Episode 44 - Growing an Economy and People Through The Global Links Program
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
On today's episode, we learn about an innovative partnership between the U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Women's Issues, Rollins College, and Tupperware Brands called The Global Links program. Recorded at the Ashoka U Exchange 2019 in San Diego, California. Our guests include Dr. Mary Conway Dato-on, Crummer Associate Professor of International Business and Social Entrepreneurship; Yasmin Mesbah, Program Coordinator; and Dr. Denise Delboni, Professor of Labor Law, Compliance, and Labor and Employment Relations at Fundacao Getulio Vargas and Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing in Brazil.
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Jerrid Kalakay 0:09 Welcome to the Teaching Change podcast, where we explore issues of Social Entrepreneurship, Education, and Innovation. I'm your host, Jerrid Kalakay. So welcome. We're so excited to have you on Teaching Change and to talk about some really exciting things with you. We are currently recording at the Ashoka Exchange 2019 in San Diego, California. So, unfortunately, it's been raining here, but nonetheless, that we won't let that dampen our spirits. So we have some really exciting guests today. And I'll let them introduce themselves and talk a little bit about their work. And then we'll kind of go from there.
Mary Conway Dato-on 0:45 I am Mary Conway that goes on. I am a faculty member at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. And there I am the Cornell scholar for social entrepreneurship and international business. But all the roles that I do today, one of the most exciting ones, and the one I hope we can talk about with you today. Jerrid is about the global links program. And so I am the faculty mentor and sort of all-around girl Friday of different things related to global links.
Jerrid Kalakay 1:18
Yasmin Mesbah 1:20 So I am Yasmin Mesbah And I am the Global Links Program Manager. So I kind of just manages everything that has to do with all the links. And I'm also right now an adjunct professor for the Social Entrepreneurship department at Rollins College. So it's a lot of fun just working with all of this kind of opportunities to inspire change-making in different fields.
Jerrid Kalakay 1:43 Awesome, Yasmin, can you explain a little bit about what global links program is?
Yasmin Mesbah 1:49 Sure. So global links, it's a public-private partnership between Tupperware brands, Rollins College and the US State Department's Office of Global Women's Issues. And it was founded in 2011, with the purpose of empowering female entrepreneurs and developing countries. So the way the program is structured is over, it takes place over three phases. So we start by bringing over a female professor to be our global scholar from a developing country. And she spent about, she spends a semester at Rollins college followed by a month or two months externship at to her brands. And during that time, she kind of learns different concepts of social entrepreneurship and how she can implement those learnings have changed making theory and practice back in her home country once she returns. Fantastic. Yeah. So once you're in terms of success, exactly what she does, so she partners with NGOs and universities. And the structure of phase two is then that she partners one student with one female entrepreneur, so the student works with the female entrepreneur for about four, six months to just address different business issues that the entrepreneur faces in three different areas. So it's business development, female empowerment, and then social and environmental issues that she's having in her business. So the students do that for about four to six months. And at the end of that, we do a three 360 degrees evaluation of the students. And based on that we select five students who we designate as global links change-makers, who then return to Rollins college for a two-week immersion program.
Jerrid Kalakay 3:32 Wow, wow. And how long has the Global Links program been in existence?
Yasmin Mesbah 3:36 So it was founded in 2011. And so far, we have had a completed three cycles, our first scholar was from Iraq. And then we had two scholars from India. And we just welcomed our fourth scholar from Brazil. And yeah, so we just started our fourth cycle in January of this year.
Jerrid Kalakay 3:57 Fantastic and fantastic. And also with us, current global links, scholar.
Denise Delboni 4:02 Yes, I'm Denise Delboni professor in Brazil, I teach labor law and labor relations there. But here I am a global link. scholar and I have been learning so much about Social Entrepreneurship in Social Innovation, it would be a great idea to we can spread these ideas in Brazil to Absolutely, absolutely. And what brought you to the program? I mean, how did you hear about the global links program? And, and how'd you get involved? Because you're the first global link scholar from Brazil? Yeah.
