Smith to provide the Leadership Institute for U.S. Customs and Border Protection

June 4th, 2014 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  — Starting this summer, the  University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, Office of Executive Programs, will direct the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Leadership Institute.

Under the $7.2m, five-year agreement, Smith will educate up to 120 top-level managers each year for a total enrollment of 600. Courses will encompass strategic thinking, leadership communication, and business management to prepare them for increased levels of responsibility in CBP.

“As Homeland Security’s largest law enforcement agency, Customs and Border Protection and its leaders are preparing for an increasingly volatile and uncertain environment,” said Joe Thomas, Ph.D., Smith’s academic director for the Leadership Institute, and a senior faculty member in Smith’s advanced executive coaching program.

Customs and Border Protection’s 60,000 employees manage, control, and protect the Nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry.  CBP is responsible for protecting more than 5,000 miles of border with Canada, 1,900 miles of border with Mexico, and 95,000 miles of shoreline.

“Smith has the practical focus, strategic leadership expertise, and management skills to help CBP execute its mission,” said Liz Barron, senior director of custom programs for Smith’s Office of Executive Programs. “CBP deals every day with more than one million people—most of them behaving within the law, but some who are a real danger to field officers and our nation. Smith is proud to be able to help these public leaders shape the agency for an age when immigration, terrorism, money-laundering, cyber intellectual property crimes, and human trafficking are persistent and fast-changing challenges.”

Customs and Border Protection secures the Nation’s border from illegal entry of aliens and contraband, including terrorist and weapons of mass destruction, while welcoming all legitimate travelers and trade.  In addition, CBP has been entrusted with enforcing hundreds of laws for other government agencies.

“When the collection of import duties, enforcing U.S. trade laws, and regulating and facilitating international trade are added to the mix, the scope of responsibilities of Customs and Border Protection professionals is simply incredible,” Thomas said. “These expansive missions in the face of constrained resources require adaptable and resilient leaders capable of creating and maintaining a true learning organization.”

Thomas, a retired U.S. Marines lieutenant colonel, also teaches leadership education for the U.S. Naval Academy.

In addition to Thomas and Barron, other CBP Leadership Institute faculty will include Smith professors who power the school’s No. 17 executive MBA ranking by Businessweek.

“The Smith School is honored to serve the people and government of the United States by administering the CBP Leadership Institute,” said Gary Cohen, Smith’s assistant dean of executive programs.

He said Smith’s connections from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, will help the school meet the needs of government leaders in the program.

Thomas said the institute’s impact will be far-reaching. “Border Patrol agents between the ports of entry and CBP officers at our nation’s ports of entry deserve leaders who create a climate of respect and empowerment,” he said. “The mission and people demand nothing less.”

– See more at:

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Stylin’ with Strangers and a Strong Cup of Coffee

May 12th, 2014 by under Cross-cultural communications, Enjoying work, Human Capital, Innovation, Leadership Development, Systems and Design Thinking, Workplace dynamics. No Comments.

“Give them a clipboard and ask them to create two columns–Brilliant and Clueless,” said Dr. Alan Gregerman. ” Get them to walk around your organization and make notes about everything they see. What ends up in the Brilliant column and what do they believe is Clueless behavior?”

2014-05-05 10.44.10The author of The Necessity of Strangers”  was giving advice on how to get the most out of new employees. Instead of telling them everything you know and do, find a way of getting new hires to share what they know, so you can learn from best practices developed elsewhere, and learn to see your own enterprise with fresh eyes.

Alan Gregerman’s clipboard idea was one of many that he shared with a room full of learning and development professionals at the May 5 IMPACT networking event and knowledge exchange. The Robert H. Smith School of Business convenes IMPACT once a quarter to bring new ideas to people working in leadership development. We are a close network and have learned a lot from each other but now, thanks to Alan, we know strangers can be even more valuable than friends. It is people who are NOT like us who can show us new possibilities and open our minds to to different ways of thinking.

