Thursday was an informative yet fantastically fun day. Rubbing our eyes, we started of our morning bright and early with a march to the Judge Business School, a beautiful work of perhaps McDonald’s playhouse inspired architecture, but nonetheless beautiful in its own right. After incredibly fascinating sessions on investment strategy and the utilization of the Bloomberg terminal (and a delicious lunch) we headed to the Fitzwilliam Museum where Mr. Horner dropped pearls of knowledge upon us with a great interactive tour of the museum. After perusing the museum’s collection of weapons (for longer than I’d like to admit), we visited the King’s College Chapel, a beautiful Church. To end off our day, we found ourselves listening to a fantastic lecture on Shakespeare, perhaps the only time I’ve ever been able to hold attention to the subject, followed by a live performance in the park. While I must admit I initially dreaded going to The Taming of the Shrew, the play turned out to be great fun, full of energy, and with fantastic background was easy to understand and relate to. All in all, it was one of my favorite days, action-packed and full of intellectual stimulation.
- Rowan Majumdar, son of Rajjina Singh and Sareet Majumdar (FL, '12)


This past week has been truly life changing. The daily lessons gave me greater insight into the financial world. I did not only gain knowledge during my time in Cambridge, but I made friends within the great group of people.

- Luke Didier, son of Allison and Hank Didier (FL, '17)



Today we left behind Clare College (and air-conditioning) to spend the day at the spectacular Madingley Hall and gardens. After an informative and aromatic tour of the gardens, we were schooled on the intricate minutia of Brexit, the hidden secrets behind credit cards, and the proper way to hold a croquet mallet. We finished our day with a visit to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, a moving tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in World War II. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store!

- Christie Harrison, daughter of Cathleen & Bill Harrison (FL, '01)


Today we went punting on the Cam, thankfully none of us fell in! The day continued with interesting and very useful lectures from Nick Hoffman and Nigel Wardle.  Professor Simon Conway Morris gave a talk on evolutionary myths and Professor Mary Buckley spoke about human trafficking in Russia. The day ended with a scavenger hunt around Cambridge, the winner has yet to be announced, and dinner was on our own giving us all a chance to explore the restaurant scene here.

- Kendrick McFadden, daughter of Harriet and Hampton McFadden (AL, '16)



The first day of The SIBF Money and Responsibility conference was an awesome start to the week. We started the day off with a tour of the University and then went to lunch at The River Bar. Our afternoon consisted of an open top double decker bus tour of Cambridge. After settling into our rooms we went to the Neville’s home for an awesome dinner! It was a great start to the week here at Cambridge.

-Claire Blumenthal, daughter of Karen and Marc Blumenthal (FL, '12)


On Monday Jerry gave us a finance talk, this is not an area in which I had been formally educated and so this was new to me. The talks are conducted so that beginners and those with experience in the area can learn something new. In the afternoon we saw Trinity College, including the Wren Library. This houses the first editions of Darwin’s  ‘On the Origin of Species’ and Marx’s ‘Dad Kapital’. It also contained the notes of the greatest mind in history, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

- Huw Neville, son of Tracy-Ann and James Neville (UK, '06)

SIBF Dives Down Under – Australia Now on the Member Map!

SIBF Dives Down Under – Australia Now on the Member Map!

Not surprisingly, it all started in Birmingham.  Stewart Dansby (AL, ’95) met Mark Bytheway (Australia, ’17) while Mark was on a business trip to visit Bill Mills (AL, ’14) as they were starting a new venture, KPX Global LLC.  KPX is a specialist provider of impact investment products and services, including environmental, social and governance research, and analysis investment integration services.   

A few months and 10,000 miles later, Stewart, now a partner in and a director of KPX, attended the 2016 Fellows’ International Conference to Australia.  “I really got to know Mark as I visited before the SIBF FIC to Australia. I flew over a few days early to meet with him and his family in Melbourne, then introduced Mark and his lovely wife, Bec, to several SIBFers on the trip over dinner when we were back in Melbourne.”  Formerly the CEO of SIRIS investment research, Mark is now a member of SIBF having joined in 2017 and COO/Director of KPX.  

