RTP: A Hub of Innovation to “Lift Up North Carolina”

March 28, 2014 by Spyros Messados

Bob Geolas, CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation

As part of the Kenan Institute’s Food for Thought Luncheon speaker series, students and faculty had the pleasure of joining Bob Geolas, CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, for a lunch and discussion on February 19, 2014. Bob took us through the history of the Foundation, discussed its role in dynamically changing the world, and ended by discussing his plan for the future of the Triangle area. Bob’s childhood and family were deeply influenced by the development of the Research Triangle Park, and this impels his passion and drive for continuing its legacy and towards building an even more innovative, impactful hub for North Carolina.


Agricultural Development in Eastern North Carolina

February 4, 2014 by Bern Moorehead

Bern Moorehead

One of the benefits of serving as a Kenan Institute Leadership Fellow is the opportunity to participate in the Institute’s projects and contribute to their impact. This fall, I joined a team of Kenan-Flagler MBA students and City and Regional Planning students on a field trip to Butler Farms, a swine finishing operation in Lillington, NC. The team spent the fall semester studying the policy environment and the economic impact of the hog industry on eastern North Carolina under the guidance of Dr. Mark Little, Director of the Kenan Institute’s NC Strategic Economic Growth.


Report from the Field: Leveraging Kenan-Flagler Resources around the World

November 6, 2013 by Ashley Gremel

Ayutthaya Ruins in Thailand

My path with the Kenan-Flagler Undergraduate Business Program began in Bangkok, Thailand as a corporate social responsibility intern at Kenan Institute Asia. While in country, I drastically increased my tolerance for spicy food and extended my understanding of the role of business in making our world a better place. K.I. Asia specializes in corporate social responsibility (CSR) project implementation, and works with big names such as Boeing, Merck, and Microsoft. My role was developing a CSR training curriculum for Thai companies by synthesizing existing materials and adding new content. Carol Seagle from UNC’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise advised me from Chapel Hill and introduced me to the numerous resources available through the KnowledgeBank on the CSE site.


An Hour with ESPN’s John Skipper

October 31, 2013 by Susan Sullivan


Kenan Institute Leadership Fellows, Susan Sullivan (1st year MBA student) and Tetsuo Nishihara (2nd year MBA student) had an opportunity to meet Mr. John Skipper, president of ESPN. John is an alumnus of UNC and graciously offered to meet Susan and Tetsuo to share his experiences in the sport industry.


IMPACT: Knowledge and Courage

May 3, 2013 by Marla Hudnell


As a Kenan Institute Leadership Fellow, military veteran Nick Black (MBA ’13) is not only participating in a premier leadership development program but also putting that knowledge to work to help other members of the military.

In 2011 Black co-founded Stop Soldier Suicide (SSS), a nonprofit veteran-led organization that works to raise awareness of solder suicide and connect military men, women and veterans to services to prevent it.

“We formed Stop Soldier Suicide to curb the rate of suicides among active and veteran service members. Our mission is to prevent those who serve from taking their own lives by offering tailored services and support at the individual, family and community level throughout the United States to curb active and veteran service member suicide.”


Working with Ted Zoller and the “Dealmakers Algorithm”

March 18, 2013 by Rachel Greenberg


As an undergraduate business major pursuing areas of emphasis in Finance and Entrepreneurship, I was delighted to have an opportunity to execute research that was directly relevant to my studies. I was assigned a project under Ted Zoller, Director of the Center for  Entrepreneurial Studies at the Kenan Institute. His work for the past few years has included the “Dealmakers Algorithm”, a study on networking and connections between entrepreneurs and the venture capitalists and angel investors who fund their burgeoning ideas and help these visions on their way to fruition. Frank Etheridge, a researcher who works with Zoller, has worked extensively on the computer algorithm to sort out patterns and identify “dealmakers”.


The Kenan Institute: Greatness and Unlikely Combinations

November 12, 2012 by Laura Solie


It is hard to pinpoint what makes a place great.  Is it their people?  Is it their mission?  Is it that feeling you get when you walk through their doors?

Inevitably, it is always an unpredictable combination of many things.

