Category Archives: Innovation Thought Leadership

Thought leaders share insights and perspectives on innovation.

Lessons in Life I Learned While Living with My Dogs

Mornings are for wrestling

During the course of the past several years I have had the extreme good fortune to have lived and bonded with two very special dogs, Misha and Gabby (Gabriela), both of whom are goldendoodles (I have allergies so when the decision was made to bring home canine companions, I required a hypoallergenic breed). 

Anyone who has raised, and bonded with, a dog and made him or her a part of their family understands the potential depth to which that relationship can go.  Never having previously really lived with and raised a dog from puppyhood, I have been astonished at what a life changing experience it has been.  Misha and Gabby have taught me far more about life, myself, and my place in the world than I will ever be able to teach them.  They have changed me in ways I could never have imagined and have helped to make me a better person, for which I am consciously grateful on a daily basis.

Who is that little girl on the slide?

So, you might ask, what is it exactly that I have learned from these two special companions?  The following is an effort on my part to compartmentalize specific ideas with the realization that some of them blend into each other, because in reality it has been an experiential continuum, so to speak, as opposed to an ordered list of specific unrelated items.

Lesson #1 Each Day is a New Day (these are not meant to be in any particular order) – Misha and Gabby have taught me that when we wake up every morning, it’s a new day.  Think about that.  Many of us tend to go through our days following a certain routine without the conscious consideration that each new day can be a fresh start full of unexpected surprises, positive developments, rewards, and treats. 

New smells, new things to explore, new sights, new friends.  While it would be unrealistic to expect every day to be absolutely wonderful, and while even Misha and Gabby are most certainly creatures of habit who expect and thrive on a certain routine and structure to their day, I have learned when I awaken each morning to be open and optimistic to the possibilities that each new day may offer.  Have some coffee, go for a walk, brush your teeth and your hair, and start the day open to, and prepared for, the possibility that something really good will happen.  Greet the world with a wag in your tail. 

Dog party in Alta Plaza, San Francisco

Lesson #2 – Positive reinforcement works.  Both Misha and Gabby are very well trained and highly socialized dogs, with humans and other dogs.  A lot of time was spent on training and socializing them when they were puppies and only positive reinforcement was utilized at every step along the way.  Neither of them has ever really even been verbally scolded. 

This approach has paid untold dividends in their adulthood which is evident on a daily basis.  It has been my observation and experience in life and in the business world that negativity and negative reinforcement is usually counterproductive and almost never yields a satisfactory result.  Be positive with others, use praise and compliments at every opportunity.    As my parents often told me when I was very young, if you can’t say something positive about someone or something, don’t say anything at all.

Lesson #3 – Be positive.  Wag your tail!  Smile when you greet others.  Have an expectation of a good result when approaching people and circumstances that present themselves to you every day.  Misha and Gabby are both very happy dogs, they live good lives with a loving and attentive owner, and it shows in how they physically approach both people and other dogs. 

They smile (yes, dogs can smile, I see it every day) and present themselves to strangers in a very open way with the expectation of a positive friendly response from either species.  And that is what they almost always get in return.  I have seldom experienced a desirable outcome, either personally or professionally, resulting from a negative attitude or expectation.  How do you respond when someone approaches you with a smile on their face, as opposed to a frown or scowl?

Lesson #4 – Be resilient.  Both of these dogs have experienced upsetting events, mostly in the form of moving to a new home (as disruptive as moving can be for us, it is especially stressful for our dogs).  Misha is a good bit older than Gabby and has suffered two physical injuries in her life so far, neither of them especially serious but they both involved several months of reduced physical activity while she was healing.  In virtually every instance, both of these dogs have bounced back from temporary setbacks and resumed their usual friendly, positive, and cheerful approach to life.  For most of us, negative stuff is sometimes going to happen no matter how positive an attitude we possess.  It’s inevitable. 

Try to not let it get you down too much or for too long when something doesn’t go your way.  Bounce back.  Every “no” gets you one step closer to a “yes”.  In the environment of innovation (especially evident in the realm of technology), failure is accepted as a matter of course and is almost encouraged.  Trying something new that doesn’t work provides a learning experience and moves you one step closer to finally finding something that does work.  I no longer define myself by my setbacks and failures, I accept them as part of the journey and learning process.  Misha and Gabby have taught me well.

Lesson #5 – Networking matters.  Very few of us function well in a vacuum or in isolation.  I think many of us have seen this recently during the forced social and physical isolation experienced as a result of the response to the Covid 19 pandemic.  We, and our dogs, are social creatures.  Both Gabby and Misha can exhibit signs of depression when forced to be indoors and alone due to any number of temporary circumstance

As someone with wander lust, I have spent my life traveling throughout the world and moving to new and exciting cities.  When you travel for work, it is easy to connect into the local community whether it is Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Munich, Paris, London, Mexico City or Toronto.

You simply plan dinner and ask locals to join you to their favorite restaurants. But when you move to a new city, creating connections and building a new life is not so simple. People have their own lives, and while you may go out with friends from work every now and then, building personal connections gets harder.  It does happen, but it can be a slow and arduous process.  This all changes when you have a dog!  When you live with dogs, you are forced to go for walks and find parks, open parks where other dogs are free to play, run, sniff and wrestle.  

While they play, I have met some amazing people, other dog owners with whom I would not have otherwise become acquainted, very highly accomplished individuals in their respective industries and professions.  Some very cherished and productive friendships have resulted for me from meeting other dog owners via doggy play dates and becoming part of a local canine network.

Lesson #6 – Business Development. In the world of business and business development, it is vitally important to know your market and your niche in that market, be able to identify opportunities, and be prepared to take swift and decisive action (i.e. be prepared to “go to market”) when those opportunities present themselves.  I learned this mostly from Misha.  When we’re in the park, Misha is always on the look out for squirrels. 

Squirrels are her market, she doesn’t care about, and is not distracted by, birds or ducks.  When she spots a squirrel, her instincts take over and she goes into her hunting mode.  She becomes very still and quiet and begins to slowly and silently make her approach until she feels the moment is right, at which time she will make an explosive move and go into a sprint to chase the squirrel down.  If the squirrel is too far away or too close to a tree it can use as an escape, she doesn’t bother wasting her energy on a pursuit not likely to have a positive outcome for her. 

In other words, she knows her market (squirrels), she awaits what she perceives to be favorable opportunities, and she pounces when those opportunities present themselves.  By the way, in her seven and a half years of life, she has never caught one (I hope she never does), but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

Lesson #7 Stop and smell the roses.  Or, if there aren’t any rose bushes available, sniffing the grass and hedges will suffice.  Most of us have very busy lives and schedules which don’t allow time for much reflection or introspection.  Living with dogs means you’re going to have to go for a walk with them on a regular basis.  You are forced to take a “time out”, so to speak. 

This can be a very quiet time during which I can reflect and look at the world around us from a different perspective.  I can observe and experience nature in a different way than looking outside through an office window.  I’ve learned a lot during these quiet times while walking the dogs.  Mostly, I’ve learned the benefits of slowing down a bit and taking the time to assess and appreciate my journey with my canine companions alongside me.  I look forward to these walks now as much as they do.  I know I am a different and better person as a result of taking these times out, enhancing my relationships with the people and world around me.

