Park Leadership Fellows Program
Service Leadership Projects
Class of 2010 Projects
1. Creative Design Course for Affordability
Fellow: Jennifer Li
Faculty/other students: Sheila Danko, Monica Touesnard, Sally Park, Gretta Vandell
Clients: Johnson School and the Cornell Community
Building on the efforts of a prior year Park Project, this project expanded, redesigned, and institutionalized Creative Design for Affordability (CDfA) as a course that enables students to pursue innovation at the intersection of creative design, customer needs, and business opportunity. CDfA is housed in the Johnson School but is available to Cornell students from all disciplines. In the past year, CDfA became a full-semester course and established a partnership with the College of Human Ecology to strengthen the course’s design elements. Twelve students from Cornell’s schools of business, engineering, design, urban studies, and public affairs work in conjunction with student teams from the Somaiya Institute in Mumbai, India to tackle a design challenge posed by the Acara Institute – to find energy for cooking solutions for an underserved community in India.
2. Moms as Mentors
Fellows: Katie Drossos, Courtney Wilkinson
Client: Emilie Leibhoff, Johnson Alumna
In an effort to revitalize a program developed several years ago, this project will bring together local mothers and daughters for a day of team-building, wellness learning, leadership development and confidence building activities. The goals of the program are to foster stronger communication strategies and relationships between mothers and daughters. A successful program was launched in the spring of 2010 and the effort includes a scalability study for ultimately developing the program nation-wide.
3. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2010 Idea Village Challenge
Fellow: Marlon Nichols
Others: Daniel Hest
Faculty: Steven Gal, Risa Mish
In conjunction with the Black Graduate Business Association (BGBA), this project organized the School’s participation in the New Orleans IDEAcorps Challenge. The challenge brought 4 other top tier business schools (Booth, Haas, Kellogg , and Stanford) to help entrepreneurs in New Orleans solve their toughest challenges and successfully pitch angel investors, venture capital firms, and venture philanthropists for startup funding, through a non-profit innovation and entrepreneurship laboratory called The Idea Village. This was an intensive, week-long incubation program matching a student team from Johnson School with a local New Orleans startup company – our team will be volunteering its time, energy, and business savvy to help the company get off the ground and running. The IDEAcorps Challenge took place during spring break this year, and all team members will receive up to 1.5 academic credits for participating. The Johnson team took first in the competition. Efforts are underway to institutionalize the School’s annual participation in the event.
4. MacCormick – Johnson Fatherhood Initiative
Fellows: Tyler Baier, Charlie Follett, Martin Pierce
Clients: NY State Office of Child and Family Services – MacCormick Secure Center
A team of Fellows in partnership with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services organized an effort to provide a positive male influence and expand opportunities for the lives of young men at the MacCormick Youth Detention Center in Brooktondale, NY. These youth are detainees in a maximum security institution who will be responsible for fathering children upon their release. The program is focused on providing mentorship, support, and educational opportunities through activities focusing on fatherhood, work, and life skills. The program was so successful that the MacCormick Secure Center is seeking two teams of MBA students to participate again next year.
5. Choose Your Impact
Fellows: John Coughlin, Derek Robinson, Connie Sintuvat
Clients: Johnson School, Ithaca Nonprofit Organizations chosen by the graduating class
The goal of this project is to encourage Johnson School students to give back to the community in ways that are personally meaningful. The fellows will survey and interview the graduating class to identify a short list of philanthropic interests. The fellows will then source volunteer projects, primarily through the Johnson Board Fellows and the Cornell Public Service Center, in those specific interest areas. Each volunteer opportunity will involve a four hour commitment working in a team of 10-15 students. Like Cornell’s fall “Into the Streets” event, the individual projects will happen on a single day during Grad Week. The event is not only an opportunity to strengthen the connection between Cornell and the local community but also to Choose Your Impact and have fun outdoors. The team hopes to institutionalize the event for future years and work toward 100% participation from the graduating class.