Should you find yourself planning a trip or evaluating business opportunities in Australia, Mark is ready to be of assistance.  A new Aussie SIBF chapter just might be growing down under! 

Contact Mark

 Stewart Dansby (AL, ’95) and Mark Bytheway (Australia, ’17) at The Melbourne Cup in Australia 

Stewart Dansby (AL, ’95) and Mark Bytheway (Australia, ’17) at The Melbourne Cup in Australia 

Here's what can happen if you don't pay taxes on bitcoin

In 2017, bitcoin went from trading at below $1,000 early in the year to a peak of over $19,000 in December, while other virtual currencies also enjoyed gains.

For anyone who ignored the common crypto-slang advice to "HODL," to hold on to your investment for dear life, and decided to cash out, those profits are considered income by the IRS.

If you sold crypto-coins or used crypto to buy anything in 2017, you probably owe the IRS taxes, says Ryan Losi, a certified public accountant and the executive vice president of Virginia accounting firm PIASCIK.

"For Americans there is no free lunch," Losi says. "If you're richer tomorrow than you were today, it is likely you have some tax burden associated with that."

And not paying up can have consequences.

If the IRS discovers you under-reported your income when you file your taxes in April, "there is a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5 percent per month, starting after the month in which it was due," Losi explains. "Then there is a failure-to-pay penalty of 5 percent on top of that." Then, there's interest.

To avoid penalties, here's what you need to know about paying taxes on bitcoin.


2017 SIBF Annual Awards

At the 2017 Annual Summit in Del Mar, California, the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF) presented member awards to seven exceptional individuals who have given generously of their time, talent and resources.  Because of their dedication and willingness to give back locally and globally, SIBF is a stronger organization.  SIBF is honored to recognize this year’s impressive group of winners:

Tom Wallace (FL, ’12): Allan J. McDonald International Entrepreneur Award
Established by the Class of 1987 to commemorate Allan J. McDonald’s international entrepreneurial accomplishments and support of SIBF. The award is presented annually at the Summit to a Fellow who has demonstrated outstanding international entrepreneurial effort during the previous year.

Susan & Meade Sutterfield (GA, ’97): James D. Cockman Humanitarian Award
Presented annually at the Summit to a Fellow who has made extraordinary contributions to a philanthropic initiative, demonstrating a strong commitment to an organization whose primary mission is improving the lives of those in need. This award was established in honor of 1992 class member Jim Cockman, known for his generous spirit and dedication to local and national community projects.

Randy Nuckolls (DC, ’83) & Bobby Henebry (GA, ’15): Spirit of SIBF Award
Recognizes a member who has spearheaded an innovative program or other special effort. Through personal initiative and effective use of SIBF’s network, this individual has delivered outstanding results and raised the bar for other members who oversee SIBF projects.

David Love (NC, ’92): Mentor Award
Recognizes a long-standing SIBF member who has accepted indirect or unofficial leadership roles in order to support leadership. SIBF mentors are vital to our success, providing the voice of experience and the extended circle of acquaintance that is often critical to the success of new leaders. 

Mark Lampen (SC, ’16): Newcomer Award
Recognizes emerging leadership in the newest class which is crucial to a governance structure where key volunteer positions rotate frequently. This award honors a member from the most recently inducted class who exhibits strong leadership skills and dedication to the Society very early in their membership. 

ABOUT SIBF: The Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF) is a non-profit business association founded in 1981. Over 70% of members are CEOs, owner, presidents or managing partners. Represented in 40 countries worldwide, the organization has 1200 members from small and medium-sized enterprises as well as major multinationals and global professional services firms.  Leadership Academies in the US, Central Eurasia, the Middle East, and South East Asia attract high potential leaders and present global networking opportunities for the next generation of leaders. Membership is by invitation only with interest in international business and culture as the common thread among members.

