Elections Weigh on Business Executives

It is well understood that the typical chief executive officer needs to constantly be thinking about the present and future direction of the company. The state of the economy and interest rates weigh on decisions of capital expenditure. Research from a marketing department may change the course of a product. However, it is not common knowledge that U.S. election cycles may cause consternation for the average CEO. In fact, according to a recent study completed in October, three quarters of executives expect that the current mid-term elections will affect the future hiring at their companies. Of the same group about a quarter stated the ramifications would be significant. Politics is an impassioned topic and the survey found that 60 percent of executives think political conversations have made a more divisive workplace in recent years.

The polarizing political climate has worked its way into the boardroom, with executives paying sharp attention to elections. A recent op-ed in The Hill from Nels Olson of Korn Ferry explored the topic in more depth. Because hiring has a strong correlation with the outlook of a company’s growth, it makes sense for a CEO to anticipate election results. Hiring could be increased if business leaders anticipate the government will pursue policies that promote economic growth. Alternatively, a noteworthy downward move in the economic trend could slow hiring.

There is no doubt that changes in the government, such as the reallocation of seats in the U.S. Congress or new government officials, can have an impact on corporate America. The consequences appear not just in hiring plans, but also in anticipated changes to laws, regulations and government policies.

Even with the turmoil that bubbles up during political election cycles, any good business leader knows that a company needs a long-term strategy, not one dictated by ever-changing politics. The fundamentals of business are what propel decision making. Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the mid-term elections, the most recent jobs report showed a significant increase in payrolls, with 250,000 jobs added in October. This shows that business executives are looking past the current political climate and continue to navigate the long-term courses of their companies.

Still, it cannot be denied that elections, with the political rhetoric and media circus surrounding them, are at least a distraction for executives. Moreover, the duration of election cycles has increased in recent years, making the ability to ride the waves of political uncertainty a required skill for the modern-day business executive.

China and United States relations getting stronger

China and the United States have not been known to be in the best relations before but this seems to be changing if recent development is anything to go by. In recent years the interrelationship between the United States and China has grown tremendously. To start with, the two countries have grown to become each other’s trading partners, a feat that has seen them grow their bilateral trade from $100 million in 1972 to a whopping $649 million in 2016.
The good relationship between China and the United States has been fostered by the unique degree of people-to-people contact that comes in all walks of life. This ranges from the interaction between students to professionals and even business people. This has seen the two societies come closer by the day in order to benefit from what each of them has to offer.

One of the most notable factors that have led to even more interaction has to be education. Statistics show that at least 350,000 CUSEF China Focus students are studying in the United States and this is a clear vote of confidence that shows this relationship is headed in the right direction. In retrospect, more and more Americans are now curious to visit China if only to learn more about their culture and way of life. In fact, more Americans are now getting interested in learning Mandarin, a language they have come to love courtesy of the interactions they have had with the Chinese nationals.
Before this new-found interrelationship between the United States and China, there had been too much suspicion of each other and American would see China as competitors in terms of becoming an economic powerhouse. This is, however, changing and American is now finding it much easier to access the Chinese market and the same applies to China for the American market. In fact, China is now reviewing its hitherto high import duty that had been slapped on the United States and cross border business is now expected to boom. As a show of goodwill on its part, the United States is now seriously considering to review the unreasonable protectionism in terms of reviewing Chinese investment in the country, and this will see China trade more openly with the United states.
However, it would be noted that as much as the two countries have the goodwill to work with each other, they may see the need to work out most of its agreements constructively since this are decisions that will impact the coming generations.

Training For When Disaster Calls

Abdullah Shawky was not prepared for the crisis that his team of volunteers was faced with during the Syrian refugee crisis. A graduate from UTD, he was deployed with others to the island of Lesvos–just off Greece–where they assisted incoming refugees with language translation and helped sort them onto transportation vehicles which would take them to safe havens. Initially, they only saw 300 refugees, but after a few weeks, they were processing 7,000 refugees a day.

Shawky says that he wasn’t prepared for emotional taxation the service would take on him. In one case, an eight-month-old baby died despite their best efforts in taking him to see a doctor for care. The mother was only 19 years old. The loss was something that would stick with Shawky long after his return from Lesvos. It was also the first death that the volunteers faced.

