Top Leaders, Students Discuss Global Challenges in Second Year of UVA Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program

Cross-sector leadership means being able to predict how those from other disciplines will approach a problem, understanding why they approach it that way, and being able to inform strategic decisions with knowledge of those other disciplines, according to Morgan Lingar, a graduate student fellow participating in the University of Virginia Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows (TSL) program.

The TSL program recently concluded its second year, offering graduate student fellows like Lingar a deep examination of the growing need for multi-sector collaboration. This year, the program brought eight high-level guest speakers from the fields of business, government, nonprofit and education to the University for a series of dialogues with students exploring modern challenges facing today’s global leaders.

The distinguished speakers engaged graduate student fellows from the Darden School of Business, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and School of Law throughout the year for a series of interactive conversations that spanned public, private and social sector issues. Discussions included topics such as:

  • Bridging the interests of government and the private and social sectors to address international cybersecurity threats.
  • Forming public-private partnerships to help rebuild the United States’ failing infrastructure.
  • Addressing gaps between health care access and delivery through the Affordable Care Act.
Caryl Stern UNICEF CEO 021916 2

Caryl Stern speaks with TSL students

“Not only did we gain insight into how these leaders resolve hard problems by listening to them share their experiences, we were also awarded once-in-a lifetime opportunities to question these leaders about the choices they made during the course of implementing their solutions,” said Nicole Sarrine, a student fellow from the Law School. Allie Delano Bateman, a student from the Batten School, added, “The speakers would pose difficult challenges and questions and ask us to try to answer them.”

Each speaker covered different topics, personal experiences and leadership examples, but common themes emerged throughout the year-long program. Across the board, the leaders discussed the importance of stakeholder engagement and maintaining cross-sector perspectives during decision making, while mentoring the students on responsible leadership.

While Christopher Valentino, director of strategy for the Cyber Division of Northrop Grumman Information Systems, discussed cybersecurity and Frederick W. Werner, group president of design and consulting services at AECOM, explored the challenges of building a 21st century transportation infrastructure, both leaders touched on the importance of leveraging and engaging all experts and stakeholders involved in a strategic decision.

Dean Beardsley TSL Session 102816 From Back of Room

Dean Beardsley hosts a session with TSL students at his home on the UVA Lawn

This theme was echoed by Darden Dean Scott Beardsley during his mid-year session with the fellows. During a case study discussion on deregulation of the global telecom industry, he challenged the students to view each issue from the perspective of business representatives, government officials, consumers, workers, unions and other involved interest groups.

“First, you need to figure out, who are all the stakeholders?” said Beardsley. “Next, you need to consider what do all those stakeholders care about?”

Reflecting on discussions with Beardsley and other speakers, Batten student Joshua Ogburn said, “I now have a better a framework for understanding the stakeholders to consider, the various opinions they may hold and strategies for viewing a situation from the perspective of each stakeholder. It is easy to only think of an issue from one’s own perspective, but this exercise helped me realize the benefits of taking a much wider view.”

Frank Raines TSL Session # 1 Year 2 100815 #2 Cropped

Franklin Raines meets with TSL students after his discussion session

Franklin Raines, retired chairman and CEO of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) led a discussion on creating laws and regulations that lead to desired outcomes for each sector, as well as society as a whole, using scenarios such as consumer privacy, pharmaceutical research and data mining by internet companies. Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Leader David Toscano further demonstrated the importance of a cross-sector perspective in policy making while leading a discussion on business and social implications of the Affordable Care Act.

Harriet Tregoning, principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shared how HUD is spurring investment and building more resilient communities through the formation of public-private partnerships.

“As I reflect on the lessons gleaned from our various speakers, the importance of a cross-sector perspective is especially evident and seems to have been the underpinning of each leader’s success,” Darden student Emma Causey (Class of 2016) said.

Ignacia Moreno Lunch 2 022516

Ignacia Moreno enjoys a lunch conversation with UVA students

UNICEF USA President and CEO Caryl Stern highlighted the importance of building strong and diverse leadership teams to spur innovation and problem-solving. Ignacia Moreno, former assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and current CEO and principal of The iMoreno Group, gave multiple examples of how cross-sector leadership requires a mutual respect for what each party brings to the table.

“At the beginning of the program, our thinking was narrow in the sense that the law students spotted the legal issues, the business students focused on industry concerns and the public policy students pointed out the social problems,” Sarrine said. “But as the program progressed, I found myself no longer putting myself solely in the ‘lawyer’s box’ and instead thinking in a much broader manner that incorporated what I was learning from my colleagues and from our speakers.”

Darden student Cameron Cutro (Class of 2016) noted the wide-ranging, long-term responsibilities of multi-sector leadership. “A strong sense of cross-sector leadership requires being intentional about how you approach relationships and problems and knowing that your actions will define not just you, but potentially your company or entire sector.”

