Tag: Critical Thinking

CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace, is bringing its “Check Your Blind Spots” tour to Washington University on Wednesday, March 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The “Check Your Blind Spots” Tour Bus will be outside the Mallinckrodt Center on Forsyth Boulevard. Students and other attendees who participate in the experience or take the quiz will receive a CEO Action T-shirt.

WashU Becomes Signatory to the CEO Action Pledge

Washington University is proud to be a signatory among those leading the way toward true inclusion. By signing on to the commitment, 350-plus CEOs and presidents have pledged to rally the business community to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace by working collectively across organizations and sectors.

The tour is visiting college campuses and corporate offices across the country to help students and employees learn how to address and manage their unconscious biases and empower them to take part in diversity and inclusion conversations both in their communities and with their future employers.

Unconscious bias–triggered by our subconscious mind’s cognitive shortcuts–happens without us even knowing it. And it exists in all of us. The way we manage that subconscious impulse is what makes us inclusive and accepting people.

At each tour stop, staff, students, or faculty will be taken through a video experience, overhearing unexpected conversations that happen in the real world and reveal society’s biases – and ultimately, their own. This experience will equip members of the WashU community with the knowledge and resources needed to help address preexisting biases and better understand their role in advancing diversity and inclusion.

Check out a video recap of the first leg of this tour here and visit CheckYourBlindSpots.com to assess your own blind spots!

Written by Ross J. Brown, BSBA 2018, on behalf of Bauer Leadership Center.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Do right by the organization. Stick to your values. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Last Thursday, Michael Holmes imparted his lessons of leadership during his presentation at Olin’s Defining Moments course.

Holmes is chairman and founder of Rx Outreach. This nonprofit company focuses on providing medicine to individuals who cannot afford it. Since its inception in 2010, after originally being a part of Express Scripts, the company has been able to provide 670 medication strengths, by more than 70 employees, serving more than 210,000 patients. Rx Outreach patients have saved than $320 million.

Throughout his career, Holmes has worked at variety of companies and in executive positions with Edward Jones and Express Scripts.

With his charismatic personality, Holmes’ presentation captivated the audience with his story of success—and mistakes—that allowed students to understand his underlying points of respect, values, and reflection. With consistent excellence in his career path, he was also able to demonstrate consistent and equal respect to all his coworkers—from secretaries to superiors.

This equal respect came from his religious beliefs, which he also proudly speaks about. I find this impressive. Religion can be a controversial topic, but Holmes is confident enough in himself and who he is to share this part of his background with others.

Finally, Holmes mentioned that he believes we should “enjoy every step of the journey”—enjoy every victory, learn from mistakes, and ultimately, have fun. The time spent with Michael Holmes was inspiring and enjoyable as we learned how to become better employees, better leaders, and overall better people in and out of the work place.

A day hardly passes without an urgent headline focused on the economic transformation underway wrought by blockchain technology. The software is the power behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but Olin experts have been plumbing the deeper implications of the technology.

Here are five things business leaders should know right now about blockchain from Panos Kouvelis, director of Olin’s Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation, and Ohad Kadan, H. Frederick Hagemann, Jr. Professor of Finance and Associate Dean for Global Degree Programs. Then, watch for a way to learn more.

Peer-to-Peer Transactions—Like Cash

Blockchain technology has been developed as an efficient method for completing financial transactions, based on the principle of peer-to-peer involvement and fully decentralized and shared networks. It functions as a distributed ledger that provides visibility of all transactions to all parties in the chain, and it is built on an immutable database.

Early Applications

Beyond cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, etherium, and litecoin, the blockchain has been used in supply chain finance in areas such as clearing financial payments, using digital ledgers, and executing “smart” contracts.

Digital Inventory Tracking

Key inventory and asset resources can take on a digital footprint, which provides additional security and tracking capabilities. Applications have been built, relying on the blockchain, to track and trace goods involved in the supply chain for industries such as the diamond trade, food, and pharmaceuticals.

Applications Still Being Conceived

Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize supply chains and it requires the immediate attention of supply chain managers. Many are scrambling to understand how a technology developed to support cryptocurrencies might be applicable to supply chains and, in particular, to the supply chains of their companies. Experts say the technology will reduce friction in global shipping operations and complex supply chains that involve goods flowing across borders, through ports, and involving governmental agencies, manufacturing, and retail firms.

Kouvelis and Kadan will help business leaders get further up-to-speed on the ways blockchain technology will enhance (or disrupt) their industry in a two-day seminar May 22-23 called “Blockchain Innovation Strategies: Early Lessons from an Emerging Technology.” Click for more about this workshop.

The workshop is structured as a forum to learn more about the technology and equip attendees to know what questions to ask as they explore the implications of blockchain for their business. Coming out of the workshop, attendees should better understand the potential application of the technology in their supply chains, gain inspiration about possible immediate benefits the technology can provide, and confront obstacles and challenges in implementing it.

Written for the Olin Blog on behalf of Bear Studios by Lexi Jackson, BSBA’20.

Young professionals today are far less likely to be drawn to monetary incentives than past generations. As PwC finds, millennials are driven by feedback, fulfillment, and the potential to create impact. They desire to make a difference in their work and reach high levels of social impact.

As I consider my own career ambitions, I find that they align most closely with this idea. I want to use my career as another platform to affect change and create my livelihood from difference-making.