Lesson #8 – Welcome diversity.  Good things can come in many different kinds of packages of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  As mentioned above, both Misha and Gabby are very highly socialized with humans and dogs.  They approach everyone of both species in a very positive, happy, and playful manner.  When responded to in kind, they seem to care not at all about your shape, size, gender, color, or how many legs you have.  A smile, a treat, a friendly scratch or belly rub, a game of fetch or tug-of-war, and they’ve made a new friend.  Be open to the concept that appearances aren’t everything and that people with very different and diverse personal and professional histories can offer very useful and unique perspectives in a wide variety of circumstances.  Pay attention to what others do, not so much how they look or where they come from, and respond accordingly.  You too will find the world a wonderful a special place.

I cannot thank Misha and Gabby enough.  They have changed my world, my self perception, and the very core of my being.  They have imparted wisdom to me and have been a source of overwhelming joy that I sometimes don’t feel I deserve.  I love them unconditionally in a very emotional and powerful way that I once thought I was not capable of experiencing.  They are special creatures and cherished companions and deserving of every treat I can provide.

Living a Dream and Impacting Puppy’s Lives


When the time came for me to search for my next puppy,  I knew in my heart that finding an experienced trainer would be an essential step in beginning a  good life for me and my pup.

After doing some online research, I was disappointed to learn that most places that train dogs are also breeders. Breeding and training dogs are completely different skills. I wanted a trainer who could help select the right puppy for me simply based on the dog that was right for my personality.  There had to be another way.

Puppy play

And there was.  I took a leap of faith and rang up Natalie Allred at Happy Tails Obedience Training in Mona, Utah (close to Orem). Natalie is a trainer, not a breeder.  Working with breeders throughout the US, she uses temperament testing to ensure the puppy you’re adopting will serve as a loving, emotionally stable companion ( Gabby’s Temperament Test )


As a Goldendoodle lover, I told Natalie I wanted a female puppy that I could take home by Valentine’s day- one that would not be more than 35 pounds, a dog that I could take everywhere with me, and one that could grow up by my side and represent me in the world I care about.  That’s why I selected the name Gabby, short for Gabriel, God’s Bravest Woman. I also wanted to respect Natalie’s home of Salt Lake City where the mountains truly impart the feeling of being close to God.


In early November 2017, I boarded a plane for Salt Lake City to meet the breeder and Natalie for the first time. Natalie immediately struck me as an insightful “old soul,” warm, naturally kind, and confident in her knowledge of puppies.  There was no doubt I had made the right choice, both for myself and for Gabby. This was the beginning of our journey together, one that will last a lifetime.



When Natalie first started her business in 2014, she worked with owners that wanted to train their dogs, not puppies. Natalie soon realized that this was actually more difficult, requiring her to train the owner as well as the dog. Training owners proved to be a challenge she was up to, but one that took a lot of time, and was neither fun nor financially viable. She realized that if this was going to be a full-time business, it would be better to train puppies and deliver them to owners like myself, ready to go home with all the skills we both needed. Mind you, Natalie still trains other people’s dogs, and while it isn’t as much fun or as rewarding she will accept clients on request.


So how did Natalie get into this business? Her cousin, Christopher Allred, is HR Director of Quality Craft Woodworks.  Part of Christopher’s job involves helping all employees realize their dreams. So when he learned about Natalie’s dream to be a full-time puppy trainer he gave her a mutt (I captured more about Christopher and Natalie’s journey in these video Dream Makers  and  Impact on Natalie’s Dream – Set Goals and Achieve Objectives


Natalie trained that mutt puppy for $2000.  That was seed money to help her take her first big step forward in launching Happy Tails Obedience Training in 2016.  Today Happy Tails Obedience Training is a full service company, with customers in over 8 states with puppies placed with owners who want anything from Frenchies, Britannies, Yorkies, Goldens, Poodles, and of course, Goldendoodles.  She interviews the owner, contacts the breeder, temperament tests the dog, selects and trains them, and most importantly, delivers it to the owner with a complete set of guidelines, manuals and on-going lifetime training. LOVE IT!



Gabby is now my constant companion, traveling with me on my many trips around the globe. I recently brought her to NYC over the July 4th holiday. With weather delays, a 6 hour trip was almost 10 hours. She stayed calm, boarded the flight, sat by my feet and when it was time to get off, she waited and found a lovely patch of grass by the car rental location.  

While in NYC, we played fetch on the hotel stairway.  Sometimes we sneaked into the long corridor or by some stairs and we raced around like two children, smiling and laughing with the guests that walked by our side.  

After returning home, a dear friend of mine shared the story of losing his own fur baby and asked if Gabby could stay with his family for a couple of weeks while I headed off to London. Who could refuse!  However, I soon found out my friend Zahid completely spoiled her, with slippers, garden munching, sleeping in their bed and who knows what else.

But that’s okay- it was like going to one’s grandparents house… Gabby is now back with Natalie in SLC with her sweet dog Willow and Ruby the poodle, learning her manners in time for me to pick her up at the end of the summer.

Lessons Learned

A puppy is so impressionable. They love you, and they will be your life companion. They are happiest when they learn to be calm by your side, and know what you want from them.  Training a puppy is hard work. They speak dog language, not human language. Rewarding them for cute behavior when they are young will not be so cute when they get older. Jumping up, barking, eating your clothes seems cute, but gets old.  Learn from your trainer, be consistent, and create a world together that will build a lifelong relationship.

I am confident today that the best decision I ever made was trusting Natalie to find a puppy for my lifestyle and personality. The better decision was recognizing that Natalie would teach me to be the best dog owner and fur baby mom.  My hope is that every person in the world who wants a puppy appreciates the commitment that is required and can find a Natalie in their world to make their dreams (and those of their pups’) come true.

Learn more about Natalie Allread:  Happy Tails Obedience Training Facebook and website

My Journey to the West Bank

As I was preparing for my 5th trip to Israel, this time with family, I posted a photo of Old Jerusalem on my Facebook page along with a notice of my travel plans.


Old City Jerusalem

My posting was noticed by my good friend Ahmad Ashkar, Founder and CEO of Hult Prize Foundation, who opened the door for me to visit his family in the West Bank. Flattered and humbled by his offer, I accepted without hesitation and started to plan my journey with his sister Suzy from the Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria to Nablus and onto Tulkarm.




For everyone reading this blog, this is not a political statement about the West Bank and Israel. It is about my journey, the people, sounds, aroma and tastes of the old city of Nablus. This blog reflects one day in my life as an American Jew visiting my friend’s Palestinian Muslim family. This one day brought us closer and created a bond via our shared commitment to make the world a better place, one person and one day at a time.


Ahmad and Sheryl at Boston Hult Prize Incubator July 4, 2016 celebration


As they say timing is everything, and the coincidences associated with my visit were uncanny. First, Ahmad’s mother was visiting their family home and his sister Suzy had just recently moved from Kansas to Tulkarm with her husband a few weeks earlier to raise their baby. Second, my trip was just several days before the UN vote on the resolution to curb Israeli settlements in the West Bank and West Bank politics were relatively quiet for that region while everyone was awaiting the outcome of the vote on the resolution.



Getting to Nablus

First, you cannot just hop into any taxi and say “take me to the West Bank”, as the color of the license plate prescribes which roads you can travel on. To simplify matters, I asked the Waldorf concierge to reshigh-viewerve a driver. Polite and courteous, yet curious, he asked only a few questions, then proceeded to offer assurances of my personal safety while also cautioning me that conditions can change at any time.

Nablus is a northern city in the West Bank, 39 miles from Old Jerusalem with a population of over 125,000 which is predominantly Muslim, with small Christian and Samaritan minorities. Since 1995, the city has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority. We visited the Old City where there are a number of sites of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries.