2014-05-05 09.31.38 (800x599)Our Cinco de Mayo event took place at Gensler’s HQ in Washington DC. The architecture and design company often partner with Smith in executive education and offered us the opportunity to use their new oblong glass space for our meeting. Our minds were not only opened but blown. The space is beautiful and spare, bringing together textures including concrete, felt, wood, leather and glass to create offices and meeting areas (rooms is an old school concept) where brilliant people can dream up fabulous new designs. Studio Director Kate Kirkpatrick treated us to a tour of the whole building and showed us how design thinking can be a valuable tool for problem solving and strategic planning in any enterprise.

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Smith Management and Organization Lecturer Dr. Pat Cleveland invited the group to collaborate on possible uses and drawbacks of the environment,showing that skilled educators can turn any seat, any story and any situation into an enjoyable, memorable teachable moment.

The Chief Economics Correspondent of McClatchy Newspapers Kevin Hall and Andrew Selee, Mexico expert from the Wilson Center joined State Farm’s Xochitl Yanez for a discussion on Mexico and the U.S. and on being Mexican in this part of North America. More eye openers as we learned that Mexico sells more to the U.S. than the U.S. sells to Mexico and that many global companies are now actively recruiting now in Mexico for talent to work in the U.S.

2014-05-05 14.29.30 (800x560)Martin Mayorga, CEO and founder of Mayorga coffee, headquartered in Rockville , MD ensured that our focus remained outward looking as he talked about the farmers who supply him from Central and South America. Mayorga’s brand matches Martin’s values. He believes that supply chain should be kept simple and that the coffee trade should be fair to farmers. For him, there are no strangers and the world is full of new possibilities.

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Hot stuff this summer in Washington DC

August 2nd, 2013 by under Cross-cultural communications, Enjoying work, Executive Education, Global competencies, Leadership Development. 4 Comments.

Our theme was heat—the hottest week of the year in Washington DC, the U.S. IRS in real hot water, and white hot enthusiasm for a visit to America from our group of 42 Commissioners of Income Tax from the Indian Revenue Service. The group were here to learn about investigation techniques and use of technology. Smith faculty, former IRS Deputy Commissioner Mark Matthews, and many IRS executive and DC tax administration experts combined to share their knowledge of money-laundering, off-shoring, computer crimes and so on with our visitors.

Dr. Mike Faulkender led a spirited discussion on the tax-exempt targeting scandal and on the hearings to which Apple was subjected earlier this summer. In his estimation, Congress and bad law are the real villians in each case.

Dr. Peter Weiss led a workshop on data-mining. Dr. Anil Gupta widened the focus of the program, talking about Global Megatrends and the Changing Dynamics of the World Economy.

We visited the U.S. Capitol in the company of former Wisconsin Congressman Jim Moody. We sat around the board table at the Fed, and went to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to see the new $100 bills being made.

At Brookings, Dr. Stephen Cohen signed copies of his new book about India and Pakistan–more heated discussion–and on the final morning new author Michael Pocalyko shared tips on spotting fraud, and signed copies of his thriller The Navigator. 

Caela and I were treated to songs and poems in Hindi; given beautiful silk purses; and invited to visit everywhere from Agra to Bangalore to Lucknow and Goa. We will go. We want our own saris.

The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park uses its network and influence in the national capital area to provide a wide range of learning experiences for government and corporate groups from all over the world. Contact Liz Barron or 301 405 5387 to plan your visit to the United States and to learn from Smith’s faculty and expert contacts. 

saris capitol cert 2 certificate fed irs books IRS smiles ladies mark mike navneet 2 navneet pocalkyo3 pocalyko 2 pocalyko RashmiandCaela saris

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Coaching at the Smith School

June 19th, 2013 by under Innovation. No Comments.

oliver coachingThe Robert H. Smith School of Business offers coaching to all its EMBA students–just one of the reasons we are ranked number 17 in the world. Smith also helps experienced coaches keep their skills up-to-date, with an Advanced Coaching Program that helps members of the International Coach Federation (ICF) earn much-needed Continuing Education Units (CEUS).  In 2014, with the College of Education here in College Park, we will launch a new Masters in Leadership and Executive Coaching.