Bob Blanchard (FL, '96), WRB Serra Partners Closes Fund I at $46.5 Million

WRB Serra Partners announced today that it has successfully completed the closing of WRB Serra Partners Fund I, L.P. with committed capital of $46.5 Million. The Fund secured capital from a mix of family office and institutional investors and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Founded in 2015, WRB Serra is a Florida-based private equity firm that invests in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The firm is targeting investments of US$7 million to US$25 million from the Fund and with additional capital from its limited partners.

WRB Serra’s partner group has a decades-long history developing, operating, and financing infrastructure projects in the region and includes G. Robert “Bob” Blanchard, Jr., Robert Blenker, and Eric Wenick. “We are very excited to have a committed pool of capital dedicated to the Caribbean and Latin America,” says Bob Blanchard.  “We are seeing many exciting opportunities that benefit consumers and promote sustainable economic growth in the region.” 

“Our affiliated development capabilities and long track record operating in the region make us an ideal match for developers seeking to bring their projects to completion with a partner that can provide both expertise and capital,” added Robert Blenker. WRB Serra previously announced its first investment in Content Solar Ltd., Jamaica’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant, which is located in Claredon Parish, Jamaica. The 20 Megawatt, grid-connected solar plant began construction in January 2016 and commenced commercial operations in August 2016. Content Solar generates and sells energy to Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

“Content Solar is a perfect example of how WRB Serra brings structuring, finance, and development capabilities to bear,” said Eric Wenick.  “We look forward to working with developers and utilities in the region to help bring other successful projects to life.” WRB is targeting investments in solar, wind, hydro, and biomass generation, storage, energy efficiency, and potable water infrastructure from early-stage construction to operating assets.

On the clock: Dee Haslam (OH, '09) submits bid to host NFL draft in 2019, 2020

The Cleveland Browns announced Thursday that it has partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission to potentially host the annual three-day draft, which has swelled into a made-for-TV spectacle and showcase for the league — a virtual football-palooza.

The group delivered its application to league headquarters in New York last week, and as luck would have it, Commissioner Roger Goodell visited the team’s headquarters on Thursday.

“I noticed that draft announcement on my way in,” Goodell said as he sat next to Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam during a fan forum before the team’s final training camp practice. “Was that a coincidence?”

Probably not.

With their rich tradition, the Browns, who are coming off a 1-15 season and have been a staple at the top of the draft for several years, are eager to move back among the league’s model franchises. Hosting the draft might be one small step toward restoring the team’s glory.

Dee Haslam said landing the draft would not only be a major coup for Cleveland and its fans but would also provide an opportunity to showcase the football-obsessed region.

“Once you get here and see what a great place it is, we can tell a story all we want, but getting people to come here and seeing it and feeling it,” she said. “The draft is amazing exposure because it goes everywhere and people see it, and so we’re really excited about that opportunity to get people to come to Northeast Ohio and see what a fantastic place it is.”



Keith Miller (SC, '14) discusses the two-year college graduate rate in South Carolina

One measure that weighed down the state's overall ranking in the U.S. News analysis was South Carolina's two-year college graduate rate.

The report placed that rate at 48th in the nation. But the study uses data that have been widely denounced by two-year colleges, said Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College.

"It (the two-year college ranking) doesn't even come close to reflecting reality — not even close," Miller said.


At Greenville Tech every year, for instance, up to 4,000 students (25 percent of the student body) attend classes for a semester or two and then transfer to a four-year college. Those students count against Greenville Tech's graduation rate, Miller said, because they don't actually graduate but rather transfer to a four-year program.

An additional 1,400 high school students who take dual-enrollment courses (college credit classes) may count against Greenville Tech's graduation rate as well, Miller said.

"The reason they count as a negative is that they're attending classes but their intent is not to graduate from Greenville Tech," Miller said. "It's simply to attend some classes while they're in high school, so that counts against us."

The two-year college ranking is based on first-time full-time students, Miller said.