Because of this experience, however, Shawky turned his efforts to training other students for volunteer services. He partnered with Islamic Relief, which a chapter of Islamic Relief USA focusing on colleges, which is devoted to training students for relief efforts. Shawky now serves as Islamic Relief USA’s programs coordinator. The organization’s board of directors include Hamadi Bengabsia, Khaled Lamada and Nancy Khalil. The training focused on three aspects of relief–disaster assessment, housing, and care work. With those three topics covered, he also trained the students in psychological first aid, CPR, first aid, food and clothing distribution, and constructing temporary shelters.

Shawky recalls feeling unprepared emotionally, primarily, for the service he provided for the Syrian refugees. The news reported on the Syrian refugee crisis was woefully underrated, giving only a small taste of the true scale of the suffering. As a result, Shawky and the other volunteers didn’t feel entirely prepared for their training for dealing with the crisis. Because of that, Shawky aims to train his students to the level where he feels that they’ll be prepared to tackle any crisis and have the confidence in themselves to serve the people in need.

With this focus on quality training, Shawky prides his team on turning out some of the most trained volunteers, a stark contrast to other organizations who take in volunteers who have not been equipped with the same level of training. IR will continue to train students in disaster relief efforts, offering courses during the week for those who cannot attend classes on the weekend as well as in the evening for busy students.


School ordains its first female chaplain

St. George’s School out of Middletown was established over 120 years ago and is currently experiencing some major positive changes. On Thursday January 18, 2018 51 year old Rev. Jackie Kirby was installed as the first female chaplain at St. George’s School.

Rev. Jackie Kirby was born and raised just outside of Baltimore and attended divinity school at Yale. Jackie explains her childhood religious upbringing as Episcopal and played a leading role in her upbringing and childhood. Jackie admits that while in High School and college her faith became a bit less important.

After college Kirby was teaching as an English and Expository Writing professor at Boston University. While teaching at Boston University religion became a important factor in her life again as she also took on the position of associate director of the Communication Arts and Sciences Writing Program. Jackie Kirby decided to return to her Episcopal faith after being invited to a Unitarian Church service. She was greatly moved by the sermon and it rekindled the deep rooted faith from her upbringing.

The religious turning point in Rev. Jackie Kirby’s life brought her back to school. She attended Yale for divinity school and she earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University. These educational moves brought her to St. George’s school. She admitted that she always had a love for St. George’s. Kirby had heard wonderful things about the school and that St. George’s in a warm and supportive academy that wants all students to succeed. She teaches two classes each semester at St. George’s and she leads religious services.

Jackie feels as though her career in education prior to her becoming an ordained priest has helped her connect better with the students. The students have even formed a Tuesday evening prayer meeting and it is for interfaith students. Kirby spends her free time visiting female inmates at the Cranston women’s prison. She also enjoys biking, exercising and spending time with her family.

Remember Everyone Deployed Initiative Spurred on by ADS Inc

Taking care of our service men and women who are deployed overseas is something we all want to do.

ADS Inc – adsinc.com is a military equipment company started by a retired Navy Seal nearly 20 years ago. ADS has made an effort to make life a little more comfortable to those actively serving and to help those transition smoothly to civilian life. ADS has many benefits active duty military and veterans alike can enjoy.

The first major benefit ADS Inc. has to offer is for the active duty military. This company recently teamed up with the Active Valor nonprofit to  send care packages designed specifically to what soldiers need. If the soldier serving overseas has a birthday, anniversary, or any other special occasion they are missing with their family, the company will send a care package specifically for that occasion. This company also remembers the publicly recognized special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Another great benefit this company has to offer is for the veterans entering civilian life. At times service men and women have a difficult time transitioning into the civilian lifestyle from the military. This company offers the veterans many opportunities to help take care of the active duty military. This company will offer veterans structure and the ability to transition with ease into the civilian lifestyle.

St. George’s First Female Chaplain

After more than 120 years of history, St. George’s School has finally appointed its very first female chaplain in the person of Rev. Jackie Kirby.  She will be officially introduced and appointed at 9.45 a.m. on Thursday, January 18 while service is being conducted.

Rev. Kirby’s religious journey has been a traditional one. She has her family roots within the outskirts of Baltimore, where she grew up. Being part of a household with Episcopal beliefs had a great impact on her childhood years, although her faith was overshadowed by other undertakings when she reached high school and got into university for college.

