Every REI volunteer team approaches things a little differently. This spring our business team was exceptionally rich in talent, experience and creativity. Spaghetti noodles and marshmallows, you ask? These were Jen Knellinger’s tools in helping students understand the project management process, through their building a bridge strong enough to bear the weight of a smart phone, using only the above materials, plus a bit of masking tape. Working in teams with a designated leader, the students found remarkable success (with, alas, a few failures) in bridge-building.
Many of our team members emphasized hands-on, interactive exercises as a way for the students to more quickly grasp the principles being taught. This made for very entertaining classes (especially helpful in keeping everyone engaged during the sleep-inducing heat of the post-lunch sessions), with a greater likelihood of the material being retained after the class sessions were over.
This year our team taught on over 30 business subjects, including business ethics, team-building, innovative leadership, project management, cross cultural communication, and a number of other well-received topics. We served in over 18 venues, including old friends such as Hanoi University (HANU, pictured below with Director Luan and most of our team), Foreign Trade University (FTU), Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology (PTTI), Academy of Policy and Development (APD), University of Economics (UEH-ISB), University of Economics and Law (UEL), University of Technology and Engineering (UTE), University of Technology and Engineering at Hung Yen (UTEHY), National Economics University (NEU), University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS), Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM), as well as new places for service, including Ton Duc Thang University (TDTU) and Nguyen Tat Thanh University (NTTU).
That’s a long list of national partners! We are grateful for their open reception of what we have to offer, and for their continued input on what we can offer that meets their needs. We are honored to work together with these institutions for the building up of future and present business leaders.
Lists can be boring, but we would also want to recognize those who came from North America at their own expense to share their business expertise with our Vietnamese friends. (To keep your interest level high, might we suggest that you write the name of each of our volunteers on a popsicle stick, then build a bridge out of spaghetti noodles, marshmallows, and tape that will bear the weight of all the sticks.) Our team this year consisted of John Scruton-Wilson (below) and Tom Knighton, who served as our team leaders, as well as Del Goehner, James Kang, Mica Battle-Garret, Dr. Cheryl Meredith, Jen Knellinger, Gail Jones, and Merrily Madero, with special guest Trina Nicholson. Our Hanoi office staff, made up of Lien, Nga, and Toan, also served, as did Randy and Jill Vernon, REI team facilitators. Our ladies are pictured below.
Change is taking place in the field of business in Vietnam. Established companies and entrepreneurs alike are rapidly growing in their international business acumen. We are pleased to have even a small part in helping our Vietnamese friends and partners make such progress.
Do you have something to offer Vietnam? We are eagerly waiting to hear from you, that we might together build people to build nations!