About Us

Business Leaders Forum

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

“The Power of Culture and Ethics”
Daniel S. Jaffee
President and Chief Executive Officer of Oil-Dri Corporation of America

Daniel Jaffee has been the CEO of Oil-Dri, a family-run company, since 1997. Jaffee joined the company in 1987 as a product manager in the Industrial and Agricultural division and between 1987 and 1997 he held several positions, including President and COO. Under Jaffee’s leadership, Oil-Dri was named one of Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces in Chicago multiple times and in 2013 was ranked #1 for its ethical operations.

Founded by his grandfather Nick Jaffee in 1941 as a distributor of clay floor absorbents, Oil-Dri’s products have been used throughout the world for 75 years. Its diverse portfolio of products help to grow and process food, raise healthy livestock, enhance the safety of jet fuel and to keep sports fields dry and playable. As CEO, Jaffee continues to focus on Oil-Dri’s long-term future growth and helped define their mission statement: creating value from sorbent minerals. As a result, Oil-Dri broadened its portfolio of products and innovated the first lightweight cat litter product made of highly absorbent minerals with no fillers, under its Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light brand.

A passionate philanthropist and animal advocate, Jaffee has been on the board of the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago for 19 years, serving as chairman for three terms. He is also a Trustee of the Chicago History Museum. Jaffee received his B.S.B.A. from Georgetown University and his M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

About the Business Leaders Forum

Established in 1999, the Business Leaders Forum is a speaker series sponsored by Marquette University’s College of Business Administration. The forum provides a setting for nationally recognized business leaders to engage in discussions and interact with students, faculty and local business leaders. The program enables Marquette to build practical knowledge into its rigorous business curriculum, exploring current trends, issues and practices in business.

Marquette University has attracted leaders at the top of their respective professions to speak at the Business Leaders Forum, including Herbert V. Kohler, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Kohler Co.; Richard M. Schulze, founder and chairman of Best Buy; and James J. Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips.

The Kathleen and Frank Thometz Foundation has made the Business Leaders Forum speaker series possible through a special endowment.

Previous Speakers

  • Daniel S. Jaffee, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oil-Dri Corporation of America “The Power of Culture and Ethics” 2017
  • Dr. Charles L. Evans, President & CEO - Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, "A Perspective on Monetary Policy" 2015 (video)
  • Thomas J. Falk, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Kimberly-Clark, "The Sustainable Enterprise," 2014 (video) 
  • Thomas C. Werner, Chairman, Boston Red Sox, and Chairman, Liverpool Football Club, 2013 (video) (interview)
  •  John Schlifske, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Northwestern Mutual, 2012 (video)
  • Jeff Joerres, chairman and chief executive officer, ManpowerGroup, 2011 (video)
  • Angela F. Braly, President and CEO, WellPoint, Inc., 2009 (video)

  • James J. Mulva, Chair and CEO, ConocoPhillips, 2008
  • Richard M. Schulze, Founder and Chair, Best Buy, 2007

  • Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., Chair, CEO and President, Kohler, Co., 2006

  • Alexander M. (Sandy) Cutler, Chair and CEO, Eaton Corp., 2005

  • Kathy Hudson, Chair, CNH Global NV, 2005

  • Jeff Immelt, CEO, General Electric, 2004

  • John Morgridge, Chair, Cisco Systems, 2003

  • Don H. Davis, Jr., CEO, Rockwell Automation, 2002

  • Dick Burke, Chair, Trek Bicycle Corp., 2001

  • Wayne Sanders, CEO, Kimberly-Clark Corp., 2000