Friday, March 30, 2012

Hatching Student Businesses Across the Globe

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I've just come across a really neat program providing mentoring and business incubation for researchers and budding entrepreneurs in Russia (called StartUp Life).  Then, I found out that the program was started by Aalto University Center for Entrepreneurship....the very same university to which I've applied for a Masters Programme (hopefully starting Fall 2012!). 

THEN, I realized what an INCREDIBLE place their Center has for student entrepreneurs.  It's called Aalto Venture Garage and has to be one of the coolest student centers I've seen!  How come I didn't see this when I toured the campus last spring?



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Am I MTV material?

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I never thought I would hear myself respond to a typical "What have you been up to?" with...
"Oh, you know, I just auditioned for an MTV reality show."

And yet, today was that day. The show is "Made" - where(with the help of a personal coach and film crew entourage) average people get made into something they've always wanted to be...skateboarders, musicians, dancers, etc.  And apparently some segment of the American population is interested. Take a look...



My goal is to compete in a ballroom competition at the bronze (lowest) level. The interview was actually a lot of fun!  Maybe one day I just might get a call...who knows?

Monday, March 19, 2012

What will you be when you "grow up"?

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The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful people”. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and human, and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it. DAVID ORR 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Belmont International Business Team Places Fifth in the Netherlands

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We did it! Belmont PR office published this story today about our trip to the NIBS competition in Rotterdam a few weeks ago.

Overall it was a wonderful experience -- gaining presentation experience; networking and making new friends among the international competitors, coaches & judges; seeing a few new cities; and getting to know my teammates and our coach outside the classroom.  We're like a little family now! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Life

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Life is about joy. enthusiasm. experience.
Life is more.
     It's about inspiration. love. learning.
            helping. going. doing. planning.
Life should have flavor. spice.
                           It's about relationships. 
                             remembering. appreciating.
                                       thinking. creating.
                                                going. seeing.
                   Life is about listening.
                                     really listening. 
           connecting.


India

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guatemala - Part II: "Esperanza"

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Her name means hope. Esperanza is seven years old and studies in the third grade. She lives with her mother and sisters in Chajul -- a community of 3000 people in the highlands of central Quiche -- and speaks Ixil, one of 22 languages spoken by 22 distinct ethnic groups in Guatemala.

The Ixil [ "ee-sheel"] people are descendants of the Mayans.  A visit to their remote villages scattered throughout the valleys and steep mountainsides of Quiche reveals women in traditional red woven skirts and whipils ["whee-peels"] which take the women on average two and half months to hand weave on homemade looms.

It's a complex process, I learn, as I make my first attempt under the supervision of Esperanza and her family.  At seven, Esperanza has already mastered the basics of weaving. As I struggle to keep track of the many wooden tools involved, her mother, Maria Asicona, smiles over me and adroitly adjusts my errors.  Esperanza studies my blonde hair and foreign features as she stands nearby, transferring a spool of thread to another tool with nonchalant expertise. Her eyes bear a quiet confidence beyond her years.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guatemala - Part I

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We've just emerged from a week in the jungle of central Quiche, Guatemala.  Situated just 150 miles from Guatemala City, what a typical American would normally project as a 3 to 4-hour drive requires in actuality no less than 8 hours, in 20-year-old vehicles imported from the U.S., winding up and down Guatemala's sometimes-paved mountain roads to reach the town of Chajul.

It was here that we followed the coffee trail from the tree to the mug; we were invited into the homes of families in this indigenous community where we shared a meal and learned to weave; we witnessed the incredible poverty of these families and were touched by their joy and generosity. And we were introduced to four different organizations who are actively addressing the challenges and needs of this community in unique ways.

But since I have only a few minutes until the bus comes to pick us up to fly to the Mayan Ruins at Tikal, I will have to dive into the intensity of our experience in Chajul another day.  I wanted to at least share a few photos today!

We're now in the colonial city of Antigua, in a most deluxe hotel - a far cry from the abject poverty which plagues what seems like 90% of this country.  As we drove into Antigua yesterday evening I was thinking how it's almost unbelievable that we are in the same country as the Chajul we left early that morning.

Yesterday's highlight - zip lining in the canopy outside Antigua.


Quetzales - Guatemalan money. 1 USD = 7.90 Q

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