Monday, August 9, 2010

Diversity, and a Company (Ernst & Young) and Student Who Care

I returned from two weeks of heavy travel in Europe to speak at conferences to find alot of mail waiting for me in the mailroom at the Isenberg School. There were several packages, which, I suspected, might be tenure or promotion files to evaluate. After two days of processing and catching up with email plus reconnecting with my family I decided to tackle all the other mail.

My conferences in Vienna, Austria and in Yalta, Ukraine (see my earlier blogposts) required 8 different flights so in my travels I got to meet new people, enjoyed the two conferences immensely and experienced also a part of the world where my parents had come from (Ukraine) that I had previously never been to. The experiences were intense and vivid and I returned to Amherst, Massachusetts truly happy.

It certainly didn't hurt that when I opened my mailer at 3AM the next morning I had a message from an editor of a journal accepting a paper I had worked on for months this past year plus the weather had cooled in the Northeast and Amherst was verdant and lovely.

And an article in yesterday's New York Times by Stephanie Bloom, "But Will It Make You Happy?" further reinforced recent studies by psychologists that it is better to take a vacation than engage in just purchasing "more stuff." Although I would not call extensive professional travel over a relatively short time period a "vacation."

I opened a FedEx package from Secaucus, New Jersey to find a letter from Mr. Ken Bouyer of Enst & Young, the renowened accounting firm. The letter was accompanied by a beautiful standing frame from MoMA (the Museum of Moden Art) in NYC and one of my favorite destinations with the above placard.

In an email message, a former student of mine at the Isenberg School, who had just graduated in May with his degree in Operations Management, informed me that he had submitted my nomination for this award.

I was stunned by the kindness and thoughtfulness of this student who took the time to recognize the promotion of diversity and inclusiveness. I might add that he is a white male (not that it matters).

Kudos also to Ernst & Young for valuing diversity and inclusiveness and the promotion thereof in the global workplace. Two years ago, the Isenberg School had received a grant from Ernst & Young.

Clearly, an essential part of "happiness" is not only those special experiences but the strength of relationships and ties that we build over time wherever our work or our travels take us.