6. Friends of Stewart Park and the Waterfront Trail
Fellows: Kelly Moy, Paul Schutzman
Clients: The Chamber of Commerce, City of Ithaca, Local volunteers
This project focused on developing a non-profit organization to provide maintenance and strategic direction for Stewart Park and the waterfront parks and trails. The effort involved meeting with local landscape architects, volunteer organizers to develop a strategic plan, business plan and application for the creation of a non-profit organization. The Fellows influenced the vision of this effort and provided stimulus to the founding members for getting the organization off the ground. The project concluded with the delivery of a strategic plan, market research to help with fund raising, and application for 501c3 status.
7. The Dorothy Cotton Institute
Fellows: Tory Ragsdale
Clients: The Dorothy Cotton Institute
This project helped launch the Dorothy Cotton Institute. This institute will honor and perpetuate the legacy of Dorothy Cotton who was an important civil right leader. The institute will serve to develop, nurture and train leaders for the global human rights movement; build a network and community of human rights leadership; and explore, share, and promote practices that transform individuals and communities by opening new pathways to peace justice and healing. The project involved guiding the development of a ‘social enterprise’ plan that includes 1) benchmarking, networking, and aligning with potential affiliates and partners, 2) benchmarking other similar organizations in order to design and organization structure for the institute, and 3) developing a business plan for launching the institute.
8. Reaching Out MBA Organization
Fellows: Tyler Barger, Lauren McEnery
Clients: Johnson School; ROMBA
Reaching Out MBA Organization (ROMBA) is a non-profit organization the promotes education, visibility, and networking capabilities of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender business leaders in the US and around the globe. The organization targets graduate business students and a broad ranges of corporations to increase awareness of LGBT issues in an increasingly diverse workplace and society. Working with the national organization, the Fellows identified interest in regional LGBT spring summits and helped host a related workshop at the 2010 ROMBA Leadership Summit in Washington DC. Based on feedback from the workshop participants, the fellows are distributing a survey to all ROMBA participants. The survey will gather information to help in planning regional summits next spring as well as allow benchmarking between the various ROMBA-affiliated clubs across the United States.
9. Alumni Lifelong Learning Project
Fellows: Craig Morrison
Clients: Johnson School
In conjunction with the Johnson School’s Alumni Affairs Office, this project focuses on improving the lifelong learning opportunities the School provides alumni. The project involves benchmarking opportunities available in other schools, soliciting alumni for their thoughts and ideas, and making recommendations for potential programs for the future. The final report will contain a summary of the best practices amongst our peer schools as well as recommendations for potential new initiatives for the office.
10. How to Pitch and Value Stocks
Fellows: Miles Lewis
Clients: Johnson School
A critical component of the interview process for careers in investment research, for both the buy and sell side, is the ability to effectively pitch a stock. Most students arriving at the Johnson School interested in this field lack this skill and the School currently lacks any formal channels for teaching it. Through developing a short course or workshop to be delivered through the Managerial Skills Program, the goal of this effort is to provide Johnson students with the skills needed to perform better in interviews and at investment research firms. The project involves developing the necessary content and materials for the course, identifying alumni facilitators to help teach it, and delivering the program in the fall semester.
11. Cornell Daily Sun
Fellows: Jake Dwyer
Clients: Cornell Daily Sun
Like other print media, the University student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun, is struggling to remain financially viable in the internet era. Working with the board of directors, this project is focused on developing a business plan that included 1) developing a more robust online presence for the newspaper, 2) improving content, and 3) driving advertising to the new website. Currently only 10% of the one hundred thousand visitors to the website are local so a significant aspect of the project is also to redesign the content to appeal to alumni.
12. Private Equity Practicum
Fellows: Anna Bruno, Ryan Cole
Clients: Johnson School and Steve Gal
Working with Johnson School faculty, the project focused on developing a new course on private equity. The Private Equity Practicum is a joint venture between the School and University’s Investment Office and breaks new ground in realizing the natural potential of this relationship. The project was designed to leverage the strong private equity capabilities and interests of Johnson students and the deep private equity expertise and relationships with private equity firms of the investment office. The practicum was launched this spring and provides an intense, hands-on program providing experience and maximum interaction with prominent private equity leaders.
