General Management Program Alumni Launch Organization to Help Developing Communities Around the World
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Boston, June 12, 2009--Leveraging the skills and strong personal networks they developed a year and half ago as participants in Harvard Business School’s General Management Program (GMP) for executives, a group of GMP alumni have joined forces to create Executives Without Borders, a nonprofit Organization that helps developing communities worldwide create sustainable economies.
The new venture, launched officially last summer, links experienced business leaders who wish to volunteer their time with nonprofit organizations around the world in need of business consulting expertise. It is modeled after the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF.
Executives Without Borders mission is to accelerate the accomplishment of the United Nations Millennium Development goals to reverse the poverty, hunger, and disease affecting billions of people around the globe by 2015.
Dr. Sam MacHour, the organization’s Founder and Chairman, developed the concept for Executives Without Borders. His experience as a volunteer in Monrovia, Liberia, and Burundi, one of the world’s poorest nations, ignited a desire and commitment to do more to alleviate the type of poverty and suffering he had witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa.
“I believe that executives working in a volunteer capacity can confront the underlying causes of economic backwardness in developing countries and help overcome the social injustice and inequities caused by lack of economic opportunity,” says MacHour, who spent most of 2007 building support and laying the groundwork for Executives Without Borders.
At GMP, MacHour met and forged connections with other like-minded executives in the program who wanted to become involved in the project: Robert Goodwin, former COO of International Aid, a Christian relief and development agency; Jimmy Parks, Chief Information Officer at Cornucopia Arts, and Steve Layton, Senior Vice President of Endwave, a San-Jose based technology company. The four decided to pool their collective resources, networks, and knowledge and make Executives Without Borders a reality. Two other GMP alumni, Subra Iyer, Chairman of S2K2 a Biotechnology Company and Parag Shah, a Senior Executive at Mahindra and Mahindra, the Indian multinational, joined the group soon thereafter, along with Lori Stohs from Microsoft,. All now serve on Executives Without Borders international board of directors, which MacHour chairs.
According to Professor Benjamin Esty, Faculty Chair of the General Management Program, a long-term benefit of GMP is the lasting advisory network participants build by drawing on each other’s diverse experience and knowledge as they interact throughout the program in learning groups and study teams.
“GMP is an intense immersion program where you form close relationships,” adds Goodwin. “In a typical session, there are executives from 25 to 30 countries representing more than 50 different industries. GMP helped push my conceptual learning and expand my mind and horizons. It was very effective at building substantive relationships that enable you to do substantive things.
“Through our GMP alumni network,” he adds, “Executives Without Borders has access to a phenomenal group of general managers who in turn have their own strong connections. At the end of the day, there’s not much we can’t tap into.”
Executives Without Borders will leverage the expertise of volunteer executives to strengthen development programs worldwide, providing global nonprofit organizations with information, skills, and resources to more efficiently pursue their social mission.
The new venture will support and help global nonprofit organizations strengthen and scale up activities and improve operations. “We are interested in increasing the return on investment for donor dollars, as well as sustainability,” Goodwin, the organization’s CEO explains. “The ultimate goal is to teach people to run the venture themselves.”
Projects are currently under way in two countries, with more in the pipeline:
• In India, Executives Without Borders is working to improve the operations of Project Nanhi Kali, a nongovernmental organization that supports the education of underprivileged young girls and aims to improve their graduation rates. Through a partnership with Mahindra & Mahindra, Executives Without Borders is helping Nanhi Kali address IT, marketing, and operational challenges, and expand the number of girls reached from 40,000 to 100,00.
• In Honduras, Executives Without Borders volunteers are developing and implementing a business plan to make household water treatment filters commercially available. Partnering with Central American Medical Outreach (CAMO), Executives Without Borders is setting up the first water filter store at a hospital in western Honduras as a test case, and assisting with inventory management, human resources, logistics, and other operational issues.
Executives Without Borders also is exploring ways to assist Mission Schools International (MSI), which has partnered with the Rwandan government to build its first two schools in the country’s poorest regions. Participants in last year’s session of the General Management Program brought the project to the attention of Subra Iyer, after discussions with a 2006 Harvard MBA graduate who is working with MSI.
Executives Without Borders encourages any mid-career executive interested in making a difference to consider volunteering.
“Many executives have no idea that the skills they have honed for decades in business can apply directly to the not-for-profit community and have a positive impact,” says Goodwin. “The principles that make capitalism work are the ones that that can make social responsibility work.”
Volunteers will work as part of virtual teams, led by a project manager responsible for recruiting experts in functional, areas such as finance, marketing, or information systems and logistics. Executives Without Borders will match volunteers with projects suited to their skills, knowledge, experience, and strengths.
“Our goal is to create an engaging, rewarding experience for both the executive and the nonprofit organization,” says board member Lori Stohs.
Goodwin says that with globalization and today’s technology, business leader can become involved, no matter where they are
“If Executives Without Borders helps alleviate poverty, provides economic opportunities for hundreds or thousands of people, or saves even one life, then it is worth it,” concludes MacHour.
To learn more about getting involved, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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