The City of Chicago rolled out the red carpet for 16 International College of the Cayman Islands Students during a five day seminar exploring business innovation and its impact on society.
The mayor’s office helped to facilitate the visit which included a meet and greet with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “It was very exciting to meet the mayor. He has a lot of responsibility on his hands managing the city and attracting new business to Chicago,” said accounting student Kassia Webb. “It’s not every day that a college student gets a high-five from one the most important political leaders in America,” said Webb.
Chicago Chief Small Business Officer Roxanne Nava met with ICCI students encouraging them to become job creators . “You have an opportunity to use your creativity to fill an unmet business need. By being an entrepreneur you can strengthen your community and grow your country’s economy,” said Nava. According to the city 1,800 foreign-based companies call Chicago home. Thirty-one Fortune 500 companies are based in the Chicago area, according to the city officials. The city is recognized as having the most diversified economy in the U.S.
Students also met with the Chicago’s Equal Employment Opportunity Officer and officials from the Department of Health. “I have learned so much by being exposed to new ideas from our meetings,” said Master of Science in Human Resources student Kimari Fletcher-Barrett. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have these high level briefings in order to shape my own professional goals. I am bringing back some ideas that I hope will make me a better employee and a more effective thought leader on the job,” said Fletcher-Barrett.
DePaul University School for New Learning and National Louis University College of Professional Studies and Advancement arranged lectures for ICCI students on the topics of business, technology innovation, and ethics by their respective expert faculty. The Deans from both institutions addressed the students. “It was really a pleasure to have ICCI students with us. We both share similar goals of helping working adults become successful through innovation and customized programs,” said DePaul’s Dean of the School for New Learning, Dr. Marisa Alicea. “These learning exchanges with ICCI students and DePaul’s faculty and staff are what the university experience is all about,” said Alicea.
Senior Manager for Community Engagement at Allstate Insurance Company, Laura Freveletti talked with students about how corporate social responsibility is an important ingredient to the success of the Chicago area based Fortune 500 company. “Your costumers want to know that you care not just about the business transaction, but also that you care about them, their families, and their communities. After the talk, students joined Allstate employees beatifying a local YMCA by painting and planting gardens.
“Many times you sit in a classroom, but don’t really understand why the lesson is important or even relevant. Listening to Allstate’s framework of corporate social responsibility by Ms. Freveletti and then coming out here and doing service, it was very cool. I really now understand that you can’t grow a business without being a force for good for your customers and the communities they live in,” said finance student Nicholas Ross.
Students also visited The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) an American financial and commodity derivative exchange where they got an up close view of the trading floor. World Business Chicago, the not-for-profit economic development corporation, chaired by Mayor Emanuel responsible for enhancing the Chicago region’s global position as a business location, also briefed students.
The trip included a day of service where ICCI students prepared meals and served residents at Cornerstone Community Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO), the Chicago not-for-profit which works to raise the quality of life for low-income residents in the Uptown area of Chicago.
“I felt very fortune to have this opportunity to help others in a real positive way during our day of service,” said finance student Barleigh McCarthy. “I can see that as a good business person and a good citizen in general, I have a responsibility to help people wherever I am. I am definitely planning to get more involved with service when I get back to Cayman,” said McCarthy.
While in Chicago, each student was required to write eight reflection papers, produce a photo essay, record a video and conduct one interview about topics related to whistle-blowing, corporate social responsibly, discrimination and affirmative action, employment rights, government regulation, corporate governance accountability and business impacts on the environment. At the end of the academic quarter in June, students will produce an ePortfolio detailing what they learned in Chicago and how they can apply that knowledge to their life and work in the Cayman Islands.
“This was like a world-wind week. I am exhausted for sure,” said Office Administration major Jose Vasquez. “However, this was a once in life time experience for a college student. I am glad for the opportunity to leave Cayman to get exposed to new ideas. Now it is time for us to come back home and put those ideas to work,” said Vasquez.
ICCI president Dr. David Marshall led the seminar. “We are very proud of these students who were awesome ambassadors for the College and for Cayman. They showed the highest level of academic and intellectual engagement during all of the visits. We are grateful to Mayor Emanuel and his team and all of the university and private sector partners for enriching the lives of our students,” said Marshall.
Other seminar presenters included Dr. Vernese Edhill-Walden, senior associate vice president for academic diversity and chief diversity officer at Northern Illinois University and officials from The Plant, a Chicago sustainability leader.
In order to graduate, each ICCI student must complete two seminars. The Chicago Seminar took place May 17- 22.
Chicago Seminar participants were: Kristie Archer, Suzette Charlery , Shenek Conolly, Jorge Estrella, Kimari Fletcher-Barrett , Barleigh McCarthy, Crystal McField, Patriann Monteith, Diane Ricketts, Nicholas Ross, Jose Vasquez, Jeoffery Walton, Kassia Webb, Sandra White, Helen Winton and Kimberly Young.