13. The Congo Square Market
Fellows: Christian Duncan
Clients: Jhakeem Haltom
This project focused on providing business advice for the development of The Congo Square Market. The Congo Square Market (CSM) is a community marketplace focused on Ithaca and Tompkins County’s communities of color. It aims to provide affordable local and organic fruits and vegetables, cultural arts, crafts & entertainment, pre-prepared ethnic foods & delicacies and a positive environment for youth and adults alike. The market is held every Friday during the summer at the Southside Community Center. In addition to contributing to the local economy by selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, it also supports local artisans and vendors and employs youth in Ithaca’s Southside community. The market is supported by a Robert Smith Award grant from Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension. The CSM project was founded by Mr. Jhakeem Haltom, a community activist who has been actively involved in Ithaca’s community of color for a number of years. The market is named after the celebrated Congo Square Market of New Orleans, a Sunday market in the antebellum South where slaves were allowed to gather freely one day of the week for music and dancing.
14. Cross Cultural Integration Initiative
Fellows: Chrysoula Nigl, Kelly Quinn
Faculty: Laurie Sedgwick, Risa Mish, Christine Sneva
Other Students: Lori McMahon (mentor program), Student MSP Leads
Clients: Johnson School
This project focused on increasing the level of integration and connection between international and domestic students at the Johnson School. Much can be gained by increasing this integration, including cross-cultural appreciation, global business expertise, and leadership opportunities. The effort commenced with benchmarking other schools for programmatic ideas and conducting a Johnson School student survey to assess need and interest. These efforts resulted in an International Johnson Night Out event and a series of Managerial Skills Program workshops, including Doing Business in Asia, Doing Business in Latin America, Sports in American Culture and Business, and Useful Expressions and Idioms in Business English, focusing on international business and cross-cultural appreciation and providing leadership opportunities for students. Ongoing efforts include the development of an international mentor system and a student international program coordinator for institutionalizing the effort in the future.
15. Net Impact Conference
Fellows: Ann Tracy
Other students: Ryan Legg, Gretchen Ruethling, Jamie Cheston, Jaclyn Hood, Ashley Grove, Kim Susko, Brandon Ray
Clients: Net Impact, the Johnson School, Cornell and Ithaca Communities
This project focused on initiating and developing the National Net Impact Conference that was hosted by the Johnson Graduate School of Management in November 2009. As the largest conference of its type, Net Impact brought together over 2600 MBAs, speakers, alumni and visitors to the Cornell campus and the local community, and was the largest conference ever held in Ithaca. The team successfully developed and coordinated the design of the event which included panel discussions, social events, career expos and a host of prominent keynote speakers led by Mr. Jeffery Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric. The Fellow was specifically responsible for coordinating the 100+ panels and breakout sessions that comprised the conference curriculum.
16. The Cornell Solar Decathlon
Fellows: Kevin Knight
Clients: The Johnson School and Cornell Community
The 2009 Cornell University Solar Decathlon (CUSD) project concluded in mid-October after a successful week long inter-collegiate competition held in Washington, D.C.. The competition was organized by the Department of Energy and featured entries from 20 colleges and universities from around the world. Cornell house was designed, built, and exhibited by a team comprised of more than 120 students representing 7 Cornell schools. The Park Fellow was responsible for the budgeting, marketing, materials procurement, and fundraising activities. He also played a major role in mentoring a number of undergraduates on the team. The Cornell entry placed 7th in the overall competition.
17. EMBA Global Business Project
Fellows: Brandon Ray
Other student: Sandra Persing
Clients: The Johnson School and Steve Gal
The global business project course for the Johnson School’s Executive MBA program has historically received poor marks by students. Working with Johnson School faculty, this project was designed as a full consulting engagement that focused on 1) understanding the course has had poor reviews, 2) establishing best practices for a capstone, project-based course, and 3) making recommendations on how to redesign and improve the course. The effort resulted in a number of changes including client-centric projects sourced in advance, emphasis on critical thinking and presentation skills in the classroom, regular deliverables customized to client needs, and the development of a cadre of alumni advisors.