Friday, August 21, 2015

Board Meetings

Board Meetings are held on the third Friday of every month.

Links to the meeting agendas and minutes can be found below.

Fall 2015

August 14th

September 18th

October 16th

November 20th

General Assemblies

IBSG General Assemblies are held on the first Friday of every month at 5:30pm at the Anderson School of Management.

Links to our agendas and meeting resources can be found below.

Fall 2015

September 4th

October 2nd

November 6th

December 4th

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This is Emzingo

Emzingo- the Swahili word for circle or community.

Joining Emzingo means joining a global community of students, professionals, organizations, and social enterprises from all across the world. Fellows in the Peru 2015 cohort, come from Japan, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Canada, Belgium, the United States, and Peru. However, these Fellows also bring a wealth of other cultural customs with them having spent time working and learning in many other countries. This is just a little taste of the diversity of Emzingo Fellows. Others in the Emingo circle consist of businesses, NGOs, government entities, universities, and people from all over the world. Emzingo is a global community.

Some communities are formed by geographical location, others by shared interests, passions, or topics. While the Fellows and the Emzingo leaders and partners come from different walks of life and very different parts of the world, one thread ties us together- our desire to serve in meaningful ways. Emzingo community members work towards solving global issues and dreaming up ways of preserving natural resources, conserving ancestral traditions (art, music, dance, folklore, agriculture, crafts, etc), opening up financing to marginalized populations to break cyclical poverty, empowering isolated communities, developing future generations of responsible leaders, and making these endeavors socially and financially sustainable. And now… Emzingo is a Certified B-Corporation! It is a community in which UNM, IBSG, and I are proud to be a part of.

Audriana Stark
Emzingo Peru 2015 Fellow

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sala Kahle - Post 8

Yesterday someone asked me what my favorite part of this trip was. While we went to so many different, amazing places, while I danced my heart out and while I ate delicious food the only thing that I could think of were the answers that no one really wants to hear. I loved the experience, I loved the struggle, I loved the fact that my field partner didn’t see eye to eye with Emzingo.
I have learned more about the role of social business in the last 8 weeks than I feel like I could in years in the classroom. The simultaneous value and difficulty that comes with diversity, that comes with cultural exchange and that comes with collaboration, the beauty of business that can arise in places that seem (through western eyes) resourceless are things that I can’t imagine learning anywhere but on the ground. Eldorado park, while full of hiccups and obstacles, taught me how to think outside of the box that I thought was all encompassing. It taught me about the struggles facing not only business but also each and every person who interacts with the business sector (i.e. everyone). It taught me to question everything, to question the answers that I am given, to question the work that I am doing, and through those questions to never accept where you are; always work towards something new, something bigger, something better. I am so proud of the work that we did and the challenges that we faced to create something that embodies the struggle that South Africans are fighting in every moment of their day-to-day lives. We created guides and partnerships that were born through the struggle and the conflict of our first few weeks and I couldn’t imagine being prouder of them.    

I responded that hiking in the mountains of Mpumalanga was my favorite part. I think this will be my go to short answer. But, if you delve just a little bit deeper, get ready for a conversation full of frustration, admiration, and absolute joy in the fact that I was a part of the 2015 Emzingo Global Impact Fellowship Program.

