Category Archives: Sustainability

Culture of Connectedness

Written by: Jordan Blevins

As our time in Portugal began to wind down, Cohort 16 enjoyed two final cultural visits in Porto that continued to teach us new things and solidify the impact of this international experience.

Located directly on the bank of the Douro River in the heart of Porto, the Sandeman wine cellars have attracted visitors for years. Like many successful Portuguese companies, this is a family-run operation, and they have focused on producing port wine and sherry in the Douro Valley for over 200 years. We began with a stroll along the river where we were able to enjoy the beautiful views and watch the boats maneuver the port waters.

After lunch, our guide took us on a visual journey through the history of the company and the process of making port wine. Even though it is a small operation in the global wine market, Sandeman has been credited with many “firsts” especially in the branding arena.

They were the first company in the wine industry to begin iron-branding their barrels for easier identification throughout the trade process. They were also one of the first companies to create and associate a label directly with their wine, hence the creation of Sandeman Don, who is still featured on their port bottles and recognized as their advertising symbol.

The cellars we toured are 100% operational and have been utilized since the founding of the company for storage for over four million liters of wine during the fermentation process. We were able to see three different fermentation methods for the various wines, as well as the required humidity ponds that allow the French oak barrels and wine corks to stay properly hydrated. Pictured are the extra-large barrels used to age the “young” port wines.

At the end of the tour we were able to sample a few of the different port variations in true Portuguese fashion, surrounded with family and friends enjoying priceless moments.

“Sandeman Wines are about making the most of every moment. Choose your mood and enjoy life.”

We learned insights from the businesses we visited, our cultural experiences, and the Portuguese people we got to know during this international experience. Throughout all of the visits, there were two key messages that were continuously referenced. One was an idea of connectedness through familial ties, which are rooted deep in the culture and displayed through the most successful Portuguese businesses and trades being passed down from generation to generation. The second was a feeling of hope for the future displayed in the focus on sustainability and future generations.

On the last day, we presented our final team course assignments to our professors. After, we joined together for a traditional Portuguese farewell dinner at eLeBe Entreparedes to celebrate the completion of another EMBA course.

However, during dinner it became clear that we were all celebrating more than just a great trip; we had inherently learned to embrace the Portuguese sense of connectedness. We were celebrating the bonds that were built and strengthened through this experience, the laughs that were shared, and the memories that were made. We were celebrating the risks we had taken, both individually and as a cohort, the challenges we had overcome, and the success we know is in our future. We were celebrating the “family” this EMBA experience has created.

Obrigada, Portugal!

AAC Textiles

Written by: Amy Watts

            Olá from the beautiful city of Porto!  Situated along the Douro River and the second largest city in Portugal, there is a breathtaking view in every direction!  After an evening of exploring the city, Cohort 16 traveled to AAC Textiles in nearby Vila Nova de Famalicão.  With 30 years of experience in the textiles industry, AAC Textiles works with high-end luxury brands from all over the world to support the design, sampling, and production process of quality made Portuguese textiles.  The textile industry accounts for 10% of Portugal’s exports with 95% of the industry located here in the northernmost part of the country.

            What sets AAC apart from other manufacturers is their ability to work with companies specializing in specific aspects of textile production in order to create a high-quality product.  They focus on delivering smaller quantities with a quick turnaround time and work with many high-end designers from all over the world.  Products produced here are sold across the globe including Europe, Asia, and the US.

            Paulo Pereira, CEO of AAC Textiles, gave the cohort a tour of the facility where we reviewed various aspects of the textile making process.  We visited the sample library where all of the various fabric and embroidery samples are available for clients to review, met pattern makers who turn a designer’s sketch into real life, and visited the prototype department where articles are first created for clients to review.  Clients visiting the facility can get a true understanding of the textile making process starting from their idea to the completion of a finished piece.

            The textile industry is focused on how manufacturers and designers can produce quality products using sustainable materials, while creating less waste and reducing their carbon footprint.  AAC Textiles encourages clients to use organic cotton and recycled plastic whenever possible and encourages eco-friendly printing techniques.  They lead by example with their commitment to working in a sustainable work environment themselves.  They do not use plastic at their office, and their space has been designed to minimize electricity using radiant heating and cooling in their floors.  AAC Textiles operates with a belief that clothing brands and their producers should promote sustainability in a way that one day will become the industry standard.