So how did you didn't know, I didn't know about the program. But when I decided to apply, I could see that it was so important not only to empower female entrepreneurs, but also to bring the students together with us, and especially maybe inspire them to take part of problems related to the community in Brazil. So it's a different kind of program. Definitely, it's different from whatever program you can imagine. So that's why I think it's so inspiring and so enthusiastic about there is absolute,
Jerrid Kalakay 5:05 and how long have you been in the States? We
Denise Delboni 5:08 are one month, okay, for one month, and enough time, we enough time to learn so much about the things, what we are going to expect with this program here? And what have you have been doing here related to these programs, and especially the results that they had a ninja with the last scholar, gobbling scholar?
Jerrid Kalakay 5:30 So how have you seen? I'm sure your mind must be going a million miles an hour? Being in a brand new environment, a different country? How do you see social entrepreneurship with your labor relations lens and labor law? What implications Do you think social entrepreneurs or social entrepreneurship has for your discipline?
Denise Delboni 5:55 I would say that in Brazil, it's very difficult. It's a huge country, of course, you have lots of things, diversity is related to the kind of other business around, of course, for any serious reasons. But if you think about the women in Brazil, and especially the moment that they decide to hire someone to work with them, it's very complicated. And I think that maybe the students can bring some ideas to this kind of possibilities in Brazil, thinking about different kinds of contracts, labor contracts, for instance, or maybe trying to help the entrepreneurs to run their businesses. So I think we have lots of opportunities related to that. And that thing, how to think about the businesses growing in Brazil, especially the small ones, and especially with this problem that we have related to loss, we have a very restricted, we have very difficult, that will have a very tough loss. We have very tough laws in Brazil. And that's why sometimes the people think twice before running a business there
Jerrid Kalakay 7:00 Laws kind of prevents people from jumping into entrepreneurship appropriately, so difficult.
Denise Delboni 7:05 And even this way we have today we have maybe 52% of the entrepreneurs there for me, male entrepreneurs. So even this way we can help them It can empower this woman to run their businesses. And of course, thinking about these students that set the point to help them or to not to coach them and orient them how to do the best way. Absolutely.
Jerrid Kalakay 7:29 Absolutely. And Mary from you know, working in Crummer and and being the host institution, and I understand that you serve as kind of a quasi host, personally, to the to the scholars that come over, what kind of things have you kind of experienced or did you not expect when you first signed on to the program?
Mary Conway Dato-on 7:50 That's a great question. And I'll tell you one of the things that one of my mentors who is now retired from Crummer, Susan Bach, talk to us talk to me about when I first started this project, right, so our first caller was from Iraq. And then she met, Susan met the second scholar from India from east of energy. She said, you know, Mary, what you're really doing here, and I said, know what's happening. She said, you're collecting sisters, you're developing a network of, of sisters of deep friendships and deep connections that are going to permeate not only your life and her life but the lives of your students and the lives of her family. And so, you know, as we talked about change-making, right, we should always sort of focus first, I think on us, right? What am I doing? What am I looking to change in my life? What am I looking to understand more about the world? And, for me, this program has first introduced me to three countries that I really don't know a lot about, even though I consider myself pretty International. So learning and working with a woman from Iraq, and it in a post-conflict situation and seeing the strength of her work and the long term resilience, right? We talked a lot of resilience and Social Entrepreneurship, that she has to not only implement small curricular changes, but she took back an entire program around career development and career coaching. Because what the situation was in Iraq is you have very intelligent women who are coming out of the universities, but they didn't know how to position themselves for that next step in their life. And so the beauty of this program, just like we teach, right, in international marketing is what do you adapt? And what do you standardize, and so for each of these three countries, we've had to make some slight changes to that? So I've seen what I teach in the classroom also manifest itself, and the energy that the professors bring, like Denise and Xiaomi, certain Roomba, and Mel, and then what their students bring is so inspiring and energizing, that it makes me want to do do this all again, it makes me want to do it five times more, find more sponsors, find more scholars, because that leads to more students and the women entrepreneurs that have been so positively affected and are now like sustainable in their business. So that was a really long answer. But it just shows that every time I get talking about this, it's really bringing to life, what we do. And we've also published quite a bit, you know, as a professor, we always have to think about how do we take what we're doing, whether it's pedagogy, right, the pedagogy of teaching, and the pedagogy of creating a program like this. And then also, how you take cross-cultural issues and look at those from someone who's come from another country. Absolutely. It's been cool. And I think the last thing is, we've now had six, I'm looking at Yes, me because he asked me was before she was a program manager, she was a graduate assistant with us. And we had dinner not too long ago with four of the graduate assistants who are still in this area. And so it has really catapulted their careers, as well as the careers for the Changemaker students who are coming from Iraq and India. So it's, it's been fun.
