Pinchot’s 2014 Summer Study Tour took Pinchot students, alumni and faculty to America’s “Rust Belt.” The group visited Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit to explore sustainable business opportunities at these significant sites of industrial success, decline and rebirth. In this series of blogs, participants share revelations and reactions along their journey.
By James Coburn
Detroit is a dichotomy.
The city’s innovative spirit that brought us the assembly line and the modern auto industry lives on in wildly successful new enterprises like Quicken Loans. Yet Detroit’s much-publicized poverty has spawned a depressed yet resilient culture that continues to struggle to pull itself out of the gutter.
Big ideas, modest progress
The macro thinkers of Detroit’s Economic Growth Corp. are focused on job creation. Their mantra is “one job creates many,” expressing their belief that jobs are an important way to get the city back on its feet. Yet the sheer scale of the municipality – 170 square miles – makes the pace of progress seem slow.
Place-making and art are happening all over the city: On the many abandoned properties, as well as downtown, through the efforts of Ford, Quicken Loans, and business moguls like Dan Gilbert and Mike Ilitch. These efforts are attracting young talent into a city center with many buildings that only five years ago were mere skeletons of themselves. Driven leaders like Mayor Mike Duggan are tirelessly pushing ahead to create innovation areas in the city to encourage new industry and create sustainable jobs. The city is also acting as fast as resources will allow to remove the remainder of the nearly 78,000 abandoned homes and putting in up to 800 street lights a week to create a safer city.
By Gerod Rody
The handshake is a fixture in the business world, whether establishing new contacts or closing a deal.
Likewise, the pat on the shoulder has been a gesture of professional affirmation for years, though more recently it’s gone out-of-vogue as patronizing. These and other forms of touch are a valuable part of non-verbal business communication, but we at Pinchot believe that there are even deeper ways to engage. Enter the hug.
Scientists agree that touch is an essential human need (especially for the workplace), and while the handshake is nice and all, it doesn’t function in quite the same way as a mutually respectful embrace. According to one researcher, “Hugs have positive impacts on self-esteem, relationships and upon the body’s ability to cope with stress.”
Seattle is abuzz with excitement this week after the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC Championship and advance to play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
We at BGI congratulate the Seahawks on their exhilarating victory over a major rival. As we await the next big game, we want to also express our admiration for the Seahawks and what their sustainability efforts provide to the Seattle community even when the game is over.
The New Yorker recently published “Why Women Should Skip Business School” where they recommended that “a woman should ask herself whether her time is best spent listening to male classmates openly ruminate on whom they would ‘kill, sleep with or marry.'”
We see it a bit differently. Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) is a business school where women make up the majority of our student population (53.8 percent in 2010, 56.1 percent in 2011, 60.6 percent in 2012 and expected 62 percent in 2013). BGI alumni, including women, work in every sector. They are corporate citizens, nonprofit innovators, civic leaders, and successful entrepreneurs.
Consider these thoughts by a few of our faculty, alumni, and students:
“Not all business schools are created equal. Some are created more equal than others.
By Gerod Rody
As a kid, I admired Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and others like him, for blazing trails to create new markets to meet the needs we didn’t yet know we had. At the time, I struggled with my own unmet needs, specifically my closeted sexuality and my yearning to figure out my life’s work. Schultz’ work spoke to me of the transformation I craved. Schultz reconfigured the coffee market by providing spaces for community connection. I redefined my identity by coming out as a gay man. And I revolutionized my values as I earned my MBA in Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.
Now, years later as a happy gay man making an impact in sustainability, I see my early hero of market transformation using his influential company to again rethink the role of business. Starbucks is not the only company to tout their stance on marriage equality, but they are certainly one of the most visible. And, in my opinion they’ve earned the headlines.