Arrived In Nablus

Suzy (who has an MBA degree), Ahmad’s sister, and Diana (an attorney), Suzy’s sister in law, met me in the city center. After hugs we made our first food stop…Turkish coffee to go. It was just starting to rain, so we quickly parked the car in the lot and headed out on foot to the Old City.


Food of Nablus

Until I arrived I didn’t realize that Nablus is such a gastronomic heaven. My father was a produce broker, so I was astounded by the abundance of inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables. Nablus is known for its cheese, and we were indulged in warm cheese bread.


Sheryl and Diana eating cheese bread and coffee

As if that wasn’t enough, as we were passing through, the falafel man overheard us talking and offered me a free sandwich with freshly ground hummus.

Not that we were still hungry, but Nablus is famous for its kunafeh, a stringy, cheesy, crispy, sweet, gooey, delicious desert which defies definition, so we had to try it. Served in slabs eaten warm, we lined up and got our share, as the rest of the dish was divided up and sold to the locals.

A Special Tour

Still we couldn’t stay dry, as it was pouring rain, my sneakers were wet and squishy…and to be honest, we looked like three drenched lost women roaming the streets.

Then we encountered Moses, a Nablus local, who overheard us talking and simply put aside his daily work to escort us through the city, through the ancient Mosque, into the soap, candy, metal, and shoe factories.

We parted at the spice store, which had a big sign welcoming the USA, as he left to pick up his girls from school. Moses is not a tour guide, he is simply a kind, proud, local man who wanted us to have a good visit to his city.

On the Road to Tulkarm

Each of us were overwhelmed by the kindness we were shown, but now it was time to get on the road to meet Ahmad’s family for a late lunch.

There was a “small” hitch, though. The road, and there is only one road between cities, was blocked. There was an accident ahead, a Nablus Arab and a Jewish Israeli died in a collision. Diana, an attorney, had a special ID card allowing her to pass through, and Suzy and I had American passports, so we maneuvered our way to the head of the line, only to be told we could not pass. We carefully moved back in line…with cars honking at us…and some 30 minutes later the road opened…and we were practically first in line as we drove ahead to Tulkarm.



Now only 30 minutes away, I was eager to meet Ahmad’s mother and was swept away as we came around a corner to see the Ashkar’s family estate. I say estate as there are multiple homes on the grounds, each connected through walking paths and patios.

The main home was recently constructed had a huge driveway and massive columns leading to the front door. As we walked through the door we were greeted by Ahmad’s mother with a huge smile and open arms.


As you might imagine, she was busy in the kitchen cooking a special meal for us which consisted of fresh lemonade, warm yoghurt soup, rice with vegetables and spices, chicken, salads, sweet and spicy sauces and homemade fig cookies. Enchanted by the feast, we conversed as if we had met many times before and discussed the world, family, and our journey.

Back on the Road

Sadly, this was a short trip, and just as the rest of Ahmad’s aunts and cousins were coming to visit, it was time to go back to Jerusalem. Suzy presented me with a beautiful silver necklace and Ahmad’s mother filled my bag with treats. It was sunset when we headed for the checkpoint a couple of miles away. Promising to return, the taxi picked me up, and we headed back to Old Jerusalem.

Last Thoughts

Ahmad was honored that I traveled to the West Bank to meet his family, and I was honored he invited me. Open your heart, open your mind, open your soul. There are good people on the other side. Good people who may differ in their political ideology but with the same family values and welcoming kindness that we all can appreciate and would do well to emulate.


Three generations of women sharing the world we love!


Change Tomorrow Today – Maximize Human Potential Through Education


Did you know that more than 100 million children under the age of six in developing countries currently fail to reach their potential in cognitive development? Can we be part of the solution and find innovative ways to deliver quality early education to millions of underprivileged children who desperately need to get education at the earliest ages in or near the world’s cities? This was the challenge put forth by President Clinton and Hult Prize to students from around the world.

Hult Prize and Clinton Global Initiative

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton – Hult Prize Finals NYC

The Hult Prize competition is a response to President Bill Clinton’s call to action for the world’s brightest minds to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. In the past, the Hult Prize Challenge tackled housing, energy, education, food security, and healthcare challenges on a global level, and the competition has yielded teams with powerful and transforming ideas. Winning teams managed to not only develop these ideas but also implement them in serving the greater good. In its 6th year, the Hult Prize challenge asks global university teams to find new sustainable social enterprise approaches to promote and increase early childhood development and help the not so privileged children access quality education. Student teams compete in five cities around the world for a chance to secure $1 million in start-up funding to launch a sustainable social venture. This year 20,000 applications were received from more than 500 colleges and universities in over 150 countries.

Hult Prize Judges


A key element of the story, and the power of Hult Prize, is answering the social enterprise challenge each year impacting the world. Another equally important part of the story is about the opportunity and gratification of being a judge. The judges are a diverse group of people from the ranks of corporate CXOs, non-profit leaders, and social entrepreneurs.  When they participate as judges they join an extensive community established by Hult Prize and their partners:  Hult International Business School, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), and IXL Center.  Many of us have never met before, yet we come together as a working team at the regional championships.  Each of us is changed forever by being instrumental in helping to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Ahmad Ashkar CEO & Founder Hult Prize

Ahmad Ashkar CEO & Founder Hult Prize

This is my 3rd year as a Hult Prize judge. I will be working with Ahmad Ashkar, Founder and CEO of Hult Prize, to create an alumni group of judges providing a unique opportunity to continue the experience and impact of being a judge, in addition to building a foundation upon which past and current judges can collaborate on providing a platform for extending the impact of social entrepreneurship. More to come in the next few months on this topic.

Hult Prize Regional Competition

Faces of Students

Faces of Students

An international rolling judging process follows the sun starting at Hult campuses in Dubai, Shanghai, London, Boston, and finishes in San Francisco. At my location in San Francisco we had 4 groups, 4 judges for each group, and a morning and afternoon pitch contest, 7 in each session. One difference in the process this year was having peer group students listening to the pitch and providing feedback to the judges prior to the deliberation process. I facilitated the discussion between the students and my fellow judges and found that, while the day was longer than it had been in prior years, interacting with the students provided additional insight supporting the decision making process.

Selecting the San Francisco Regional Winner

Athollo San Francisco Winning Team

Athollo San Francisco Winning Team

After hearing the presentations of the final 8 teams, the 16 judges convened in a tent at Levi Center to vote on the San Francisco regional winner. You would think that after a long day of judging (over 10 hours) that we would exhausted from the long day. Instead, each of us came to the room initially voting for the team we had brought to the final selection process. Via deep discussion about the winning criteria, which included innovative idea, clear business plan, partnerships, and a line of sight to execute against their vision, we concluded and selected Athollo, University of Tampa, to move to the New York finals. Their tag line – Maximizing Human Potential Through Education. Their vision, provide top quality early childhood education for children living in urban slums of developing nations through the utilization of mobile phones of female micro-entrepreneurs. In doing so, they endeavor to alleviate the inaccessibility of education around the world. It will be interesting to see how their idea matures through the summer Hult Prize accelerator program.

Call to Action

Pam McNamara IXL and Sheryl Chamberlain

Pam McNamara IXL and Sheryl Chamberlain

So, how are you going to change the world?  Is the time right for you to work with the students and help them on this amazing journey? I invite you to join our community committed to social innovation and entrepreneurship.  This year Hult Prize brought back the online challenge round, which gives all of the entries a second chance to make it to NYC as our “sixth” regional winner. The online round runs from March 16 – May 8. Join us there

Together, I am confident we can make a difference.