The TSL program is a cross-university initiative that brings together prominent leaders with students and faculty from the university’s Darden School, Batten School and School of Law. Through these interactions, the student fellows gain first-hand insights into how these leaders critically analyze complex decisions, including those that cross financial, ethical, economic, political, policy, legal and other spheres.

Now entering its third year, the success of the TSL program can be seen in the increasing demand for its 24 available slots (eight from each school). Applications for the third-year cohort increased more than 40% from the two prior years.

The program is administered by the Darden School’s Institute for Business in Society and facilitated by faculty across the three schools.

This article originally appeared on the Darden School of Business website.

Leave a comment

An Interview with Former Tri-Sector Leadership Fellow Rhett Ricard

As branding consultant and thought leader Simon Mainwaring once said:

“We need to develop and disseminate an entirely new paradigm and practice of collaboration that supersedes the traditional silos that have divided governments, philanthropies and private enterprises for decades and replace it with networks of partnerships working together to create a globally prosperous society.”

Partnerships and collaboration across sectors have become the way of the future (as well as the present). And if multisector collaboration is to be the way of the future, we need to prepare tomorrow’s leaders to problem-solve and lead with a cross-sector perspective.

Now more than ever, today’s and tomorrow’s leaders need to understand how the public, private and social sectors operate, and how to work with – and across – each of these spheres to create value and have impact.

That’s exactly the kind of thinking that led to the creation of the University of Virginia’s Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows (TSL) program.

The Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows program is a cross-university effort designed to explore effective, responsible leadership and the importance of multi-disciplinary perspectives in decision-making. The program brings together prominent, high-impact leaders with competitively-selected graduate student fellows and faculty from UVA’s Darden School of Business, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and School of Law for a series of informal conversations and interactive exchanges.

Within the fellowship, a series of accomplished leaders facilitate interactive discussions with the students, based on their own personal leadership experiences. Through their interactions, the fellows gain first-hand insights into how these leaders holistically and critically analyze complex policy and practical considerations. Together, the speakers and students examine relevant “Tri-Sector” (public, private and social sector) issues, which involve a host of complex financial, economic, political and legal considerations.

The TSL program is administered by the Institute for Business in Society and facilitated by faculty across all three schools.

Each year, the fellowship selects eight students from each of the three schools. Now finishing its second year, the TSL program has 24 former fellows (soon to be 48) who are working within business, law, public policy, government and politics, education and the non-profit sectors.

We recently interviewed one former fellow, Rhett Ricard (UVA Law School, ’15), to find out more about his current role within the field of law.

Rhett Graphic 3

Can you describe your current title and position? What is the nature of your work?

I work as a judicial clerk for Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. I assist the judge in all operations of the court and the cases that come before us.

Is there such a thing as a “typical” work day in your current role? Can you describe some of the activities you might do, decisions you might make and issues you might encounter?

My main duties include researching legal issues, evaluating arguments from the litigants, advising the judge on the law and its application to the particular facts before us, recommending an opinion and writing his orders and opinions.

Can you describe an instance or example when you used skills or lessons learned from the Tri-Sector Leadership (TSL) Fellows program within your new role?

The TSL program honed my skills in evaluating arguments, which is absolutely critical in my job. Further, it provided me with a broader understanding of different contexts that could be present in a lawsuit, such as in the employer-employee relationship or an agency dispute with a corporation.

 

Rhett with Columns Small

What are some of the major challenges our world currently faces, and what do you feel is the value of today’s leaders having Tri-Sector knowledge and experience in helping to address those challenges?

Our world faces a variety of issues, ranging from economic issues (e.g. uncertain financial markets, massive state debt) to political issues (e.g. the rise of non-state terrorist organizations). To solve these problems, it requires a tri-sector solution, one that makes business and policy sense and one that is legal and can be realistically achieved by public and private entities. The value of our leaders having tri-sector knowledge and experience is that these tri-sector solutions are much more likely to be realized and accomplished than if our leaders do not recognize the need for this kind of thinking.

What advice would you give to future Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows entering the program?

Perhaps the most important concept this program gave me is the incredible value in tri-sector thinking and obtaining buy-in from stakeholders in all three sectors. Inevitably, you will be able to understand and appreciate the basics of this concept when you participate in the program, so the best piece of advice from here would be to challenge yourself continually and constantly to think in a tri-sector fashion. It is a frame of mind, and the more you deliberately think in such a fashion, the more likely you are to develop tri-sector solutions that our world desperately needs.

For more information about the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows program, visit the Institute for Business in Society’s website.