Smith’s commitment to coaching in the national capital region is evident in our participation in ICF Metro DC events. This chapter of the coaching oversight organization is the biggest in the world, behind the UK which has only one chapter for 3.5 countries!  Smith recently took part in the ICF Capital Coaches Conference where Dr. Oliver Schlake led a session on how coaches can help executives create environments that foster innovation. Liz Barron led the marketing for the conference which sold out in record time.

Take 2 minutes to watch this video that Liz produced at the conference to get a flavor of the spirit, energy and learning enjoyed by the 400 coaches who were able to attend. Thanks to Matthew Chenet who shot and edited this video. The next ICF Capital Coaches Conference will take place on June 5, 2014.

Watch the video here. 


To learn more about education for coaches at Smith, please contact Liz Barron 301 405 5387 or To learn more about the unique strengths of a Smith EMBA check out our website.  To work with Dr. Oliver Schlake or other members of Smith faculty, please contact Liz. 

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All aboard for Lifelong Learning

May 8th, 2013 by under celebrating success, coaching and developing others, Corporate Culture, Cross-cultural communications, efficiency and effectiveness, Enjoying work, Executive Education, Global competencies, Human Capital, IMPACT, Leadership Development, Leadership Presence, online learning, Study abroad. No Comments.

crowdYou could feel the love at the Smith School IMPACT Learning and Development event in Baltimore. It is not always this way for professionals who work in HR or in Organizational Development. Learning and Development experts are often among the first to have their ambitions thwarted when there are cutbacks. In unenlightened organizations, those on the HR team can too easily feel isolated from the core business, and the decision-makers at the top of the tree. It was not this way when more than sixty of us met at the Smith suite in the University of Maryland Biopark to share our experiences and insights, and to learn from each other.  It was great to be in the company of  people from Care First, Legg Mason, BGE/Constellation, McCormick, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the City of Alexandria, Inova, UMMC, FPI, NASA, HHS, and others who care about high performance and fulfilled potential. It was wonderful to see how those in the room shared what they knew, and cheered each other on.

This time, the quarterly IMPACT event was co-hosted by CSX, a long-time partner of the Smith School and energetic champions of organization-wide learning. You don’t keep the railroad running (and CSX has 21,000 miles of track east of the Mississippi) unless you know how to solve problems, empower and equip your people, and stay ahead of the competition.  Safety is a key part of the Culture at CSX and so Director of Talent Development PC Bryant made sure to brief all of us on the whereabouts of the fire extinguisher and to remind us of common sense safety tips (push in your chair when you leave it. Make sure your bag is not a tripping hazard). Jeff Jones from OD at the University of Maryland Medical Center was quick to assure us that his hospital’s shock trauma unit was only steps away should anyone need it.  Feeling safe and well looked after, we could relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

Dr. Rajshree Agarwal, a high-energy and much in-demand professor from Smith’s Management and Organization department shared her research and recommendations around rajshreerewarding and retaining your best talent. Beware of over-burdening your super stars she cautioned–they WILL burn out. Don’t think money can keep them in place–but try to encourage spin-ins (rather than spin-outs) that will allow the creative, innovative and ambitious to stretch and grow within the company and reap the rewards as “their” enterprise becomes something the parent company can buy or otherwise enrich and advance. Think about who you might lose and what will attract them to stay–for if they leave, they make take a lot of your valuable employees with them.  Frantic note-taking from the many people in the room facing high turnover and competitive threats.

CSX’s VP of Strategy, Les Passa, picked up on Rajshree’s theme and set the stage for Janine Pesci’s presentation on Global competency.  Although the freight railroad company is U.S. based, there are many global companies who seek to access its expertise.–how can CSX make sure its brightest and best stay on track? How too can the company help its technical experts (people who started as signalmen or welders) gain a wider perspective of their business, learning how global economics effect what the railroad will transport tomorrow–and which commodities it might never see again.

