Category Archives: Technology

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.

Dr. Joseph Woodside

Dr. Joe Woodside is an Assistant Professor of Business Systems and Analytics at Stetson University teaching undergraduate, graduate, and executive courses on analytics, healthcare, business intelligence, business analysis, and information systems. Some of his previous students shared that he is “an excellent professor and an even better person. Very accessible outside of class and delivers a great lecture. He is committed to ensuring that all of his students succeed in his class and in their careers”, while others commented on his passion for the subject; “You can tell that he loves teaching. He shares his knowledge and wisdom in a way that is encouraging and invigorating. He gives great feedback. He is always available to answer questions either by email or in person”.  Dr. Woodside incorporates his professional industry experience in the classroom, and the learning approach follows his publication on Real-world rigor: An integrative learning approach for industry and higher education.

Stetson’s Executive MBA program and students have been fortunate to have his tremendous expertise during their 18-month program, and have grown tremendously accordingly. Students gain a wealth of knowledge and awareness from relevant case studies, discussions, applications and simulations that demonstrate firsthand how business intelligence and analytics when leveraged properly can make all the difference in decision-making, strategy, and overall business performance.  Dr. Woodside is also releasing a new textbook Applied Health Analytics and Informatics Using SAS, as a result of the significant demand to take advantage of increasing amounts of data by utilizing analytics for insights and decision making in healthcare.

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

Cohort 14 Presentations

One of the culminating efforts for Cohort 14’s, 18-month experience was to research and identify an innovative product or service (or redesign an existing product or service) for the bottom of the pyramid. As a team, they were to select the product or service and be prepared to present the target market, service concept, operations strategy and service delivery for your offering. Below is an overview of each groups presentation.

Good Turn

Good turn was created by Cohort 14 members Matt Wierenga, Dave Pickens, Desi Warner, and Adam Swiatek.

From left to right: Dave Pickens, Desi Warner, Matt Wierenga, and Adam Swiatek.

Their concept was to create a network of skilled individuals who have the opportunity to pay it forward with an act of kindness. Professionals fill out a survey identifying their skill set which then are added to a broader network list. These services would be beneficial to those in need or who may not be able to afford to pay for these services otherwise.

This company runs off of a give and take concept; looking at our community alone, there are 350,000 people who are in need, and 3.17 million with the skills to help.

These services would be accessed through a phone application or through the internet, and would work on a token system. Some of these e-tokens would be donated to charity, others sold to businesses that would gain promotion and online marketing from the experience. The e-tokens would then be distributed to those in need, who could exchange an e-token for a service they are in need of in the community.

The Kin~nected Hearts Foundation Empowering Families

This company was created by Cohort 14 members Julie Billy, Hakim Lucas, Lyndsey Denton, and Christy Reynolds.

From left to right: Julie Billy, Christy Reynolds, Lyndsey Denton, and Hakim Lucas.

Their concept was a company with a social enterprise focus and directed at those at the bottom of the World Pyramid, focusing specifically on single mothers of young children in Central Florida. A significant 68% of single parent households are living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, 85% of brain growth occurs in the first 3 years of life, yet 45% of center-based child care facilities do not offer infant and toddler care.

A social enterprise is an organization that has a mission that benefits the public or community; they utilize trade, of which a substantial portion of income comes from; and reinvest the majority of their profit into their mission.

Their mission statement is:

To serve the single mothers of young children in Central Florida by providing education, job placement, and support services, while providing high quality, on-site child care in a nurturing environment.

The company would offer support services, with a mentorship program, child care, job training, and job placement. This is an extremely unique offering as all of these services are provided in one location vs. what traditionally these single mothers face and that is having to go to individual agencies one by one to get their issues resolved.

Ms. Keeter Beater

This company was created by Cohort 14 members Jason Mejeras, Rachael Faircloth, Zineb Sands, and Janice Trew.

The goal of this company is to reduce the spread of diseases in the rural, southeast Asia region. Preventing illness and death from diseases is done through affordable sanitation and proper protection. They target families with school-age children 5-17, school teachers, healthcare providers, and those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid.’

A hygiene product combined with a bug protectant is used to reduce illness. It is made up of liquid citronella soap dried on paper which dissolves when water it is applied. This is then sold in small, local marketplaces. This is a unique offering as it is a solution that provides hygienic car

From left to right: Zineb Sands, Jason Mejeras, Rachael Faircloth, and Janice Trew.

e plus insect repellant all in one. Also, they address sustainability as there is no waste of any kind or footprint left behind. The box the product initially comes in, is returned to the distributors for reuse, and the soap dried paper dissolves and disappears.