 

Comments Off on An Interview with Former Tri-Sector Leadership Fellow Rhett Ricard

P3 Impact Award Recognizes Leading Public-Private Partnerships That Improve Communities and the World

Cropped P3 Impact MMF at podium (002)

Professor Mary Margaret Frank Presents P3 Impact Award at the Concordia Summit

2016 Award Applications Now Open

The U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, Concordia and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society have opened applications for the third annual P3 Impact Award, which honors exemplary public-private partnerships (P3s) from around the world.

The P3 Impact Award was created by the three partners in 2014 to recognize P3s that are improving communities and the world in impactful ways. It aims to share and advance best practices in P3s, and encourage the creation and scaling of the P3 model worldwide. Finalists from 2014 and 2015 were highlighted in special issues of the Darden School’s Ideas to Action  publication.

The 2014 winner was CocoaLink, a partnership between The Hershey Company, the Ghana Cocoa Board, and the World Cocoa Foundation, which seeks to use mobile technology to give cocoa farmers more access to information and improved farming techniques.

The 2015 winner was the TV White Space Partnership in the Danajon Reef, a partnership between the Government of the Philippines, USAID, and Microsoft to use an innovative technology to extend Internet access to remote coastal communities to support government efforts to register fisherfolk and sustainably manage the nation’s fisheries.

2015 P3 Impact Winners on Stage

2015 P3 Impact Award Winner at the Concordia Summit

The winning partnership of the 2016 competition will be announced at the Concordia Summit in New York City from September 19-20, 2016 and receive a full scholarship for a weeklong Darden Executive Education course. The finalists will again be featured in a special issue of the Darden School’s Ideas to Action publication, promoted through the partners’ websites, and recognized throughout the Summit.

Applications are being accepted until April 4, 2016, and will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges.  Judges will review the applications based on the partnership’s measurable impacts, economic and social benefits, innovation, financial effectiveness, and scalability. The finalists will be selected and notified in June.

For the purpose of the application, public-private partnerships are defined as any cross-sector collaboration that features public, private, nongovernmental, or nonprofit organizations that address societal problems. Full criteria and application instructions can be found on the P3 Impact Award website.

Comments Off on P3 Impact Award Recognizes Leading Public-Private Partnerships That Improve Communities and the World

An Interview with Former Tri-Sector Leadership Fellow, Mint Kanokrat Namasondhi

Mint Kanokrat Manasondhi (Darden) Twitter Graphic #1What do some of our world’s most complex problems have in common? (Think natural disaster relief or global climate change, for example). For starters, these types of challenges cannot be adequately addressed without engaging and collaborating across multiple sectors – government, business and non-profit – solving them, together. This means that today’s and tomorrow’s leaders need to understand how each of these sectors operate, and how to work with – and across – each of these spheres, to create value and have impact.

That’s exactly the kind of thinking that led to the creation of the University of Virginia’s Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows (TSL) program.

The Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows program is a pan-university effort designed to explore effective, responsible leadership and the importance of multi-disciplinary perspective in decision-making. The program brings together prominent, high-impact leaders with competitively-selected graduate student fellows and faculty from UVA’s Darden School of Business, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and School of Law for a series of informal conversations and interactive exchanges.

Within the fellowship, a series of accomplished leaders facilitate interactive discussions, based on their own personal leadership experiences, with the students. Through their interactions, the fellows gain first-hand insights into how these leaders holistically and critically analyze complex policy and practical considerations. Together, the speakers and students examine relevant “Tri-Sector” (public, private and social sector) issues, which involve a host of complex financial, economic, political and legal considerations.

The TSL program is administered by the Institute for Business in Society and facilitated by faculty across all three schools.

Each year, the fellowship selects eight students from each of the three schools. Now in its second year, the TSL program has 24 former fellows who are working within business, law, public policy, government and politics, education and the non-profit sectors. We recently interviewed one former Darden School fellow, Mint Kanokrat Namasondhi, to find out more about her current role within the banking industry.

Can you describe your current title and position? What is the nature of your work?

I work as a senior officer in corporate banking at Krung Thai Bank PCL, the largest lender by assets and deposits in Thailand (as of Q1, 2015). My role is to take care of logistics and hospitality for large corporations such as shipping companies, airlines and hotels that are listed in The Stock Exchange of Thailand.

My work requires both quantitative proficiency – such as financial analysis and financial modeling – and people skills when it comes to working with clients, legal firms and internal departments. In addition to understanding the clients, I also need to spot opportunities, design integrated and customized financial solutions, analyze credit, assess and mitigate risks and offer impressive experiences for the clients.

Is there such a thing as a “typical” work day in your current role? Can you describe some of the activities you might do, decisions you might make and issues you might encounter?

For me, every day is about problem solving – problems of various topics, with several parties.