From Gensler, Janine shared a truly impressive range of examples outlining how the architecture and design company prepares people of all nationalities and backgrounds to work all over the world. Gensler knows its growth will not be in the U.S. and that most of its new employees will have been born and raised far from its San Francisco HQ.  They make sure that visitors to America are met at the airport and oriented to life and work here. They provide opportunities for many of their staff to lead projects in cultures entirely different to their own (Shanghai for six months anyone?) and, at a more modest level, they encourage all their offices worldwide to participate in learning lunches where the food and the table settings will demonstrate what a business lunch will really look like–and what you should do and not do at dinner–in every latitude and longitude.

karenDr. Karen Gardner discussed the distance learning options they are creating for the far-flung and highly educated workforce at ManTech. The NoVa company deals with many high security contracts for the Department of Defense.  “We need modules that are short–less than 15 minutes–and can run in a shack in Afghanistan” said Karen. “Bells and whistles are no use to us but our workforce is hungry for information that will help them pass cybersecurity exams or keep their project management skills current”.

Bells and whistles were popular with the lifelong learners in Baltimore–literally. PC and the folks from CSX had provided goodie bags for all at IMPACT. One is never too old to enjoy a train whistle, one of the train-related treats we all took home.


As everyone in the room began to play conductors, PC took the opportunity for a teachable moment: if you can help your learners imagine someone else’s life, you can teach them relevant lessons based on worlds other than their own. PC explained how numerous groups from CSX have benefited from a day spent with Smith faculty and Sue Boardman from the Gettysburg Foundation, walking the civil war battlefield. “You don’t have to know much about the Battle of Gettysburg to be moved by the stories of great leadership and terrible failure that resulted in loss of life” said PC. ” Help people learn from the lessons of others–take themselves out of themselves and their own environment to help them learn to see the world differently. ”


Muriel Maignan Wilkins was more concerned to help us see ourselves as others see us. Muriel is the co-author of the recently published book Own The Room. She talked about the need for effective own the roomleaders to be able to stand up for what is important to them–and to connect well with others. She also talked about the importance of appearance and consistency of behavior and warned that we may imagine ourselves very differently from how we actually are in the company of others. I have real and recent experience of this. The photo on the left below is  a self-portrait I snapped on the way to a wedding a couple of weeks ago. I thought I looked like that all day. Not so. The second picture below demonstrates that serenity and composure are not my signature emotions. More work needed.

2013-04-27 14.10.53

The next IMPACT event will take place on Monday, August 5 at Gallup in Washington DC. If you would like to join this group of HR and OD professionals to learn from best practices and to discover how the Smith School and its network can support your organization, please contact Liz Barron or call 301 405 5387. You can REGISTER HERE for IMPACT on August 5. 




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Taking the Mystery out of Sequestration Madness

March 2nd, 2013 by under efficiency and effectiveness, Executive Education, Financial Institutions. No Comments.

So the U.S.government knows where its next $85 billion is coming from, but, as the sequestration goes into effect are you among the Americans who struggle to understand the country’s finances nearly as much as you struggle to make end meet? If you don’t know your continuing resolution from furlough or your deficit from your downturn, the financial experts at the Robert H. Smith School of Business can help.

rossiTurn to the faculty of the finance department at the best business school in the DC metro area and discover how government works (or doesn’t) with the help of “Fiscal” Cliff Rossi, a teaching fellow with a experience of working both with big banks and with government agencies. Dr. Rossi can help your organization understand the options facing our elected representatives, and the implications of each for your business, livelihood and future.

Dr. Michael Faulkender regularly teaches student and executive groups about the cost of borrowing. You can see him teaching Net Present Value below. In class, Mike sticks to the facts and the figures, but this highly articulate and colorful professor was born to be a television or radio pundit for he enjoys nothing more than a spirited debate about America’s finances, what got us into this mess and what will get us out of it. He is flying to Beijing today to teach in our EMBA there. Pity the passenger in the seat beside him, who is likely to receive the the big talk on big government all the way to China ;). If you are a journalist seeking informed insight on the big news from Washington, just ask Smith. Our experts are here to help.