            In order to keep the textiles industry thriving in Portugal, AAC Textiles believes in investing in people and a continued focus on sustainability.  From artists and designers to pattern makers and factory workers, hiring, training and keeping skilled workers is important to their business.  Focusing on sustainability is not only a responsibility to them, but it is also a differentiator they have made for themselves in the industry.  After today’s visit the cohort had a greater appreciation for textiles made in Portugal.

Put A “Natural” Cork In It!

Written by: Dennis G. Serrette

Did you know it took 43 years to make the cork top in, what is likely, your favorite bottle of wine? Today, Cohort 16 visited Corticeira Amorim, the world’s largest producer of natural cork. Our adventure began almost immediately upon meeting Ines who took us on a tour of the plant; she walked us through the entire process of how cork is made. Well, almost all!  You see, cork oak (Quercus Suber L) takes 25 years before it can be stripped of its bark for the first time and then another nine years before it can be stripped again, but only the third time can it reach the high standard of quality required for cork production.  That’s over 40 years for that one cork top you’re about to pull.  Can you believe that??? 

Amorim, a fourth generation company, traces its roots back to the 19th century in the beautiful country of Portugal. It is the largest cork and cork derived company in the world, generating more than 763 million Euro in sales (2018) from more than 100 countries through their network of dozens of fully owned subsidiaries.  With a multi-million Euro R&D investment per year, Amorim applied its special knowledge to this centuries-old industry as diverse and demanding as wines & spirits, aerospace, automotive, construction, sports, interior and fashion design.  Amorim strongly feels that their responsible approach to raw materials and sustainable production illustrates the remarkable interdependence between the industry and a vital ecosystem – one of the world’s most balanced examples of social, economic, and environmental development.

After an amazing plant tour, we had the pleasure of meeting Carlos Jesus who treated the team to a fantastic presentation on Amorim’s history, corporate strategy, and global positioning as well as its perspective on the future of cork. As a cohort, this visit was very significant since we had come to Portugal having researched this company for our class project.  This visit presented the opportunity for us to confirm our research, learn new facts, and explore answers to new questions to support the cases we were all expected to present in the coming days. You can guess the energy level of the group!  Mr. Jesus was an incredible presenter who exhibited vast knowledge while providing candid thoughts of not only Amorim, but also the industry and its future. 

So, the next time you pop one of the 31 million corks made every year in your favorite bottle of wine feel good about the responsible partner in Amorim fighting to support our planet and environment!

Maze: Decoding Impact

Written by: Paige Funk

Homeless people lost to our society, children living in extreme poverty, plastic overfilling landfills and oceans… issues facing our society.

“Social Impact” is the act of taking deliberate actions to create a significant change that positively alters a social issue impacting our world.

Today our cohort started our day with a volunteer organization, CAIS, which was established to help people of extreme poverty or those socially excluded.  This group has trainers who lead a team of people they serve to compete in the Homeless World Cup of Street Futball.  We had the opportunity to play soccer with this group of amazing people.  It was fun, insightful, and humbling.  I loved that our cohort and professors jumped right in and played street futball.  While playing, I realized that this sport is a great equalizer; it didn’t matter if you were a Senior Vice President, a volunteer trainer, or a homeless person; all were equal on the field.

Following futball, we visited the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation on its beautiful campus in Lisboa, Portugal, which serves to elevate humanity through Art, Science, Education, and Charity.  The foundation was created in 1956 and has served the people of Portugal ever since.  The foundation identifies significant issues impacting socially excluded groups, solves them in a localized manner, and then works to institutionalize the solution within the public sector.  Some of the foundation’s projects include Art for Inclusion, Hip-Hop for Underprivileged, and Hack for Good.  The foundation currently has three key areas it is working to address:  sustainability, knowledge, and cohesion & social integration.

In 2013, the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation developed a program called Maze, which is a company established to aid entrepreneurs committed to making a social impact as a result of doing business.  Maze assists qualified entrepreneurs with market intelligence, strengthening ventures, and advising on capitalization.  To be eligible, the start-up needs talented teams with solid technical and managerial skills, a unique and innovative product, tech-enabled solutions and a strong and clear business idea with impact potential.