  • For the clients: to structure customized financial solutions, offer high-quality advice and fulfill their requests.
  • For the bank: to assess risks, design risk-mitigation methods and weigh returns of each deal to decide whether the bank shall “accept” or “reject” that deal.
  • For related parties: to find the best resolutions acceptable for all major parties – such as clients, bankers, the risk committee and legal advisors. These groups normally have different, or even conflicting, points of view and interests, so the goal is to ensure that all parties can move forward with the deal together.

Mint Kanokrat Namasondhi

Can you describe an instance or example when you used skills or lessons learned from the TSL program within your new role?

The success of my new role depends on working with many parties with different viewpoints, interests, and perspectives. When groups or individuals make assumptions or have negative attitudes, this can create hindrances to working together.

For example, at the bank, the checks and balances system unintentionally cultivates negative stereotypical images that the client owners and the risk teams have towards each other. Some client owners might think that the risk teams would look for risk-free deals and turn down almost all the deals; while the risk teams might think that the client owners would put forth huge effort to convince the committee and get the deals approved, regardless of the risk levels. Both parties usually think that it is impossible for them to work together. But in fact, both parties can collaborate while still checking and balancing each other in order to benefit the bank and the clients.

Nowadays, more people from both sides have already realized the benefits of working together, instead of against each other. However, not everyone can convince those who still want to work against each other that the benefits of cooperation are greater for everyone involved.

Having an awareness of differences, patience and willingness to listen, open attitudes towards resolving conflicts and a spirit of cooperation are some key lessons I learned from the TSL program. These lessons enable me to anticipate and avoid stereotype-related challenges and foster an atmosphere of understanding and possibility. I try to achieve this by building alliances, demonstrating how collaboration works and benefits everyone, and inviting more and more people to join us.

“Although TSL program mainly focuses on the intersection of business, law and public policy, the lessons and experience you will learn are life-changing and lifelong.”

What are some of the major challenges our world currently faces, and what do you feel is the value of today’s leaders having Tri-Sector knowledge and experience in helping to address those challenges?

I think having a mindset that is prone to believing stereotypes and thinking certain tasks are impossible are major challenges for our world. Theses challenges separate people with “conceptual prisons” and block people’s creativity. They discourage people from making an effort to at least try to use their brainpower and think about the problems they are facing. They push people to work alone, head in different directions and later conflict with other people.

Tri-Sector knowledge will help today’s leaders deal with these challenges. It reminds leaders to be aware of their potential biases, to be tolerant and open to differences and to believe in the possibility of working together with so-called “conflicting” stakeholders. This knowledge helps tear down separation and misunderstanding, promote synergy and bring people in your community and society to the next level together. This knowledge is what the majority of people lack, forget, or pay little attention to.

Mint Kanokrat Namasondhi shoulder up shot

Learning to better manage complexity

What advice would you give to future Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows entering the program?  

In thinking of advice I would give to future TSL fellows, I am reminded of a Zen story in Robin S. Sharma’s book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, which advises: “Empty the water in your glass, and you will surprisingly find so much more possibility in your life.” Just like an overflowing cup of tea, most people are too full of their own knowledge, ideas and beliefs to open themselves up and learn new perspectives in life. To empty the water in your glass is, therefore, to let go of what you think you know and open yourself to new possibilities which you have never thought about.

Although TSL program mainly focuses on the intersection of business, law and public policy, the lessons and experience you will learn are life-changing and lifelong. The world is different and diverse, not only in terms of languages and cultures, but also in terms of thoughts, politics, business, lifestyles, beliefs, responsibility, interests, and so on. The more this world becomes complex, the more the TSL program becomes valuable to you, to those who know you and to those who work with you.

For more information about the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows program, visit the Institute for Business in Society’s website.

Comments Off on An Interview with Former Tri-Sector Leadership Fellow, Mint Kanokrat Namasondhi

This Year’s P3 Impact Award Finalists Illustrate How Public-Private Partnerships Are Improving Our World

 

P3 Impact Award logo

Our world – and its challenges – are becoming increasingly more complex. From global warming and hunger to water scarcity and beyond, our planet faces critical issues that call for businesses, government and non-profits to solve them – together.

With this in mind, Concordia, the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships and the UVA Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society created the P3 Impact Award, to recognize public-private partnerships (P3s) that are improving communities and the world in the most impactful ways. In addition to honoring model partnerships, the competition provides thought leadership, promotes best practices, and generates a database of information relevant to P3s.

Now in the second year of this award, we are thrilled to announce this year’s finalists for the 2015 P3 Impact Award. We look forward to announcing the winner at this year’s Concordia Summit on October 2nd in New York City.

