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.


Cambridge Money & Responsibility: Day 6 & Overview

From inflation to Darwinism to Hamlet, the unknown has become known as a group of strangers has become a group of friends. The week has flown by as we wrapped up on Friday with lectures ranging from the Weimar Republic's inflation to "Everything You Never Wanted to Know About the World of Finance" ending with the role and power of serendipity. As I look back on the week, there is no doubt we leave with a better knowledge and understanding of the world of finance and how to plan and prepare ourselves to navigate it.

day 6-1.jpg

More importantly, though, I think at least we leave it as better, more well-rounded and capable young men and women. We've met new people, been forced out of our comfort zone, and seen and learned a great deal both about the world and ourselves. It has been an immense privilege and joy to have been a part of this year's SIBF Money and Responsibility course and for that we thank you all.

Hampton McFadden III, son of Harriet and Hampton McFadden, Jr. (AL, '16)

day 6-2.jpg

Cambridge Money & Responsibility: Day 5

Today we went over to the Judge Business School. Here we first learned a few things about banking and investment management. After a break, we were shown the benefits of the popular Bloomberg investment tool. This shows key information on the many possible investments around the world. Later, we had EMEA and CFA director Steve Wallace give a couple lectures on ethical investments. "Do the right thing, even when the wrong thing is legal."

At the end of our time at the business school, we were given some insight on Shakespeare's Hamle before attending the play later in the evening. This presentation was given by Dr. Anne Toner. Before heading back to Clare College, a few of us poked our heads in the Fitzwilliam museum where we saw lots of cool armor, swords, and other weapons over 100 years old. We closed the night with a steak dinner at St. John's Chophouse and the play in St. John's garden.

Cain Poynor, son of Kim and Ham Poynor (AL, '15)

Cambridge Money & Responsibility: Day 4

We started off our day with an exciting punting trip along the River Cam. It was so interesting to see the university from this point of view while experiencing a traditional British activity. Next we dove right into our lectures where we learned about disease research and our moral responsibility towards the issue, how to manage a budget with taxes and inflation, and evolutionary myths by the renowned paleontologist, Professor Simon Conway Morris.

We also had the opportunity to have a proper English tea during one of our breaks. Tonight was a free evening and my group chose to shop around and then head to The Eagle for dinner. This week has been amazing and I'm ready to see what is next to come! Cheers!

Jacklyn Gillette, daughter of Traci and Dan White (OH, '03)

Cambridge - Money & Responsibility: Day 3

On Tuesday, July 25 in Cambridge, we did a lot. We started off the day visiting Madingley Hall. It was a beautiful place with a wonderful garden. While there we had three very interesting classes. The classes taught us about understanding Brexit, credit cards and debt and a class that taught us how our brains work. After the classes, we played croquet and had a great time. After croquet, we departed for the American Cemetery and Memorial.

The cemetery was very nice and taught me a lot. It had an interactive museum and a lot of interesting videos. After leaving the memorial, we went to the home of Tracy-Ann and James Neville. It was a gorgeous house with lots of land. It was so nice of them to have us. They cooked a wonderful dinner comprised of steak, salad, and noodles. Tuesday was such a fun day and I can't wait for the rest of the week.

Parker Davis, grandson of Pam (FL, '98) and Rick (FL, '06) Mooney

Cambridge - Money & Responsibility: Day 2

Today we settled a lot more into Cambridge student life with meeting early at the Buttery for breakfast before lectures and then later dressing up to eat in the great hall. 

Our lectures today reflected on us growing as responsible individuals and, more to my interest, as growing as a business entrepreneur. The lectures were both informative and inspiring. I was also inspired by our tour around the Wren Library, being able to walk through rooms in which the greatest names in history had previously done was very humbling. 

Katie Wardle, niece of Celia and Nigel Wardle (FL, '01)

Cambridge - Money & Responsibility: Day 1

Greetings from Cambridge! Our first day here was wonderful and we definitely got a feel for the city. We began by going on a walking tour of Cambridge, and there are so many interesting pieces of history in such a small area. We saw the laboratory where DNA was discovered, where Isaac Newton had his revelation under the apple tree, where the neutron was discovered, and much more.