Maze has an acceleration program known as Maze-X and a venture capital company known as Mustard Seed: Maze. Mustard Seed: Maze is an Impact Capital company that serves as an investment group for venture capitalists with the goal of reorienting capital toward impactful incomes. Mustard Seed: Maze wants to use social investments to help solve the most pressing social challenges of our time. They have two endgames: government adoption and corporate adoption. Mustard Seed: Maze is working to have 1.4B (euros) in annual contracts between Portuguese government and impact entrepreneurs and between 250M (euros) and 400M (euros) in annual funding for impact entrepreneurs with private capital.

The cohort enjoyed learning more about the potential of impact investing and the role of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in making lasting, socially impacting changes.

Sumol + Compal: Refreshing the Beverage Industry for the Modern Portuguese Market

Written by: Megan Griffin

A long day exploring sunny Portugal can work up quite a thirst. Fortunately, there is no shortage of refreshing soft drinks, teas, and juices to rehydrate, while experiencing a part of Portuguese culture at the same time. We met with Julio Gomez, Regional Manager, and Rodrigo Costa, Marketing Manager, at the Sumol + Compal Lisbon offices to learn more about the company’s strategy. Sumol + Compal were two separate Portuguese beverage companies (Sumol, focusing on carbonated beverages, and Compal, juices) that merged together in 2009. They are the largest non-alcoholic drink company in Portugal, amassing even more market share than Coke. In 2018 their EBITDA was 41.9 million euros. The company is divided into three segments: Nutrition – comprised of juices, Refreshing -comprised of soda, waters, teas, and beer, and Other. In addition to uniquely Portuguese products of Sumol and Compal, they are also the exclusive distributor in Portugal for PepsiCo and Lipton. Currently, Compal can be purchased in 62 countries and Sumol in 45 around the world.

The company is currently revamping their marketing strategy due to declining sales and a rapidly changing Portuguese market. In order to expand, they need to target the Saudade Market- Portuguese emigrants in the United States and elsewhere that account for more than 50 million people. It is a nostalgic brand for them and a taste of home that they can pass on to the second generation.

Sumol is also trying to target tomorrow’s consumers today. They create digital marketing campaigns with influencers and micro-influencers to drive engagement and brand awareness. Their new message celebrates authenticity and is lead by a team of co-creators through Instagram posts and sponsored trips such as Sumol Snowtrip.

Compal is also uniquely positioned to target the African market through its Portuguese-speaking nations. They started local production in Angola and Mozambique in 2013, with special editions of Compal made with local African fruits. They also developed new, smaller packaging and cans to make the product more affordable for less-developed nations. In the nine months after they launched in Angola, they had sold more than 52 million cans, thanks in part to Compal’s regard as an essential source of vitamins and nutrition or even a meal replacement.

Another issue Sumol + Compal will face in the coming years is the gap between sustainability and convenience. How will they leverage the responsibility to protect the planet while respecting consumers’ wishes for a cheaper product in plastic bottles? We hope to follow their successes in the future. 

Thank you again to the team at Sumol + Compal for sharing their story with us. Saúde!

Dr. Ram Subramanian’s Thailand Reflection

Dr. Ram Subramanian, Professor of Strategic Management in our Executive MBA Program, ventured to Thailand with our Cohort 15 students, and shares his experiences.  

“We’ll Always Have Sukhumwit”

My colleague, Jon Carrick, was in full drill master mode on our first day in Thailand.  I, like most others in Cohort 15, had landed late Saturday at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and the nearly 20-hour flight had left me, as I am sure the others, in a groggy and disoriented state.  Jon, a veteran of several trips to Thailand, had anticipated correctly our discomfiture and had the perfect antidote for it!  A 6:00 a.m. wake up call and a day long bus trip was just the panacea for jet lag!