The five 2015 P3 Impact Award finalists are:

TechnoServe logo 2       PartnersFoodSolutions logo  USAID Logo

Partners in Food Solutions Partnership

Nearly two-thirds of the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa earn a living from agriculture, but many struggle to escape poverty due to a lack of stable, profitable markets. At the same time, one quarter of the region’s people suffers from undernourishment. Recognizing that local food processors can meet both the market needs of farmers and the nutrition needs of the population, TechnoServe, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Partners in Food Solutions established a partnership to build the capacity of these enterprises. Through an innovative technology platform, the partnership matches the world-class expertise of leading food companies (General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Bühler) with the needs of food processors in East Africa. Operating in five countries, the partnership has resulted in market opportunities for 700,000 smallholder farmers, the sale of over 15,000 MT of therapeutic food, $2.6 million in financing, and hundreds of new jobs.

The Nature Conservancy Logo     Dow logo

The Nature Conservancy – The Dow Chemical Company Collaboration

Nature provides benefits like clean air and water – often called ecosystem services – upon which everyone depends. However, these benefits are often not considered when companies make business decisions. Recognizing this, The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) partnered to help Dow and the business community realize, value, and incorporate nature into business decisions, strategies, and goals. Focusing initially on several large pilot projects and now moving to integrating nature into all business decisions at Dow, the Collaboration has developed methods and tools, like the Ecosystem Services Identification and Inventory (ESII) tool, to quantify the benefits of aligning business and conservation goals. By sharing lessons learned and best practices with the wider business community, the Collaboration expects that companies and governments alike will undertake more substantial investment in nature.

RAIN Logo without bracelet       WSUP logo rectangle

CC_TCCAF_Logo

Madagascar: Implementing Improved Water and Sanitation Services to Low-Income Communities

Shortage of safe, reliable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services inhibits economic development, particularly in low-income areas. Utility providers often lack proven and sustainable models, and thus local communities suffer from inconsistent and unreliable service. To address this issue, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) worked with leading NGO Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and other partners to improve water access for 6 million people in Africa by the end of 2020 through TCCAF’s flagship water access program, the Replenish African Initiative (RAIN). By engaging communities and utilities and thus building local capacity, the partners are able to develop pro-poor WASH services in a market-driven and financially sustainable way. Already operational in five African countries, this collaborative approach promises to have far-reaching impacts on economic growth and stability across Africa.

       USAID Logo     Microsfoft Logo

TV White Space Supported Fisherfolk Registration in the Danajon Reef

A public-private partnership between Microsoft, USAID and the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is piloting, for the first time in the Philippines, a new technology that taps unused television broadcast frequencies (or “TV white space”) to extend high-speed, wireless Internet access to remote parts of the Philippines.  Under this partnership, USAID is testing the use of TV white space to enable a mobile, online system to formally register fisherfolk in Bohol province. Fisherfolk registration is a key step toward sustainable fisheries management, and it allows fisherfolk to access vital government services, including health care, insurance, and poverty alleviation funds. Since TV white space connectivity was established in April 2014, over 16,000 fisherfolk have been registered in the pilot municipalities, with 4,000 of those registrants exclusively registered through TV white space technology. Government counterparts have begun to use this new registration data to design and deploy better fisheries management interventions. Further, more than 3,000 schoolchildren in 20 schools now have Internet access via TV white space, and when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol in October 2013, the technology was the only available means of communication for post-disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts.

US GLobal Development Lab logo   Village Capital logo

U.S. Global Development Lab Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) Initiative & VilCap Investments: Catalyzing Investment to Democratize Global Entrepreneurship

The private sector has significant potential to accelerate development outcomes by investing in businesses that address social or environmental issues. However, less than 10 percent of such impact investments is committed to seed-stage or venture-stage businesses, creating a “pioneer gap.” A critical reason for this gap is that investment funds rely on management fees to operate and thus have an incentive to raise large funds with high minimum investment amounts. As a result, seed- and venture-stage businesses cannot offer the return needed to properly resource their teams, and fall outside the target investment criteria for these funds. To solve this issue, the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) Initiative at USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab and VilCap Investments formed a public-private partnership to build an investment vehicle to unlock private capital for seed-stage impact investments. Utilizing Village Capital’s peer-review model and a market-rate management fee, VilCap Investments has helped create 2,530 jobs, generate $5.6 million in revenues, and raise a $25.2 million in additional capital.

Additional information about the about the P3 Impact Award is available at the Institute for Business in Society, Concordia and the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships.

Comments Off on This Year’s P3 Impact Award Finalists Illustrate How Public-Private Partnerships Are Improving Our World

Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: BandyWorks

Any successful investor in the stock market knows that weathering the ups and downs of Wall Street requires a diverse stock portfolio to create long-term viability.

As with the stock market, diversification in business– more specifically, establishing a diverse external network – is a critical factor in building resilience. No company is an island, and smart organizations weave a web of partners with whom they can collaborate to accomplish objectives and overcome obstacles.