What is a simple question? Do they exist? - Post 7

What color is the sky?
That’s a fairly simple question with a fairly simple answer. I say fairly because once it is expanded, “what color is the sky?’ becomes a much more difficult question. The answer depends on what day it is, it relies on the refraction of light and the composition of the earth’s atmosphere. In the past few weeks, things that could be categorized as simple questions have struck me as awe inspiring and integral to finding a sense of place and moving forward with our projects.
The first occurred at an HIV and AIDS in the workplace panel when the speaker, in the middle of hitting his audience of undergraduates and MBAs with huge amounts of factual and emotional information, asked me “Who are you?” With only three words, this initially looks like a simple question. It should be a question with an equally concise answer. It was an answer that, when put on the spot, seemed like the hardest thing to find in the world. An impossible test on with my life depended, due to the fact that this question, in and of itself, is my life. Yet, I was brought into the dilemma of “what color is the sky?” because while I know what I am; I am human, I am made up of cells that make up organs and neurons that spark ideas, but these things also change like the weather, growing each and every day with new experiences and environments.
I answered the question, but it stuck with me. If I couldn’t answer who I was for myself, an expert in all things me, how could I make decisions for a community for which I was an outsider?
The second simple question I was faced with was “why South Africa?” Now this is a question that I had answered before I left, being confident in the answer that I provided. I sighted developmental issues and the unique atmosphere that is South Africa in that its incredible inequality can provide a sort of controlled environment. You can look at policies that affect people who live in very similar areas, with the same ruling government but on opposite ends of economic and cultural spectra. After experiencing South Africa, I remembered this answer and realized while that it touches a lot of why I wanted to come here, it misses things as well.  It misses the absolute diversity, the differences between where we lived and where I work and the beauty that lies within that. It misses the fact that SA has the most official languages in the world and the beauty and difficulty that comes with that. And it misses the fact that while business seems to run the world that we are living in, and it ran this program, that the cultural range that spans South Africa has to come head to head with that. A battle that has been raging since apartheid continues now through the business sector, and while there are many many people working toward changing that, there is still much work to be done. South Africa provides a picture perfect example of history, culture, diversity, language, education, human rights, and the public sector working in tandem in a way that hasn’t found its sync yet.
Often it’s the simple things that bring us to complicated answers, but they also have the brevity to remind us to keep things short. A few words can create everlasting conversations.
Keep the simple questions coming.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cógelo suave and get some “tigueraje”!

I finally got to the Dominican Republic after 30+ hours of traveling.  

Hola Santo Domingo!
My lovely field leaders, Eddie and Mario, and Country leader Lia greeted me at my arrival carrying a sign that read “SEC”. We waited a few hours for another intern and then headed to the hostel in which we would stay for two nights for orientation before we would head to Los Blancos, Enriquillo where our homestay families awaited for us. The rest of the pack joined us later that night. Some nationalities were represented in our intern group: Nigeria, USA, Romania and Mexico of course!

During orientation we got a glimpse of what we would be doing for the next few weeks and also received great insight for the guiding principles of social entrepreneurship for SEC. These all have specific definitions but I will share with you what they meant and still mean for me.

  •  Social impact- People first not profit. Success means all stakeholders continue to receive access for positive outcome regarding quality of life.
  • Responsiveness- Food is not being offered for people who are thirsty. The opportunities that are being created are the ones that have been stated by the community. They have a say in the whole process to keep social impact sustainable.
  • Flexibility- Change is expected and allowed keeping the results the same if not better. Act, learn evolve.
  • Appropriateness- Keep things real.
  • Sustainability- All stakeholders have that tools and guidance to achieve financial and administrative survival, not dependent of one main stakeholder. Continuous check ups of progress to direct moves towards sustainability.
  • Growth potential- Interest in personal and professional growth from all stakeholders, sense of ownership to maintain the momentum of the interventions.
  • Do no harm- There are sometimes that harm is inevitable, keeping it at its minimum or eliminating it is the goal here. Continuous cost-benefit analysis to maintain stakeholders informed.
When I learned about these principles is the moment when I took ownership of being an SEC intern and said, “I’m in!” I could sense this ownership and personal investment in my field leaders also. The way they talked and went about their interactions with us and within them reflected these guiding principles in many ways. I could not wait to go into the field.

(@Orientation Day, eating "Bandera Dominicana": grilled chicken, beans "habichuelas, and rice.)
Some basics of Dominican culture and history were also covered these two days. Dominicans like to “cogerlo suave”, take things easy in every aspect of their lives. Coming from the “Land of Tomorrow” a nickname often used to describe Mexico I thought it would be easy for me to adjust into this laid-back climate. Little did I know that when you say you will meet with someone at 7 it will more than likely be at 8 since they are more than likely to run into someone they know and it is important to chat with everyone a bit every time you see them, to see how they are doing and what is up with their lives. This was one of the main points of the orientation for SEC DR: people>time. People are more important than being on time. It might seem wrong in a Western context but in a Caribbean context it is perfectly normal and accepted by society.

We also went over an important Dominican population/concept: “tigueres.“ Tigueres are the men a dad warns her daughter about. This smooth operator, risk-taker, independent, smart ass (according to an article by Sarayu Adeni) is someone you will encounter while at the DR, don’t be afraid, they bark more than they bite. Instead, learn some of their ways and use your inner “Tiguere” to: defend yourself from overpriced “motoconcho” (motorcycle taxis) and “guagua” (bus) rides, speak up when necessary, take your ideas to the next level and never saying no to taking a risk that will make you grow as a person and as a professional. DR and all of its tigueres, I am ready!

Sara Beltrán
SEC DR 2015