For the Kenan Institute, it is Lingmei Howell of the Leadership Fellows Program informing students and throwing free t-shirts into the audience for correct answers.  It is speaking with Thomas Stith of the Center for Strategic Economic Growth and realizing that you are hanging on to his every word.  It was walking through the marble hallway and understanding for the first time how big and influential the Institute really is.


Boeing to Students: Sky’s the Limit

October 8, 2012 by Rob Polera


On August 29th, students at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School were offered a unique opportunity to attend a guest speaker event hosted by the Kenan Institute. The Institute brought in Tim Bartlett, an executive from Boeing, and several of his colleagues, to discuss a wide range of topics on both commercial and defense lines of their business.

The Kenan Institute performed extensive outreach to promote the event with a target group of student organizations, including the operations club, of which I am a member of the leadership team. One of the many reasons I chose the UNC Full-Time MBA program was that it seemed to offer students unparalleled access to high profile business leaders. The school provides opportunities to not only learn from their ideas, but also to share personal experiences and receive feedback. Since these opportunities were not as prevalent during my undergraduate experience, they served as an appealing factor as I embarked upon my graduate studies.


Kenan-Flagler Grad Takes Laos Experience to Deloitte

July 20, 2012 by Nikita Avdiushko


This summer I’ve had the privilege of supporting the Kenan Institute Asia’s (K.I.Asia) LEAD project in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. K.I.Asia is a Thai based non-profit that works with development in Southeast Asia and is affiliated with the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The LEAD (Lao Encouraging and Applying Democracy for Civil Society) project is a multi-year initiative sponsored by the United Nations Democracy Fund. The objectives of the project are to build capacity among Lao NGOs so that they can more effectively collaborate with local and international channels and better develop Lao civil society. K.I.Asia has engaged with the sector broadly but has also selected twelve NGOs to mentor closely.

For the past six weeks I’ve worked closely with six of the twelve NGOs. Overall, I help with strategic planning, organizational design, marketing strategy, financial budgeting, proposal strategy and donor mapping. After an initial needs assessment I was able to tailor my work to better serve each of my clients; furthermore working closely with each organization has provided me with information that I’ve translated into results-oriented strategy.


Kenan-Flagler Students Investigate the Economic Impact of the Battleship North Carolina

April 10, 2012 by Charles Crowell


When asked what I would be doing for Spring Break by fellow members of the MBA Class of 2013, I got some odd looks when I replied, “helping with an economic impact study.” Many of my friends and colleagues were going to places like Cuba and Thailand, and I was doing an economic impact study? Yes, indeed.

As it turns out, the economic impact study I was helping with would make for a very rewarding Spring Break. Going in all I knew was that I would be helping Brent Lane from the Kenan Institute with his research regarding the economic impact of the USS North Carolina battleship on Wilmington, NC’s economy. I had met Brent and the other researchers briefly in a meeting on campus. In addition to Genny King and I from Kenan-Flagler, we were joined by three UNC PhD students; one in public policy, one in planning, and one in economics. I was excited for the opportunity to work with other students from other programs.


Kenan-Flagler Students Shine at Holt Global Case Challenge

March 20, 2012 by Genny King


This past February, I traveled with my teammates to Boston, MA to participate in the Hult Global Case Challenge.  Here we are, left to right, in the accompanying photo: Emily Dorfman, Sid Padgaonkar, Elissavet Abdelnour, our ambassador from Hult, Genny King, and Peter Brinkerhoff.

The mission of the Hult Global Case Challenge is to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing social challenges and encourage breakthrough ideas from college and university students around the world. Our team was selected from a pool of more than 4,000 applications to participate in the competition. We were able to participate in the competition through support from the MBA Program Office and Center for Sustainable Enterprise.


First Win for UNC at National Real Estate Challenge in Austin

February 21, 2012 by Churchill Bunn


Last November,five of my fellow Kenan-Flagler classmates and I competed in the annual National Real Estate Challenge at the University of Texas in Austin.  The case, written and organized by a team from J.P. Morgan’s asset management team, was a mock investment committee pitch based on a real life scenario the J.P. Morgan group had encountered earlier in the year.  The seventeen participating teams, all from top 25 MBA programs, were asked to evaluate a portfolio of office properties (owned by a  J.P. Morgan fund) and determine which properties should be kept, which should be sold, and how to execute the transaction to maximize investor value.  The group of judges, several of whom were from J.P. Morgan, was made up of twenty prominent real estate executives from around the country.

