Skip to main content

Chief Executive Leadership Institute Honors Darlene Love with Maverick in Leadership Award

Darlene Love, Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, will accept the Maverick in Leadership award from the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute during the virtual Yale CEO Summit on December 15. The Maverick in Leadership award will be presented by Paul Shaffer, musician, producer, music director of the Late Show with David Letterman and leader of the CBS Orchestra and The World’s Most Dangerous Band, and Sandy Climan, president of Entertainment Media Ventures.

Love, the revered gospel, jazz, and rock and roll icon, has been a household name since her first performance in the early ’60s. Her Billboard hits include “He’s a Rebel,” “The Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” “Wait ’Til My Bobby Gets Home,” “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” and the number-one holiday classic, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” a song that she performed annually with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Symphony Orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman for 29 years before his retirement. Rolling Stone has proclaimed Love to be “one of the greatest singers of all time” and has anointed her anthem Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) the greatest of all rock and roll holiday songs. In addition to making regular television and Broadway appearances, Love is scheduled to appear in an autobiographical film based on her memoir, My Name is Love, whose development rights have been purchased by Oprah Winfrey.

Summit organizer Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at the Yale School of Management, commented, “We are delighted to honor Darlene Love’s pioneering role as a trailblazer and her saga of resilience, reinvention, perseverance, and comeback. After getting her start as a gospel singer while she was still in high school, she attained widespread renown first as a part of ’60s girl group The Blossoms—breaking through despite not only discrimination but also the injustice of being pushed to the sidelines with her songs credited to The Crystals—and then as a trailblazing solo artist. After taking a break to raise a family and leaving her performing days behind, Love was working as a domestic housekeeper when she heard “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” come on the radio. Determined to get back to Hollywood, Love returned to music in the 1980s after an almost 20-year hiatus and against all odds not only resurrected her career, but attained new heights of stardom when, in 1984, she crossed paths with the legendary Paul Shaffer when they were both working on Leader of the Pack. After David Letterman saw the show at the Bottom Line, he began featuring Love every December on his NBC late-night show and then continued the tradition when he went to CBS with the Late Show. Love’s incredible journey of reinvention transformed her from her start as a gospel singer to jazz and culminating in her status as a rock and roll icon who has only gotten better with age as a vocalist. Just recently, she performed for well over two hours at her 80th birthday celebration, drawing the admiration and amazement of her peers, and her status as an iconic, beloved actress and singer has only increased with time. Love’s saga embodies the American dream and is a moving tribute to the power of resilience and perseverance, reaching her countless millions of fans and far beyond.”

The Maverick in Leadership Award recognizes CEOs and leaders who are disruptors, bringing creativity with honorable character into their industries in new ways with global significance. Previous recipients of the award include: Eric Yuan, CEO, Zoom; Reem Fawzy, founder and chief executive officer, Rimo Tours Group and Pink Taxi Egypt; Edward W. Stack, chairman and chief executive officer, DICK’S Sporting Goods; Kay Koplovitz, founder, USA Networks, and managing partner, Springboard Growth Capital; Stuart A. Weitzman, founder, STUART WEITZMAN; Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group; John J. Legere, president and CEO, T-Mobile USA; and Alan Patricof, founder and managing partner, Greycroft Partners.

The Summit theme is “2022’s Promise for Business: Achieving Social Harmony with Health and Prosperity.” The event promises to be a lively, candid discussion with distinguished global corporate leaders from across industries.

Among those top leaders participating are the CEOs and leaders from: Brooklyn Nets/BSE Global, GM, Xerox, Siemens, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mattel, Freeport-McMoRan, AMC Entertainment, Bain Capital, The Goldman Sachs Group, Honeywell International, Dell Technologies, Atlas Merchant Capital, Edelman, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Pfizer, eBay, Starbucks Corporation, Steelcase, IBM Corporation, Stanley Black & Decker, HP Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Union Square Hospitality Group, Snap-on Incorporated, Unilever, The Clorox Company, ADP, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Dunkin’ Brands, and the National Football League.

A full list of CEO Summit participants can be found online.

Conference partners include AccuWeather, Deloitte, Evercore, Gladstone Place Partners, IBM, Korn Ferry, Stagwell, and UPS.