Jerrid Kalakay 11:29 Yeah, that's, that's amazing. I would imagine that most of that you could have never imagined.
Mary Conway Dato-on 11:35 No, you know what's so crazy. And this is really great, like, opportunity knocks in lots of different phases in ways. So, literally, I just got this call from the dean, and he's like, I'm gonna send you an email, I don't really understand what it means. But he's like the person who's always crazy enough to try something that's not fully baked. So give it a chance. And I got this email from Tupperware brands. And it was, we have this idea to start a program. We don't know what it's going to look like. We don't. But we want to train the trainers, we want to train the professors who turn to train the students who train the great so we can have this ripple effect. We talked about going out there. And we didn't know what we are doing. And God loves the scholars think. I hope Denise will find a little more structure now that we're in our fourth round of scholar, I've literally called her on the phone and I said, Hi, this is Mary, you applied to this program. You might you know, you know, you don't know me, but she's like, Yeah, can you call me back tomorrow? Because it was this crazy call from America coming? live with us for nine months. And then I called her back the next day. She's like, okay, so you really this is real, right? This is really good. So from that, she each color teaches us so much about how to adjust the program, we started out as me were just thinking about the five C's, right? So the program has a structure around coaching, curriculum, community, culture, and career. And then the focus then depends on what works for the scholar what their country needs, and what their students need. And so that's what we started with a phone call and five C's and fate, like, just jump in, just get dirty and make it happen.
Jerrid Kalakay 13:26 Yeah, it's pretty funny. Well, that's awesome. That's awesome. And he has been now as the program kind of coordinator, is that your title program? Turner? Yeah, Program Manager. I'm sure. I'm sure that there's a lot more intentionality and a lot more structure in it now then, you know, kind of what Mary was talking about, where it was literally a phone call and said, Hey, call me back tomorrow, because I think you're pretending it and when you call back tomorrow was like, Okay, this is might be real, I'm sure. It's a lot more, a lot more structure. Now. With that being said, You're still probably inventing a lot. And you know, whenever you move into a new country, it is all new stuff. And with every scholar is a completely new set of challenges and so forth. What have been some of the most rewarding experiences that you've had? Because I'm sure there's a lot of legwork that you have to put in it leading up to. And there's also a lot of stakeholders, right? There are a private corporation Tupperware brands, and then there's an educational institution Rollins, and then there's the scholars and their home country and the US State Department. And I mean, that's a lot of stuff going on. So So how does it all come together?