Mike Faulkender teaches NPV

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What would it look like?

February 12th, 2013 by under efficiency and effectiveness, Enjoying work, Executive Education, Human Capital, IMPACT, Innovation, Leadership Development, Workplace dynamics. No Comments.

What would your world of work look like if your boss and colleagues asked the questions below?

Why are you so excited about the idea? | Tell me more! | How is it different from the way the world is now? | How did you get the idea–where did it come from? | What would it look like? What do I stop doing in order to do what you’re suggesting? | How would I tell someone else the good things about this idea? | What would the positive questions be? | What would be the next step? | How can I help? 


How to have good ideas flourish and grow

How often do you hear (or ask) these questions?  Dr. Oliver Schlake made us all sit up and take notice of the way we nurture (or strangle)  innovation and creativity just by the way we respond to the ideas of others. Oliver was speaking with HR and Organizational Development professionals from a wide range of companies and government agencies at the Smith School’s quarterly IMPACT Learning and Development event. His talk energized everyone–oh, and the chocolate he handed out also helped ;).

CACI hosted IMPACT this time, inviting our group of seventy-five to their facility in Chantilly, VA. Larry Clifton, Acting Chief Human Resources Officer at CACI spoke about the impact coaching the company’s recruiters is beginning to have on their ability to secure the best talent for the company. ” I learn best one-on-one” said Larry “and I’ve seen great results when my children have worked with coaches.  We started offering coaching to our recruiters and found they were more prepared to talk about areas where they felt they needed help with someone who wasn’t their boss and wasn’t part of the company”. Lots of coaches and coachees in the room nodded: it feels good to work with someone whose only job it is to help you be the best you can be. CACI hopes to add more organization-wide coaching support soon. Tanja Guerra, Senior HR Manager at CACI shared details of the different Fellowship programs they offer for first-line leaders across their global company. The Smith School has been proud to support the development of CACI Technical Fellows, helping those with engineering and IT backgrounds to communicate risks and opportunities more effectively across the enterprise.

Oliver has a neat wrap-up for his innovation session, showing his audience how to create a cheat book for his session takeaways through an exercise in origami. Lisa Douek, Chief of

Lisa Douek, NIH

Workforce Development at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute gave him props for this in her session on Moving from Knowing to Doing: we all remember information better, said Lisa, when we do something with it. Sing it, shout it, write it down or fold up lists into little tiny books and you will be able to put what you have learned into use.

Karen Gardner from Mantech shared a good tip for helping emerging leaders apply new information on financial management. At ManTech, they have those studying financial acumen sit in on the company’s earnings calls with stock owners. Karen advises her managers to listen to the verbs used by the executive team. It has proved an effective way of ensuring that rising stars know what the numbers mean, and why they matter. Karen will speak at the next IMPACT event (on Monday May 6 at the Biopark in Baltimore, MD. Register now. ) sharing her experience of setting up a corporate university at ManTech.

Greg Hanifee, Assistant Dean of Executive Education and Marketing/Communications at Smith, and Vita Salters, Smith’s Director of Human Resources, furthered Lisa’s theme. They talked about an initiative they lead at Smith which allows our staff to learn from our best faculty–we use our business school smarts to grow the capability of our own employees. The Leadership Academy helps our staff feel valued–non-employees have to pay many thousands of dollars for the same kind of education from Smith, a top 25 US. B-school. The learning helps Smith compete and perform most effectively. The value we put on our own faculty’s effectiveness has a “Joe eats here” effect–we must be good, we draw on our own expertise. Every OD leader trying to put butts in seats in training classes took copious notes about some of the imaginative marketing Smith uses to make sure its staff know about the courses available to them, how to apply, and what the benefits will be.