Whether facing regulation changes, financial constraints or environmental influences, businesses that develop strong networks at the local, regional, national and global levels will be better positioned for success. This is a concept that Virginia-based company BandyWorks fully understands and embraces.

This spring, the Darden School Institute for Business in Society hosted the 2015 Business and Economic Resilience Conference to learn from Virginia companies that have demonstrated resilience successfully and to share these lessons with other local businesses. During the conference, BandyWorks CEO Tom Bandy participated in a panel discussion to share his experience and expertise in building a resilient business.

BandyWorks

Our team is serious about giving back to the community and becoming involved in different organizations and causes. We work with local chambers of commerce, colleges and universities, and nonprofit organizations.” — Tom Bandy, CEO, BandyWorks

Tom Bandy Closeup

BandyWorks CEO Tom Bandy was a panelist at the 2015 Business & Economic Resilience Conference held at the Darden School of Business

Petersburg-based BandyWorks provides business intelligence technology to high-growth companies that operate in multiple locations. By analyzing existing data sources to create reports, dashboards and alerts, they enable business owners and managers to achieve high performance while reducing the stress of overwhelming data. BandyWorks utilized the best of its solutions to create its new ‘Quick Data’ product to facilitate companies’ ability to manage key performance indicators.

Despite the rapid pace of change and innovation required to stay competitive in this quickly evolving industry, BandyWorks is located in and continues to prioritize community leadership in the Petersburg region. Company staff and owners are actively involved in local chamber of commerce, university and other nonprofit organizations that help to promote individual job skill creation, as well as economic vitality.

Chair-elect for the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, CEO Tom Bandy also heads the chamber’s Economic Vitality group responsible for encouraging more businesses and visitors to come to Old Towne Petersburg. They work closely with Petersburg administrators to promote local events and raise the area’s profile through social media, and are currently establishing a small-business seed fund to encourage new businesses to launch in Petersburg.

Faculty Insight by Professor Gregory Fairchild

In one sense, BandyWorks is a firm that epitomizes the trend toward globalization. Utilizing staff on two continents, Tom Bandy and his team of software developers create customized solutions for businesses. At the same time, the firm has its roots in the local environment.

Greg Cropped

Professor Greg Fairchild leads a discussion at the 2015 Business & Economic Resilience Conference

Bandy, who has chosen to base his global firm in a transitioning area in the historic center of Petersburg, recognizes that connections with a broad base of institutions — local, regional, national and global — is critical. The firm builds support and engagement through a diverse set of networks. A second element is accountability. The products BandyWorks develops assist their clients in accurately capturing their progress on critical goals and milestones. BandyWorks cascades this accountability mindset into all that its employees do as a team — personally, professionally and institutionally. Broad networks provide the firm with diversification that can help smooth ups and downs of the market. Strong relations and accountability provide a “glue” that holds things together.

Greg Fairchild is the E. Thayer Bigelow Associate Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and academic director of Darden’s Institute for Business in Society. His research focuses on studying business models and public policy issues in the field of community development finance. His work has been cited by many, including Inc. Magazine, The Economist, National Public Radio (NPR), USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

To learn more about business resilience, read the full report, Ideas to Action Special Edition: Business and Economic Resilience; What Virginia Businesses Can Teach Us.

 

Comments Off on Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: BandyWorks

Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: Blue Crab Bay Co.

How can companies not just survive, but thrive, learn and grow in the face of extreme hardship? By exploring this question, we reveal several key factors of building business resilience.

This spring, the Darden School Institute for Business in Society hosted the 2015 Business and Economic Resilience Conference to learn from Virginia companies that have demonstrated resilience successfully and to share these lessons with other local businesses.

The Blue Crab Bay Co., a certified women’s small business based in Melfa, Virginia, is an example of a company that has been very successful in building resilience. As the Blue Crab Bay Co. demonstrates, adversity is viewed as an opportunity and the local community becomes an extension of the company – two critical components of creating a resilient business.

Blue Crab Bay Co.

Never give up. Never give up. I have had so many times when I should’ve given up, but if somebody tells me I can’t do it I’m going to do it.” — Pamela Barefoot, Founder, Blue Crab Bay Co.

Megan Hess speaking

Professor Megan Hess leads a discussion at the 2015 Business & Economic Resilience Conference

For 30 years, the Blue Crab Bay Co. has safely navigated the perils facing small businesses on the Eastern Shore. The internationally recognized specialty foods producer has come back from a fire, weathered a recession and successfully reached beyond what some might view as an isolated location to a larger market seeking their high-quality specialty foods and Blue Crab stoneware. Their location is the source and inspiration of many of their products, including clam-juice infused Bloody Mary mix or Bay-seasoned spicy snacks. In addition to the scores of jobs it has kept in the community over many years, it is a beacon for other businesses and a testament to resilience on the Eastern Shore.

