Perspective: Connecting the Dots

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

World map with location pins

WDI’s Three Live Events Link Up Globally Focused Businesses and a Vibrant University Community

Since its founding, WDI has played an important role in connecting businesses operating in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with the ideas and experiences of a major academic institution – the University of Michigan. The learning has always gone both ways. Students and researchers need to learn and understand the realities of the marketplaces in which these businesses operate. Students attending U-M today will almost certainly be engaged in business in one of today’s LMICs at some point in their careers. In turn, businesses can benefit from the research and experiences of a vibrant academic community.

Linking the ideas and expertise of the university to the challenges and realities of emerging countries is one of the ways WDI is Solving for Business, our recently adopted tagline. While this tagline is new, the approach is very much in keeping with our history as an organization. We bring together the stakeholders, collect the data, consider the context, and work with partners in the university and in the field to test potential solutions with the goal of improving businesses in LMICs. 

As we move forward into the academic year, we’re excited to again be playing the role of connector by hosting three essential events in November via Zoom. In collaboration with U-M’s  Ross School of Business and the U.S.-Mexico Foundation, we will host “A Vision For A Stronger U.S.-Mexico Partnership: Emerging Opportunities In The Automotive Industry.” Taking place at 2 p.m. on Nov. 5., this discussion will include former diplomats, industry leaders and analysts, all of whom will explore the dynamic relationship between the two countries, and the challenges and opportunities for improving supply chains and clean energy. It builds on our work in the energy and mobility sector, which earlier this month included hosting a delegation of 15 senior leaders in business, technology, academia and government from the State of Chihuahua, Mexico – a critical hub in the North American automotive industry. 

We’re also pleased to present Kevin Lobo, Chair and CEO of Stryker, as keynote speaker for the Ralph J. Gerson Distinguished Lecture for 2021 at 6 p.m. Nov. 10. With globalization as part of the company’s strategy, Lobo has continued to focus resources and talent on key global markets since becoming CEO of Stryker in 2012. In his talk, “Challenges and Opportunities for Healthcare Companies in Emerging Markets,” Lobo will provide insights for innovating and driving growth in LMICs and highlight some important barriers. Learn more about this event and register here

Finally, members of our Education and Training team will host “Culture Still Matters: Building Cultural Competence in a Globalized World” at 9 a.m., Nov. 16. WDI Vice President for Education Amy Gillett and Michigan Ross Professor John Branch will host this candid and interactive discussion on what professionals and businesses can do to improve cultural fluency for building stronger business relationships and improving outcomes. 

I invite you to join us for what are expected to be three lively and insightful discussions.  

Paul Clyde

Paul Clyde

Paul Clyde is the president of WDI, the Tom Lantos Professor of Business Administration and the Movses and Maija Kaldjian Collegiate Lecturer of Business Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

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