Ed Rogers, Chief Knowledge Officer from NASA Goddard knows that risk is a huge part of innovation–many people risked –and too many lost–their lives in the race to the moon and beyond. Ed outlined the importance of asking questions–and listening to the answers–after an event, as well as before, particularly when something has gone badly wrong. He talked about the importance of listening to your team, being seen to absorb and act on unwelcome information, and the questions that will help you learn from your own disaster, or someone else’s.

Roger Crouch, a former U.S. astronaut who flew twice as part of the NASA space program, made real the dangers of space exploration when we met him at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy center for a great experiential learning trip at the end of our day. Roger talked with customary humor and humility about the dangers on the way up, when orbiting the earth, and on the way down. Above all, he talked about the importance of never giving up on dreams. Roger had wanted to be an astronaut since boyhood but for years it looked like his color blindness would thwart his ambitions. Thanks to perseverance (17 letters to the astronaut program after he started as a scientist with NASA), smarts, and character, Roger was able to make his dream come true: he first flew as a payload specialist when he was 56.  We finished the day proud of mankind’s innovation in outer space, and determined to practice our questioning skills to promote creativity, control risk and move from knowing to doing. We all look forward to the next IMPACT event which will take place on Monday May 6 at the Robert H. Smith School of Business Suite at the University of Maryland Biopark in Baltimore. Register now. See you there.

Astronaut Roger Crouch talks about Daring to Dream

Fly us to the moon…

If you would like learning and development around creativity and innovation, critical decision-making, risk management or marketing strategy, please contact Liz Barron, Senior Director, Executive Education, Robert H. Smith School of Business. 301 405 5387 or   Sign up to join us at the May IMPACT Learning and Development event here. Download Smith’s Executive Education brochure here. 

Catch up with Smith coaches–and many of the IMPACT community– at the ICF Capital Coaches Conference on June 6, 2013. Register now. 




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Hooping It Up –and How.

January 18th, 2013 by under celebrating success, coaching and developing others, Enjoying work, Executive Education, Leadership Development. 3 Comments.

Kathleen from McCormick was doubled up with laughter at least twice. Tiffany, who works for a big health system in Virginia, talked with Erin, a creative director with a genius for branding and together they came up with some interesting titles for a book Tiffany plans to write. Lynn told stories of women she had filmed with on a number of scary series for Discovery ID. However horrific, they couldn’t match the experiences shared by Cheryl, whose job it was to keep the U.S. President safe. The other Liz caught up with Dr. Susan Taylor, who once taught her as a PhD student here at Smith. High above the court at the Comcast Center, our network of women talked, laughed, swapped cards and talked some more, sharing their own leadership experiences and lessons while below us the Amazons of the Terrapins took on the NC State women’s basketball team. The first annual Hoop It Up women’s networking event was a huge success. Esther spoke of her time in Ghana. Catherine told us how she’d tried out for the Greek women’s Olympic softball team–and very nearly made it. Vernae and Lisa caught up on the business management needs of architects, engineers and contractors. Andrea, Danielle and I marvelled at the number of things this diverse group of women had in common and everyone’s enthusiasm for learning, asking questions, growing and changing. The Terps won 82-62. When we left the stadium, the predicted snow had failed to materialize.  It was a great night and we will definitely do it again.

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Grace and Flavor.

November 6th, 2012 by under Corporate Culture, Enjoying work, Executive Education, Healthcare Leadership, IMPACT, Leadership Development, online learning, Workplace dynamics. No Comments.

Pamela Wagoner thinks a lot of talk about employee engagement is a waste of time. Of course, the Chief Human Resources Officer at W. R. Grace wants those who work at the multinational chemicals and materials company to be enthusiastic about coming to work, and commited to the growth of the company. She just thinks that simply firing them up with fancy talk over free food will have very limited payback, unless it is coupled with practical solutions to (often small) workplace problems. and a genuine knowledge about the company’s strategy, values, product and brand.