We then toured King’s College Chapel that showed much of British history with the numerous battles and changes in architecture. Afterward, many of us went on a double decker bus tour and saw the whole city and listened to its vast history. The meals were absolutely delicious, and it was a great time meeting everyone and getting to know them! I can’t wait for the rest of the week!

Meg Hayslip, daughter of Barbara and Vic Hayslip (AL, '14)

John Hagefstration (AL, '06) / Graham Commercial Properties land $200M to support growth, acquisitions

“We’re pleased to announce this new credit agreement which will help us continue to execute on our strategic vision of diversifying our holdings of last-mile industrial properties across the Southeast,” said John Hagefstration, GCP’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel. “In tandem with Blue Ceiba’s recent equity investment, this debt facility will provide greater flexibility so we can act quickly and nimbly to acquire new properties in key markets.”

Since its inception, Graham Commercial Properties has made a number of key acquisitions in the region, including a recent deal in Atlanta. Company leaders have previously told the BBJ about ambitious plans to grow around the region before possibly expanding to other areas of the country. The Wells Fargo deal comes on the heels of Blue Ceiba Advisors’ $100 million investment in GCP. Blue Ceiba is comprised of a group of foreign investors from Latin America, including Devon Investments, which are investing in GCP’s Southeastern growth.


Mitch Davis (MN, '15) highlights the successes, challenges of Southern Minnesota

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has long worked on early childhood programs. The foundation offers literacy and early childhood incentive grants, as well as loans to licensed providers to expand or enhance their services. It connects AmeriCorps corps members with centers serving at-risk children. And it provides training and professional development for licensed providers.

“There are 2,000 early childhood providers offering childcare in home,” Penny said. “They’re always retiring and new ones are starting up.” The tour was told that regulatory changes will further strain the overtaxed network of providers at a stop in St. Peter’s Minnesota Square Park.

Federal rules will require all-day Head Start programming beginning 2021. Head Start is a child care and kindergarten preparation program for low-income families. So far, only Le Center, New Ulm and Blue Earth have that option, said Chris Marven, who coordinates Head Start for Minnesota Valley Action Council in nine counties. “The biggest challenge is the licensed space needed to do it,” she said.

Most of the locations offer several half-day sections where the morning and afternoon groups use the same space. Creating full-day sections will require doubling the space. Head Start will also require a four-year early childhood degree for teachers. “There are no local colleges who offer it,” Marven said.

Other challenges are in finding staff and paying enough to keep them, especially if they are trained for quality ratings through Parent Aware. Three- and four-star ratings are eligible for added incentives through the Child Care Assistance Program, which provides a sliding scale of payments for low-income families to help them secure child care.

The tour also included a visit to New Sweden Dairy, part of Davis Family Dairies, west of St. Peter. The visitors saw cows calving and milking and heard about agriculture’s growing workforce issues. Mitch Davis, general manager, said agriculture, like other sectors, will increasingly have labor shortages, forcing automation. “There is no developed economy like the U.S.,” he said. “Most places have an immigration policy that fills the ‘climb the ladder’ sector that our parents and grandparents filled.”


VIDEO: CELA 13 Kyrgyzstan

This beautiful video about Kyrgyzstan was accompanied with the text specially prepared and voiced by CELA 13 participants from Kyrgyzstan and shown at the Cultural Night of CELA 2017 Leadership Academy.

David Ford (TX, '90) honored for 42 years of service

Family, friends and colleagues recently gathered to honor Dr. David L. Ford Jr. who, after 42 years of service to The University of Texas at Dallas, will retire Aug. 31.

“Where I am and where I started a number of years ago was to really move beyond success to significance,” Ford, the longest-serving faculty member at the Naveen Jindal School of Management, told guests. “For me, significance is having an impact on other people’s lives and then moving out of their way.”

That impact has been felt by both his peers and what Ford calls his academic sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and cousins, many of whom have gone on to careers in academia.

Dr. Hasan Pirkul (left), dean of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, presents a gift to Dr. David L. Ford Jr. at a recent retirement celebration. After 42 years at UT Dallas, Ford will retire Aug. 31.

Dr. Hasan Pirkul (left), dean of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, presents a gift to Dr. David L. Ford Jr. at a recent retirement celebration. After 42 years at UT Dallas, Ford will retire Aug. 31.

“If I chaired your dissertation, then I’m your academic father,” he said. “If I was on your committee, I’m your academic uncle. If I had to write a letter of reference for you, for your promotion and tenure and that was … my main connection with you, or as a mentor, then I’m your academic cousin.”

One of his academic daughters, Dr. Kiran Mirza Ismail MBA’01, MS’02, PhD’06, is now an assistant professor of management at St. John’s University in New York. She wrote a congratulatory note that was part of a video created for the event.

“May you retire knowing that your positivity, dedication, and mentorship inspired generations of doctoral students and peers. You surely will be missed by the academic community,” Ismail wrote.

About 125 people attended the event. Arthur Gregg, assistant vice president for Multicultural Affairs and director of the Multicultural Center at UT Dallas, served as emcee. Festivities included a farewell tribute from Dr. Hasan Pirkul, dean of the Jindal School, and an introduction of Ford’s wife, Jackie, whom he gave effusive thanks and a large bouquet.

Ford came to UT Dallas in July 1975 as an associate professor of management and administrative sciences. He served in that position until September 1983, when he was promoted to his current role of professor of organizations, strategy, and international management.


Marco Roca (FL, '01) appointed President of Global Development at CEC

Mark Frissora ,CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corporation (CEC), is set to implement an aggressive global expansion strategy with CEC looking to grow its corporate assets ‘beyond gambling’.

Last week, Frissora confirmed the appointment of two key executive hires, placing former Hard Rock International VP Marco Roca as new ‘President of Global Development’ and leisure sector M&A veteran Michael Daly as ‘VP of Group Strategy & Acquisitions’.

Speaking to investors, Frissora stated that the executive appointments would help the US gambling operator ‘unlock new growth channels’ and ‘bring more focus to Caesars international network expansion’.

Appointed in 2015 as CEC leader, Frissora has navigated Caesars Entertainment’s complex bankruptcy and group restructure. The CEO has detailed that the company will official exit all its bankruptcy proceedings this September, marking a ‘new chapter’ for CEC and its stakeholders.


SIBF Alabama Sporting Clays

Date: Friday, July 28, 2017

Time: 2:00pm
Location: Selwood Farm, 706 Selwood Road, Alpine, AL 35014

Cost: $50 (ages 10 and up)
Details: Clay shoot followed by cocktails at Weewoka Creek Farm hosted by Patsy and Stan Graves (AL, '99). Cost includes golf cart and cocktails, attendees should provide their own gun and ammunition (available for purchase on site) This program presents a perfect opportunity to introduce your contacts to SIBF. Invite them to attend as our guest! Contact Membership Consultant Kathy Payne for assistance.

Peter Siegel (FL, '13) joins Starkweather & Shepley as Area President, Southeast Sales Leader

Starkweather & Shepley, one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in the U.S., today announces the launch of its new Tampa, FL office lead by Industry veteran, Peter Siegel. Highlighting this expansion, S&S has tapped 23-year insurance veteran, Peter Siegel to become the Area President.

Siegel will lead new business growth and retention efforts, as well as target select agency and talent acquisitions that meet Starkweather’s criteria.  “Peter has the right relationships and energy to make our expansion throughout Florida successful,” said David Soforenko, President & COO of Starkweather and Shepley. “Our firm views Tampa as the next logical next step to our continued growth and we are excited to have Peter lead that effort.”

Siegel joins the company from AJ Gallagher, where he was Area Senior Vice President and was responsible for handling Healthcare, Manufacturing and Large Multinational accounts. Previously, he was a Vice Present at Marsh. Peter is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston.

Established in 1879, Starkweather & Shepley is presently the largest independent agency in Rhode Island and the 72nd largest insurance brokerage firm in the U.S. Starkweather & Shepley, held in Trust since 1935, insures the firm will remain privately-held in perpetuity, providing certainty to clients and associates alike. The firm provides commercial and personal insurance, health and employee benefits, surety bonding and risk management services. These services are provided nationally and internationally, through its partnership with Assurex Global. Headquartered in East Providence, RI, Starkweather has additional branch offices in Westerly, RI; Bristol and Shelton, CT; Westwood, Sturbridge, and Martha’s Vineyard, MA; and Fort Myers, FL.

Fellowship Award Named in Suzanne Nuckolls' (DC) Honor, Recognizing 38 Years of Teaching

St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School (SSSAS), a college preparatory, Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia, has renamed its 8th grade Fellowship Award as the Suzanne Griffin Nuckolls Fellowship Prize in honor of Suzanne's 38 years of teaching at the School.   Suzanne was recognized with a surprise announcement on June 7 during Middle School Prize Day with the renaming of the Fellowship Award in her honor.  According to Head of School Kirsten Adams, "the eighth grade class confers this award upon the boy and girl in the eighth grade who possess the best qualities of a true friend. Recipients demonstrate in their daily lives true friendship through the qualities of loyalty, compassion, trust and service to others which Mrs. Nuckolls exemplified in our Saints community".

Adrienne Pakis Gillon [spouse of Bill Gillon (TN, ’14)], Suzanne Nuckolls, Carl and Marilyn Shedlock, and Randy Nuckolls

Adrienne Pakis Gillon [spouse of Bill Gillon (TN, ’14)], Suzanne Nuckolls, Carl and Marilyn Shedlock, and Randy Nuckolls

Suzanne joined the all girls St. Agnes School in 1978, to teach mathematics.  She became Chairman of the Middle School math department ten years later when St. Agnes merged with the nearby St. Stephen's boys School. She served on various committees including Admissions, Professional Growth, and Development, and three, 10-year evaluation committees. Suzanne was instrumental in leading SSSAS to adopt single sex math and science classes at the middle school level.   Her innovative math class was profiled by several local and global news agencies including an article in The Washington Post titled, “An Equation for Equality.”
For Suzanne and her husband, Randy (DC, ’83), being a Saint is an essential part of their family story. Their daughters, Emily ’02 and Caroline ’07, are proud alumni of the school.

Congratulations Suzanne. 

Honorary Canadian Consul General Leigh Shockey (TN, '09) talks NAFTA

After a week in the Volunteer State, Canadian Chamber of Commerce chief Perrin Beatty was convinced Tennesseans want more Canada: More trade, more tourism, more business partnerships.Leading a Canadian delegation to Memphis and Nashville, Beatty said he found fertile ground for Canada’s pro-trade agenda and tepid support for scrapping the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

“The message I’ll give to our business community is, these are folks interested in doing business and we should be looking for ways to do more,” Beatty said Friday in Memphis. Leigh Shockey, chief executive of Drexel Chemical and honorary Canadian consul general in Memphis, said trade with Canada is responsible for about 170,000 Tennessee jobs. Tennessee has a $3 billion trade surplus with Canada, the state’s largest trading partner.


Josh Jaquish (FL, '15) & Tribridge jail management system scores win

Tribridge is based in Tampa. Virginia-based DXC Technology acquired Tribridge, which focuses on cloud computing software and services, in a deal announced July 5.

Offender360 is a tool for correctional and public safety institutions to manage inmates from intake to release. Tribridge Offender360 will help the sheriff’s office manage inmate housing; grievance and appeals processing; court operations and inmate programs, according to a press release. Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed.

“Like many state and local institutions nationwide, Maricopa County is under close watch to provide streamlined jail management operations and ease sustained burdens on taxpayers as public funds continue to wane,” says Tribridge Public Sector Vice President Josh Jaquish in a statement. “Tribridge Offender360 is already helping agencies like the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office establish a more refined jail management system, one that’s both cost-effective and rehabilitory for offenders in the system.”

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office serves the unincorporated areas of Maricopa County and several contract cities.