Religion became a focal point in her life once again while she had a thriving career as an English and Expository Writing Professor at the Boston University years after graduating from college. Her Episcopal belief was reinforced by the amazing sermons conducted by a Buddhist pastor at a Unitarian Church where she attended service regularly. This circumstance was the main factor that brought her back to Yale’s divinity school, her alma mater where she received her undergraduate degree in literature. From there, she went on to St. George. Kirby has said that St. George is the one and only place she would like to be because of the good things she heard about the school, and she has been there since 2014.

The Rev. Jackie Kirby who also earned a Ph. D. in comparative literature from New York University shares a 9-year old daughter with husband, Ed.  They moved into the campus premises recently, where she holds two classes per trimester, and conducts religious services.

Kirby disclosed that her appointment as St. George’s first woman chaplain makes her feel very blessed and accepts all the responsibilities that come with it.  She adds that she wants to be a good role model for all the young women in the campus – where she aspires to endorse better understanding, wellness and the identification of different religions. Last year, St. George’s School welcomed its first female headmaster, Dr. Alixe Callen.

The Right Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, Rhode Island’s bishop said the Rev. Kirby’s addition and ministry at St. George’s community is perfect. He goes on to say that her credentials make her the ideal choice to perform ministry work with the personnel and students of the school. Whenever her work schedule permits, Rev. Jackie Kirby visits female inmates at Cranston prison, spends time with her family, goes mountain biking, and does heavy and speed bags boxing training.

An Opinion Regarding The Actions Of Mitch McConnell

Although Mitch McConnell was entitled to vote no on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, his refusal to be involved with the constitutional process shows contempt for the constitutional democracy. His defense of no standards or time frame being defined by the Constitution regarding advice and consent is considered a smokescreen. Frank Garrison explores all angles in a recent Tennessean opinion piece.

The drafters of the Constitution most likely did not envision an unwillingness of the Senate to participate, or this policy becoming standard when one party is controlling the Senate and another the executive branch. The question is if McConnell really believes not participating regarding a nomination will further our democracy’s interests. There must be a reason McConnell chose to obstruct the process when a majority vote of no would effectively block the confirmation. Apparently, he decided engaging in public defiance is politically better than simply voting no on the nomination for Garland.

The justification attempt by McConnell is not disguised well. The Senators and President have already been elected by the people according to the Constitution. The Constitution does not provide the length of term served by the President, or determine the role of the Senate in the process for advice and consent. McConnell’s Constitutional rights are not being questioned, but he is being criticized for placing partisan politics over Constitutional interests. This may result in disastrous and long-term consequences.

The rule by law is one of this country’s greatest strengths, despite the occasional disagreements regarding the enforcement and formulation. People will not always approve of the judicial decisions made or the laws passed. This does not change the fact America has historically given the rule of law respect, and any changes were approached peacefully through legislation and the courts. A stable society has been created partially due to this respect, and people across the globe envy the society achieved.

As a leader in the Senate majority, McConnell is in a powerful position. He has the freedom to choose what he will recognize in the Constitution. This message is dangerous, irresponsible, and offers encouragement for anyone interested in acting above and beyond the law. McConnell’s message is reckless, and may result in a long-term, irreparably harmful impact. His words and actions are providing ammunition for those wanting to resist the government authority and the law. This threatens our democracy and the rule of law. The actions of McConnell are more than simply a political ploy, they are an assault to the belief in our constitutional democracy by every American.

What is it Like to Attend NYU Abu Dhabi?

If you are considering applying to the prestigious New York University Abu Dhabi (http://www.uaeusaunited.com/story/nyu-abu-dhabi/), you may be wondering what it is like to attend this school. After all, finding a college or university that is a good fit for your lifestyle and academic needs is extremely important when you are looking for post-high school education. The following may answer some of your most-asked questions about the Abu Dhabi school.

Where is NYU Abu Dhabi located? 
NYU Abu Dhabi is conveniently located on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. That means that it is a part of the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. The school’s opening was a part of New York University’s Global Network University. While a temporary establishment was opened in 2008, the school’s permanent location was opened in 2010 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_University_Abu_Dhabi).