Yasmin Mesbah 14:40 I mean, for me, personally, it's very rewarding, that I am able to combine this idea of social excellence with professional achievement. So I feel like it's very fitting to talk about this, now that we're here at a showcase. This is kind of a theme that they bring up over and over. And this is exactly what I'm able to do. Right. So I was able to apply my MBA education into something that needs as you said, there's a lot of partners, there's a lot of stakeholders, there's a lot of things that you kind of have to go with the flow and figure that as you're going. So they needed someone who was able to kind of has this critical thinking analytical skills, open mind adaptability. So I was able to apply all of those things that I've learned over time, but in a way that was not just focused on how do I make more money out of this, but how do I give back. So for me, it's also very rewarding for me to be able to then help these students who we mentor who we work with, to achieve the same thing. So help them figure out the skills that they would need in order to be giving back to their communities. But at the same time developing these soft skills, these leadership skills, this leadership potential for them to then go on and continue to be change-makers in their communities. But then it even if this is not exactly the field that they want to pursue, they can pursue other avenues where they would achieve things that they never thought would be accessible to them. We've had students work with us who come from lower to a middle socio-economic class who don't have access to a lot of resources. And by the time that they were done with the program, they got positions at companies like PwC, and Deloitte, which is just amazing for us to see. So for me to just see the impact that these students go through to see just even in the two weeks that they come for their immersion to see the transformation that they go through and becoming more confident becoming more able to speak up in front of an audience full of a room full of people they have never met with an idea they just came up with and to just do that with complete comfort, when they wouldn't even be able to do that at a table of just five or six of their peers at the beginning. It's incredible, it makes it all worth it.
Jerrid Kalakay 17:02 That's, that's remarkable. I mean, most educators will spend their entire life looking for an experience like that, because in education, most of the time, we don't get to see the fruits of our labor. You know, we are planting seeds. And then our students might not grow that semester, or may not grow in the next two years or three years. And to be able and so oftentimes, us as faculty, or as higher education professionals in general, are educators in general, we don't get to see that results as quickly. So I can only imagine how powerful it must be to have this intensive experience. And the students were only here for two weeks. And to see that growth. So many, so many educators never get to see that. And so that's really a true gift.
Mary Conway Dato-on 17:55 You know, if I can say also Jerrid the other thing that I love about this program, I see it from the perspective of seeing yes means growth, and the other graduate assistants. When we put a problem, we practice what we are teaching in terms of social change, right? We put a problem on the table, and we say, all right, we have to we have 500 Indian students, and we have to get down to 30. Wow,
I put that on the table. What is that going to look like? What's your idea of the scholar? What's your idea to a graduate assistant? Okay, and we've got varying levels of English and we don't want to discriminate or to eliminate the better word, eliminate someone, because their English is not yet confident, or as he has been said because they can't verbalize right. And so yes, mean. And through this brainstorming process, right, we developed a whole way to get students to demonstrate empathy, to demonstrate leadership, and, and speaking and evaluate each other. And so that's part of what you were talking about the systemization of the program, still flexible. But we literally just put in front of them a picture and said, What, and it was a picture of a real situation in India. And we said, talk about amongst your team five, what is the social issue? See here? What is the environmental issue you see here, and getting them to talk about that from their different perspectives, and then take them to the next level of all right, each of you take one-minute silent reflection, write down an idea? And then right back to the table, share your idea, right? super basic things but suffer an Indian student had never been asked to do that before, right? They're the very role in learning. And now as a team come together, and a consensus of have an idea building on the five ideas, or the six ideas that you just shared, and do it in in a way that demonstrates listening, and empathy and and then we empowered the change-makers from the year before to help us evaluate the situation, which again, as foreigners, right, neither Yes, me nor I are Indian. Those students provide for us the context of No, this is appropriate in our culture. This is not this is why that happened. And so they help us to evaluate, it was really empowering to see the development of that evaluation tool to go to India and watch that too. And then to your point, come back and say, okay, what's working? Now, as we look going to Brazil, to think that same way? How do we go from who knows how many, once Denise gets back home and starts talking about it to the other schools in Sao Paulo in Brazil? What are we going to do to move from 500? To 30? Because that's all we can take in the program and one round? And then how do we go from 32? Five? And how do we use those students to help select and the scholars and entrepreneurs right, yeah, that 360 reviews?
Jerrid Kalakay 21:09 Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, and, and, and you're kind of going off of that Denise, you know, kind of hearing your colleagues here, talk about the previous scholars, and then kind of how the system works, and so forth. And I know you're only a month in.