Pamela was one of more than 35 HR and OD leaders sharing best practices and forging new ways forward at yesterday’s IMPACT event, convened by the Smith School at our learning suite in the Reagan building just steps from the White House in Washington DC. Pamela is a very charismatic presenter and, as a former leader at Marriott, she does not easily dismiss the value of great hospitality. Still, she doesn’t think pressing the flesh of the  company President and the promise of a slice of pizza can really deliver sustained cultural engagement. Pamela is highly practial, and focused on decision-making that drives productive change. She says Engage is no use as a corporate call to action unless it is supported by two other concepts: Enable and Energize. (Read the full Power of Three Report from Towers Watson)

Pamela told the story of a vanilla coffee crisis at Grace. An employee had asked for it. The President had promised it. But the guy who ordered kitchen supplies was bound to buy the least expensive product from a preferred vendor. The system had to be changed to allow him to meet a very simple need.  Pamela made it happen–hot drinks all round. Think about how often your company falls out of flavor (sorry, favor) with its employees over seemingly small niggles and irritations. Is there anything you can do to simplify the expenses process, up-grade the computer systems or fix the phones that would make it easier for your employees to feel listened to and cherished at work? No one comes to work to do a bad job, and yet all sorts of obstacles unseen by top management often stop people contributing their best. Yesterday, Pamela urged us to take a look at things that could enable engaged employees to really get the job done.

Pamela also talked with passion about the need to energize your workforce around the company’s mission and what it does. At Grace, they are big on community involvement but Pamela discovered that too many members of their many teams at home and abroad couldn’t really explain what the company did. At Grace, they have created a super-waterproof plastic that keeps all it contains at a steady temperature, whether hot or cold HR invested in branded water bottles made of this substance and shared them with the company–this is what we made, and how and why it makes us special. Make your brand real to your workforce and put energy into their personal evangelism. We all got Grace water bottles in our goodie bags.


Dr. Susan Taylor from Smith’s Management and Organization department also spoke about engagement in a session designed to prepare government and corporate executives for the changes that inevitably follow any election, no matter who wins. Her talk about imaginative inducements for staff when change is constant and financial rewards are few was ably illustrated by Smith’s own head of HR, Bobvita Salters. Vita’s  ice cream socials, school picnics (glass of milk, PBJ and chicken nugget anyone?) and BBQs are now distinguished by an enthusiastic electric slide. Any staff that dances together will surely dominate–they should measure for this in University rankings.

Dr Ritu Agarwal and Dr. Mike Faulkender from Smith’s all-star faculty provided up-to-date insights on healthcare and financial policy designed to make us all sound smart at dinner on election eve–or to help us challenge any last-minute campaign volunteer calling our landlines. The political theme was backed up by a private tour of the U. S. Capitol conducted by guest lecturer and former Congressman Jim Moody. We were privileged to sit on the floor of the house and wonder who would deliver the next State of the Union address from the podium just feet in front of us. Executives from giant Fortune 500 companies stood slack-jawed in wonderment as Jim whisked us through the Speaker’s office to see one of the still-functioning fireplaces in the building’s orginal center.  We all enjoyed gossipy tales of life on the Ways and Means committee, and felt moved and encouraged by Jim’s obvious commitment to American democracy and the values of public service. Smith believes that a business school needs to help its students understand  and work with government. We were thrilled to provide this unique opportunity for yesterday’s participants, and hope you will let us teach your workforce to leverage the political process more effectively.

Our learning was further expanded by Dr Sharon Fratta ( a Terp Mom and herself a Smith alum) and Deb Howell, both from Graduate School USA. They showed us the multi-media training they are developing for people to access where and when they want to on laptops and mobile devices. Sharon. a former CIO and long time IT systems lecturer, favors blended learning: use classroom time for relationship building, discussion and group work. Give learners the technology they need to prepare, practice and double check their new knowledge through asynchronous materials. She is a big fan of Adobe break out rooms for faculty- facilitated discussions as groups work on Action Learning Projects. We will return to this topic again and again.

Dr Neta Moye–a Smith Alum–and Dr. Joe Ungemah advanced a discussion from a previous IMPACT event, helping participants identify Learning Agility in their workforce. Look out for results producers who are inquisitive, who reflect on their experiences and who welcome feedback–they could be the future of your organization.