At Greenville Tech, however, 60 percent of students attend classes part-time.

"This data doesn't even consider 60 percent of our student body," Miller said.

Studies on education have to be considered critically, Miller added.

"These reports are intended to achieve a certain level of transparency and help inform the public about different colleges and universities across the nation," Miller said. "That's a laudable goal. Having said that, what's sad and so deceiving is not only do they not tell the full story, they tell a misleading story. They don't give an accurate picture."


Band of SIBF Sisters (BOSS) - Webinar Tomorrow!


Date: August 22, 2017  

Time: 12:00pm

Topic: Mind Mapping to Create Possibilities

When you what you are doing is connected to your passions and core values, you are living a life of discovery that energizes you every day. However, you may have become disconnected with your passion or never connected with it. You may have once been energized but you aren’t any longer. For any number of reasons, you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere with where you want to go. We are comfortable with the familiar, but that very comfort may be holding us back. You feel stuck – maybe even trapped – and can’t think of what to do next. When we are connected to our passions and are living on purpose, we are energized and engaged. Discover or reconnect with your passions and explore how you can use them to articulate your purpose for yourself. Brainstorm about the possibilities and use your ideas to create potential visions for your future to explore further. 

Bill Gillon (TN, '14) partners with the Food Policy Leadership Institute (FPLI)

The Food Policy Leadership Institute (FPLI) at the George Washington University will welcome its first class in September 2017. The FPLI certificate program is tailored for working professionals and designed around the goal of deepening the bench of young leaders ready to carry forward meaningful food and agriculture policy agendas.

The program’s curriculum will be delivered primarily via distance learning but will include regular visits to farms and food processing facilities. Near the conclusion of the program, participants will also travel to Washington, D.C., to interface directly with food policy leaders of all stripes and tour farms and processing facilities along the eastern seaboard. Lead by Professor of Public Policy Kathleen Merrigan, the Institute’s 16-member faculty roster includes lobbyists, CEOs, congressional staff, lawyers, and economists.

According to the FPLI’s leadership, multiple of the existential challenges facing the food system today cannot be solved through individual action or marketplace campaigns alone. Fewer young farmers come from farming backgrounds, agriculture is moving onto rooftops and into buildings, and even in traditional farming communities the pace of change is continuing to accelerate. The FPLI faculty contend that government policy plays a fundamental role in dictating who can tap into resources and for what purposes, who has access to food and of what quality, and how well persistent and historical inequalities are addressed.

Food Tank had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Merrigan, the Executive Director of Sustainability at the George Washington University and the Founder of the Food Policy Leadership Institute. From 2009 to 2013, Dr. Merrigan was U.S. Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She wrote the law establishing national standards for organic food. Her prior students have progressed to leadership roles such as the Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (a role Merrigan herself also previously held), heading up sustainability and industry relations at major food companies, and steering investments in climate change at international foundations.


Food Tank (FT): What drove you to sit down at your desk and say “the bench is too shallow, we need to develop a leadership training program?”

Dr. Kathleen Merrigan (KM): The challenges are so great. There’s a growing chorus in support of the kind of change we need in the food system and there’s an unbelievable new interest in food that is wind in the sails for new policy change. But when I look across the spectrum of organizations involved, there are just not enough strong young leaders who have the kind of knowledge base necessary to really make that change. We also need to have a lot more diversity in our leadership circles.

FT: Could you talk about your partners and who you’re excited to have with you at the table and in the (virtual) classroom?

KM: What a fun thing for me—I’ve put together a dream team faculty! We’ve got folks like Bill Gillon at the Cotton Board, with whom I shared an office for years working for Senator Leahy on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Bill helped me draft the Organic Food Production Act. He’s been more involved with traditional agriculture over his career and has spent many years in the cotton industry, so he brings a huge amount of perspective for the fellows in the program. Folks like Walter Robb, who about three-quarters of a year ago exited the position of CEO at Whole Foods Market and who helped build that company to what it is today. He’s a really thoughtful, creative industry leader. To Janie Hipp, who is at the University of Arkansas Law School now and was the head and founder of the Office of Tribal Relations at USDA when I was there. She’s been a really great advocate for Indian Country.