Honorable Mention

Amanda Boyek, San Francisco Regional Director, Hult Prize

Amanda Boyek, San Fran Regional Director, Hult Prize

Kicking off the San Francisco regionals was Amanda Boyek, 2014 finalist and after graduating SF Regional Director, Hult Prize.   She was on Team Monterey, the team my group of judges selected. We are now connected forever with our shared passion for social entrepreneurship and the Hult Prize. For me Amanda, young, bright and passionate is already showcasing the impact of her leader’s legacy.

Shape Your Mobile & Cloud Strategy Join Me @VMworld Barcelona


VMworld Europe will bring together individuals and entities from 92 different nations to share and compare the latest in virtualization technology developments, innovations, solutions, and directions. Since technology adoption varies from country to country, it will be interesting to learn how the adoption and implementation of VMware technology and products affects organizations virtualization data center transformation strategies and their journey to the hybrid cloud.

Vmworld 2014

This is my 10th VMworld all of them in fabulous cities including San Francisco, Cannes, and Copenhagen. This spring I joined Capgemini from EMC to lead our partnership with the EMC Federation of companies; EMC II, VMware, Pivotal, and RSA. Moving from a product company to a services organization has been a big change for me, a good one for all, and one that brings trusted relationships and a shared vision for what is possible for our partnership and customers.


VMworld is an important event for Capgemini’s collaboration with VMware.  There are three major strategic initiatives for our partnership: 1. Software defined data center (SDDC) with Service Integration, 2. SAP Hana on vSphere, and 3. Enterprise Mobility (AirWatch). A few key points about these strategic initiatives and the impact to our partnership and customers from Patrick Nicolet Capgemini CEO Infrastructure Services and Group Board Member:

Patrick Nicolet Capgemini CEO Infrastructure Services and Group Board Member @VMorld San Francisco 2014

Software Defined Data Center – Service Integration

Service Integration helps clients remove the complexity of IT transformation through the aggregation of services orchestration and management capabilities.  In 2013, Capgemini established our services integration partnership with VMware through the executive sponsorship of Pat Gelsinger (VMware CEO) and Patrick Nicolet (Capgemini CEO Infrastructure Services and Group Board Member).  Both are visionaries and committed to co-innovation, having had the forethought to  develop our first  offering, Services Integration founded on VMware’s ITBM technology and Capgemini customer knowledge and intimacy. This offering resulted in Capgemini receiving 2 awards this year: VMware’s Consulting and Integration Partner of the Year, and Hybrid Cloud Innovation joint award with one of our clients at vForum in Paris on June 4 2014. 


Harish Rao Capgemini Infrastructure Services CTO discusses managing enabling servces orchestration @VMworld 2014

SAP Hana on vSphere

In May of 2014, as part of Pat Gelsinger’s keynote presentation at EMC World,  Patrick Nicolet announced another level of our partnership: a three-way go to market play with VMware and SAP for the deployment of Hana in highly virtualized environments.  In June, in recognition of its outstanding contributions as an SAP partner, Capgemini received a 2014 SAP® Pinnacle award as the SAP HANA® Adoption Partner of the Year. SAP Pinnacle awards are presented annually to the top SAP partners that have excelled in developing and growing their partnership with SAP and driving customer success.  

Cindy Borgman Capgemini VP Infrastructure Services Global Operations, SAP Business discusses partnership with SAP and VMware and the value for customers

Enterprise Mobility with AirWatch

Building on a foundation of earlier successes, on September 9th Capgemini and VMware announced the expansion of our strategic partnership centered around enterprise mobility management and end-user computing, More specifically, the partnership allows us to leverage AirWatch’s Enterprise Managed Mobility solution as we bundle it with our Mobile Solutions service offerings.  At VMworld Barcelona you will have a chance to hear from Fernando Alaverz, Capgemini Senior Vice President and Head of the Mobile Solutions Global Service Line.  Fernando has said, “For Capgemini, the bigger picture includes positioning its mobile divisions around the internet of things and corresponding data and analytics, which he called “the next big thing.”  So don’t miss Fernando’s keynote at VMworld on Wednesday, October 16th at 16:30.


Now in its third consecutive year in Barcelona, VMworld offers an attractive venue to bring together diverse cultures for sharing, comparing, and collaboration.  Barcelona is a city rich in culture and history, offering a picturesque waterfront site to stimulate minds and imaginations alike. 

Join me and the leadership team of Capgemini in Barcelona where we are once again proud and honored to be a VMworld CIP (Consulting & Integration Partner) Platinum sponsor.

Learn more about disruptions and innovations with partners in this video with Lanny Cohen, Capgemini Corporate Chief Technology Officer.

Student Innovation: Changing the World

Hult Prize Inspires Cross Cultural Leaders to Unite While Building Communities of Social Change

Students Kick Off The Day

Students Kick Off The Day

Can we build a social healthcare enterprise that serves the needs of 25 million slum dwellers suffering from chronic diseases by 2019?  This was the Challenge put forth by President Clinton and Hult Prize to students from around the world.  The Hult Prize is a global competition and start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. Named as one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Bill Clinton and TIME Magazine, the annual competition for the Hult Prize aims to identify and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton at Hult Prize Finals 2013

More than 11,000 applications were received, but only 300 start-ups selected to present ideas to judges at the 6 regional competitions held this past weekend (March 7-8, 2014) in Boston, Dubai, London, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Shanghai.  Although inspired by the experience of responding to this challenge, students are also motivated by the award of $1,000,000 in seed capital to the winners, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community in an intensive six-week Social Enterprise Accelerator held at IXL-Center in Boston.

Faces of Students

Faces of Students at Final Judging in San Francisco

A key part of the story, and the power of Hult Prize is answering the social enterprise challenge each year impacting the world, this year seeking solutions to improve chronic disease healthcare in slums.  Another part of the story is about the effect and gratification of being a judge.

The Judges

The Judges Team 2, Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO Matternet; Chris Stacy, Director IDEO, Sheryl Chamberlain, EMC; Lacy Caruthers, Principal Google;  Chris S. Thomas, Chief Strategist Intel

The judges are a diverse group of people from the ranks of corporate CXOs, non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs.  When they participate as judges they join an extensive community established by Hult Prize and their partners:  Hult International Business School, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and IXL Center.  Many of us have never met before, yet we come together as a working team at the regional championships.  In total approximately 1,200 entrepreneurs spend an estimated 1.4 Million Man Hours on Hult Prize.  Each of us is changed forever by being instrumental in helping to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs.

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada's McGill University

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada’s McGill University

Last year I participated in the Boston regionals where the Challenge was to end world hunger. At the time, the United Nations estimated over 870 Million people in the urban slums are uncertain of food sustainability.  The 2013 Hult Prize winning team from McGill University, now a start-up posed to tackle this challenge head-on, was team Aspire. Their game changing idea?  Insects (see my blog Cricket Flour Power Wins 2013 Hult Prize).

Judges Team 3, The Winning Team

Judges Team 3, The Winning Team

This year I was local, participating in the San Francisco regionals, with a group of 25 judges separated into 4 groups.  Each group spent the day listening to pitches and deliberating as a team to select a group winner.  Then all of us together, competitive, rowdy, and filled with passion agreed on the regional champion, MIT’s Wi Care.  Their start-up concept – the Wound Pump. When left untreated wounds can become infected lead to death.  This is true everywhere in the world, but especially in the slums.  It will be interesting to see how their winning idea matures and flourishes after they spend the summer at the Hult Prize Accelerator in Boston.