CEO Pamela Barefoot started the business on her kitchen table shortly after moving to the Eastern Shore under what she described as dire straits. Hit by the recent economic recession just after expanding their facilities, Blue Crab Bay Co. is still working to rebound by implementing many of the resilience strategies developed over the past three decades. “We know full well what companies in economically challenged areas must go through to survive,” noted Barefoot, and, “I am determined to make it work.”

Faculty Insight by Professor Megan Hess

The Blue Crab Bay Co. story highlights one of the key qualities of a resilient organization – the ability to see opportunity even in adversity. Barefoot’s business is located in a remote, rural location where even basic shipping logistics are a challenge, but she and her employees know that the history and traditions of the Eastern Shore are the secret ingredients that set her products apart in a crowded marketplace. When her business struggled to find qualified workers, she attracted talent by highlighting the lifestyle benefits of working for her company. Barefoot also sees the success of her business and the success of the Eastern Shore as intimately connected. She proudly advertises her products with the Eastern Shore’s tagline “You’ll Love our Nature” and partners with other area businesses on joint marketing and development efforts. Blue Crab Bay’s strategies for coping with adversity not only helped the business survive, but they also made the company stronger, more distinctive and more competitive.

Megan Hess is an assistant professor at Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics at Washington and Lee University. Her research focuses on corporate governance, ethical decision making and leadership, social networks, financial statement fraud and professional skepticism.

To learn more about business resilience, read the full report, Ideas to Action Special Edition: Business and Economic Resilience; What Virginia Businesses Can Teach Us.

Comments Off on Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: Blue Crab Bay Co.

Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: Marstel-Day

What does it take for a business to build resilience in today’s complex and ever-changing world?

Since there are multiple factors that contribute to business resilience, it cannot be boiled down to just one characteristic, concept or business strategy. And yet, when we researched resilient organizations, we did observe common themes, shared values and many similar practices among them.

This spring, the Darden School Institute for Business in Society hosted the 2015 Business and Economic Resilience Conference – to learn from Virginia companies that have demonstrated resilience successfully and to share these lessons with other local businesses.

One common characteristic we observed among successful resilient businesses is a shared commitment to enriching their local community. These companies invested heavily in their communities, building deep connections that, in turn, helped them build resilience.

One such organization is Marstel-Day, a woman-owned environmental consulting firm headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with several offices in other states.

Marstel-Day

Our company faced a difficult choice: to fall back or to persevere ….We decided to lean into the wind and almost doubled our staff when many other employers were downsizing.” — Rebecca Rubin, CEO, Marstel-Day

Mike Lenox Case Study

Professor Mike Lenox leads a case study session with Virginia business owners at the 2015 Business and Economic Resilience Conference held in March at the Darden School.

Acting on a deeply-held commitment to create sustainable solutions, Marstel-Day’s President Rebecca Rubin has made hard choices along the way that have built a strong company culture, deep ties to the local community, and solid growth and financial results.

Innovation has defined the business from the start, with the creation of the Conservation Conveyance authority, which allows the Department of Defense to transfer land to public and private conservation groups for permanent protection. Five years after Marstel-Day developed this system and saw it signed into law, nearly a quarter of all land shed by the DOD under Base Realignment and Closure was conveyed for conservation using this authority. Marstel-Day is also the only company that is certified to the Platinum level by the National Standards Foundation as a sustainable service provider.

Marstel-Day’s main office location is in a federally designated Historically Underutilized Business Zone or HUBZone, defined as an area of high unemployment and low income. “The program requires that we locate our principal office inside a HUBZone census tract, and that at least 35 percent of our employees must reside in qualifying HUBZone census tracts as well,” Rubin said. “We’ve gone beyond that — we have seven HUBZone office locations, including Fredericksburg and Richmond, Virginia, and 40 percent of our workforce resides inside qualifying HUBZone census areas — including the majority of the firm’s business partners.”

It has not been easy, Rubin said, but it’s the right thing to do. “It’s significant from a community resilience standpoint that when our people go out into the economy and spend their paychecks, that most of that money is going to be spent locally, in areas that need it,” she said.

Faculty Insight by Professor Mike Lenox

Marstel-Day illustrates that thriving businesses are ones that marry strong values with a powerful mission. Its people are helping their clients make progress on some of the most vexing sustainability challenges while simultaneously living the company’s mission and values in its internal operations. By locating and employing staff from underutilized communities, the organization builds deep connections that provide resilience in the face of ever evolving business conditions. Marstel-Day is enriching its local community and the world.

 Mike Lenox is the Samuel L. Slover Professor of Business and serves as associate dean and academic director of Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. His research expertise is centered on technology strategy and policy and has been cited in The New York Times, Financial Times, The Economist, the Dow Jones Newswire and the Associated Press.