The beauty of Ayutthaya more than made up for Jon’s tough love approach! Ayutthaya, Thailand’s variation of Ayodhya, the historic city in northeast India, putatively the site of Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic, hit its peak in the 14th-18th centuries, when it was a leading city in Asia, and a center of both commerce and culture. By then, Buddhism was widespread, and Ayutthaya was replete with numerous statues of Gautama Buddha.  What we saw, however, was the strange sight of statue after statue with Buddha’s head chopped off.  Our intrepid guide, Crystal, told us that the Burmese were to blame for the beheadings.  Regardless of what the Burmese did, Buddha’s influence permeates even today in a country where 97 percent of the people are Buddhists.  Buddha got his enlightenment while meditating by a tree and so I thought it fitting that an interesting feature of our visit was the sight of a Buddha statue embedded in a tree.

While Sunday was the cultural tour of Ayutthaya, the rest of our hectic week was filled with business visits, each of them distinct and interesting in its own way.  At McDonald’s or McThai, we saw how the famed American restaurant chain succeeded by adapting its menu to fit local market needs.  An interesting presentation at Taskworld showed us how coding and start-up skills can be found anywhere.  Our visit to Kantor gave us a fine-grained glimpse of Thai market conditions from the perspective of a market research firm. Kidzania allowed us to be kids once again, albeit for a brief while. And at Hangar we saw a replica of Silicon Valley’s vaunted entrepreneurial culture as our presenter told us that the search was on for Thailand’s first unicorn!  Every day was exhausting but interesting and informative.  At the end of each day, we looked forward to coming back to the luxurious confines of Westin Grand Sukhumwit, our hotel, which as our resident hotel expert Aziz pointed out is part of the worldwide Marriott group. Suffice to say, I wouldn’t be wrong if I paraphrase Humphry Bogart in saying, no matter what, we’ll always have Sukhumwit!

Welcome to Bangkok; City of Angels

Cohort 15 counts down the fifteen days until they set off on their international trip to the Land of Smiles. Bangkok, Thailand!

 

The official name of the city of Bangkok in Thai is the longest name of a city in the world: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. However, a little easier to remember and pronounce, it is locally called ‘Krungthep’ –

‘City of Angels’.

Bangkok is a city bustling with over 8.281 million residents, which Mastercard claims is the most visited city in the world.

Bangkok is a bustling and vibrant city, known for its love of all things color. It is a thriving city for innovation and technological advancement. It isn’t the concrete jungle that you may have heard it to be.

Bangkok’s most famous landmarks are the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.

The Grand Palace is where His Majesty of Thailand lived until the 20th Century, and is where important rituals still take place, such as the changing of the robes for the monks which is carried out by the King. It also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most sacred temple in all of Thailand. The Emerald Buddha dates back to the 14th Century.

Wat Pho is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. One hundred and eight is a significant number, as it is the number of positive actions and symbols that aided Buddha in reaching enlightenment, hence the number is a recurring theme in the temple. If you want some good luck, buy a bowl of coins at the entrance that can be dropped into the one hundred and eight bowls that line the walls. The money supports the monks and the upkeep of the temple. Also, remember to take off your shoes as you enter the temple out of respect!

Wat Arun is the Temple of Dawn – though it is just as beautiful at sunset as it is at dawn. The Spire on the bank of Chao Phraya River is a world-famous landmark. You can climb the narrow stairway of the central prang in order to get a breathtaking view of Bangkok and the surrounding area. This temple was envisioned by King Taksin in 1768, and was home to the Emerald Buddha before it was moved to the Grand Palace.

Another one of its famous and unmissable attractions is the world’s largest weekend market, called Chatuchak.

Bangkok is clearly as diverse and unique as it is colorful, with a rich culture that permeates through every street, canal, and building block. It is a business hub, on par with those in the Western world, yet still has a small town feel in areas, and a charm that is unmistakable.

We can’t wait for our Executive MBA Cohort 15 students to experience this magical place in a few short weeks.

C15 Marketing Presentations

As a final presentation, members of Cohort 15 worked in groups of four or five to develop a marketing plan for an organization in the community. Their plan was to include a summary of the research and analysis of the organization’s current situation, including the markets and consumers, and development and documentation of the organization’s marketing objectives, strategies, and programs. 

