Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Steven Klar shares thoughts on leadership during visit to Toledo

On December 4, Steven Klar, patron of the Klar Academy for Leadership Excellence within The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation, came to Toledo and visited with students now participating in the Academy.

Klar, president of the Klar Organization, a diversified real estate development, building and brokerage firm, was honored as The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation 2005 Business Pacemaker of the Year. Klar received a bachelor’s of business administration from UT in 1969, then went on to earn a law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1973.

During his visit, he spoke from the heart to the Academy students, sharing various thoughts about leadership in life:

“I, as a builder deal with crises every day; it’s about how you deal with them.”

“Treat your neighbors kindly, and you’ll be a leader.”

“You have a blank canvas. Be constant. Grow. Take the risks. If you never take the risks, you’ll never have the rewards.”

“That first step gets you a thousand miles.”

“We try to live with the motto, ‘Do it right the first time.’  From a leadership perspective, do it right the first time.”

“Everything you do in your life and for your family is all connected.”

“We’re all going to make mistakes.”

“If something is out of the ordinary, it’s your job to do something.”

“I developed a lot at The University of Toledo, all from my own growth and from the people at The University of Toledo. You never know what turns your life around, such as a great member of the academic community.”

“The Academy is doing some remarkable things. We need you to lead.”

“You’ve got the foundation, it’s what you do with it now.”

The mission of the Klar Academy for Leadership Excellence is to expand and accelerate the development of the leadership acumen and talents of a select cadre of outstanding university undergraduate students so as to increase their career success, ability to impact the world for good and improve the human condition.

The goals of the Klar Academy for Leadership Excellence are to provide Academy participants with a transformational learning experience to build on their COBI education, enabling them to better lead themselves, others, teams, organizations and communities. The focus of this development effort is to provide Klar Academy students  with a hands-on, unique and difference-making educational experience so as to expand and develop core competencies such as the ability to think bigger and create vision; skill at achieving goals and delivering desired results; emotional intelligence, interpersonal and teaming skills; an expanded worldview and community service mindset; ethical decision making; confidence to lead others and demonstrate self-leadership; and a mentoring mindset.

COBI students take 3M funded course on social impact, help human trafficking victims

When you think of someone in professional sales, your inclination is to ask what product or service they represent.

But this fall, several students in the College of Business and Innovation were focused on a cause rather than a product as they took the Sales for the Social Impact course.

The University of Toledo has a Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute to respond to human trafficking and social justice through teaching, research, and engagement.  So the COBI class attacked the serious issue of human trafficking, a topic “relevant to who we are,” noted Lora F. Parent, Lecturer, COBI marketing and sales departments.

The course is offered once a year, was completely funded by a grant from 3M and UT is one of only 11 universities in the country to obtain this grant, which emerged through the relationship the COBI Edward Schmidt School of Professional Sales has with 3M.

Parent said, “The COBI students created a series of How-to videos to help human trafficking victims learn how to assimilate back into society after the traumatic experience of trafficking. They may not have the skills or know how to do so. The videos were a type of ‘Sales 101’ program to help them succeed.”

Furthermore, each student had a goal of raising $200 for a Pathways project. Pathways is a local organization that addresses the broad objective of helping low-income people achieve self-sufficiency through programs that empower, encourage, and provide supportive services, and can help trafficking  victims with issues such as housing, legal, medical care. Asking area companies such as Target and Wal-Mart to donate $10 gift cards for the trafficking victims, the 10 students in the class raised $2,240.

“The other task for the students in this Sales for Social Impact course was to create a sales plan for how trafficking victims could create a business,” Parent said. “The class was divided into three groups to develop plans, having chosen a food delivery subscription service which would hire human trafficking survivors as employees. A milestone for the program participants would be obtaining a driver’s license, something that makes them feel normal.”  

In November, five students  - - Crystal Glambin, Sarah Dreier, Eric DiBell, Patrick Jones and Phillip Coveney - - went to 3M headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota to present their project to executives there.

“They did great, and 3M was impressed,” Parent said.

"The University of Toledo embraced a topic most do not what to touch,” said Debra Asplund, Global Strategic Account Leader, 3M. “They researched and presented a solid plan around human trafficking and the Social Justice Institute.  You could feel the passion the students had for this project.  Well done, Rockets.”

Glambin, a COBI supply chain management and marketing major, said, “The outreach/volunteer opportunities really made the whole class for me. Actually talking to human trafficking survivors and thrivers and learning about their journey and struggles really helped us become invested in the project. And it was really helpful when we were looking for ways to better serve their demographic; it helped us overcome our unconscious biases and really understand their lives better.”

“I am planning to continue volunteering with the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute and the Lucas County Chapter,” she continued.  “They are planning to implement as many of the sales plans that we developed (we had a total of three different ventures) and all of the programs were designed with the intent of hiring human trafficking survivors.”

Parent said, “What was unusual about this class was bringing a social and an emotional topic into a business setting. This was a different type of selling, and it was hard to develop a plan, but the students succeeded in shedding light on a product to benefit trafficking surviors.”  

Parent explained that the Sales for Social Impact course will next be offered to students in spring, 2017. “The Pathways Project should be implemented by then, and we can analyze where the money went to, did the trafficking survivors see and benefit from the videos. We want to see the long-term impact, and 3M wants to see if this is a sustainable idea.”