All three teams presented their very different products with passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm; however, our guest Alumni panel selected Ms. Keeter Beater as the company with the overall Most Innovative Product or Service. A huge congrats to their company for their creative and well-thought out plan which we all agreed could be implemented and solve a looming problem in this region!

We are so fortunate to have watched our students transform professionally and personally over the past 18 months. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of them! 

Top photo: Cohort 14 on their first day of classes 18 months ago. Bottom photo: Cohort 14 on their last day of classes!

Climbing Mount Everest: A Simulating Experience

On Friday September 22nd, Cohort 15 participated in a number of stations, one of which focused on leadership and teamwork. This particular station involved groups of five completing a web-based simulation of a team climbing Mount Everest! Our graduate assistants Jenny and Lauren share their and their teammates’ experiences of working together in an attempt to reach the summit.

Last weekend we had the pleasure of spending roughly two hours with a few of our members from Cohort 15 in a simulation that focused on problem-solving and decision-making challenges. Each person in the group was assigned an individual position (either: leader, marathoner, environmentalist, physician, or photographer). However, they had one group goal in mind: make it up the summit of Mount Everest together. The group faced obstacles along the way that forced them to make decisions as a team in a way that would not only benefit an individual, but would also benefit the group as a whole and thus increase their chances of making it to the top together.

Jenny’s Group –

Jenny’s team took some time to explore the program together and read aloud the goals for the climb. It was quickly noted that individual goals would contrast with each other, and there were going to have to be decisions made along the climb in the interest of the group and not the individual. With each stage, the group discussed pros and cons, always only proceeding with everyone in agreement.

Nicole, Sophia, Abdoul, Kristie, and Jenny (GA) during their teamwork task of progressing to the summit of Mount Everest.

There were sacrifices made for the group, which all members were more than willing to make. Individual goals and points were forgotten, and the overall climb and health of each member quickly became the main concern. The interesting aspect of a struggle with oxygen was that everyone had pieces of information with regards to calculations, but it was only by putting the information together that the answer could actually be found.  Though the team did not make it to the summit – as two individuals had to be rescued – it was considered an overall success for coming so far and working so well as a team.

Discussion/Feedback –

Jenny enjoyed the time to bond with the group and work together to reach their goals, and liked how team members were becoming more and more concerned for each other’s health as time went on, even though it was just a simulation. Abdoul said that though he felt exhausted after the experience, he felt that with a lack of information, mistakes were inevitable, but that it was a good lesson that making mistakes is a big part of leadership and teamwork. Sophia felt that the team became more confident in each other and were going with gut feelings, which is also a big part of teamwork and leadership. Kristie very much enjoyed that the efforts and concerns for the group as a whole took preference over individual goals. She also appreciated that though there was an assigned leader, everyone had equal input into the decisions that were made. Nicole noted that the survey during the simulation asked questions regarding to disagreements and contrasting opinions during discussions, but she found that in each decision we made, we were all unanimous and united as a group.

Abdoul, Jenny (graduate assistant), Nicole, Kristie, and Sophia, after an (almost) successful journey up the mountain!

Lauren’s Group

On day four, Lauren’s group had successfully made it to camp three. However, they were all starting to have critical health conditions both physically and mentally, with some team members also having frostbite and breathing issues. They were faced with the decision of whether to remain at camp three and let everyone rest for the day or move forward to camp four before resting, which was recommended by experts as well as earned them more ‘team points.’ Lauren’s group decided to try and make it to camp four despite everyone being in critical health conditions. Unfortunately, this was not the best choice for them, and both their photographer and physician had to be rescued and brought back to base camp. The next day, the three remaining members made the trudge up the summit, but unfortunately two members ran out of oxygen and had to be rescued and returned to base camp. Because of this, the leader was the only one to make it to the top of the summit successfully.

Discussion/Feedback –

After the stimulation, everyone in Lauren’s group agreed that they had worked really well together despite not making to the top of the summit together. Everyone in her group had decided to disclose any health related issues they had, which they could have kept to themselves. The group felt that this benefited them as they were all aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

One of the students in Lauren’s group described this experience in her own words: “This stimulation was a lot like life: it throws random obstacles at you and you just have to learn and adapt to the curve balls.” The group also agreed that again, like life, it is important to take risks, but it is also important to be conservative sometimes. They took a risk going to camp four to earn more team points, but perhaps they should have been a little more conservative with this decision considering the critical condition of all the team members. Everyone in Lauren’s group had a blast doing this stimulation! They all agreed that it was a great way to get to know their cohort members more through a team building process which took them out of their comfort zone and forced them to make decisions as a group rather than individually.

 

 

 

 

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.

Some Final Top Tips From Cohort 14’s Lyndsey Denton!

As Cohort 15 embarks on their EMBA journey, Lyndsey Denton from Cohort 14 shares some final tips before this semester takes off! It’s all about balance, strengthening current relationships, and making new lifetime connections!

