A fun symbol in Gail’s workshop was the pair of black and white zebra striped/ red high heel shoes that she wore during the workshop. Why the shoes, Gail? “I use shoes to illustrate that women need to be adaptive in their leadership styles. Just as there is no one style of shoe that fits all occasions, neither is there one style of leadership that is right for all women. Each woman must pick the style that is right for her. Also having the wisdom to change one’s style in different settings is not only helpful but necessary for successful leadership.” Gail was able to talk about women in leadership to students who were aspiring to be leaders, to a group of women who are already leaders in their institution and to individuals in one on one coaching sessions. This year her Women in Leadership sessions were for women only. Next year she hopes to invite men into the discussion as well.
Gail's Other WorkshopsGail’s almost 30 years of work experience provided material and experience for two other workshops: Project Management from the Executive Perspective which emphasized the importance of the executive’s involvement in projects which they sponsor and Service Management which focused on providing services to customers. An example she used of providing services was cloud computing which she predicts will be taking Vietnam by storm in the near future.
Gail's Trip Reflections This was Gail’s second year to join REI’s Spring Business Education Team which has worked together for a number of years. What was it like to come into an established team? “I felt like one of the guys,” Gail jokingly said as she talked about the ease and joy of working with the other team members. “Whether it was Del, Tom or John, we were all working from the same philosophic framework which was a great thing to experience. Regardless of the topics, we were focused on the same values.”
How did this trip differ from her first trip? “The first time I came everything was new for me. I was just finding my way. This time in addition to my teaching, I focused on building some relationships that I will most likely continue to develop over the next year through the internet. That development will include connecting people with information, helping them find resources in their own country, and helping them in planning actionable items for executing their plans.”
Why Gail Plans to Return Gail got quite sick at the end of her first trip. When asked why she returned, she replied without a moment’s hesitation, “It comes down to the Vietnamese people. I have a deep, heartfelt love for the people, whether I meet them on the street or whether they are in my classes.” It is in getting to know the Vietnamese people and the desire to pass on what they have learned that brought team members back once again this year: Gail for her second trip, Tom for his 9th, Del for his 8th, John for his 6th, James for his 5th and Andrew for his 2nd. REI wishes to thank this team for their commitment to give of themselves and their expertise to help develop the people of Vietnam. REI also wishes to thank both the teachers and the students at the universities in which they worked for their eagerness to learn, their commitment to apply what they learn, and their heartfelt expressions of gratitude for REI’s Business Week. An "Up" Experience Each year the universities involved in the business week combine to do a closing program where students showcase their talents and the REI team gets involved in playing some fun games. This year’s theme was from the movie “Up.” Everyone agrees that the 2012 Spring Business Education Team was an “UP” experience for all involved.