MIT Wi-Care

San Francisco Regionals Winning Team:  MIT Wi Care

So you have a good sense of what it is like to be a judge I asked my fellow judges to share a quote about their personal experience. Team 3, MIT’s Wi Care was the winning idea.

Team 1 UPenn Nexus

Kate O'Keefe Cisco, Dorian Stone McKinsey, Terri Mandel BioMedLink

Kate O’Keefe Cisco, Dorian Stone McKinsey, Terry Mandel BioMedLink

The Nexus team’s plan is aimed at providing cheap but first-world quality drugs to slum dwellers by (1) remotely diagnosing underserved slum dwellers via SMS, and (2) redirecting currently wasted near-expiration drugs from the U.S. and selling it at low cost to local clinics.  Terry Mandel, colleague, friend, healthcare leader, and CEO BioMedlink, “While their proposals covered a wide range of ideas, viability, and market readiness, the teams universally displayed a passion for, and commitment to, reducing human suffering through sustainable business innovation. I found out later that the UPenn team we advanced for their plan to stock Indian health clinics with first-world pharmaceutical drug “waste” comprised all undergraduates! Like the other teams, they were keen for feedback and mentoring to move their idea towards proof of concept.”

Team 2, My Team Monterey Institute of International Studies (one of many all women teams)

Monterey Institute of International Studies

Monterey Institute of International Studies

This all women team impressed me through their focus on solving high blood pressure, by targeting remittances and creating a partnership with local community healthcare workers. A two fold idea creating jobs while solving the issues associated with high blood pressure. I asked Chris S. Thomas who was the judge quote king for the day, succinctly summarizing each pitch with a pithy quote, for his impressions. At the end of the experience:  “Incredible rapid fire pipeline of quality ideas and innovative teams.  It was like “Speed Dating 4 Innovation” with the judges arguing over who to take home.”  Chris S. Thomas 
Chief Strategist 
Director of Architecture 
World Ahead 
Intel Corporation.

Team 3, the WinningTeam MIT Wi Care

Markus Fromherz, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare

Markus Fromherz, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare

Markus Fromherz, the Xerox Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare said, “The MIT team demonstrated unusual insight and commitment to their chosen problem, open-wound care. The solution included not just a novel, safer, and easier-to-use device with proven business model based on their field work, but also addressed aspects like the local manufacturability and care-giver training to make this a successful social enterprise.”

Team 4 Hult International Business School

Hult International Business School

Hult International Business School

Introducing Hult at the regional finals was Kate O’Keefe, Chief Innovation Officer at Cisco.  Talking about powerful women committed to changing the world, Kate a recent Sydney/Bay Area transplant received standing applause, during her deliberations.

Kate O'Keefe Cisco, Hitendra Patel Ph.D, Managing Director of the IXL Center

Kate O’Keefe Chief Innovation Officer, Cisco; Hitendra Patel Ph.D, Managing Director of the IXL Center

“It was a privilege to be a judge for the Hult Prize, to be involved for just a moment in the incredible journey these social entrepreneurs from schools all over the world have been on… What impressed me most was that none of these teams were there to build businesses to enrich themselves – they were all there to enrich the lives of the world’s poor through addressing chronic illness.” Kate O’Keefe, Cisco.

Mike Leisher, GM GE Healthcare; Liz Maw, CEO Netimpact; Hugh Molotsti,VP Intuit Labs; Ki

Mike Leisher, GM GE Healthcare; Liz Maw, CEO Netimpact; Hugh Molotsti,VP Intuit Labs

Recounting the entire day’s experience, Hugh Molotsi, Vice President, Intuit Labs Incubator at Intuit.   “It was a long day rewarding day with lots of impressive teams.  MIT’s Wi Care team came out on top but I hope many other teams keep going.”  Fellow judge and blogger Shahid Kahn Innovation Evangelist & Coach at PayPal said, “One thing that lit my fire is that these young women and men could empathize with the poor living in slums, while they are from a completely different background. Check Shahid Khan’s blog on the Hult San Francisco Regionals.  Lacy Caruthers, Principal at Google said:   “The Hult Prize excels at finding and supporting the best and brightest entrepreneurs globally. I was blown away by the creativity and drive of the teams here, and look forward to seeing many of these ideas in action.”

Hitendra Patel, Ph.D. Managing Director of the IXL Center, Professor of Innovation & Growth, Hult IBS

Hitendra Patel, Ph.D. Managing Director of the IXL Center, Professor of Innovation & Growth, Hult IBS

After the program I had a chance to catch up with Hitendra Patel, Ph.D and Managing Director of the IXL Center.  Hitendra and Ron Jonash Senior Partner at the IXL Center both Hult International Business School Faculty wrote the Challenge in partnership with CGI and Hult. Hitendra said, the students answer the challenge completely on their own, and offered us a Challenge to work with the students, so they too can incubate their idea.

Sheryl Chamberlain Hult Prize San Francisco Judge
Sheryl Chamberlain Hult Prize San Francisco Judge

So, how are you going to change the world?  Is the time right for you to work with the students, and help them on this amazing journey? I invite you to join our community committed to social innovation and entrepreneurship.  Together, I am confident we can make a difference. Learn more about this year’s regional winners at Hult Prize 2014 Six Finalists and look for my post on the Hult Prize finals coming this September. 

the tent

Getting Back In The Game

I believe that women represent a tremendous, untapped resource that has produced and will continue to yield huge returns for organizations and the communities they support. Through the power of women’s entrepreneurial activity, we create growth and prosperity while driving solutions for business and social problems. We, in partnership with men, are now a driving force of entrepreneurial growth and leading real, fundamental economic change that is reshaping the world. That’s why I said YES, when Johanna Wise invited me to be the morning keynote at the inaugural Connect•Work•Thrive Conference.

Sheryl Chamberlain and Johanna Wise Connect Work Thrive Conference Founder

Sheryl Chamberlain and Johanna Wise Founder of Refresh Your Career: Connect Work Thrive

“The goal of the conference is to provide job seekers, who are returning to work after a career break or looking to make a career change, with practical tools and advice to better market themselves in the fast-changing Bay Area marketplace,” said Refresh Your Career:  Connect•Work•Thrive Founder Johanna Wise.  The conference target audience is men, women and employers.

I was joined by fellow keynote speaker Vivian Steir Rabin CoFounder iLaunch who said “The longer you’re away from work, the more you need to determine whether your interests and skills have changed.  For those who weren’t terribly happy in their jobs before they took a break, this is all the more important. For those people, the break is a gift.”  Vivian is the co-author of the acclaimed career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work and the co-founder of career reentry programming company iRelaunch. iRelaunch’s signature product is the iRelaunch Return to Work Conference, which has attracted nearly 3,000 attendees across the US and in London.  After attending Vivian’s workshop it was clear Vivian inspired Johanna, me and all the lives she touches.