If you are an OD or HR professional who would like to show off your learning facility at the next IMPACT event in the DC metro area, please let us know.  Contact Liz Barron or 301 405 5387. If you’d like to share something of your workplace philosophy, volunteer speakers are also welcome. Save the date for our next two events: Monday February 11 and Monday May 8, 2013.


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Back to School: Your September habit that lasts a lifetime

September 11th, 2012 by under Certificate In Cybersecurity Leadership, Cybersecurity, efficiency and effectiveness, EMBA, Enjoying work, Executive Education, Healthcare Leadership, Innovation, Leadership Development, Operations Management, Study abroad. No Comments.

You just can’t help yourself. Perhaps you don’t need the 64-pack of crayons and have largely given up sniffing Elmer’s glue. Maybe your mom no longer packs you a PB&J before kissing you goodbye.  Nevertheless, come September, you expect to be back in school. Here at Smith, just as the corridors begin to fill up with undergrads; part time and full time MBA students; and MS students from all over the world, so every organization on the Eastern seaboard seems to clamor to get back in the classroom. This is our busiest month for executive education. You, it seems, are eager to keep on learning and September signifies “back to school”.

Thank you for choosing Smith and our terrific Terp teachers. This week middle managers from a large transportation company are working with Dr. Gerald Suarez to become strategic thinkers, while next door the talk is all of safe space and somatic awareness in our advanced coaching program. Next week, another batch of high potential managers at a Fortune 100 company will learn new financial management skills from Dr. Alex Triantis–this is a program that runs and runs.  Our in-house  EMBA cohorts will continue to work towards glory and their cap and gown in College Park, while across the Potomac students in a custom EMBA program study at their company HQ, and begin to work on Action Learning Projects that will have real impact for their employer, now and long into the future.

Business owners in China are packing their bags and looking forward to a couple of days on campus en route to New York. Sessions on Leadership, Operations Management and Becoming a Public Company will be delivered by Smith faculty and adjuncts working in Mandarin. Smith alumni–now successful entrepreneurs–will come back to school to share stories of raising capital, going public and surviving acquisitions. They will speak in English, supported by the University’s interpreters–busy people now College Park does so much work with China. In Beijing, students in our Leadership EMBA will work in English this fall, honing their language skills while they receive a world-class business education.

Back at home, Dr. Ritu Agarwal will help board members and staff from a number of U.S. states grapple with the challenges of implementing the Affordable Care Act. Political appointees from the Federal Government will join IT, communications, marketing and public health strategy experts, plus representatives of the big health care insurance companies, to work out just how America’s uninsured will be covered in future. In Baltimore, Dr Michael Faulkender will support nurse managers as they begin work on business cases as part of their Financial Decision-Making program.

Wonder Woman

Dr. Joyce Russellis working with two different parts of the Department of Defense in one week–as usual, she’s a

Dr Joyce E.A. Russell

whirlwind. Dr. Oliver Schlake is bringing his innovation green thumb to other senior civil servants who seek to create and sustain a culture of creativity in their organization. This morning we were asked to provide a book club to support the development of mid level managers whose Beltway-based executives are about to embark on a Smith advanced management program. ” We want something to keep everyone engaged, growing and learning” said their OD expert. We get it–school’s now cool.

By the time we hit October, we’ll have completed eight–no, wait–nine– short executive education programs for nine different clients on widely diverse topics and for participants ranging from Chinese entrepreneurs to DC-based executive coaches. In October, among other things, we launch our Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Leadership–more weekend company on campus for the EMBA students.  Move over health care providers–we need your seats for the espionage experts. It’s a joy and a privilege to help eager local learners and international visitors–did I mention our clients from New Delhi are due in town September 20?–tap into the knowledge of faculty at Smith. Thanks for choosing the University of Maryland, College Park and the DC region’s foremost business school. Here at the Robert H. Smith School of Business we always want you back.

Want some Smith School Special September Sauce? Talk to Liz Barron about custom degree or non-degree programs for your organization. 301 405 5387



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