Thinking Globally

As an Ivey student, I often reflect on whether Ivey’s stated mission is being fulfilled in my education. Although Ivey has set out to “develop business leaders who think globally, act strategically, and contribute to the societies in which they operate”, I believe that Ivey cases can only teach so much, and students therefore have a large responsibility to ensure they develop in a way that meets our school’s goal.

One of the pillars of this mandate is thinking globally. Combining the constant tug-of-war between nationalism and globalization with the ever-increasing impact of the Global North on the Global South[1], being a “global thinker” is now, more than ever, essential to sustainable and ethical business leadership. However, in order to really understand the global stage and the effects one’s business decisions may have on others, business leaders must adopt a perspective that recognizes and respects the context of all stakeholders. In essence, “thinking globally” means being an Ally. 

Allyship “is a practice of unlearning and relearning, and is a life-long process of building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability with marginalized individuals or groups”—an Ally is an individual who embraces Allyship.[2]When adopting this perspective, an individual can become more aware of how their actions may impact others. Through a continuous cycle of learning an Ally works with others to swap out previous misconceptions, replacing them with truths evident in others’ realities. This process is essential to thinking globally. 

When analyzing the distribution of a variety of different global development metrics, it is evident that much of the Global South is marginalized. A recent report from the United Nations outlined how 25% of people in Africa may remain in extreme poverty by 2030.[3]Another supporting statistic is that in half of the 53 developing countries with data, the majority of adult women with a primary education are still illiterate.[4]Although there is progress being made in some areas of development, it is clear that many developing nations are still considered periphery to the rest of the developed world. Consequently, business leaders have a large responsibility to recognize this inequity and educate themselves on the impact their organizations may be having on a global scale. Embracing Allyship can better enable business leaders to learn from and incorporate the experiences of these marginalized communities into business decisions, ultimately encouraging shared progress.  

For large multinational corporations, thinking globally is already a necessary component of their overall business strategy. However, thinking globally in a way that respects the rights, cultures, and futures of marginalized global communities is an area many firms can improve upon. Even for firms not operating on a global scale, each business decision will have an impact beyond the firm’s local community. Carbon emissions, plastic consumption, and purchasing of cash crops, are just a few examples of local business decisions that may have significant long-term impacts on communities far from a local business’s focus.

To consider the perspectives of marginalized communities and operate in a way that is equitable to the global community, a business leader’s approach to thinking globally must incorporate Allyship. This perspective encourages one to become educated about the realities of others’ situations, ensuring that when thinking globally, a business leader’s idea of “global” is reflective of the truths across the global community, and not merely based on assumptions generated by the Global North.

The world can only get better together. My hope is that the increased adoption of Allyship within the business community will one day render the terms ‘Global North’ and ‘Global South’ irrelevant, lending to a new age of global progress and prosperity. 

By: Micah Hansen


Footnotes:

[1]Global North refers to most countries in the Northern Hemisphere that experience power, privilege and disproportionate control over global resources. Global South refers to most countries in the Southern Hemisphere that are still considered ‘developing’ and relatively less privileged than the Global North. 

[2]What is allyship? Why can't I be an ally? (2016, November 22). Retrieved from http://www.peernetbc.com/what-is-allyship

[3]World Economic Situation Prospects. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/publication/WESP2018_Full_Web-1.pdf

[4]World's most marginalized still left behind by global development priorities: UNDP report. (2017, March 21). Retrieved from http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2017/03/21/world-s-most-marginalized-still-left-behind.html

What does it mean to be an Ally at Ivey?

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As a member of the Ivey community you will hear a lot about Allyship, but first of all, what is an Ally? As defined by PeernetBC, allyship is:

“an active, consistent, and challenging practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person of privilege seeks to work in solidarity with a marginalized group”

As a member of the Ivey community, Allyship isn’t easy. Many of us hold our beliefs strongly and are taught to defend them in the classroom. To be an Ally, we have to always be re-evaluating these beliefs in order to work with and stand in solidarity with marginalized groups. To do this, it is important to remember a few responsibilities we have to ourselves and our classmates.