To learn more about business resilience, read the full report, Ideas to Action Special Edition: Business and Economic Resilience; What Virginia Businesses Can Teach Us.

 

Comments Off on Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: Marstel-Day

Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: Todos Supermarket

Resilience. Defined as “the act of springing back, or rebounding; the power or ability to recover quickly from a setback or other adversity; buoyancy; elasticity.”

In today’s global economy — in which policies and regulation, the financial landscape, the environment and so many other factors can drastically affect the operations and success of a business — organizations must be resilient in order to survive.

But what makes some businesses more resilient than others? And what are some successful traits and lessons shared by resilient companies, from which other organizations can draw?

This spring, the Darden School Institute for Business in Society hosted the 2015 Business and Economic Resilience Conference to explore these issues and to learn from Virginia businesses that have demonstrated resilience successfully. One such company is Todos Supermarket, a retail organization with stores in Woodbridge and Dumfries, Virginia.

Todos Supermarket   

“We became a center for information for our community, not only for groceries, and that gave us the strength to grow along with the community. We no longer cater only to the Latino community, but have expanded to become an entire neighborhood store in both locations.” — Carlos A. Castro, President, Todos Supermarket

As a grocer focused on providing foods that meet the needs of a primarily Hispanic customer base, the employees of Todos Supermarket found themselves in the midst of political unrest directed at its customers. In an area marked by Latino immigration, which has sparked a growing and often heated debate over the past decade, the Todos Supermarket leadership decided to stand up for its customers and community by getting involved in local civic activity. Todos employees actively participated in the debate about the Prince William County “Rule of Law” illegal immigration resolution and the 2008 directive that changed it.

This extended community debate was followed by the global economic downturn, which Todos Supermarket weathered well as they opened up a new 50,000 square-foot location, bolstered by the strong community support they had developed. “My constant and sincere participation brought us not only customer loyalty, but also employee support,” commented Carlos A. Castro, President of Todos Supermarket.

As part of their ongoing community outreach efforts, Todos Supermarket hosts adult education classes, English as a second language training, and also teaches employees to become engaged leaders in the community.

Carlos Castro Closeup at 2015 Bus & Econ Resilience Conference

Carlos A. Castro, President of Todos Supermarket, spoke as a panelist at the 2015 Business and Economic Resilience Conference hosted by the Institute for Business in Society at the UVA Darden School of Business.

Faculty Insight by Morela Hernandez

Todos Supermarket, in many ways, is a steward of the community it serves. Not only is Todos attentive to the dietary preferences of its customer base and in so doing, connect them to their cultural roots, but it also stands as an advocate for the needs and rights of its community stakeholders.

Paying particular attention to issues important to Latin Americans in the U.S., Todos is known for its commitment to development. Take, for example, its philosophy: “At Todos Supermarket, we believe that good people working toward a common goal may accomplish anything they set out to do”; this view represents their basic belief in people’s capacity to adapt, grow and flourish.

Having experienced firsthand the challenges of being an immigrant, with little to no resources, the founder Carlos Castro personifies this philosophy. For Todos, being a steward to the needs and interests of the community in which it exists encompasses not only a goal to provide great quality and service to its customers, but also thoughtfulness and effort toward its stakeholders’ struggles and accomplishments.

Morela Hernandez is an associate professor in the leadership and organizational Behavior area at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Her research is centered on ethical leadership and how cultural, racial and gender diversity impacts organizational decision-making.

To learn more about business resilience, read the full report, Ideas to Action Special Edition: Business and Economic Resilience; What Virginia Businesses Can Teach Us.

Comments Off on Lessons We Can Learn From Resilient Businesses: Todos Supermarket

Darden 2015 Business in Society Conference Highlights Public-Private Partnerships

The Darden School’s Business in Society Conference is an annual event that brings together a diverse audience of students, community members and business leaders to discuss the role of business in providing lasting value in an increasingly complex global society. This year’s conference theme is Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), and we will explore how these initiatives are enhancing business relationships and improving communities worldwide.

Darden is pleased to welcome Andrew O’Brien, Special Representative for Global Partnerships in the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, as the event’s keynote speaker. Additional conference sessions will address social impact bonds, the role of the international non-governmental organization (NGO), and PPPs as an opportunity to build the nation’s resiliency.

This event is organized and sponsored by the Net Impact Club, Emerging Markets Development Club, Energy Club, Education Club, Business & Public Policy Club, Healthcare Club, as well as Darden’s Institute for Business in Society and University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. For questions about the event, please contact Niti Kalra (KalraN15@darden.virginia.edu).

Register HERE for this free event! The full agenda and session details can be viewed below.

BiS Conference Flyer 2015

 

Comments Off on Darden 2015 Business in Society Conference Highlights Public-Private Partnerships