Global leadership conference focuses on diversity

The Klaus Atrium was the setting place for Tech’s first Global Leadership Conference, hosted by Sigma Beta Rho this past Saturday, April 9. Over 60 individuals, including students and staff, accumulated to explore, discuss and learn about the changing global landscape.

As the mission statement reads, the Global Leadership Conference was held to “foster innovation and global leadership.” Featuring talks by faculty members such as John McIntyre, director of the Georgia Tech Center for International Business and Research (CIBER) and a professor of International Business Management and International Relations, who led a breakout session about the importance, both economic and otherwise, of emerging markets around the world.

The morning began with a presentation from Thomas “Danny” Boston, professor of Economics at Tech and CEO of EuQuant, an economic consulting and research firm. He spoke about the economic necessity of adapting to and embracing diversity in business.

“Commit yourself to learning about the changing role of global leadership,” Boston said.

Boston also answered questions from conference participants about the evolution of Atlanta in light of the city’s history of diversity.

“Because [city leaders] tapped into the power of diversity,” Boston said, “Atlanta was chosen as the host city for the 1996 Olympic Games, which in turn created significant economic expansion for Atlanta.”

Boston also spoke about the changing labor market, with a significantly higher minority portion of the population coupled with an increase in minority- and female-owned businesses.

“America is developing a segment of workers that are permanent part-time workers. The labor market is changing,” Boston said.

Industry leaders also led some of the breakout sessions, one of which was titled “Emerging Energies” and was led by Giri Iyer, the Smart Grid Ecosystem Leader of GE Energy-Digital Energy. The objective of his workshop was to examine the extent to which clean energy technologies can meet the demands of the future and the differing implications in marketing and other fields that these new technologies are affecting as they grow.

The other breakout sessions offered were: “Global Change Brought by Digital Media”, taught by Johnson Cook, co-founder of Peach New Media, and “Social Welfare in the Global World,” led by Josh Kravitz, the COO of MedShare.

The afternoon ended with a panel discussion facilitated by Wes Wynans, director of the LEAD program at Tech. The panel was comprised of Vicki Birchfield, director of European Union Center for Excellence; Bernard Anquez, VP of the Air France-Delta-KLM partnership in Atlanta and Karel Wendl, from the Global Packing R&D for The Coca Cola Co.

Each panel member was given the opportunity to provide advice for conference participants on the subject of addressing stereotypes when involved in instances of international diplomacy, business or even travel.
“Be very aware of your own culture and the stereotypes that are associated with it,” Birchfield said. “Know how others perceive you and think critically about your own world vision.”

Conference Chairs Yash Ghogre, a fourth-year ISyE major, and Sanchit Ladha, a third-year EE major, both spoke to conference participants about the importance of absorbing the information shared at the conference and applying it to life during and after college.

“I would find this event successful in the manifestations that will hopefully be seen around campus in the coming weeks,” Ladha said.

Comments are closed.