When Dr. Joseph Betancourt spoke on “Solutions for Disparities: Delivering Quality Care to Diverse Populations” in Chattanooga TN, he delivered both unusual expertise and a personal model for future healthcare. Dr. Betancourt’s family came from Puerto Rico to NYC and he talked about his childhood as interpreter for his grandparents to their doctors. Today, Dr. Betancourt is Director of the Disparities Solution Center and Senior Scientist at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. With his medical degree, fellowship in Minority Health Policy and Masters from the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Betancourt is now a well-respected expert in cross-cultural medicine.
On a cold night in Sixties, my cousin Sam and I escaped our Harvard dorms and headed out for a small neighborhood theater in Boston. I had the homesick bug; Sam cheered me up with a concert by a relatively unknown Ravi Shankar. Shankar was a musician who would eventually attract the Beatles, and the West, to his music. He was more of a cult icon in those days. I was an early entry into the All-Things-Eastern craze, having squeezed myself into a course on Buddhism at Harvard Divinity School. Even so, I had never seen Shankar perform or heard his music.
Maria Tallchief, international ballet superstar, inspired the ballerina in those of my generation caught up in the Dance Fantasy. Like gambling fever, the Dance can be all-consuming, easily contracted and a life-long passion. I caught dancing fever at first sight, growing up in Bermuda. I stared, open-mouthed when the square dance caller yelled ‘allemande right’ and my older brother Joe and his friends flew around the circle formation. “Me, too!” begged my five-year-old self. “Can I, huh, Can I?” The caller looked pained when Mom asked permission. “Yeah, OK. But only if she can find someone who’ll dance with a kid that young.” The deck was stacked against me, but Joe paid a friend sixpence to dance with me. My love affair with dance was off and running.
A friend on Facebook is the brand new father of a baby girl. Simon Cohen, in awe of childbirth and fatherhood invited his friends to give him ideas for an upcoming British radio show asking, “Why aren’t women given more respect? It’s the 21st Century!”
(The Bermuda Jews History Series was originally published in The Bermudian Magazine)
I sat in a restaurant overlooking Hamilton harbor pondering my morning researching Bermuda Jews in the island’s Archives. I’d spent many hours reviewing Bermuda’s Jewish tourism prior to World War II. Yes, my family had mentioned ‘restricted’ places where no Jews were allowed. But mostly I remembered their stories of Bermuda’s war-time kindness to Jews. Dr. Hollis Hallett, the Archives founder, directed me to documents from the 1930s showing the impact of an increasingly global anti-Semitism on Bermuda tourism. What should I write about this ugly period?
The complex constellation of skills required for global leadership is continually morphing. The basic leadership competencies are only an axis around which revolve the specifics of local culture and the
analytics of the target culture globally. Therefore, not only does the knowledge management evolve, but so does the audience for global leadership development. At one time, the audience was primarily executives involved in international relocation. Over time, that group widened to include those who work with them: Human Resource departments, Supply Chain groups, and professionals with frequent contact, particularly in the STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Today, in order to stay competitive in this environment, virtually every nation on the face of the planet is extending their global leadership training into new arenas. A key area is our youth, brought up on the internet with its impersonal speed and no-holds-barred communication style. The question now becomes, how can we capture the imagination, thought processes, and commitment of potential leaders in an arena with few quick answers or short tweets.
We are constantly shuttling between local and global in our work today. Your markets may be in your home town one month, and across the country the next. Your consulting work can be on site around the corner, or across the country. Online night and day, we inform, coordinate, network, and market here at home and across the world. In the midst of massive information overload, the diverse team must have the expertise to cross cultures competently and the wisdom to make effective decisions quickly. In the future, the overload will only intensify. How will we master the global – local connection as it moves and morphs at lightening speed?
It’s not easy being catchy, creative and on-target when branding yourself. Projecting our uniqueness into the loud, busy, multicultural market place is a challenge. Many of us don’t see that every detail, like the words we choose, contribute to our brand, even when we think no one’s paying attention. The trick is to make our choices consciously, rather than randomly, as entrepreneurs are trained to do. Ask me how I know that and I’ll share my story, as well as some tips I learned along the way.
My kerfuffle with a department store floor ended with me lying on the floor. All that went through my mind was, “How will I get everything done for our Women’s History Storytelling celebration?” Part of me muttered, “We’re doomed!” But part of me said, “Ah, the Broken Bone Factor! This isn’t a disability – this is diversity at work! ”
This wasn’t my first experience with the Broken Bone Factor. Chicago 1990, I sat in my office, staring at the cast on my broken foot. I’d survived three years planning the National Workshop on Christian-Jewish relations, but oversee the actual 4-day conference was like running a marathon through the world’s hottest topics: Church-State issues, International wars, Life & Death. The convention center had just called yelling, “Extra security!” Sighing and muttering, “We’re doomed!” I hoped that maybe broken bones and breaking ground went together. Amazingly the planners produced the best religious diversity conference I’ve ever seen. Thank you, planning committee, always.
The president of the Chattanooga area Chamber of Commerce opened the combination reception, celebration, and press conference at Chattanooga’s Hunter Museum on July 15, 2014. The online invitations had gone out only 24 hours earlier, but the room was packed with 800 people. It had been six years since I attended the announcement of the Volkswagen plant coming to Chattanooga in this room. This year was noteworthy because of the wrangling over union representation, politics, state funding, and various personality driven conflicts that would determine whether Volkswagen would build a second car here.