This semester, the selected organization was Lighthouse Works! out of Orlando, Florida. “Lighthouse Works! is a social enterprise non-profit company whose businesses exist to forward and fund their mission of living, learning, and earning with vision loss. The goal of Lighthouse Works! is to be the number one provider of call center sourcing solution and fulfillment services for both for-profit companies and publicly funded agencies (http://www.lighthouseworks.org/WhoWeAre). ”

From left to right: Dr. Ram Subramanian, Kaleb Stunkard, Kyle Johnson, Ramzy Spencer, and Dr. Tod Cox.

Each of the groups presented their marketing idea s to a guest panel.  Dr. Tod Cox and Dr. Ram Subramanian of Stetson University were joined by Kyle Johnson (VP, Chief Sustainability Officer), Kaleb Stunkard (VP, Chief Information and Operations Officer), and Ramzy Spencer (Call Center and Technology Services Manager) of Lighthouse Works!.

From left to right: Jessica Bundy, Nic Gonzalez, Greg Lucas, Lilian Kaares, and Sophia Huger Baldwin.

Group 1 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Jessica Bundy, Nic Gonzalez, Sophia Huger Baldwin, Lilian Kaares, and Greg Lucas. This group’s marketing plan targeted universities and increasing customer relations. Their ideas consisted of attending web designing conferences, partnering with eye-drive, creating a socialmedia video, and distributing surveys about satisfaction.

From left to right: Elena Outlan, Kris Sahadeo, Nicole Amero, and Eddie Molina.

Group 2 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Nicole Amero, Eddie Molina, Elena Outlan, and Kris Sahadeo. This group’s marketing plan targeted government involvement with an objective of driving urgency and pursing compliance. Their ideas consisted of attending monthly meetings forpress, and using Lighthouse Works! current employees as the face of the campaign and as speakers at city council meetings.

From left to right: Natalie Ferrer, Aziz Ndiaye, Kate Kroll, and Laurie Warfield.

Group 3 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Natalie Ferrer, Kate Kroll, Aziz Ndiaye, and Laurie Warfield. This group’s marketing plan was aimed at web developers. Their main idea was to target companies where there are many lawsuits (on behalf of someone who is visually impaired). Their end goal was to turn this idea into a national movement toward accessibility and inclusion.

From left to right: Nicole O’Reilly, Brian Vann, Kristie Jones, Ryan Gorman, and Juan Yang.

Group 4 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Ryan Gorman, Kristie Jones, Nicole O’Reilly, Brian Vann, and Juan Yang. This groups marketing plan focused on visibility through a subscription service. Their main idea was to offer three different product packages as a way to gain access to auditors. They also stressed the importance of making the Lighthouse Works! website more searchable through re-designing so that it could be found more frequently through web searches.

All of the groups did a terrific job! The guests from Lighthouse Works! were thoroughly impressed with everyone’s marketing ideas, as were we!

Congrats to Cohort 15 on completing another course and being one step closer toward the end of the program! 

For more information about Lighthouse Works! please visit www.lighthouseworks.org.

Image result for lighthouse works

The Newest Cohort in Celebration

On August 18th, Cohort 14 welcomed Cohort 15 to Stetson’s Executive MBA Program. Adam Swiatek from Cohort 14 shares some great highlights from Orientation weekend. Our new students are eager and enthusiastic to begin classes and we are excited to have them!

Each year, the Stetson EMBA admits a tight-knit group of students to the program. The group takes classes together, travels abroad, creates group projects and socializes together. Through the structure and the experience that the EMBA provides, students are able to take relationships to the next level – creating bonds that are unparalleled and unmatched.

Since the program is selective, there is extra special attention given to each student and the relationships that form as a result of the program. Cohort 14 (affectionately called the “Legion”) welcomed Cohort 15 last weekend. These are the new eager students who will be sharing the Center at Celebration with the “Legion” – and more importantly, the snack room! They are the next generation and the next wave of EMBA learners coming through the program prepared to receive a transformational experience.

Cohort 14 paved the way for strong relationships and close bonds. Over this past summer, those relationships were strengthened as the cohort traveled to Hong Kong and Bangkok as part of their International Field Experience course. Through in the moment scenarios, that could only come up when traveling, the cohort bonded and learned more about each other. They were already close – but, the trip experience really solidified the deal.

