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.

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.


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.

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.

South Florida CEOs offer College Students Business Advice

A group of South Florida college students received training advice from the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable. As follows, this energizing news about Miami-Dade’s future industries would comprise various employments for current graduates.

Also, coming graduates and those who are already taking part in different trades need to concentrate on this strategic information for the community’s new approaching markets.

Therefore, a wealth of facts was presented to them by some of the Roundtable CEO members.

Ron Antevy is a graduate of the University of Florida, 1991. He has gained much experience throughout the years from various trades. Antevy has held managerial positions in companies like Waste Management, Inc., Capital Project Management Software, and Engineering & Construction.

He has much hands-on experience from being involved in several-day to day tasks while training workers in many other projects. Now, he is president of his brother’s company, e-Builder.

As CEO and president of e-Builder, Ron advises students to begin his or her life, now. He encourages them that South Florida is plentiful with specific fields for everyone’s study. Thus, they can gain experience and develop skills while finishing college.

Jackie Soffer (https://www.forbes.com/profile/soffer/) graduated from the University of Colorado and is Co-Chairwoman and CEO at Turnberry Associates. She is one of many first-rank real estate developers across the country.

Jackie Soffer has many properties such as the Aventura Mall and an increasing collection of iconic brands throughout the globe. With her experience as a leader for the retail industry, she has expanded Turnberry Associates.

Now, under her direction, the prized Destin Commons has set the standard for outdoors fashion centers in Florida’s Panhandle since 10 years ago of its opening.

Therefore, she encourages college students to do the grimy business without fear and without thinking they are above that. She explained to them about finding solutions through learning the process without depending on anyone else.

Further, each student needs to prepare for hard work and perform it. Soffer shared the knowledge they would get would be priceless.

Noah Breakstone (https://www.linkedin.com/in/noah-breakstone-97ba576/) attended Wharton University of Pennsylvania, Business School and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University. He is a managing associate at BTI real estate.

Noah encouraged college students to focus on the future while they do their homework on job researching. He assured them that these sought out businesses will be available right at their graduation.

Plus, he suggested that they explored these different job skills and take homework courses that will help them fill these positions when such opportunities are available. And, he rallied them to take notes on favorable openings and know of internship applications with those employers.

Finally, Miami Herald CEO Roundtable- members reminded college graduates and future graduates that there’s a successful day ahead for each one of them.

Returning to Interdisciplinary Roots

Humboldt University of Berlin is one of the birthplaces of interdisciplinarity. Founded in 1810, it was envisioned by educational reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt as an institution where students would receive an all-around education in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, and where teaching and research would be integrated.

Through a number of novel teaching experiments, the university is now seeking to return to its roots.

German universities have had to shorten their degrees because of Europe’s Bologna process, which aims for common degree requirements and certifications across European nations, meaning that some of the longstanding opportunities to study other subjects have been squeezed out, explained Wolfgang Deicke, coordinator of Humboldt’s (ironically named) Bologna Lab, which develops new teaching methods.

So while it might have previously taken six years to train a chemist to a level where “they’re safe, they won’t blow things up,” the necessary content now “gets crammed into three years.”

“While everybody else was shifting from teaching to learning, for five or six years Germany moved the other way,” Deicke said. There is now a sense that “people specialize too soon.”

One of the most eye-catching projects to emerge out of the Bologna Lab is a program called Diversity of Knowledge.

Continue reading…

Source: insidehighered.com

Emirates Leadership Initiative takes Students to a New Level

Preparing Dubai for the Future
If you’ve been wondering how the UAE Government plans to help educate its budding students, then you may want to stop what you’re doing, grab a coffee, and read this article right away!

We’re going to look at three crucial ways the UAE is helping to expand their students’ educational opportunities. First, we’re going to talk about The Leader of the 21st Century Model. Next, we’ll discuss the Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship. And finally, we’re going to finish up by talking about an exciting public service fellowship aimed at helping UAE students.

The Leader of the 21st Century Model
Created and launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the Leader of the 21st Century Model is geared to develop a strong core foundation for leadership for students. This Model is also mean to implement effective communication and networking among Government leaders. There will also be an emphasis on private-sector relations.

Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship (ELI)
UAE Government also has big plans for the Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School. The five-year program should really help to cement leadership initiatives for students in essential areas such as executive education for top ranking officials, among others. And it’s said that $15 million was put into this program, which comes at a crucial time in UAE Government, where there is added emphasis on developing the economy’s knowledge base.

The Abu Dhabi Leadership Graduate Public Service Fellowship

This key fellowship was created in 2010, buy the Crown Prince Court, at the Harvard Kennedy School. With a strong focus on developing nationals for the Abu Dhabi Government, students are only awarded this fellowship on a merit basis. The fellowship will only go to three fortunate students, who must currently be working for the Abu Dhabi Government.

These programs are sure to prepare students for a successful career in UAE government. The best it yet to come.

Jackie Soffer Added to U Miami’s Board of Trustees

Real estate mogul, Jeff Soffer and his family have pledged upwards of $15 million dollars to help pay for the construction of an indoor training facility for the University of Miami college football team. This donation will cover about half of the $30 million expected cost of construction of the new football team training grounds. Meanwhile, the University of Miami is looking elsewhere to find financing to cover the remaining half or so of the cost needed to complete its new training facility. University of Miami football coach, Mark Richt has also agreed to pledge a sizeable amount totaling $1 million dollars to the cost of construction.

It is important to note that the University of Miami is one of the few top-tier college football teams that lacks an indoor training ground. Getting one is especially important because the Miami area often sees heavy rain and lightening which prevents the team from practicing outside. The Miami Herald reports that the Soffer family which includes Jeff and his sister Jackie Soffer should become extremely popular and respected among Miami Hurricanes fans after their mega-donation to the team’s new training facility.

Meanwhile, Jeff’s sister and CEO of Turnberry Associates, https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jackie-soffer Jackie Soffer has been appointed to the board of trustees at the University of Miami according to the South Florida Business Journal. Jackie Soffer joins ten other new trustee members who will serve out one-year terms as a trustee member. Ms. Soffer is expected to provide her insight of the business world, real estate, management, and finance to the University of Miami.

Jackie Soffer who serves as the CEO and co-chairman of Turnberry Associates is a leading figure in real estate development right now alongside her brother. Jackie Soffer is currently leading a major renovation project that will see an over 300,000 square foot addition to Turnberry Associates’ Aventura Mall in the Miami metro area. The renovation will see the addition of numerous restaurants, new shops, a rooftop terrace, private lounge and a plaza to the bustling Aventura Mall (read more).

Another project that Jackie Soffer is planning to complete is called SoLē Mia. This development will feature over a million square feet of retail space, over 4,000 housing units, a hotel, parkland, lagoons, restaurants, entertainment venues such as theaters and grocery stores. SoLē Mia is expected to be the biggest real estate development project to be undertaken in the history of North Miami Beach.