The case forced the teams to consider aspects like fund strategy and investment criteria, JV structures, debt term sheets, valuation methods, rent rolls, and forward-looking market conditions to name a few.  The final four teams, which consisted of UNC, University of California at Berkley, University of Virginia, and University of Michigan, presented in front of an audience of approximately 250 people.  It was particularly gratifying to have four public schools in the finals, despite having Duke, University of Chicago, Northwestern, and nearly every Ivy League program represented at the competition.


IBA Presented Japanese Unique Culture and Business

February 16, 2012 by Daiki Shigihara


Can you tell what differs between sports and Budo (Japanese martial arts)? How often did the Prime Minister of Japan change in the last 5 years? What underlies Japanese unique culture and business? On November 28, 2011, we Japanese members of International Business Association (IBA) introduced various aspects of Japan at the event “Globetrotter Series Japan”.

Globetrotter Series is an event of IBA, in which international students introduce the mother country. In the school year of 2011/12, the series will bring out Israel, Korea and Brazil. By attending this event, one can discover a vivid culture of the country along with the country’s cuisine, as if one is traveling there.

Makoto Yasuda started the event as he welcomed and thanked all the participants. He discussed the excellence of Japanese from the three aspects of food, service and business, which often surprise people visiting Japan. It is the pursuit of achieving the highest level of hospitality, he says, that underlies Japanese excellence in those areas.


Food for Thought – Paul Fulton

February 8, 2012 by Laura Israel


“It takes some luck, but be ready for it when it comes your way.”   Paul Fulton, former Dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School, former president of Sara Lee Corporation and current Kenan Institute Board of Trustees member had this advice about career success and much more to give me and my fellow group of Kenan Institute Leadership Fellows on December 15th, 2011.  As part of our ongoing series, Food for Thought, Paul was able to join us for an intimate and informal lunchtime conversation about his leadership style and lessons learned over the course of his career.

During our chat, Paul discussed his extensive career spanning through the ranks of Hanes Hosiery, Sara Lee Corporation, Kenan-Flagler Business School, and Bassett Furniture, as well as his extensive board memberships including, Bank of America, Carter’s Inc., and Lowe’s Home Improvement.  While his career path led him across the US, the native Walnut Cove, North Carolinian and current Winston-Salem resident’s love for Carolina was clear.  After many years in Chicago with Sara Lee, it was his desire to return to his home state, in part, that helped him transition into academia and accept the Dean of the Business School position in 1994.


Get involved in the Millennial Cybersecurity project

January 23, 2012 by Greg Fontaine


According to Symantec’s 2011 State of Security Report, 41% of companies believe that cyber security is more important to their business today than just one year ago. With the expense of an attack to the average business of $416,000 and an 18 day resolution period, the cost of not investing resources into this arena could mean the end of an enterprise’s ability to operate. Furthermore, as mobile technology platforms (smart phones, tablets etc.) become an integrated resource for today’s workforce, the opportunities and attempts to exploit these platforms are expected to rise sharply in the coming years. It is clear that web and network security will be an on-going concern for future business success, which begs the questions – how can you, a future business leader, be an asset for your company?


Ondeng urges audience to appreciate, assess, and act

January 20, 2012 by Kathleen Hayes


At the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute’s Business Across Borders Summit, Mr. Pete Ondeng, a Kenyan entrepreneur, author, and consultant, gave his account on Africa’s development while also inspiring audience members to seek ways of positively impacting society.

Ondeng gave the closing keynote speech titled “Making Africa Work,” which was similar in theme to his book, “Africa’s Moment.” “Africa’s Moment” explains the challenges Africa faces in growth and development while also providing a sense of optimism for the continent’s future.