Who are some of the professors at this school?
Some of the notable professors at NYU Abu Dhabi include Thomas Bender in the area of history, Elias Khoury in the area of modern Arabic literature, Werner Sollors in the area of literature, Eugene Trubowitz in the area of mathematics, and much more. The school has local, global, and visiting professors who all hail from all over the globe. Researchers and professors also come here from various countries to study in their prestigious, state-of-the-art labs.

What is the day to day life like at NYU Abu Dhabi? 
NYU Abu Dhabi is home to a number of passionate, creative, and highly intelligent students that come from all over the globe. Classes are taught in an inclusive manner and only the most driven students are usually selected to attend here. Former and current students praise the University for having a high-quality faculty and providing interesting and relevant lectures. NYU Abi Dhabi is described as a tight-knit, welcoming community to students who come to attend school here worldwide.

New Head of School is Settling in at St. George

Hot on the heels of sexual assault allegations at the school, Alixe Callen is joining the staff at St. George as the new head of the institution. Callen, born and raised outside of New York City, was no stranger to the school. Her grandfather and great-father both attended St. George back when it was an all male school. Callen has watched the school turn co-ed, and go through some challenges. Now, after the announcement of her new position, she is honored to be the first female head master of St. George’s School.

If Alixe Callen was ever concerned about how she would be received as the first woman to be head master, her worries were quickly put to rest. When her promotion from school director to head master was announced at an assembly last December, she was immediately surrounded by 50 young women who introduced themselves immediately.

Alixe Callen has plans for the school. In her new role as head master, she has already made goals to keep the momentum of the progressive-thinking school going. Callen is particularly interested in the science, technology, engineering, arts, math, sports and other extracurricular programs. She expressed a desire to continue to improve those areas of the school, and uphold the very high standard that was set previously.

Though she has never worked at a boarding school before, Alixe Callen is enthusiastic about the positive effect living in a small community will have on the students. Callen comments that the campus is essentially a microcosm of community. It presents an excellent opportunity for the staff to teach the students about how to watch out for the greater good.

Alixe Callen also wants this time period to be one of healing for the school and community. Callen is confident that the school can get past the ugly history and cover-ups. Already, Callen has noted, that the school is not the same as it used to be. It is now a “safe and healthy place for kids to grow up”. St. George has brought in outside organizations for audits and training for staff and faculty. Also the school has brought in Boston rape crisis personnel to help with training faculty and counseling the survivors.

St. George is touted as a progressive-thinking school, overcoming adversity and challenges of its past, and preparing for a bright future. Part of that bright future is the new head master, Alixe Callen.

New Funds for the State of Connecticut

In the state of Connecticut the venture capital section has began to show promising signs of expansion and growth. There have been three new funds announced in the last month with a total value of over $130 million being made accessible to small, medium, and high growth companies and corporations. After the revised Insurance Reinvestment Tax Credit program was formulated and passed last year by state lawmakers, the new funds were able to be made available to the states expanding private market. The new funds were developed in hopes of mainly targeting businesses whose majority staff reside in the state of Connecticut and who have less then 250 employees working for them.
The new funds have raised great anticipation and excitement among businesses around the state who are used to Connecticut’s downside of having a poor early stage investment base, especially for corporations that are pre-seed companies. The industry of Bio-Science has played a key role in helping make these funds available as it is considered by many to be the future of the advancement of many business related sectors in the state. This industry wants to insure that businesses and companies have sufficient and adequate funds for the development and testing of their new technology. Liddy Karter, the managing director of Enhanced Capital Connecticut, has raised an astonishing $30 million dollars for this fund which shall be kept in two different investment pools. She was happy to remark that “This will do a lot to drive more capital into the hands of Connecticut businesses”. She aims to use the fund of Enhanced Capital Connecticut to assist with recognizing and undermining equity investments and debt of up to $3 million in firms that have qualified. There are many companies and industries they are researching for the use of this fund, some including; information technology, healthcare, manufacturing, green technology, and business services. The Enhanced capital fund will be used first for a software analytics firm based out of New Haven called Hadapt Inc.
Another fund formed for businesses in the state of Connecticut is called the Advantage Capital Connecticut Partners, under the leadership of Ryan M Brennan, Advantage Capital Managing Director. This fund targets 25 separate, local businesses and has raised an astonishing $72 million dollars. Another fund started called the Stonehenge was just begun in the past couple weeks and has already successfully raised another incredible $35 million. All in all, things look promising and hopeful for many small and medium sized companies based out of the state of Connecticut.