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Weissman Center collaborates with Mitsui & Co. USA to host charity talk series


Photo by Agata Poniatowski.

The Weissman Center for International Business is teaming up with the company Mitsui & Co. USA to host lunchtime forums at Baruch. This talk series will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provide support for children and families impacted by cancer.

Each lunch-time forum will be during Tuesday club hours in room H750 of the William and Anita Newman Library. It will kick off on Feb. 28 with speaker Jenny Knott. Knott is the CEO of Post Trade Risk and Information Series at ICAP PLC. She is also accountable for managing the strategic aspect of the ICAP Post Trade Risk and Information sector and organizes the Euclid, ICAP Information Service, Reset, Traiana, and TriOptima businesses.

The forum will continue on March 21 with the keynote speaker Lee Augsburger. Augsburger is a senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer in the Law, Compliance and Business Ethics section of Prudential Financial, Inc. A graduate of Wheaton College, Augsburger formerly worked as the Regulatory Consulting Practice manager for the Bell, Boyd and Lloyd, PriceWaterhouse, Van Kampen Merritt and deputy general counsel for the mutual fund institution of Smith Barney. The seminars will conclude with speaker Didric Cederholm on April 25. A 2001 graduate of Stockholm University and an alumnus of Columbia Business School, Cederholm was employed with Elliott Management, EOS Partners, General Motors and Kaiser Aluminum. He is currently a founding partner and the chief investment officer of Lion Point Capital.

Mitsui, one of the most far-reaching corporate associations in the world, has been a director of the Weissman Center for International Business’ advisory council for 20 years.

“Even as the CEO changes, the company remains engaged and supportive,” said Terrence Martell, director of the Weissman Center for International Business. “They are very generous to Baruch.”

Martell revealed that the Center strives to host three lectures for students each semester. C-level executives, such as managing directors and senior vice presidents, are typically brought in to speak. Last semester, the president of Revlon participated in the forum.

The idea of having a talk series originated 20 years ago, with the advisory council feeling that students did not have enough repeated exposure to C-level executives.

“You neither had the president of x company nor the finance manager of x company come in. We wished to have them speak here to the students because it would be an enrichment experience for the students. Of course, in 20 years we became a more sophisticated and knowledgeable school. But still, the intention of bringing in adept employees will introduce students to a multitude of lessons,” Martell said.

Martell expressed that he wished for students to enhance their communication skills, grasp new information on a particular industry and have an opportunity to ask questions.

“The chance to ask questions gives students the time to enjoy interactions with professionals,” said Martell. He hopes that the speakers mention investments and talk about ethics in a financial organization. In return, the students can observe how strong orators present themselves.

Further, this collaboration with Mitsui USA will be altruistic. Mitsui USA collects Martell’s pop tabs, the compact aluminum tabs from cans and uses it to fund the Ronald McDonald House on 72nd Street. This is instrumental in fighting childhood cancer and ensures that children in New York City hospitals can be admitted for free or low cost. Martell unveiled that it is a wonderful charity to get involved with and that it is ecologically useful. It fascinated him because it was a strong signal to a significant partner.

“Mitsui USA is interested in Baruch students, so to sustain their corporate efforts too is practical. It gives the message that we can cooperate effectively to benefit charity and improve relationships that can work for our students,” he said.

The forums are open to all Baruch students and Martell encourages involvement because participants can acquire new knowledge and see how an expert engages an audience. He stressed that previous speakers at other high-profile Baruch lecture series leave with a positive impression of the students, so it all adds up to a worthy effort.

“George Weissman funded an internationally oriented center on student support so we can give out many scholarships and provide work abroad,” Martell said.

“The speaker series fits in with that tradition and provides quality programs. It is a nice way to say thank you to Mitsui and support charity. It upholds the culture of Baruch and maintains a friendship with an important company. That is what George would have wanted.”

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