Posts Tagged ‘global economy’

“Community” Colleges – What a Misnomer!

Wake Technical Community College in my county is North Carolina’s largest community college, serving more than 70,000 students annually with five campuses,  The North Raleigh Campus is the closest one to my home.

Wake Technical Community College in my county is North Carolina’s largest community college, serving more than 70,000 students annually with five campuses, The North Raleigh Campus is the closest one to my home.

Note 2 additional resource links at the bottom of the blog!

Every time I get together with my former IBM colleague and global Human Resources / Diversity expert Sheila Forte-Trammell (see my 2-part blog interview with Sheila), we always have an intellectually stimulating lively conversation.

One of Sheila’s many activities is serving as a resource to the American Association of Community Colleges including speaking at their most recent conference. Her areas of expertise in global leadership, diversity, succession planning and more are very useful and pertinent to community colleges. (Please see the additional information and link on Sheila’s exciting workshop at the bottom of the blog.)

One thing we discussed is the name “community colleges” as a misnomer. One definition of a misnomer is “an inaccurate use of a name or a term.” A definition I like even better is “a word or term that suggests a meaning that is known to be wrong.” Yes, even though community colleges are located in communities throughout the United States and normally serve a constituency of people within driving distance (i.e. in the community), they really are and need to be about education future global business people and leaders.

In today’s inter-connected world, virtually any business today can be global. Even the smallest entrepreneur can reach out internationally to sell their goods and services, and utilize a global supply chain to get the parts and services required to build their products and offerings. In addition, almost all local communities now have diverse populations that include people from all corners of the world. Even in working in one’s community, a person needs to be well versed in how to effectively communicate with people from many different countries, cultures and religions.

The American Association of Community Colleges to which a huge majority of community colleges belong, provides some important statistics. In 2013, there were 1,123 community colleges across the US with 7.4 million students enrolled in credit programs. The enrollment is also very diverse with 50% of the attendees being white, with the other 50% being Hispanic, Black, Asian, mixed-race, etc. And 36% of attendees are the first generation in their families to attend college, which represents growth in economic opportunities for these families.

The AACC’s 2015 fact sheets cites key initiatives including partnering with industry for workforce training, leading in scientific research and providing tools for community colleges to prepare their students for the 21st century. Certainly then global training must be a key component of these programs.

Perhaps community colleges should consider rebranding themselves as “communi-global!”

* * * * *
During the Mentor-Connect Pre-conference workshop consultant Sheila Forte-Trammel shared the leadership development process she used at IBM and other clients during a Mentor-Connect workshop. She urged both workshop participants to look at their own careers as small businesses. Link to an AACC article about Sheila’s program.

Link to my short paper published as part of the Workforce Diversity Network’s “Expert Forum,” Connecting the Realities of Leadership with the Diverse Global Economy.

My personal experience on the NGLCC’s trade mission to Mexico!

Blog author Stan Kimer making a point during his presentation on global leadership (photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)

Blog author Stan Kimer making a point during his presentation on global leadership (photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)


On March 11-14th, I traveled to Mexico City to be part of the 2014 National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Trade Mission and LGBT Summit of the Americas. It was an exciting combination of attending and presenting workshops with business leaders from across Latin America, meeting with prospective large Mexican clients, reuniting with old friends, and even a little sightseeing. In addition to this excellent overview (link) of the trip from the NGLCC, I wanted to briefly share some of my personal experience along three areas.

1) LGBT Economic Empowerment. It was exciting to see first hand how the movement for growing economic equality for LGBT-owned businesses is expanding beyond the USA to be truly global. As it enters into its second decade, the NGLCC is expanding across North and South America and empowering LGBT-owned businesses to grow. In addition to the 20 delegates from the US, there were approximately 80 government officials, business owners, executives and chamber leaders from Mexico and several other Latin American countries. The opening plenary included the historic signing of a cooperative agreement between the NGLCC and Mexico’s Council to Eliminate and Prevent Discrimination (COPRED) (link to COPRED website – in Spanish)

Blog author serving on a panel sharing how IBM took its LGBT diversity initiatives global. (Photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)

Blog author serving on a panel sharing how IBM took its LGBT diversity initiatives global. (Photo by Abraham Saraya Photography)


2) My own business development. One day was dedicated to meetings set up by the US Commercial Service, part of the US Department of Commerce. The mission of this team is to spur US economic growth through the exporting of US products and services to trading partners outside the US. I was very pleased to meet with 3 large well qualified Mexican companies that had a real need for my innovative Total Engagement Career Mapping offering, as well as the Executive President of Mexico’s largest association of human resources professionals (link to my March 7th blog about my conversation with Pedro Borda Hartmann … our discussion about the top HR challenges facing Mexico.)
It was so great to reunite with long-time Mexican IBM friend Gabriel Gomez and tour Teotihuacan

It was so great to reunite with long-time Mexican IBM friend Gabriel Gomez and tour Teotihuacan


3) Sharing in the workshops and panels. Finally, I was privileged to both give a presentation titled “Leadership for the New Diverse Global Economy: Effectively Leading an International Team,” a critical topic since expanding businesses globally is so much more a reality given the global web and increasing multicultural mix of people in any locale; and to serve on panel with four other people discussing expanding LGBT diversity programs globally. I was proud to speak of how my former employer IBM expanded our LGBT initiatives from the US to be worldwide continually from around year 2000 up through the current time.

And then the icing on the cake was reuniting with several old IBM and NGLCC friends and two half-days of sightseeing in and around beautiful Mexico City.

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