year, it was in Madrid, and more than 350 people attended. Each conference in some way reflected the culture of the region, from session topics to renowned local entrepreneurs appearing as guest speakers.
In 2019, Babson Connect: Worldwide comes to Wellesley in honor of the College’s Centennial celebration. “That was always part of Kerry’s vision. Let’s go around the globe and then bring it back here for the Centennial,” says Kimball. But the summit won’t stop there. “Now that it has traction, people want it to keep going. It’s a signature event for the school.”—Donna Coco