Africa – The New Frontier

December 14, 2011 by Nikita Avdiushko


“Africa is not just the next frontier but also a hub for game-changing innovation that could change the world,” said Biju Mohandas, director of Acumen Fund in East Africa. Mr. Mohandas was a key note speaker at the Kenan Institute’s recent Business Across Borders Summit. The summit’s theme was “Africa, The New Business Frontier” and the conference provided a unique perspective on business development and the many corresponding opportunities in Africa .

Through a number of panels, this year’s summit presented different points of view on an evolving Africa. It was refreshing to see Africa (to a certain extent) demystified in a business context, and to learn of how the continent is taking a robust stance in terms of its own evolution as opposed to the often archaic and monolithic impression that many have of African business. Walmart’s recent acquisition of South Africa’s retailer Massmart represents a renewed confidence in African business as well as the shifting attention the continent is bound to receive in the near future. This aligns with a notion brought up during one of the panel discussions, “People will go where the opportunities are;” there is clearly a multitude of attractive and relevant opportunities in Africa, and these are scalable in a way that even we as business students, can take advantage of.  Furthermore, in terms of perspective, Africa’s young population mirrors Asia’s growth dividend, suggesting the potential that can soon be harnessed from a human capital standpoint. Finally, the diverse sources of growth that have pushed small but sustained development across sectors, coupled with a more progressive governance proves that Africa really is the new business frontier that has already begun to shake things up in a dramatic way.


Learning by Doing: Effective Business Retention and Expansion

November 21, 2011 by Betsy Blackwell


The recent headlines of the major tire manufacturer which decided to locate across our border in South Carolina or the controversial federal loan made to the Solyndra solar plant are representative of the types of headlines that are too often associated with economic development efforts.  Economic development professionals tend to talk about the “three-legged stool” of economic development: industrial recruitment, new business creation, and BRE–business retention and expansion.  Although it rarely makes headlines, the “third leg” of the economic development stool, business retention and expansion, is often the most successful means of creating jobs and spurring growth in local communities.

Sixty to eighty percent of all new jobs created in an area come from existing businesses.  Despite this successful track record, however, local economic development organizations face much more public and political pressure to land the next “big fish,” such as a major auto assembly plant, than to make regular site visits to existing local businesses.


Working in the bottom of the pyramid

November 18, 2011 by Sasinipa Yamasathien


Having lived in Thailand for a very long time, I thought I had seen everything the country has to offer. However, the internship with the Kenan Institute has proved that there are so many things I have not yet learned.  As many emerging countries are gearing towards economic development, some sectors of the countries are left behind or being exploited. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the corporations to ensure the sustainable developments of the community and people in all business decisions.

Kenan Institute Asia has been a major contributor in sustainable development in countries in South East Asia such as Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam. It has engaged in several projects ranging from economic development to public health in several countries. During my summer internship, I worked as a consultant intern in their quality of medicine program. My project objective was to formulate a sustainable strategy to combat against counterfeit medicine problem and to promote the public understanding of counterfeit medicine. In this project, I worked closely with my fellow intern, Jennifer Brown who is pursuing her master degree from UNC Department of Public Health, and my supervisor, Christopher Raymond, a representative from US Pharmacopeia which is a non-profit organization aimed to improve the quality of medicine worldwide.


Aidan Walsh: A Truly Global Business Leader

October 17, 2011 by James LaVela


As a BSBA Kenan Institute Leadership Fellow, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some truly outstanding people. In early December 2010, Mr. Aidan Walsh, KPMG’s Partner in Charge, International and a trustee of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina, was our guest for the second Food for Thought conversation of the year.

Jeremy Bergwerff, MBA 2011 and Kenan Institute Leadership Fellow, describes the Food for Thought lunchtime series as a low pressure, high impact opportunity for the Trustees of the Kenan Institute to speak directly to the Kenan Institute Leadership Fellows in a relaxed environment.


About Us

Kenan Institute Leadership Fellows leverage the institute's access to business leaders, scholars and policymakers to strengthen collaboration and thought sharing among the institute, UNC Kenan-Flagler and local and global communities. MORE

Lingmei Howell, Director of Outreach • lingmei_howell@unc.edu