Vivian Steir Rabin Co-Founder iRelaunch

Vivian Steir Rabin Co-Founder iRelaunch

Feedback from Brenda Bernstein, Founder and Senior Editor and event speaker, “My favorite moment of the day was in my Traversing the Resume Gap workshop. I put a section of one of the participant’s resumes up on the screen and asked for feedback from the group on how he could better leverage his experience as a “stay-at-home dad.” The feedback and suggestions from the group were amazing! Spot-on and exactly what was needed. This exchange was a testament to the quality of the attendees. I hope they are able to continue to support each other into the future!”  Brenda Bernstein is the Author of the Best-Selling e-book, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile… and 18 Mistakes to Avoid

Brenda Bernstein Author

Brenda Bernstein Author

Participant at Sara Ellis Conant session titled Having it All: Combining a Meaningful Career with the Relationships You Desire said, “I loved your workshop yesterday on “Having it All”.  The presentation really resonated with me as a working mother with a beautiful six and two year old and constantly feeling torn between two worlds.  I am not usually a tactile/visual type of person but I am planning on filling a jar with my priorities (rocks and pebbles) and putting it in my home as a reminder to listen to my heart and also to bring me back when things get out of balance.”

Sara Ellis Conant

Sara Ellis Conant

Before speaking at the program Karen Burke, Director of Connect•Work•Thrive Public Relations interviewed me about my personal brand and qualities employers are looking for in their job candidates, why collaboration is key to a successful and fulfilling work, life, and the focus of my upcoming keynote entitled, “Burnish Your Brand – Using Your Best Talents More Often”.

Sheryl Chamberlain Interview with CWT (Connect Work Thrive)

Sheryl Chamberlain Interview with CWT (Connect Work Thrive)

CWT: What do you hope will be your presentation’s key takeaways for conference attendees?

A: There are many ways to be a successful leader in the world. By giving examples of leaders, some of whom are not well-known [have not had the spotlight focused on them] who achieved success by executing against their vision, I hope to inspire audience members that they too can make a career doing something they love.  Essentially, burnishing, or polishing, your brand will provide the path for you to be more successful more often.  I also want to encourage attendees to use their success to help the next generation of leaders and innovators.

CWT: What is a “personal brand?” Are there any specific “brand” qualities employers are looking for when hiring candidates in today’s job market?

A: My brand is being an agent of change.  In every situation, I think creatively to develop new solutions to problems and, at the same time, engage leaders from every level in the organization as partners in the plan.  To do this, I combine business acumen and process to execute on strategic initiatives while fostering trust and building partnerships.  I routinely involve myself in multiple work streams while staying focused on my individual objectives and delivering results.  A big part of my brand is providing support and development opportunities for members of my team and my partners, and recognizing them for their contributions.

Today organizations are looking for individuals who are not afraid to challenge the status quo, but understand they must be part of the solution.  While it is important to have a social media footprint, it must be one that adds value to you and your organization. I would add, learning on the job is acceptable as long as you have positive energy and fresh ideas.

CWT: In the past, you have talked about the importance of collaboration and developing a community to achieve success in both work and personal life. Why is this important?

A: My good friend Kare Anderson, Emmy Award Winning Journalist and Forbes columnist is committed to building a world that is better together, one of our shared passions.  When we live a life where we work together with and for each other in our work, personal interests, and social life, we will live better, more impactful lives. Results can be achieved in three ways:

Kare Anderson

Sheryl Chamberlain and Kare Anderson

1) Use our best talents more often

2) Grow your circle of friendships

3) Be part of something larger than ourselves while recognizing the possibility and power of unintentional allies.

CWT:  As a successful corporate executive at EMC Corporation, what gets you most excited about coming to work every day?

A: I get up every day, knowing I have two jobs: 1. Identify new opportunities for creating local and global communities of leadership and innovation and 2. Lead Industry Standards and Open Source Strategy in my role within the Office of the CTO. Together these two passions give me the energy and drive to come to work for EMC every day.

CWT: Can you name some men and women who have inspired you throughout your career?

A: I am surrounded by amazing executives at EMC, VMware and VCE many of whom have held out their hand of support freely. They include Pat Gelsinger, VMware CEO; Frank Hauck, VCE President; Joel Schwartz, EMC SVP; Dan Campbell, EMC SVP; Helene Barnekow, EMC SVP.  But when I consider the work I have done in the community, there are two people that stand out: Rayona Sharpnack, Founder & President Institute for Women’s Leadership and Linda Alepin Founder and CEO Global Women’s Leadership Network and 2013 Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award Winner  Both of these women have committed their lives to changing the world and have created leadership programs to train and support women to achieve ground breaking results.

Linda Alepin, Eleanor Roosevelt Award Winner

Linda Alepin, Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award Winner

This past week I had an opportunity to reflect on the power of this conference, and impact on the employers and attendees.  Employers which included EMC Corporation, Stanford Graduate School, Bain & Company, Yale Silicon Valley Club, and Gleam had an opportunity to share successful back-to-work approaches in today’s job market while networking with on-site with local firms.  Additionally, Pam Fox Rollin delivered a session called “Onboarding Executives:  Grasping The Opportunity to More Senior Teams Forward”.  Pam an Executive Coach, IdeaShape regularly facilitates senior leadership team workshops shared tips from her book 42 Rules for Your New Leadership Role

Johanna met her goal to provide job seekers, who are returning to work after a career break with practical tools to better market themselves in the fast-changing Bay Area marketplace.  But most important attendees had an opportunity to:

  • Assess personal skills and determine applicable careers
  • Address the gap years on a resume and during job interviews
  • Determine necessary job search resources and how to leverage them to get a job
  • Maintain confidence during job search and dress for success
  • Identify and reach powerful job networks

Employers attending Pam Fox Rollin's session

Employers attending Pam Fox Rollin’s session

I look forward to staying connected to this community led by Johanna Wise, while helping men and women get back into the game, finding employment, and refreshing their career.

You can learn more about this Johanna Wise and Connect Work Thrive by going to these links:  In The NewsAbout Connect Work Thrive,  SponsorsCWT on Facebook .

Leadership Lessons – Advice From Women of Influence

On October 16, 2013 I had the great honor to lead “A Day of Excellence Through Leadership”, a full day program and a sponsored by the New England Diversity Council and led by Ameerah Mukayed.  The program is an annual event which brings together a diverse mix of successful women leaders who discuss topics pertinent to today’s workforce in order to educate, inspire, and encourage attendees to reflect as they strive to advance within their organizations. The panel sessions were moderated by my EMC colleague and friend Stacy Schaeffer and myself. Panel topics included:  Becoming a Person of Influence in the Workplace and Community, Perceptions of Assertive Women, Winning at Office Politics, Prepping for a Position of Power,  Maintaining Your Value During Shaky Economic Times.

Leadership Panel

Left to right, Carrie Webb, Stacy Schaeffer, Ritu Jyoti, Sheryl Chamberlain, Stephanie Sonnabend, Juliette Mayers and Danielle Duplin

Our five panelists had a broad range of experience covering different industries, cultural backgrounds, and points of view. Panelists were Danielle Duplin, VP & Executive Program Director at Fidelity Investments; Stephanie Sonnabend, Former President & CEO, Sonesta International Hotel Corporation Founder & Chair, 2020 Women on Boards; Carrie Webb Olson, Partner, Day Pitney LLP;  RItu Jyoti, VP Product Management, startup Kaminario; and Juliette Mayers, Executive Director of Multicultural Marketing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

The panelists shared their thoughts on this event in this short video: 

Chandra Jacobs, BRS Marketing shared her perspectives on the day in her Blog, which, to be honest, is a must read post.  Another one of my guests,  Blessing Chiedza Chimbindi shared her leadership lessons with the audience also.  I was so impressed by Blessings reflections I wanted to share her learnings with a broader community of leaders .  As you read through Chandra and Blessing’s posts, remember these are examples of how we, as leaders of our current generation, have the opportunity to support the next generation of leaders.  As women of influence our leadership lessons have the potential impact to last a lifetime. 