Denise Delboni 21:26 With that being said, What do you hope will happen? What do you hope will be the response? In Brazil, we mentioned in one of the sessions here at a game of soccer, that it's so difficult for countries like Brazil having this kind of awards related to Social Innovation or Social Entrepreneurship. So we have some awards related to the best students in the class, the best student in finance, the best statistic, so we pay attention, or at least I think that in countries like Brazil, we are paying attention to different subjects difference issues. So that's why I think it's so important to introduce this kind of mindset there, especially related to good, very good top-rated universities and colleges there. So I think they are waiting too much for us to especially my bosses, it because I teach in two different colleges, I think I'm sure and think that I there are waiting, you're waiting for our return to related to this kind of engagement, I'm saved first, first thing engagement, part of the students in more than that, making these students helping another kind of sector, thinking about the different means for partnership. And I think it's so important for them to have this helping coming from the universities. So I hope that he will definitely they will be engaged in this kind of program to some amazing, so good one.
Jerrid Kalakay 22:57 And Mary talked about culture, and not being of the cultures that are coming that the scholars are from, how do you think culturally, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation work with female entrepreneurs? How do you think culturally, Brazilians will respond?
Denise Delboni 23:17 We have a problem there related to unemployment nowadays, I don't know if you saw that. But you have something like 13 or 14, that it's the rate and that we have nowadays employment? And the question is that most part of our population is not prepared. Thinking about skills are the skills required by great companies. So they are not prepared to enter this kind of market. And that's why sometimes they think about running their own business. But of course, they don't have skills also, to try to do this kind of immigration migration. So I think it's so important to be empowered and empower in this case, it means that bring some knowledge that we have inside universities, in this kind of a direction, you know, trying to help someone to make their own money, especially talking about the women because they are now the chief of families in Brazil, most part of them. So it's so important to have this kind of help coming from universities.
Mary Conway Dato-on 24:21 You know, as as you say that, Denise, would what you're reminding me of is this expression, and I'm not sure I have it, right. So maybe someone at the table can get it exactly right. But it's you to you think you know, something, but when you are required to teach it to another, that's when you really come to thoroughly understand it, right. And so what the students say is maybe to your point, and he's in the classroom, they're doing very well, they're getting A's because they have this way of studying and they knew and their whole life, they've followed that way. So now we say okay, so you think you understand accounting, now go to this woman's micro business or small business, and help her to construct an accounting system that separates her family expenses from her business expenses, that is sustainable, so don't come in with a big Excel spreadsheet, that she's not going to be able to understand or that she doesn't have her own computer to maintain it. So how are you going to break down a complex system like financial management in a way that you can explain it? And that's when the students start to really go? Oh,
Denise Delboni 25:32 and then they go, Okay, I got it. I got it. I got it. And you see the change that Yes, me, I think that's so important. And especially because they know that in Brazil, we have not this eight 5 % of the companies and small ones. So they are not the big ones, and they offer the employment that we need in our country. So I think that's why the first experience for some students would be great, talking about small companies. So in this aspect of think, it will be great to program for them because they are not used to pay attention sometimes to small businesses. Yeah. And I think this is the first step that we can arrive and resume a bit and try to tell the students that you have opportunities to act as a code for a woman, for instance, to start her businesses. So I think it's great, the great idea, yeah, and more than that, I would say that we learn too much with the students to, as they said in one in one of the session, we learn too much. But we have to, to pay attention to them. And this program, it brings this kind of attention that we need, when you call the students to take part in it, of course, we will have ears to listen to them. So it will be great to help the female entrepreneurs there. And more than that, trying to bring the students to our reality. Because of some, some universities, they don't pay too much attention to this subject. But we need that in Brazil, an absolute class we need trying to be a developed country, but we have to pay attention to our problems nowadays.