When they returned back to the Center, they were excited to keep the memories of their time together going with the new wall décor in Celebration featuring their travels and experiences of our Cohort 14 students on the walls for all to enjoy!

Cohort 15 was welcomed to the EMBA program by Cohort 14 students with open arms. Returning students could not wait to meet the new students for breakfast. And, the meeting of new friends continued at lunch at Happy Hour after class. Returning students interspersed with new students during meals – as they told the tales and shared their personal experiences of the journey the next 18 months ahead.

Following the first weekend of class, some Cohort 15 students already started using the study rooms and taking advantage of the resources that Stetson provides. This won’t be the only opportunity that they have to use the study rooms. There will be 18 more months of coursework and small group work ahead. While some of it will be relatively easy, some of it will really take the mental power and support of the whole cohort. They will discover their strengths – some strengths that they might not even know they had – and band together to make the educational experience truly amazing.

Cohort 14 undoubtedly will continue to be great mentors and supporters of our new executive students as they learn to balance professional and personal priorities with being a student in a progressive master’s program. As these two cohorts collaborate, naturally skills will be transferred and networks will be broadened heightening each individual’s experience.  Later this fall, Alumni will be added to the mix with our Tailgate Mixer at the Stetson vs. Brown football game in DeLand and then in the spring at our annual Alumni event. Pairing emerging leaders in Central Florida has been a highlight for all involved.

Stetson EMBA marketing class creates plans for organization that is a “beacon” in our community

Marketing class creates plans for organization that is a “beacon” in our community

Stetson University’s Executive MBA Cohort 14 had the unique pleasure of collaborating with non-profit organization Lighthouse Central Florida as a component of their Marketing Decision Making course with Dr. Tod Cox. On the first day of class, the cohort visited Lighthouse Central Florida to see the Lighthouse Central Florida operation firsthand and learn about the mission, vision and goals of the organization from the Executive team. Lighthouse Central Florida strives to “chart a course for Living, Learning, and Earning with vision loss”. The Lighthouse Works division provides training and employment opportunities for those with vision loss.

Kyle Johnson, Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Kit Twenter, Director of Sustainability and Communications, attended class on Saturday, June 10, 2017, to see the cohort’s final presentations. The cohort presented marketing recommendations and ideas on how the organization could further make an impact on the lives of children and adults living with blindness and vision loss.

Cohort 14 is a passionate, caring group who made a connection with Lighthouse Central Florida and the services they provide our community. They immediately saw a need, which increased their desire to help. Lighthouse Central Florida is the sole provider of services for the visually impaired in our area. And, the need is great, since the number of visually impaired persons is expected to double in the next decade. Lighthouse Central Florida serves over 600 people annually, but has the capacity for increasing that number with the help of fundraising efforts and community awareness. Lighthouse Central Florida is striving to be a “beacon” that illuminates, inspires and guides the visually impaired.

The cohort identified a variety of ways that Lighthouse Central Florida can take the next step in meeting the demands of a growing and important segment of our community – those with vision loss and blindness. Through the cohort’s work, several key themes and tactics emerged:

  • Heighten brand awareness. A unifying message and support from a local brand marketing agency could help spread the word in Central Florida and beyond. By messaging key constituents, Lighthouse Central Florida can inform our community about the services they provide – both for clients served and customers of their Lighthouse Works program.
  • Increase fundraising opportunities. Sourcing additional revenue from new sources and new places is a tried and true strategy for non-profits. By deepening relationships and growing new ones, Lighthouse Central Florida can find the financial means to help more people in our area.
  • Expand community partnerships at annual events. Through annual events, Lighthouse Central Florida can inform our community about their work and service. These events could be an opportunity for those with vision loss to shine as they showcase the best in arts and entertainment.
  • Leverage contact center talents and expertise. By focusing on the Lighthouse Works business, the organization can expand call center operations. Through expansion, the organization could look for top talent to work at the call center and simultaneously attract new potential contracts and customers. The service provided by the Lighthouse Works call center is unparalleled and personalized; capitalizing on this area could demonstrate a competitive advantage.

Lighthouse Central Florida is a “beacon” of light in our community. Cohort 14 looks forward to continuing the relationship and continuing to inform, advocate, and support their continued growth.