Blessing Chiedza Chimbindi-Entrepreneurial, Innovative, Masters in International Business, BSc Computer Information Systems

I have written this to document the key lessons I attain from various women in leadership. Growing up, I was continuously selected for leadership positions. I even earned leadership scholarships in college and graduate school. However I have always viewed leadership to be something that can’t be built overnight, it takes time and an intentional pursuit of evolving in leadership. I am naturally passionate about learning, and being a leader is a continuum of learning and growing.

Women in leadership symposium

I had the privilege to attend the Women in Leadership Symposium. I am grateful to Sheryl Chamberlain from EMC who invited me to the event. Here are some of the key lessons I learnt from the symposium.

Becoming a person of influence in the workplace and community

There are three types of computer engineers

1) Has a problem and no solution.
2) Has a problem and three alternatives.
3) Has a problem, three alternatives and choses one of the alternatives and explain the outcome.

Make your own opportunity, be entrepreneurial and bring solutions to the table.

My Reflection

Being influential comes with being valuable. Demonstrate the value you bring by being solution and results driven, taking initiative and thinking critically. I really liked the panelist who mentioned that even if you do an excellent job you don’t have to tone it down to make other people around you feel better. Being a leader whether male or female requires that you rise above the status quo and motivate others to do so. Leaders are trendsetters and that is what sets them apart, they lead by example. By doing so you influence change and you impact the community around you.

Besides the more we all do well and strive for excellence, the better the

a) company brand becomes
b) products/services become
c) customer satisfaction increases

Perceptions of an assertive woman

Three tips on how to be nice

1) Listen: Listen with your ears and your eyes.
2) Develop relationships: Ask people about themselves and continue to be supportive.
3) Lead by example: Engage with people of all levels

This creates a culture of caring

Three tips on how to be assertive

1) Speak up: Participate, volunteer for high profile projects, self -promote, acknowledge compliments
2) Develop a strategic plan (personal and professional). Start with your passion and define the skills and resources you need for pursuing your passion.
3) Have thick skin: Be subtle and expand. Let go and focus on the bigger picture. If your point is dismissed but listened to when another counterpart states the same point you could respond saying, “As I said before”
 Continue being assertive but also continue to be nice.
 Don’t participate in trashing other employees
 Do your own work well. Believe in your idea.
 Stay focused and don’t be hungry for a pat on the back.

My Reflection

At the beginning I perceived myself as a nice person and after the panelist described the ways of an assertive person I saw myself fitting into that as well. I believe assertiveness is often perceived as aggressiveness when it comes to women. I agree with the panelist who said that it is important to be assertive and nice. I also agree that one should not be focused and so hungry for getting a pat on the back, the overall goal is what matters.

Winning at office politics

 Make people feel valued and respected.
 Make time to understand other people rather than competing to be understood.
 Be trusted (don’t gossip). Be well liked and be able to move other people.
 Be well connected to the informer and influencer
o Informer – the person who tells you what is really happening.
o Influencer – the person whose opinions are highly valued.

Build alliances

My Reflection

Office politics can be tricky. This topic really appealed to me. I recall my mentor who once visited me at work and he told me that he admired how I don’t gossip and how trustworthy I am. At the time I didn’t know that it was such a valuable characteristic to have. It is one of the core components that help in winning office politics. Although these values are driven by my faith, they bring added value in my professional life.

Prepping for a position in power

Forms of power

Charisma Information Relationships (politics)

Authority Expertise Reputation

 Add value to your corporation: Your ideas and tasks should be aligned and supportive of the corporation’s vision.
 Communicate your work: It is critical for people to know the ideas you pioneer. You could do so through a memo, presentation of the ideaDon’t let your promotion pass you by.

My Reflection

As women we do work hard but make ourselves passive in communicating our value and work. This section really helped me find my voice and be more outspoken about my efforts.
I also learned that being intentional in aligning your efforts with the vision of the organization yields both individual and organizational success. Just like it is in science, the head contains the brain that controls signals in the whole body. Information is sent to and from the brain. That is where information is processed, the brain understands the body. So when you demonstrate that you understand the vision and implement your tasks with that knowledge, it is easier for you to be seen as someone who can be the ‘brain’ of the company.

Maintaining your value during shaky economic times

 Don’t be stagnant. Update yourself.
 Seek opportunities to network and grow.
 Be excellent at what you do and maintain your competitive edge.

My Reflection

As I am seeking for a job, I ensure that I sharpen my skills. I do Java programming exercises at Codecademy to brush up my coding skills. Even in transition it is important to stay ahead and be proactive about polishing up your skills and adding value to maintain your competitive edge.

Cricket Flour Power Wins 2013 Hult Prize

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

The Hult Prize competition is a challenge to business school students from around the world to develop a feasible plan to solve a global problem while creating a viable, scalable business at the same time.  Endorsed by President Clinton’s Global Initiative, the program is founded on an endowment for an annual million-dollar prize, which is used by the winning team to launch their new social enterprise.  Equally important, all of the finalists receive a full one-year membership into the Clinton Global Initiative and support from its members to continue to develop their social business ideas.

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

Hult Prize CGI Award Dinner

The Hult competition has taken on huge social issues – education, housing and the water crisis. Through crowdsourcing, training, mentorship, and funding, the competition seeks to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs. This year, student teams were selected from over 11,000 applicants representing 350 colleges and universities to pitch their innovative social ventures for solving the Global Food Crisis at one of five Regional Final events. Teams were then selected to participate in regional finals held in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, and online. Six of these teams then won the right to attend the Hult Prize Accelerator for startups and then pitch their social business ideas to President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City.

The world’s largest student competition for social good chose the global food crisis because while the world produces enough food to feed everyone, more than 1/3 is lost or wasted.  While this is not a new problem and is believed to be the world’s most solvable challenge, still today 25% of the children in the world are hungry.   

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

Hult Founder and CEO of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar

CEO and Founder of the Hult, Prize Ahmad Ashkar, explained why feeding the world was slected as the this year’s issue in his FOX News interview.  “Food is the easiest challenge to solve in the world. It is really a concept of distribution.” According to Ashkar, the world produces enough food to feed all of its inhabitants and the key is to figure out how to shorten supply chains, make food more efficient, bring costs down and make it accessible to those living in the urban slum.   Listen to the full interview on Fox News.

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

Students Hult Prize Boston Finals

As a judge in the Boston Finals, I was fortunate to be interviewed by Living on Earth’s Managing Producer, Helen Palmer.  We met at the reception, where Helen said “ There were no crickets to eat – but I did find one of the judges. Sheryl Chamberlain works for the EMC Corporation, and she said it had been hard to choose a winner.”  Here is an excerpt from that interview that was played on NPR this summer.

CHAMBERLAIN: That was the hardest part. It was listening to these amazing young people that have creative ideas and new ways of solving this problem that we’re looking at, making sure we can feed the world. It’s so hard to decide who should come first and make a decision.

PALMER: In the end, Chamberlain said, all the judges agreed on the McGill team and their small cricket farms in the slums.