IT Authorities Names Jeff Lynn (FL, '15) Chief Operating Officer

T Authorities, a world-class IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) in Tampa, is pleased to announce Jeff Lynn will join the senior leadership team as Chief Operating Officer. Lynn is a seasoned executive bringing nearly 40 years of experience in the technology industry to ITA and its growing customer base.

Lynn most recently served as President of Tribridge, a technology services firm, where he led the strategic direction, service delivery and growth of Tribridge's global operations.

Before joining Tribridge, Jeff had been global COO of Tectura, then the largest Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM partner. Prior to Tectura Jeff was Vice President of Dell Professional Services, VP & General Manager of Compaq Professional Services, and VP of Consulting & Services for IBM.

"I'm pleased to join IT Authorities at such an exciting time", Lynn said. "ITA is growing the size of its customer base, not just in raw numbers, but in the size, complexity and critically of the workloads under our stewardship. The challenges that come with such a large-scale transformation are formidable. But big challenges are what make IT Authorities an exciting place to be."

Lynn begins his tenure as COO on Tuesday, August 15, reporting to Phil LaForge, recently appointed Chief Executive Officer.

"Companies cannot deliver on the promise of world class service without world class leaders at the helm", said CEO Philip LaForge. "Our customers and coworkers will immediately benefit from Jeff's significant capabilities and leadership style backed up by a history of success at some of the tech industries most revered companies".

Besides his professional work, Jeff gives back by serving as Chair of The CEO Trust in Manhattan. He is Board Member of the Society of International Business Fellows, a Board Member of the MIT Sloan School Club of New York and is on the Board of Visitors of the McDonald Observatory, a research unit of The University of Texas at Austin.

Lynn holds a MS in Management Information Systems from the Sloan School of Management, M.I.T. and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Sports, art converge during Family Day at OZ Arts Nashville

Art and sports converge at the fourth annual Family Day at OZ Arts Nashville. Curated to spark creativity, fun, and interaction, this year’s popular festival offers up food, a slew of sports-themed art-making activities and performances, and sculptures and interactive installations by featured Nashville artist and TSU assistant art professor Brandon Donahue.

“Creating artworks with your hands and interacting with artists opens up a whole new dimension for young adults and children,” said OZ Arts CEO Tim Ozgener (TN, '12). “Nowadays, families are on the go so much that creating a compelling occasion that brings families together to interact with some of the region’s standout artists was a goal of ours.”

 BMX Pros Trick Team. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Oz Arts)

BMX Pros Trick Team. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Oz Arts)

Over a dozen local artists and community organizations will set up indoor and outdoor art-making activity stations, and several performances will punctuate the day, including a Tai Chi Demo by The Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville and stunts by BMX bikers and skateboarders in the front parking lot-turned BMX course and skate park.  

In addition to a selection of his elegant “Basketball Bloom,” sculptures, Donahue will create an outdoor volleyball court made from used volleyballs and rope and a full-size, backlit indoor basketball court with backboards made from bamboo and toilet seats.


 Brandon Donahue, "Basketball Bloom USA Nike," 2017, basketballs and shoestrings. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Oz Arts)

Brandon Donahue, "Basketball Bloom USA Nike," 2017, basketballs and shoestrings. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Oz Arts)

Why Coal Is Dead: A Conversation with Peter Zeihan (TX, '15)

From Knowledge Leaders Capital (KLC): With energy setting records as the worst performing sector year-to-date, we were curious about Geopolitical Strategist Peter Zeihan’s (PZ) thoughts on fossil fuels in the context of the United States’ continued retreat from the global theater.

We recently caught up with Peter to ask his opinion. Below are excerpts from that conversation.

KLC: What are your thoughts on fossil fuels given the United States’ continued retreat from the Bretton Woods era and global trade system?