The hardest question to answer is, where do I begin?

In order to begin a journey toward high impact, an individual has to have a healthy degree of impatience. That is to say, the most impactful individuals do not wait until they are at the most ideal state in their lives to make an impact. They act immediately with the resources they have at the time. Most individuals will never feel fully ready or equipped to believe they have the capacity to make real impact, and, therefore, often do not act.

Don’t Wait to Act

What we forget is that our actions are only as strong as our passions, and our passions cannot be cultivated by resources or opportunity—they exist in us inherently. Those who have the passion to create change are those who know that change can’t wait. And neither can their action.

Perhaps this is why I decided to create Olin Business School’s first Diversity and Inclusion Summit on February 9. I recognized a need within the community for dialogue and action on this topic, and while I didn’t have the personal resources to materialize my passion, I knew that by seeking the proper partners, the event could come to fruition. All it took was my decision to begin action.

Lexi Jackson

My team and I planned the Summit for more than five months. We booked speakers from over seven companies and organizations including Uber, Facebook, US Bank, Build-A-Bear, and more. We sought financial assistance of more than five different student organizations before finding success from our central sponsor, the BSBA office. We overcame challenges, celebrated unexpected opportunities, and crafted an event that attracted more than 80 students, faculty, and community members.

At its inception, the summit appeared to be an impossible undertaking. We did not have the resources, brand, or experience to execute a half-day event. However, if we had waited until we felt completely assured of our ability to succeed, we would likely have never succeeded altogether.

Action Leads to Fulfillment

Young professionals must act with the same diligence if they desire to find fulfillment in every stage of their career. I hear all too often that my peers are accepting jobs that do not fully excite them, simply to serve as an intermediary between now and their dream career. However, that does not have to be the case. High impact jobs can be found at every point on the career track and include jobs that are both meaningful AND lucrative. A high-impact job does not have to mean working at a nonprofit or earning lower wages in the pursuit of a greater good.

This understanding is the exact mission of the organization 80,000 Hours. 80,000 Hours was created by two Oxford researchers and philosophers who found that this generation is driven by high impact through a career, but will too often forfeit these positions of change in fear of financial stability.

Therefore, 80,000 Hours serves as a job search platform where users can find positions that produce high levels of social impact without breaking the bank. The jobs are sorted into a plethora of categories and are designed to teach users about the breadth of social impact. For example, with artificial intelligence positioned at the threshold to the future, there is perhaps no higher impact job that one can hold than to research and understand both its dangers and benefits. In this way, users are able to find surprisingly impactful positions that fulfill their interests and leverage their expertise.

As a member of Bear Studios, a student-run strategy firm and LLC, I actively use the resources and knowledge that I can contribute at the time to add value to our clients’ projects. I may not have all the answers, but that does not mean I should not leverage what I do know to make the biggest impact that I can.

When we begin to measure social impact in a different way, we find ourselves more equipped to act. We find ourselves more fulfilled, more involved, more empowered. We find ourselves making a difference. Most importantly, we find ourselves refusing to wait. And that, is where the change happens.

Pictured above: Charlyn Moss (BSBA’20), Lexi Jackson (BSBA’20), Sema Dibooglu (BSBA’20), Claudia Rivera (BSBA’20)

Guest Blogger: Lexi Jackson, BSBA’20, is majoring in leadership and strategic management, political science; she is a strategy fellow at Bear Studios LLC.

Jamie Swimmer, MBA '18

Jamie Swimmer, MBA ’18

Jamie Swimmer, MBA ’18, provided these reflections on his residency last week in Washington, DC, with the Brookings Institution. The capstone trip is a new feature of Olin’s full-time MBA program launched this year with two waves of MBA students who traveled separately to the capital for a whirlwind tour and conversations with DC policymakers.

This past week, our entire MBA class here at Olin had the privilege of traveling to Washington, DC, for a three-day residency at the Brookings Institution.

The trip to DC was part of our new capstone course, The Global Business Environment in the 21st Century, which was focused primarily on the intersection of business and politics in today’s global business climate.

The trip was highlighted by two days of incredible guest speakers, with the first day’s speakers focused on how politics and business work together and the second day’s being more topic-specific and specialized.

My biggest takeaway from Day 1 was that business cannot and should not be isolated from politics. Business executives and managers have a responsibility to keep eyes and ears on Washington, DC, at all times, for the policies and reforms that come out of the capital have a direct impact on business all around the country.

Companies all have their own regulatory officials that work directly in DC to lobby and advocate for certain agendas, with many very successful public-sector officials ultimately moving into private-sector regulatory roles following careers on The Hill.

Hearing from a former National Economic Council member about his role in shaping the economic policy during the financial crisis under the Bush Administration was just one of the many moments that resonated with me that first day.

The second day of speakers was personally my favorite. We had the choice of picking which speakers we could attend, though we were presented with only great options on a diverse set of topics. I was able to hear from lecturers on the current state of North Korea relations, the complex and ever-changing dynamics of the Middle East, current trends in Africa and immigration reform in today’s political climate.

All speakers were experts in their respective fields and displayed such an impressive depth and knowledge and passion for their respective topics that it inspired me to dig deeper into the material I am study at Olin.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience and one that I was honored to take part of as the first MBA class to attend Brookings for this new capstone course.

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