CHAMBERLAIN: So the idea of taking crickets and using them for a food source going forward, farming those crickets, eating them whole, looking at different ways to use them, because they give protein in a different way that we have not considered before. So it’s really innovative and watch out – there’ll be crickets flying around your town, and we’ll be grabbing them and using them for sustainable food.  Listen to Helen Palmer’s entire interview

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, Akanksha Hazari 2011 Hult Prize Winner & Phillip Hult Co-CEO, EF Education First

Impressed by my role as a judge at the Boston Regionals, Peter R. Russell, Director of Corporate Relations, Hult Business School, North America invited me to attend the Hult Prize Global Finals and Awards Dinner on September 23, 2013, where President Bill Clinton was the host at the opening event of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York. The six finalists teams pitched their start-ups, in front of a world-class audience of political leaders, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and media luminaries. President Clinton and Muhammad Yunus along with Steve Andrews, CEO of Solar Aid, Erathrin Cousin, CEO of the World Food Program, Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Desh Deshpande, Chairman of the Deshpande Foundation, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Premal Shah, Paypal co-founder and President and co-founder of Kiva, judged and selected the winner of the 2013 Hult Prize.  The award of 1 Million  USD to be used by the winning team as start-up funding, was donated by Swedish entrepreneur Bertil Hult and his family. The winning team was from Canada’s McGill  University, a Boston Regional Final, who was featured in the following day’s plenary session.

Muhammad Yunkus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and 2013 Hult Prize Finals Judge

Here is an overview of the winning solution in the team’s own words:

Apsire learned through research during the summer that food insecurity is not an issue of lack of food. The vast majority in urban slums do not go hungry. But they lack access to affordable nutrition. Many suffer from malnourishment and nutrient deficiencies despite being overweight or obese. Therefore, the problem of food security in urban slums is not one of food being expensive per se, but of nutritious food being unavailable or overpriced compared to cheaper, less nutritious offerings. While insects might not seem a common meal for Westerners, a new plan is being proposed by students from Montreal’s McGill University wherein edible insects can be produced at an industrial scale to provide nourishment for folks

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada's McGill University with President Clinton

Aspire, Hult Prize 2013 winning team from Canada’s McGill University with President Bill Clinton

Our disruptive social enterprise, Aspire, aims to improve access to edible insects worldwide. We develop and distribute affordable and sustainable insect farming technologies for countries with established histories of entomophagy, or insect-consumption. Our farming solutions stabilize the supply of edible insects year-round, drastically improving and expanding the economic ecosystem surrounding insect consumption in the regions serviced. Not only do our durable farming units create income stability for rural farmers, they have a wider social impact by lowering the price of edible insects. This is central to our mission of increasing access to highly nutritious edible insects amongst the poorest, and therefore neediest, members of society.

Hélène  Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

Hélène Barnekow EMC Senior Vice President, Worldwide Field & Partner Marketing and Sheryl Chamberlain

For next year’s challenge, President Bill Clinton asks teams to build sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address non-communicable disease in slums.  I can only hope I will once again be asked to join my fellow esteemed judges at the 2014 Boston Regionals.  I would look forward to witnessing the innovative proposals for addressing President Clinton’s challenge.

Learn more:  Bugs as an edible food source. Winner’s Blog, Clinton’s Global Initiative CGI and 2014 Hult Prize Challengeprize/2014-challenge/

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference

President Bill Clinton and Sheryl Chamberlain at 2011RSA Conference


Women Leaders of Impact

I believe that women represent a tremendous, untapped resource that has produced and will continue to yield huge returns for organizations and the communities they support.  Through the power of women’s entrepreneurial activity, we create growth and prosperity while driving solutions for business and social problems. I am empowered and excited that now, today, the power of women’s entrepreneurship has hit a media tipping point – we, in partnership with men, are now a driving force of entrepreneurial growth and leading real, fundamental economic change that is reshaping the world.

GWLN Sisters

Global Women Leadership Network Sisters

Nowhere was this more visible than at EMC last week.  In partnership with EMC’s West Coast Women’s Leadership Forum we hosted The Leader of Impact Award 2013, which honors a Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) graduate for her outstanding contributions. This, the second annual award program also recognizes their entire graduate community, a group of women who have committed their lives to changing the world while creating new opportunities for women and girls around the world. The contest celebrates the dedicated work of all GWLN graduates who are making a difference in over 40 countries. The judges including Linda Alepin, Jeff Chow, Keren Pavese, Sandya Puchalapalli and Michelle Swensen who are leaders in their own right and are to be thanked for their demanding, yet fulfilling job of selecting the five finalists with the support of GWLN graduates, friends, family and colleagues.


EMC Diversity Leaders and LOL Award Recipient Smarita Sengupta

This year’s LOL award recipient is Smarita Sengupta, (GWLN 2010) founded the Destiny Foundation in India. Her vision is Liberation of the Sold Soul.  Her mission is to end sex trafficking and slavery through the economic empowerment of women.  The foundation employs women who are at high risk of being trafficked while living in brothels, red light areas and shelter homes. They provide them with vocational training in sewing and textiles. When girls master the skills of sewing and textiles, they are offered a position at Destiny Reflection. Through this employment, women are able to become economically self-sufficient under dignified working conditions.

Smarita Sengupta, LOI 2013

Smarita Sengupta, LOI 2013 Award Recipient

Equally empowered visionaries included the four other finalists. 1) Diti Mookherjee (GWLN 2011) – her vision is Youth Nuture Nature.  While in the U.S. as a Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leadership Fellow, Diti attended the GWLN leadership program and conceived of the Green Rhinos Program, a global transformational youth nature leadership program.  One year later, there are more than 600 youth nature leaders known as “Green Rhinos”, including 300 girls.    2) Isha Darmy (GWLN 2011) – her vision is reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates in Sierra Leone.  Supporting the community of Magbil and surrounding villages, she helped build a Health Centre and trained 42 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to care for women during their ante-natal, labor and post-natal periods.Ishma Darmey LOI Finalist

Ishma Darmey LOI Finalist

3) Mariana Faerron-Gutierrez (GWLN 2011) – her vision is Making Social Impact One Cup At A Time and is accomplished by helping the coffee bean farmer buying beans at double the Fair Trade price and thereby improving the lives of their families and communities.

Mariana Faerron-Gutierrez LOI Finalist

Mariana Faerron-Gutierrez LOI Finalist

4) Martine Bolsens-Peeterman (GWLN 2012 ) is living her dream through her vision, Scaling Impact through Connectivity.  Today she is GWLN Global Ambassador.  She is the bridge-builder connecting the passion of her peers with resources to accomplish their dreams. I have become an advocate for all of their projects by raising awareness for the work to which they have committed their time, talents, and resources.

Martine Bolsens-Peeterman GWLN Global Ambassador & LOI Finalist

Martine Bolsens-Peeterman GWLN Global Ambassador & LOI Finalist

Whether GWLN alumni are building schools, improving healthcare, eliminating poverty or creating new jobs, each leader is committed to improving the lives of individuals and communities. It is the dedicated work of all GWLN graduates who are making a difference in over 40 countries.  You can learn more about these visionary leaders and about my vision (GWLN 2006), Using Influence and Vision to Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders and Innovators, by going to this link. Profiles of Leaders of Impact

The Power of the GWLN Community

The Power of the GWLN Community

Whether GWLN alumni are building schools, improving healthcare, eliminating poverty or creating new jobs, each leader is committed to improving the lives of individuals and communities. It is the dedicated work of all GWLN graduates who are making a difference in over 40 countries.  You can learn more about these visionary leaders and about my vision (GWLN 2006), Using Influence and Vision to Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders and Innovators, by going to this link. Profiles of Women Of Impact



We are not alone in our quest, joining these great women who are committed to making the world a better place are civic, community, and businesses leaders. Please join us as we find new opportunities to reshape the world for all mankind, one day at a time, one person at a time. We are better together as a community of leaders committed to an enriched, united world for generations to come.