Thunderbird graduated its first class of scholars this afternoon from the U.S. Department of State and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship Partnership Program. This group of 28 entrepreneurs, representing 10 nations, is the first of three “global cohorts” of women who will receive training at Thunderbird under the U.S. Department of State and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative. Today’s graduation comes at the end of two intensive weeks of business skills courses, site visits across Arizona and the successful presentation of each woman’s business plan to a panel of Thunderbird faculty, staff and students.
The 28 women who have completed this training represent a number of industries- from traditional handicrafts, to computer training- and a diversity of nations- from Palau to Tajikistan. They will return to their countries with enhanced skills in leadership, negotiations, pricing and goal setting, and with an expanded network of Thunderbird contacts. Today’s graduation ceremony was presided over by Thunderbird President, Dr. Ángel Cabrera and keynote speaker, Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch from the Supreme Court of Arizona.
“It’s an honor for me to be surrounded by such courageous and inspiring women from all over the world,” Justice Berch said at the ceremony. “They came here because they want to make a difference in their communities when they go back. They are an inspiration to me and to all of us. They have empowered themselves and they will empower their communities. I hope that they will use their talents and skills to make the world a better place.”
Graduate Jolene Sim, the owner of a social media agency from Malaysia, spoke on behalf of her class.
“A piece of advice that I was given through this program, is that in business, it’s very easy to measure success based on financial gain,” she said. “But one thing to remember is that success is measured by how you impact your community and the people around you. Thunderbirds have a huge heart. It’s what defines them, and the members of my cohort believe that. This program is going to go forward into the community and change lives.”
Thunderbird’s philanthropic arm, Thunderbird for Good, has been running programs for entrepreneurs coming from developing nations since 2005. More than 30,000 participants have attended Thunderbird for Good programs at our campus in Glendale, Arizona, and in the communities where they live and work all over the world. Past projects have worked with women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Peru and Jordan, as well as male radio broadcasters and radio station owners from Afghanistan. This is the first Thunderbird for Good program to bring together such a diversity of participants from so many countries at one time.
“The mission of Thunderbird is to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide,” said Thunderbird President Dr. Ángel Cabrera. “We as Thunderbirds in our community share the commitment that we are going to use the knowledge of business for a good purpose, and make the world a better place.”
The ceremony ended with the new graduates taking the Thunderbird Oath of Honor, a Thunderbird tradition since 2005, which derives from the school’s belief that global managers must contribute to the creation of sustainable economic and social value. All Thunderbird graduates take the Oath upon commencement.
For more information about the Global Cohort program: http://www.thunderbird.edu/about_thunderbird/thunderbird_good/programs/global_cohort/index.htm
For images from the Global Cohort program:
For articles written about the Global Cohort program: