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Going Farther Together

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

“Today, we go farther together” was the rallying point of this year’s Fall Business Team. And go farther they did, giving presentations in 15 universities and government institutions in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, expanding our Applied Management Competency Certificate (AMCC) program from one to two cohorts, and selecting 2018’s two J-1 business candidates from Hanoi University (HANU). But if we had to choose one word to describe this team’s experience, that word would be celebration!

Or, more accurately, Celebrations, plural! This was a big year for Hanoi University, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the English Department, and the 15th anniversary of the Faculty of Management and Tourism (FMT). REI has been in partnership with HANU for a number of years, contributing both resident staff and our short-term volunteer teams. One of many strong points of Vietnam is how well they remember and celebrate milestones. Many months ago our friends and partners at HANU asked REI to schedule this year’s fall business team to coincide with the festivities. And so we did.

The result was a shower of appreciation certificates, bouquets and banquets. But more meaningful were the testimonies of many, from the President of HANU down to a student in our AMCC program, who all shared their perspectives on the impact REI staff and volunteers have had in building up the nation of Vietnam through building up their people. Those who received certificates that day included Presley McFadden, Bob Motsay, Brian Teel, our Vienamese MC, Jerry and Dr. Diana Dudzik, and Dr. Suzanne Garrett. Others could well have been included, and probably would have been, had they been able to be present. It was quite moving, and humbling too, as we fully recognize that our contribution pales in comparison with the hard, persistent work done by the HANU faculty and administration. We are grateful for this partnership with such high-quality people.

But while the celebrations were the icing on the cake, we also focused on quite a bit of cake. This year our team included Del Goehner and Dr. Suzanne Garrett, who both served as Team Leaders in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi respectively, Brian Teel, Dr. Cheryl Meredith, Merrily Madero, Gail Flander Jones, James Kang, Loren Lancaster, Les Stocker, Alyssa Meyer, and Randy and Jill Vernon. The team was also joined by Ginny Teel, Janet Kang, and prospective resident staff Florence Fong and Ellen Piencenaves. As always, our Hanoi office staff, Mme. Lien, Nga, and Toan made things work with their usual professionalism and aplomb!

Our team members gave a total of 124 presentations during their two weeks of service, on topics as diverse as “Financial Structure, Analysis and Reporting,” “Emotional Intelligence,” “So You Want to be a CEO,” “Be the Leader that Others Will Follow,” “Strategic Decision Making,” and so on—a rich smorgasbord of both hard and soft skills for the Vietnamese businessmen and businesswomen of the future. The team also participated in a panel on entrepreneurship at La Trobe University for young professionals.

One of many highlights of the time was a reunion of the J-1 visa recipients from HANU who were all able to come for a round of pizza, with Tra participating via Skype from Italy, where she is pursuing an advanced degree.

And our student J-1 visa recipients for next year were selected from a group of highly qualified candidates during our week in Hanoi as well. Congratulations to Ms. Le Thi Trang and Ms. Tran Vu Tra My, who will come to the USA in April 2018 for several weeks of in-depth exposure to American business and culture.

With our regular program of university presentations, doubling the size of our AMCC class, interviewing and selecting our J-1 candidates for next year, AND the celebrations at HANU, one of our team members said, “I feel like I’ve been drinking out of a fire hydrant.” Busy isn’t always better. But we do sense the eagerness and appreciation of our Vietnamese friends and partners through these open-door opportunities and times of celebration. We are honored to have partnered with HANU, Foreign Trade University (FTU, in both HCMC and Hanoi), Nguyen Tat Thanh University (NTTU), Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology (PTIT, in both HCMC and Hanoi), Ton Duc Thang University (TDTU), University of Economics/International School of Business (UEH/ISB), University of Economics and Law (UEL), La Trobe University Hanoi, University of Technology and Education (UTE, in both HCMC and Hung Yen), National Economics University (NEU), Academy of Policy and Development (APD), University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS), as well as with the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM).

Whew! Quite a long list. But we are thankful for the partnership of each and every one of these universities and institutions, and wish to acknowledge them by name, as we go farther together building people to build their nations!


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