Leadership Development Spending

A quick poll. I’m curious to know if your company will spend more or less on leadership development programs in the next 12 months. Vote now!



A New Chapter

After nearly five and a half years at the University of San Diego, I’ve decided to leave for a new job with Vistage International.  This move for me is bittersweet, since I have enjoyed my time at USD and I’ve built so many great friendships.  My new role will be as a marketing manager for a program called Vistage Inside, and I’m really excited about the new challenges I’ll face there.

My work with the MS in Global Leadership program has touched the lives of more than 350 graduate students in 24 cohorts  (myself included, as I graduated from the program in 2008).  I’ve become friends with many of these alums, and continue to enjoy hearing how they’ve made an impact in the world.

Our word-of-mouth marketing has remained a strong part of the recruiting strategy, and stands as a testament to the quality of the program and the level of satisfaction of our students.  We’ve made great strides using social media to communicate with alumni, students and prospective students.  More than two years ago we established a student-written blog and created more ways for them to tell the world about their experiences in a graduate business program that strayed from the traditional MBA.

I’m leaving behind a business school that has built a lot of momentum in the past few years.  The part-time MBA program was recently ranked #14 in the US by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and many of the same A+ faculty from that survey teach in the MSGL program as well.  As the USD school of business administration continues to gain attention on the national stage, so does the MS in Global Leadership.

My time with USD included two trips to China (Beijing and Shanghai), two trips to Buenos Aires, and numerous recruiting trips around the US.

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My time at USD will always hold a special place in my heart, since it was during these five years that I met my wife, got married, and welcomed our first child into the world.  I’m thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend with my son during his first (almost) two years, and the work-life balance I’ve enjoyed has been a situation most could only hope for.

Moves like this don’t happen without a lot of help.  And help shouldn’t go unrecognized.  So many people have been a part of my professional network for the past few years – offering advice, making introductions, writing recommendations, and providing encouragement.  Bob Schoultz, Dean Dave Pyke, and Stephanie Kiesel were instrumental in my professional development over the past several years.  Their support of my learning and development in the marketing community has been incredible.  Special thanks to Bob for giving me the opportunity to work at USD in 2006 and for his support, guidance, leadership, and friendship for the past 5+ years.  Thanks to the rest of the MSGL team – Stephanie, Sam, & Suzy for always having my back.

There are so many others I could (and should) thank here – but my word count tells me I’m already beyond 500.  If we got together for coffee, had lunch, exchanged emails, talked on the phone, met at a conference, grabbed a beer, tweeted, LinkedIn, Facebooked, or traded business cards – you deserve thanks.  It’s highly likely that your influence helped me reach this point in my career and I’m happy to have you as a part of my network.  If I can ever return the favor…

Most of all, thanks to my incredible wife Danielle for all your love and support.  I love you.

Stay tuned as I embark on my next adventure.  I’m anxious to get started, but first – let’s enjoy a great holiday season!

Traveling with the Most Interesting Professor in the World

In a little more than six weeks from now, I’ll be departing for Buenos Aires with a study abroad group from the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Global Leadership program. The group will be taking a global business strategy course with a professor I’ve always enjoyed – Dr. Jaime Alonzo Gomez.

Dr Jaime Alonzo Gomez - The Most Interesting Professor in the World


Dr. Gomez would definitely be in the running for the “Most Interesting Professor in the World.” Consulting for global companies like Dell, WalMart CitiBank, and many others, Dr. Gomez actually has stories of his face-to-face meetings with company CEOs to accompany many of the HBR case studies used in class.  Students will have a chance to meet with execs from the Latin American headquarters from WalMart and discuss the challenges of bringing the American idea of the big-box superstore to Argentina.

Study abroad participants will also have plenty of opportunities to soak in the local culture through a city tour, a tango show, steak and red wine dinners, and a city bicycle tour.

I had a chance to go on this trip three years ago, when I was a student in the program and enjoyed it immensely. Here are a few pictures from my first time around. Best part is that my wife will be joining me for a week in the country and we’ll get to do a lot of things together. Stay tuned for a post in January with new pics and stories!

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Four Leadership Lessons from the Chilean Miner Rescue

Watching this week’s rescue of 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for 69 days, I was reminded of the tremendous leadership lessons demonstrated throughout the entire ordeal.  From the rescue effort from volunteers around the world, to the miners themselves – there’s a lot to be learned by watching the rescue.  Here are four of my observations.

Photo: Reuters

1.  Success is a team effort. I haven’t found total numbers  in terms of people, resources, and cost – but obviously, this rescue is a complete team effort.  The trapped miners had to work as a team to endure such a long stay underground.  Their leader, Luis Urzua, divided the miners into three teams and had them work in shifts to stay occupied and keep them on a schedule.  Meanwhile, the team above ground – made up of experts from around the world – was working hard to find a solution.

2.  Leverage your resources. Leadership isn’t about always having all the answers.  More importantly, great leaders know where to find solutions.  For the rescue, the Chilean government called upon experts from NASA, the Chilean Navy, and many others for ideas, answers, and help.

3.  Look for alternatives. Often times, great leaders don’t rely on one single solution.  Instead, they build redundancy into their systems and try to have a backup plan when possible.  The Chilean rescue team had at least three possible solutions working at one time.  If one failed to materialize as an option, they would move on to the next effort.  BP could have learned a thing or two from this one, as they seemed to try only one effort at a time while the world waited for the oil flow to stop.

4.  Take care of your people. As a leader, a big part of your job is likely making sure that your team has the tools, training, and environment they need to be successful.  Two leaders stand out in the Chilean mine incident – the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and the shift foreman, Luis Urzua.

Throughout the entire 69 days, the Chilean President has been very much a part of this story.  In fact, he was present when each of the 33 miners was brought to safety and gave them a personal, heartfelt greeting.

The shift foreman, Luis Urzua, taught the world a lesson by rationing food, organizing his team, maintaining the group’s morale.  Long before the incident, Urzua made sure his team was properly trained and ready for anything.  Even in the rescue operation, he volunteered to be the last miner brought to the surface, extending his time underground by nearly a day to see that his team made it safely out first.  Reminds me of my time in the Navy, where leaders eat their meals last – only after their team is fed.

Like the Olympics, Hurricane Katrina, or perhaps the OJ verdict – it’s pretty cool to be witnessing the making of history and to know that the whole world is watching.

These are only four of the many leadership lessons the world can learn from the inspiring Chilean mine rescue.  Can you think of other lessons good leaders can take away from the events of the past few days?