Jerrid Kalakay 27:05 Yeah, and, and entrepreneurship, especially social entrepreneurship could be a great thing for our country, especially in a developing country. And I especially like because of the because you're focusing on female entrepreneurs, which most of the time are overlooked or not included in the economic engines. And there's an incredible talent pool. That's there. So it's very, it's very exciting. In terms of day to day operations, day to day experiences that you're having here in the States, what does that look like? I know it's only been a month, but
Denise Delboni 27:42 know what month is wonderful.
Maybe a month is not enough? It's enough? No, it's great, because I am taking some classes. Yes, as my professor. Oh, she's younger than me. Excellent. Excellent.
Jerrid Kalakay 27:57 Yes, it's all relative.
Denise Delboni 28:11 And, of course, learning too much about Social Innovation, and about the models that you have developed in the United States. So I think this is the big step that I have. I can tell you talking about this last month, in yesterday, I told them, Mary, Mary, I feel so small, because they have some initiatives close to us because we're talking about Latin American yesterday. And they have wonderful initiatives. And we don't have an idea about that. So maybe it's this month is so great for me, especially to understand what we're doing here, the United States, and which kind of model we could replicate in Brazil too, and especially to be in contact with this kind of network with other professors, students, like great students, also, I'm taking part of some groups in the other in class. And sometimes I try to angry with the students about the problems that we have. But sometimes the Americans, they don't know about that, of course. So it's a wonderful integration because we can, we can be much more responsible, say, when I returned to my country, thinking about other mechanisms that you have here. And in one month, I was able to take part in some very important events related to volunteer programs related to some initiatives like the victory cup. And when they have NGOs, looking for some award, of course, but they are there to show they're to present their jobs, their storytelling. So it's great. In one month, I saw lots of things I could write, write a book.
Jerrid Kalakay 29:54 Oh, good. So so you can go back now? And you're done? Yes, I can. Yeah, because you're not going back until July. So so many more months. So only better things even come?
Denise Delboni 30:09 I'm sure that I will have lots of experiences. But I don't know how yet.
Jerrid Kalakay 30:13 Yes,
Denise Delboni 30:14 absolutely. But I can tell you that this first month was great for me, talking about the network, start talking about the things that I learned. And talking about something that called me caught my attention. And related to the kind of models or jobs that I can take to Brazil to It was great. That's awesome.
Jerrid Kalakay 30:34 That's awesome. Very cool. Now, and he has meant, so you're in an interesting position because you've been a student, of one of your colleagues. And now you're a professor, another colleague, so so you, you kind of span the entire journey. What is it? What is that like for you? What has that been like for you?
Yasmin Mesbah 30:58 It's been very intense. So I know, I'm technically a professor of the scholar. But for me, it's a learning experience, right? Because she's in my class, and she's interacting with all these students. And she's providing a fresh and new perspective to everything that I'm discussing in class. So everything that I'm discussing, I teach the introduction to social entrepreneurship class, so it's very entry-level. So I'm just kind of exposing the students to these ideas for the first time for a lot of them, they have no idea what it is. So we don't dive into maybe the International, you know, how, what does this look like in different countries. So to have Dr. Delboni being in class and be able to participate in different teams and different activities that we do? For me, it's also giving me kind of more learning to learn about these concepts from a different perspective. And what how what I'm teaching is being communicated if it's being communicated the way I want it to. So it's, I think it's a definitely a two-way street. And of course, Dr. Conway, she's been my professor, my mentor, just incredible support from the start. So I learned from her both in terms of working on Golding's and then in terms of in the classroom, so for me, I'm very fortunate to be able to be in this edition.
Jerrid Kalakay 32:19 That's cool.
Yeah, it's often it could be a precarious position to be a colleague, having been a student, and, and all those sorts of things. So it sounds like it's not been as difficult as it could be.
