Some program highlightsMr. John Scruton-Wilson John Scruton-Wilson a financial expert with over 30 years in the oil industry and having lived and worked on five continents was well poised to lead this year’s team of presenters. Students verbalized appreciation for the knowledge John demonstrated in his “International Communications” lecture. One said, “I was very impressed by his knowledge. He showed us how we are always communicating with or without words because 80% of communication is non verbal and he showed us what makes international communication challenging. We must strive to understand the customs, values, body language and business climate of another culture before we can successfully communicate and venture into cross-cultural business opportunities.” Dr. Cheryl Meredith Dr. Cheryl Meredith (pictured front row right) was a big hit with her “Emotional Intelligence” workshop. The topic resonated deeply with students providing them with tools for managing complex relational situations in the work setting and also in all of life. One workshop participant commented: “This seminar indicated that Emotional Intelligence is a powerful key to effective leadership. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. Emotional intelligence also involves your perception of others; when you understand how they feel, you can manage relationships more effectively. I learned how to apply Emotional Intelligence to specific leadership situations to gain the authority and success that I strive for as a leader.” Students also expressed appreciation for Cheryl’s engaging and flexible communication style. Dr. Suzanne Garrett Dr. Suzanne Garrett brought a plethora of real life examples from her experience in business consulting and teaching international students. Suzanne offered her “Project Management” presentation with a creative and fun ‘hands on’ simulation where students planned and executed a project in a competitive environment. Using only spaghetti and marshmallows, they had to build the tallest self-supporting structure possible. Sounds a bit daunting? Though they built some pretty high structures, one student observed that there were “too many good planners and no one who could execute.” Hands on experiences can provide unexpected learning outcomes. The Business Education Team added value in each setting in which they taught this fall. Adding value is a goal that REI strives for wherever we contribute.
Why do you keep coming back?REI appreciates our short term members who return year after year. “So what brings you back?” we asked. John who has come seven times said, “I believe in helping others. I have been greatly blessed in this life and want to pass it forward. In Vietnam I can use my professional skills with those who have not had some of the same opportunities, and I can in some small way help to build a nation.” Cheryl having completed her 4th trip added, “I believe that with each time back with our friends in VN there is greater opportunity to connect and influence. Also, I tend to understand a few more things about their culture, values and setting each time I am with them. This helps when I am teaching, mentoring and interacting to better fit my message to their needs and desires.” This was Suzanne’s second trip to Vietnam, and her response emphasized the relational dimension of our program. “I go because I gain as much as I give. I already have friends that I hope to have for many years because of my travel to Vietnam.” Cheryl expressed well for all the presenters REI’s appreciation for the students of Vietnam. “The students in VN are very bright, optimistic and motivated. They are willing to work very hard to see their country, family and themselves grow and progress. They take what we give them and use it creatively.” None of the presenters mentioned food as a reason to come back, but our presenters enjoyed wonderful Vietnamese food at every turn. New dishes like the sparrows pictured below were enjoyed by some team members.
A thank you from REI REI wishes to express thanks to the universities that hosted us, to Ms. Ha Lan, Dr. Thu, and Mrs. Lien who organized the schedules, and to the Business Professionals themselves who gave of their time and finances to come to Vietnam this Fall. We love you too!!!