PZ: Coal is dead regardless of what happens with the Trump administration. Because natural gas is a waste product of the shale sector, it’s flooding in and taking the entire market. Shale production has doubled from 20% of the fuel mix to about 45% today, and it will definitely cross the 50% threshold before the end of the decade.

Alternative power sources are not yet in a position where they can make up the difference because most power demand in the United States happens after dark in the winter. So if you’re in the northern tier of states, solar just isn’t appropriate. Now if you’re in Texas and the belt going from Texas to Southern California, solar is brilliant in that zone. And in terms of electricity generated as opposed to installed capacity, I expect electricity generated from solar in Texas to increase by a factor of five in the next six years. Not because Texans are green, but because Texans can do math. So don’t look to how many panels are up. Look at how much power actually comes from it that is actually fed into the grid and used. This destroys coal. It makes solar kind of a wash outside of the Sunbelt.

KLC: What’s the most promising alternative source, in your opinion?

PZ: The next technology to keep an eye on is wind. The new towers that are going up aren’t just 30 meters tall, they’re 70 and 80 meters tall, which means they tap a stronger, more reliable wind current structure. And they can be built almost anywhere. The primary wind zone extends from the Great Plains into the Rockies and all the way to Chicago, and the offshore capacity on the East and the West Coast is phenomenal. So we might be able to get 15-20% of base load capacity nationally from wind. The infrastructure build-out time is long, however. Building an 80-foot-tall wind tower is as hard as it sounds. And, if you think there was a “not in my backyard” problem with the towers that were 30 meters tall, these new ones can be seen from 11 miles away.

KLC: Would more wind towers be good for copper prices?

PZ: In theory, yes, but only moderately. Existing wind towers only work in specific areas, so the electricity has to be wired long distances (West Iowa to Chicago, for example). However, the taller towers work in a wider range of areas and so can be positioned closer to demand. Many more towers, but less of a need for long-haul transmission.


VIDEO: Anne & Marty Davis (MN, '04) welcome 135 children to Camp Cambria

This year, Camp Cambria will treat 135 children and teens suffering from juvenile arthritis to a week of summer camp fun with their peers, at no cost to their families in Minnesota and Ontario.

Founded in 2014 by Cambria President and CEO Marty Davis and his wife Anne, Camp Cambria is supported by volunteers, including Cambria employees, local sports heroes and celebrities like Mariel Hemingway, a Cambria Brand Ambassador who teaches yoga to campers. Hemingway stopped by KARE 11 at 4 to talk about this year’s camp.

This year, the Camp Cambria Foundation will hold its annual fundraiser, the Camp Cambria Classic on August 14 at Hazeltine National Golf Club. To learn more about this cause and opportunities to get involved, visit and for more about Cambria, visit


Tucker/Hall president Bill Carlson (FL, '12) contemplating run for Tampa City Council in 2019

Bill Carlson, a Tampa Democratic Party activist and the president of the Tucker/Hall public relations firm, is considering a run for the South Tampa District 4 seat in 2019.

“I’ve been involved behind the scenes in a number of the most important issues in Tampa Bay, and people have been encouraging me for years to run for political office, so finally I’m seriously considering running for that seat,” Carlson said Thursday night.

Among those behind-the-scenes issues that Carlson was involved with in recent years was a push (along with Jason Busto and the late Steve Burton) to modernize the workings of Tampa International Airport and press for more direct international flights. That ultimately led to the ouster of former airport CEO Louis Miller in 2010, and the hiring of Joe Lopano.

Carlson also has been involved in efforts to push for more trade and improved relations between Tampa and Cuba over the years. He says he wants to make Port Tampa Bay the U.S. hub for trade with Cuba and Asia through the Panama Canal and the Cuba transshipment hub.