Yasmin Mesbah 32:35 No, because the way we work at global links is we don't really do hierarchy. So there is a little bit of Okay, this is the program manager, this is the faculty mentor, the Graduate Assistant, and we divide tasks, but it's not in any way, where Dr. Conway just tells us something when we're meeting and this is the way it has to be done. Or I told the graduate system, okay, now you go do this. It's not it's never been like that. It's always okay. This is the problem that we're facing. What would you guys think of that? And even if Dr. Conway hadn't a specific idea that she is convinced that it's the right way to go, she still does. propose it in a way that makes it seem like we have room to oppose it or get feedback, even if it doesn't always try to make us feel like she's in control or anything. So and she has some areas we are we have no idea what's going on, right in terms of maybe sometimes working with corporate partners or things like that. Dr. Conway obviously has way more experienced and for other things, she will seek our guidance in terms of maybe social media or crafting messaging or reaching out to students, she's not sure how exactly best to do that. So we just all collaborate, and contribute. And as we best can, based on our experiences,
Jerrid Kalakay 33:52 yeah, I mean, that's what makes the strongest team, right where they were there aren't, were there were the lines of hierarchy or not define and that people feel comfortable, challenging, and speaking up and so forth, it's, it's when the opposite is true that you run into really problematic situations where people where you only have Yes, people around you. And then things got really bad really fast. And,
Mary Conway Dato-on 34:17 you know, and I think again, as in my role as a professor, I'm teaching some concepts around empowerment, and around
team building and things like that. And as I was listening to one of the people speak here today, she was saying, the best way we learn, and that is, is to reflect and to, to observe. And so I think, as a professor, I want to be sure that I am modeling the same principles of empowerment that I'm teaching classroom because a that makes that just makes me feel better. And I believe that that's who I am. But also it, how do we teach it? Again, if we go back to what are we doing and change-making, right is we have to first look at ourselves. And we have to first look at what we're contributing and how we're behaving, not just in the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well. And so I tried to set up a team structure that takes advantage of everyone's skill that they bring, and at the same time, creates an environment of engagement, and empathetic learning, and listening. Right? So I definitely have ideas, right? I'm not shy, telling my ideas. But at the same time, I am completely willing. And it's actually when I interviewed the graduate assistants, I say, can you challenge me? Will you say to me, I have no idea what you're talking about? Or can that is not going to work? Because if you can't do that, then we're not going to work well together? Because I need someone And to your point, what good is someone who's just going to mirror back to me? Every thought I have no, I want someone to say this is not the best way to communicate with students who are considerably younger than us, or have we thought about this? What about that, and then empowering them to bring their ideas because the skill set that we have on the students? And now Yes, mean in the program manager
Jerrid Kalakay 36:33 are amazing. Absolutely. Well, and that's and that's how you make a stronger team. Right? If if you isolate people only to one particular role or one particular expertise, then you've left everything else that their value all their other valuables, the dollar.
Mary Conway Dato-on 36:51 I don't mean to interrupt you here. The other thing you're saying to me, which I just as I'm hearing it, like what I'm hearing, you say is also creating a team where there's mutual respect, absolutely. There's no hierarchy, yet. There's a respect to that says, I understand that you're older than me, and life has given you certain experiences, I understand that you come from a different country. And that brings a set of experiences. And so having a respectful in my syllabus, I say opinions vary, but civility is constant. Yes. And so creating a space where the respect is paramount to the process of engaging and active agreement and disagreement.
Jerrid Kalakay 37:33 Absolutely, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and there's clear that there's, there's a huge amount of mutual respect between the three of you just in the short time that we've been together. And I really, I really love the idea of the power of the ripple effect that this program has, in bringing over one scholar for a period of a few months in reality, and then bringing over their students for two weeks is, is a very short amount of time in the span of a lifetime. But then, knowing that all that not only the scholar, but the students go back to create change in their own communities. What kind of things do you all hope to happen with the program in general?
