BUSINESS MATTERS by Glen Dalakian, Sr.
Recently, I had the honor to speak on small business for the Lee Iacocca Institute at Lehigh University. Each year, they host a Global Village program, where over 100 of the top business students from more than 50 countries come to learn how we, Americans, do business. In addition, prominent business owners, many from the U.S. as well as other countries, come and teach these young and energetic minds the path to entrepreneurship. It is a unique environment where business is the ultimate equalizer among people from various nations and religions.
It was refreshing to find that people from around the world still look at the U.S. and see great opportunity. They send their best and brightest (often their children) here to experience capitalism that sparks dreams and moves mountains. There are many programs that even the U.S. State Department funds to encourage international trade. It seems that the countries that rely on each other the most with equal trade are usually the ones with the greatest common interests, and therefore find ways to live in peace together.
Even the most successful flock to the USA for new inspiration and, many times, new ideas. Some of the entrepreneurs with whom I humbly shared the platform included the founder of one of the largest privately held accounting firms in the country, the president of a company with offices in 106 countries, the CEO of a steel company that has erected a number of the tallest buildings on the planet, a third-generation entrepreneur who runs a large family-owned manufacturing firm with factories in the U.S. and China, and others. The common perspective from everyone I spoke with is that America is in a position to make great leaps forward and that the potential, here in our own country, for global business has never been better. Large companies are even bringing back manufacturing, such as in the case of the recent Motorola smart-phone factory in Texas. As enthusiastic as all of these business people are (true entrepreneurs are excited by nature), they all see one major hurdle for us: our government. But that is another topic for another day…
“Business” is the universal language that transcends borders. Seeing young adults from so many backgrounds all working and living together throughout the summer is inspiring. The Global Village program keeps them challenged (it’s no vacation) and very busy in long days of classes and travel to places such as the U.S. Stock Exchange in NYC, Congress in Washington, DC, the United Nations, and other relevant sites. But when I looked out upon the sea of eager faces hanging on the words of the instructors, I saw Arab sitting next to Israeli, Chinese next to Japanese, Muslim next to Christian, and so on. All with enthusiastic smiles, focus, and filled with a yearning to work together in a productive fashion to achieve common goals.
Hope is what wells up within me when I am blessed to be a part of something like the Global Village.