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Delta State to present International Business Symposium

By March 21, 2007General

David Abney

Dianne M. Stokely

Diana M. Leonard

Delta State University’s Division of Management, Marketing and Business Administration will present the 2007 International Business Symposium on Thursday, March 29  Friday, March 30, in the Delta & Pine Land Theatre of the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus.

The annual symposium is sponsored by David and Sherry Abney, Delta natives who currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia. A 1976 graduate, Abney earned his bachelor’s of business administration from Delta State, and today sits on the University’s Foundation Board.  

This year’s program features top-ranking international business professionals, whose knowledge of the field is renowned and experience spans the globe. Presenters include Abney, who was recently elevated to Chief Operating Officer (COO) and President of UPS Airlines; Dianne M. Stokely, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), FedEx Customer Information Services, Inc.; and Diana M. Leonard, Senior Vice President, Orange Business Services, France Telecom Group.

Abney will deliver the keynote address, “The Ideal Resume of the Global Business Leader” at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 29. As COO for UPS and President of UPS Airlines, Abney directs all operations worldwide of its sophisticated global transportation network, including the eighth largest airline in the world. He oversees the pick-up and delivery of 14.8 million packages and documents daily to a service area that includes every address in the United States, as well as to over 200 countries and territories. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, he is a Trustee of The UPS Foundation, which is the charitable arm of UPS. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Air Courier Conference of America and the U.S.-Japan Business Council. Currently, he serves as a board member of the Southern Center for International Studies and the Coalition of Service Industries.

On Friday at 9 a.m., Stokely is set to discuss “From Cleveland, MS to Santiago, Chile: Access Changes what’s Possible in Your World.” Currently, she oversees all aspects of providing the customer-facing voice of FedEx throughout the world including strategy, planning, technology, engineering, and operations.

She joined FedEx in July of 1972, when the company was less than a year old. During her 30-plus years with FedEx, she has served as Vice President of Operations in the Southern and Central U. S. regions, worked with international governments to promote free trade throughout the Americans and led FedEx Express to establish a formidable presence and become a market leader in Latin America and the Caribbean in the late 1990s. She is a repeat winner of the Five Star Award, the most prestigious recognition within FedEx, including the elite CEO Award for 2005.

Second on the morning’s agenda, Leonard will present “Think Global, Act Local” at 10 a.m. She leads an organization of over 2,000 professionals delivering world-class installation and maintenance services to multinational corporations in over 220 countries and territories. She has been with Orange Business Services since July 2000 and has served in many areas including Field Services and Customer Services Delivery, during which time she has focused on improving customer satisfaction levels while also improving the underlying cost structures. She has participated in mergers of multiple companies and has delivered constantly improved profit and loss performance.

Prior to this, Leonard was with AT&T for 20 years, serving in various positions including responsibilities for maintenance and provisioning of AT&T’s international network and the provisioning of AT&T’s domestic high speed network.

She and her husband are supporters of various activities in Africa, including a hospital in Cameroon and an AIDS/HIV treatment center in Kenya.

The 2007 International Business Symposium is free and open to public. Event coordinator and assistant professor of management at Delta State, Dr. Jamye Long offered, “We encourage the public to join us as we welcome these esteemed business professionals to our campus and community. I think there is something we can all learn from what our speakers will have to say.”

For more information, please contact Long at (662) 846-4420 or email