Carlson, 50, has worked at Tucker/Hall for the past 23 years, the last decade as president of the agency. He’s also the co-founder of Cafe Con Tampa, a Friday morning forum where lawmakers, public officials and major members of the community hold discussions with local residents. The event has moved in the past year to the Oxford Exchange, where they’ve attracted some of their largest audiences.


Link, Learn, Share: CELA 13 Leadership Academy

The flagship event of the CELA's calendar - CELA 13 Leadership Academy - took place from June 29 to July 8 at the American University of Bulgaria (AUBG) in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. AUBG welcomed CELA's thirteenth Academy, which brought together the biggest class ever - 47 successful, bright and outstanding fellows from the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia.

This year's Academy was very special in so many different ways. It took place in a new location - the American University of Bulgaria, a cozy and beautiful campus in the small city the Blagoevgrad, 100 km away from Bulgaria's capital Sofia. AUBG was chosen after an extensive look at alternatives to Koç University, where all of CELA's previous academies had been held.
CELA-13 hosted the biggest class ever - forty-seven (!) participants from 10 countries. Despite the class's size, the Academy was still a huge success thanks to the amazing dedication of faculty members, facilitators, staff, interns and, most importantly, participants.

This year CELA brought in our tenth country as Mongolia joined our network. Three incredible representatives of Mongolia - Tuya, Zolo, and Mandi - are now CELA pioneers in expanding our network to the "Land of the Eternal Blue Sky". We hope to host one of our nearest reunions in this mysterious and fascinating homeland of Chinggis Khan- the great conqueror of the 13th century.

This year was inspiring due to the participation of special Gulnaz Zhuzbaeva, a visually impaired participant from Kyrgyzstan, whose dream to see the world gave us all tremendous motivation that there is nothing impossible. We sincerely thank CELA Global and CELA Kyrgyzstan for the wonderful gift that enabled us to embrace this beautiful soul that is extremely passionate about helping others through her Foundation. It was very moving to witness a surprise presented at the Graduation Ceremony by her CELA 13 classmates, who raised $5,000 cash during the Academy to support Gulnaz's noble dream to train young visually impaired people back home. Simply impressive!

CELA 13 was fortunate to have alumni facilitators from all sister networks - CELA (Elchin from Azerbaijan, Gvantsa from Georgia), MELA (Said from Oman, Rada, Randi and Salma from Jordan), SEALA (Saad from Pakistan) and NALA/SIBF Academy (Heather, Bobby and Linh from the United States) - who made it more special and valuable. Adding these perspectives to our usual American group made our eight learning groups all special.

In addition to the Academy's thoroughly designed agenda, learning materials, a series of role-playing exercises, simulations, case studies and team presentations, participants were able to work with members of the SIBF - who came as presenters, faculty, facilitators and mentors, bringing their real-life experiences to the program to give it a highly practical flavor. Naturally, we cannot imagine CELA academies without our main mind-blowing speakers and CELA family members - our dear John King, Bill Starnes, and Michael Kouly, who know how to steer you back in the right direction in no time. J CELA member Rashad Bayramov was part of the faculty as a communications speaker and coach for our participants. Additionally, we added a new speaker in Merrick Furst from Atlanta for his presentations and exercises on Reliable Innovation.

This majority of this year's class came business, from big international corporations to mid-sized and small commercial enterprises with many entrepreneurs, but there were also academic, government and civil society participants. They were all at the consistently high level we have come to expect in a CELA Academy. We thank our country teams for their work in nominating and selecting such a high quality, large and diverse class. The CELA 13 class will be joining a network organization now linking almost 500 leaders and change agents across ten countries. You may learn about each CELA 13 participant in CELA 13 Biobook, a printed copy of which was generously sponsored by Susan Sutterfield and Muzaffar Atamirzaev. So, please welcome our brand new fantastic CELA 13 addition to CELA family!

We made sure that our alumni and friends from other networks stay up to date with the Leadership Academy news via our social media accounts: 

1) CELA YouTube channel
2) Official Facebook page
3) CELA Facebook Group
4) CELA Twitter account
5) CELA Instagram account
6) CELA 13 blog

We would like to use this opportunity to thank every single person, who was a part of this beautiful journey, for believing and for being a motivational drive in making it happen.