Lyndsey with husband.

One of the best parts about this program is its ability to transform you. Be prepared for that! If you are willing to be honest with yourself and be vulnerable to the rest of the cohort, it can be life changing! With that being said, don’t forget that you do have other obligations to uphold besides school. Everyone has a life outside of school, so it’s important to remember to take the time to relax and unwind! Take a day or 2 (I like the Sunday after a class weekend best!) to not do homework if you can and just relax with family or friends. You can find balance if you just make sure to use time wisely with the rest of your days until next class time. As many fellow cohort members have said, take a couple hours each day doing homework. It’s easy to procrastinate with 2 weeks between classes typically, but I would recommend just carving out a little time each day. There’s a lot of reading and coursework to do between each class weekends, so you can get it all accomplished without feeling too stressed if you do a little every day.

Lyndsey (second row, third from the right) with friends from Cohort 14.

Embrace Group work: When it comes to group work, I’ve found it works best for me when I’ve physically met with my group. While this may not always be available, it is a good idea to try to accomplish such a couple of times. I was a little afraid of group work at first, because much of my undergrad had been done so individually focused. I’ve grown to enjoy group projects because more ideas are formed and more can be accomplished together. Everyone in the group has their own strengths they bring to the projects.

Another tip I would recommend is to take time to build relationships with your cohort. You are all on this journey together, and know what the others are going through. I’ve found being vulnerable and open with everyone to be a great experience and is helping me to grow in so many ways. Share your wins and losses with each other, things in and out of the classroom. This may include going out with the other members of the cohort after class, this is a great way to get to know everyone and let loose. Building relationships with these people has been awesome, and I could not be more proud to be a member of this group of individuals.

“Your Cohort Is Your Family”

With less than 2 weeks left until we welcome Cohort 15, current students continue to share their advice from their journey thus far. Julie Billy, Cohort 14 shares what she wishes she knew before beginning Stetson’s EMBA program last August. 

Tips, Tricks & Insights

If only I knew what I know now…

  • One word. SYLLABUS. Once you receive the syllabus, study it in detail and break up the assignments into manageable tasks so you’re not waiting until the last minute. 

What I’ve learned thus far…

  • Plan to set aside time for focused studying. Make it a ritual. Schedule this time in your calendar and repeat each week for consistency. It takes 21 days to create a habit, this is a habit you want to achieve early on.
  • Your cohort is like family…scratch that, they ARE your family. You will lean on them and they will lean on you. Everyone has something they’re good at it, learn from them and willingly share your talents with the cohort.
  • Communication is key. If you’re having trouble with any particular

    Julie (third from the right) with friends from Cohort 14.

    concept or assignment, DO NOT wait too long before you seek assistance. The professors are more than willing to help you and answer any question you have. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

International Trip!!!  

  • Enjoy yourself. Take advantage of this opportunity to the absolute fullest.
  • Bring a notepad with you to your business meetings. It’s exciting to go overseas, so it’s easy to forget the little things.
  • Business is important. But take the time to hang out and decompress with your cohort members. It has been an enlightening experience and by far these relationships have been the highlight of the program for me.

Tips For What’s To Come

In just a few short weeks, new students will begin their journey as members of Stetson’s Executive MBA program. Cohort 14 student, Adam Swiatek offers his own thoughts on how to be successful in this demanding, yet incredibly rewarding, experience! 

Meet-up with Skype for Business! You all lead busy lives with work, school and your family. Meeting up face-to-face at Stetson may not always be in the cards. Do a video meet-up on Skype. Add in a little screen sharing and you’ll have that Accounting project finished in no time!

Gear up for the time of your life during the International Experience! Find a travel buddy in the cohort and chart your adventures. Get out and explore as much as you can – who knows when you’ll be half way around the world again! Socialize and eat like a local. Find the gems that make the cities you visit top destinations.

Stay connected. Even though you may not have class every week, stay connected with your cohort mates and school on Stetson email. Make an Outlook Group and keep your conversations going, even when you are not at school.

It’ll be rewarding; it’ll be challenging! The Stetson EMBA has been one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences for me. It has also been a challenge. Balancing school, work and real-life is not always easy. But know that you’ve got so many people in the same boat with you – your cohort! Talk to them, or talk to Cohort 14. We’ve “been there” so we might have some advice.

In a group, use your talents: divide and conquer! Discover what you’re “good at” and bring those skills to the table. Chances are, in your group, you’ll have all of the skills you need to make one phenomenal project!

They’re there for you. Know that the Stetson EMBA is supported by some of the best. If you have a question, need help, want to share a laugh… the Stetson EMBA support team is world-class, and why I think the Stetson EMBA is so special.