1.     Act out of Responsibility, not guilt:

 As a member of Ivey, practicing Allyship is not because of guilt, but a responsibility to our classmates and everyone around us. As a section and a community, we have a responsibility to make Ivey a place where we all feel included and celebrated.

2.     Acknowledge our privileges and openly discuss them:

Members of our community must acknowledge our privileges, recognizing what we have in common but understand the many different paths we have traveled to get here. Understanding we all have distinct lived experiences allows reflection on what we need to improve upon as a community.

3.     Listen more and speak less:

 As Ivey students we are taught to contribute frequently and passionately in the classroom, but as an Ally we have a responsibility to listen. Holding back our opinions and listening to the people we seek to work with ensures all voices are recognized.

4.     Build our capacity to receive criticism:

Understanding that we all make mistakes is critical. However, we must be able to be honest and accountable for our mistakes. If you say something during contribution that gets called out, use it as an experience to learn and grow. These experiences are a gift that allow us to continue allyship and allow us to do things differently in the future.

5.     Embrace the emotions that come out of the process of allyship:

Being an ally can be uncomfortable. Your existing beliefs may be challenged and further changed by your classmates. Embrace these emotions and continue to support those around you. 

6.     Do not expect awards or special recognition:

As an ally, don’t expect to be recognized for your contribution to others. Allyship is integral to our community, but not more important than the issues that marginalized groups live with every day. Recognize that Allyship exists because of issues many members of our community face. To be an Ally means you stand in solidarity, not expecting anything from it, but doing it anyways because you care for the people around you.


Understanding who we are as an Ally and the responsibilities we hold is integral to the Ivey community. We all have opportunities to practice allyship every day and doing so is a strong first step in fostering inclusivity and diversity amongst our peers.


By: Spencer Ashby


Sources:

Women in Entrepreneurship: Defying Societal Expectations

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As a young girl, I had many career aspirations. I wanted to be a teacher, a lawyer, a marine biologist, or perhaps, a cowgirl. It is children's nature to let their imaginations take them to many dreams and aspirations. However, as they grow older, these dreams become more structured and realistic. I pictured myself growing up to be strong and successful, just like the female role models in my life. It was not until recently that I realized my one true career aspiration, to own a business.

In, "Entrepreneurs are expected to be white and male. We need to change this," Patti Fletcher discusses the overrepresentation of young, white males in the world of entrepreneurship. She also emphasizes the societal restrictions that have been imparted on women due to their past status of a "disadvantaged class." It is the combination of the lack of diversity in entrepreneurship and the remaining discrimination in the professional world that has contributed to this phenomenon. (1)

Although I have never thought in my mind that entrepreneurs must be white and male to succeed, this unconscious understanding has impacted me nonetheless. This impact is apparent in the differences in advice given to males compared to females, even at a young age. Girls are often encouraged to be responsible and organized. It can be argued that boys do not feel obligated to have these attributes in order to succeed. Remember when one of your classmates submitted an assignment without signing their name in school? One of the most common practices for finding the author, in my experience, was to analyze the neatness of the hand writing. It was common for a messy assignment to be attributed to a male, while neat handwriting would be found to have a female author. Was this just a result of stereotypes or did girls actually put more value on neat writing than boys? Fletcher comments on this practice:

We teach women to be good students in school. To write neatly. To color within the lines. To dot every "i" and cross every "t". When women enter the workforce, we tell them to perfect their PowerPoints for an idea pitch. We tell them to be a good girl and go to awkward networking events or to find a mentor. But as my friend and fellow Astia Board of Trustees member, Jeanne Sullivan, says "You need more than a team, a dream, a PowerPoint, and a dog" to get investors to get their wallets out of their pockets.

What girls really need, perhaps, is to be advised to be bold. It may be time to teach girls that they are valued for more than their practical skills, but rather, they are appreciated for their ideas. It’s time to stop the behaviours that put destructive unconscious thoughts in the minds of young girls that later present in their sense of self-worth. If this can be accomplished, girls may be willing to be braver, to go further, and to expect more out of themselves than they have in the past. I hope that as a result of making this shift, "entrepreneur" will be a common career aspiration for young girls one day.

By: Georgia McClure-Kunc

Sources:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2014/dec/12/entrepreneurs-are-expected-to-be-white-and-male-we-need-to-change-this