Once again, we welcome the new class of CELA fellows into our greater CELA family!

Cordia Harrington’s (TN, '07) profile rises with her dough

Women-owned companies are just like those owned by men, which is to say some are big, some are small, some are well-known and some aren’t.  Recently the Women Presidents’ Organization and American Express took note of some larger ones in their 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies list, which included Nashville’s Cordia Harrington and her The Bakery Cos.

Companies on the list were ranked according to a sales-growth formulary that combined percentage and absolute growth. The 50 companies ranked generated a combined $7.2 billion in 2016 revenues, and employed 46,000 people.

For its part, The Bakery Cos. was singled out in part for having gross revenue that went from $58,641,000 to $90,180,000 in just the past two years, list officials say. Harrington, who rose a spot to No. 42 on this year’s list, has been on the national radar for more than 20 years. She launched the Tennessee Bun Company in 1996, spun a trucking business to carry products to customers a few years later, and has continued to expand her bread-making empire.


In addition to television and magazine profiles, she’s also picked up honors from FAST Company, the National Association of Women Business Owners and other organizations. Her company, which has more than 500 employees, now stretches across factories in Middle Tennessee, Norcross, Georgia, and, soon, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

“There’s been a lot going on with us these last couple of years, primarily diversifying to add new products, which in turn has opened up new markets,” Harrington says. By expanding production lines and capabilities to add things like cinnamon rolls, focaccia bread and organic loaf bread, she’s become the marketplace-bread vendor for Walmart. But even with such a marquee client, she says she’s a small business owner at heart.


Marion Smith (CA, '09) joins Pulse Secure, LLC as VP and General Manager of vADC

Pulse Secure, LLC ("Pulse Secure"), a leading provider of secure access solutions to both enterprises and service providers, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of assets associated with the Virtual Application Delivery Controller (vADC) product family from Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. ("Brocade"). The transaction includes a leased research and development facility in Cambridge, UK and associated customer support and maintenance contracts. The acquisition adds significant new capabilities to the Pulse Secure Access Platform offering a complete end-to-end Secure Access solution designed to reduce cost and complexity, increase security, and delight users.

“This acquisition is not only about adding great products to our Secure Access platform, it’s about gaining an outstanding team who are seasoned in the vADC industry” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, CEO of Pulse Secure. "Combining the vADC group with our existing Pulse team, we are truly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Secure Access solutions for people, devices, things and services.”

Originally created as the world’s first fully virtualised application delivery controller, the Brocade vADC solution has become one of the most advanced virtual application delivery controllers in the market today. The solution can be quickly and easily provisioned either on premise, in a private/public cloud, or even through cloud service marketplaces such as AWS, Google, and Azure.  The Brocade vADC offering is recognized within the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers and is used by many organizations worldwide.

Joining the Pulse Secure team as VP and General Manager of the vADC business unit, Marion Smith said “Today, the vADC team starts to write a new chapter in the life of a product we love. This is the next big step in the exciting journey of building the best vADC on the market.  We are now settling in to our new home at Pulse Secure and look forward to the new opportunities that vADC combined with the Pulse Secure portfolio will bring.” Pulse Secure has hired a number of Brocade employees associated with the vADC business who will be working closely together with Pulse Secure to ensure uninterrupted support for existing vADC customers.

Jeff Muir (GA, '04) raises $200M fund aimed at tech, healthcare sectors

 Fulcrum partners (L-R) Tom Greer, Frank Dalton, Jeff Muir, Jim Douglass.

Fulcrum partners (L-R) Tom Greer, Frank Dalton, Jeff Muir, Jim Douglass.

Fulcrum’s Fund III — its largest — will focus on the Southeast, brings much-needed local capital to metro Atlanta. It will also increase the availability of capital to Atlanta tech companies as they mature from early-stage to growth-stage.