Mary Conway Dato-on 38:23 Thank you so much for asking that question. Because as you're talking, I was thinking about two things. One is we haven't talked a lot about the role the US Department of State in this program. And that's a very important role. because number one, they give us gravitas. And they have the perspective on the ground. So we work very closely are to me and scholars came from Calcutta. So it's not the capital city, but the console is there. And they've been incredibly supportive. And when Tupperware and Rollins decided for some strategic reasons to reposition the program into Brazil, the US Department of State in Calcutta said, Wait a minute, we love what you're doing here. How do we not lose this? And so we're in the process of working with the two scholars and the change makers who said the same thing, wait a minute, like I've got a younger brother and sister that I want to have off with this. And so we're actually doing some grant writing around that. So the future where I see the future, as is global links, India, global links, Brazil, global links Mexico, and so are, we're doing some grant work in India. And then the next step is to talk to other Latin American countries and see what companies can additionally sponsor that. And if we had five scholars, at the same time in Rollins, the impact of that would also have on our campus, bringing over one scholar is awesome. And Denise has been so great getting out and meeting people and interacting with people. And imagine that a multiplier of five and then that means bringing back. Sorry, I'm
Jerrid Kalakay 40:11 not a math professor.
Mary Conway Dato-on 40:16 Right? Yeah, 25 students all at once for this two-week program. And then the next round, maybe getting the scholars from Iraq and India and Brazil and Mexico and doing a kind of mini-conference around that. So for me, the sky's the limit. And as Yasmin said earlier because we're so passionate about this program, we just keep pushing the boundaries and asking for more, because I'm a true believer, if you don't ask for it, you, you'll probably never get it. So that's where I see the program going.
Yasmin Mesbah 40:48 Yeah, and hit three people, just to kind of give you some perspective of the potential that the program has in terms of impact. Like he said as Dr. Conway said, we do have right now it's cycle has one scholar, and we only bring five change makers. However, on average, each cycle we impact around 2000 individuals, tween professors, staff, students, entrepreneurs, NGOs, the fat, the staff at the American Center back in Kolkata, so and that's just with one scholar. So imagine being able to have five scholars at a time, right? Because each cycle is between a year, two years. So if we are able to multiply that number by five, it's incredible. And that is part of what kind of pushes us to keep going even when we don't always have positive results because we've been trying this whole expansion and scaling thing for a while. And it's not always a Happy journey, right? Sometimes we get rejections and we meet, we have like a dead end. And we don't know where what to do. But what keeps us going is because we see the potential that this program has, and we are just not going to stop until we're able to
Denise Delboni 42:02 the impact and the potential. Yeah. And it said that the more than numbers, I think you have to think about implications, the possible implications. So we are not talking just about knowledge. We're not talking about just a million for printers, we're talking about maybe creating new jobs, they're talking about creating new kind of mindset related to the transformation of businesses, the actual businesses that we have in Brazil. So I think it's a different kind of implication, because behind each student, or behind it, interpreter, maybe you have different kinds of consequences there. So this is a kind of different implications. So it's very helpful for this kind of program.
Jerrid Kalakay 42:47 Absolutely. Yeah. Well, I just want to thank you all, so very much for taking time and chatting with us at that Teaching Change. I'd also be remiss if I didn't also acknowledge that Dr. Conway, that alone, served as my dissertation, one of my dissertation members on my committee, and also serve as a mentor and co-publisher of an article and a bunch of other stuff. So it was a joy to chat with you a little bit about this very exciting work. And it was very nice meeting all of you and chatting with you. Thank you.
Mary Conway Dato-on 43:25 Thank you Jerrid way before you hit that Post button, I want to say the same that I can't tell you how exciting it is for me to see the impact that you're making, that you're making. With this podcast that you're making. I think also not only by challenging but leading at Valencia and leading in the community, your ability to create networks is amazing. So just keep going. It's exciting. It's very exciting.
Jerrid Kalakay 43:52 I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you all.
Yasmin Mesbah 43:54 Thank you.
Jerrid Kalakay 43:56 Till next time, be nice and change some stuff