Meeting in Review: November 20, 2013
Words of inspiration came from Helen Moore, though somewhat interrupted by a recurring soundtrack problem from the computer of our invited speaker.
Secretary Tim Hurd introduced the guests of Rotarians:
- David Ryfish, a climate change consultant and Rotaract member
- Kevin O’Brien, owner of KJ Associates, a guest of Andy Koval
- Jose Mosquera, a physician, guest of Andy Koval
- Donald Shea of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, guest of Bill Busker.
Visiting American Rotarians included our own former club member PDG Herb Brickson, now of the Reston Rotary Club, who teased the visitors by saying “Kiwanis” is an Indian sentence for where is the Rotary Club. He was corrected in a good-natured way later in the meeting – it means “Make a Good Noise.” Others were James Hill of Evergreen Colorado and Pat Beehler, a land surveyor from South Puget Sound.
The Kiwanis’ guests were introduced.
Sergeant at Arms David Treadwell announced the birthday: Cy Ansary, who Cy joined our club in 1980, sponsored by Karl Jones. His classification is Investments: Capital Management.
The Kiwanis birthdays were recognized.
- Paula Delo sends thanks for all the expressions of sympathy and support during her hospitalization.
- May Gwinn told us about World Toilet Day November 19 and the importance of water and sanitation as a basic human right, giving statistics from a UN proclamation. She reported money raised for water projects by a Rotary-supported team at the Marine Corps Marathon.
- Peggy Schoen, in a leopard party hat, took the podium to publicize the December 2 holiday party.
- Various Kiwanians made announcements on their events, new members and projects , including support of a UNICEF effort on iodine deficiency.
- President Shaun presented a blue badge to Heather Jaffan.
Clara Montanez then introduced our speaker, Guy Pfeffermann, CEO of Global Business Schools Network. Following a 40 year career at the World Bank, including 15 years as Chief Economist at the International Finance Corporation, he decided to try to improve management skills in the developing world. As CEO of GBSN, which started at the IFC and is now an independent nonprofit, he works with an international network of leading business schools to strengthen management education for the developing world.
Mr Pfeffermann told us this was his first encounter with Rotary. After a failed attempt to show a short video, he described his motivation for working on management education. He is concentrating on the continent of Africa.
In the same category as corruption, the simple lack of management skills exacts a huge cost in wasted resources. If supplies aren’t delivered to the hospital, if water doesn’t make it to the right place, then the consequences can be very serious.
What might be done? Students could be sent from developing countries to the US or Europe – but they might not go back. Aid workers could be dispatched to teach management courses in different nations – but they won’t stay there all that long. Or decent local management schools could be identified, improved, and scaled up to help more people.
In an aside, he believes that mobile phones have had a revolutionary impact on Africa, more than anything else he’s seen. Two-thirds of the population now has access to mobile phones, many of which are smart phones.
Mr Pfeffermann started by meeting in New York City with 8 representatives of top management schools, and now the network includes 62 schools on five continents. He has a small staff and tries to avoid the theoretical and be as practical as possible. The first project was in 2004 in Lagos, Nigeria, and produed a certificate program in entrepreneurship. He noted approvingly a Goldman Sachs gift of 10,000 scholarships to women for business training.
He sees a future combination of online courses and face to face training – perhaps “flipped” classrooms, where lectures are viewed online and exercises re done under helpful supervision. He hopes someone comes up with a good business model for education over the Internet.
Some of his interesting insights were into human nature – when starting his new network he went to the most prestigious schools he could find, avoiding the less well-known. He talked about the need for mentoring new PhD programs for their value in attracting other academics and validating local institutions.
In questions and answers, he said that China is not exploiting Africa, whose tiny countries, feeble trade and poor infrastructure have nowhere to go but up. In another dry take on human nature, he said the West has been “hung up” on issues of institutions and morality, while the Chinese have fewer concerns about getting the job done and have produced good roads and ports for African use. For twenty years, by design, the West stopped investing in infrastructure and secondary education, he asserted, getting some pushback from the audience.
President Shaun gave Mr Pfeffermann the tree certificate, and Kiwanis President Brian Egger presented him a Kiwanis letter opener. There was no raffle.
Greeters were Liz Salett and Nancy Riker. The Hospitality table was staffed by Stu Shalloway and Sharon Taylor. The meeting was adjourned at 1:30 pm.