International Speaker Series

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With the rapid evolution of relevant technology to make intelligent, capable, low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) possible, we are at the very forefront of a flying technological revolution. Lightweight, low-power computers, along with the advance of Lithium Polymer batteries, has enabled a step function in flight capacity and availability of UAV technology to consumers and commerce. San Diego’s strong UAV engineering presence, along with our location across the border from the premier manufacturing capabilities of Tijuana, make us the ideal location for developing this revolutionary technology.

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Mondragon is one of the leading international examples of cooperative ownership of enterprise and inter-firm collaboration. Mondragon has not only made these characteristics its foundational values, but it also uses them strategically, to complete around the world in advanced manufacturing, retail, finance and knowledge. This presentation introduces Mondragon, its special features and particular international challenges.

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This presentation covers the story behind the Juan Valdez character, the positioning achieved as an advertising icon, the evolution of becoming a premium coffee brand, and the strategic challenges the company now faces in achieving differentiation and growth in a global context. Mr. Mendez became CEO of Procafecol S.A. in August, 2010. To further leverage the successful Juan Valdez global brand, Mr. Mendez focuses on increasing retail sales through traditional channels, establishing and growing a global franchisee network of the award winning Juan Valdez Café, and continuing with sustainable development of the Colombian coffee industry.

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In 2012, Google acquired Nik Software the company where the concept of potential capital was born. From a two-person startup to the leading software company in the field of digital photography, Nik Software grew through innovation, strategy, investment and its ability to scale. With a self-funding strategy that avoided venture capital, Michael J. Slater grew his company through an unwavering belief in shareholder value and potential as opposed to pure monetary valuation. Michael shared the story of Nik Software, its transformation, and his path to becoming a Potential Capitalist.

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Chris Crane, President of Edify, a humanitarian organization he founded to support schools in low-income communities in Africa and Latin America, shared insight into the ways of thinking and ways of being that can contribute to being an effective change maker.

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Mr. Zimmerman shared insight on the leadership changes and policy implications that have had a profound impact on foreign business in China.

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The more dynamic and innovative a business strategy, the more likely that a firm will encounter opportunities and face challenges in legal arenas. In this discussion, Dr. Ariel Casarin discussed how legal arenas offer firms non-market strategies to manage risks and increase realizable value vis a vis other players in the value chain.

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Mr. Olivieri, CEO of the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, highlighted the many opportunities available for U.S. companies looking to supply their goods and services to manufacturers in Baja California. Mexico is currently California’s largest export market, bringing in $26.3 billion in exports in 2013, and the Cali-Baja region is home to hundreds of large multinational companies that have set up manufacturing operations in Tijuana.

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Going International… In a Small Way. Mr. Tim DeMarco, president of International Decisions, Inc. shares his extensive international business consulting experience advising large companies by detailing a “road map” for small entrepreneurs who wish to enter the international marketplace and make an impact.

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China and India: Models of Compassionate Socio-Economic Globalization. In this presentation, Dr. Kapur discussed the interplay of societal, historical, and cultural imperatives on policy formulation for two major economic forces: China and India. He postulated that a new socio-political policy that integrates historical perspectives, culture and compassionate economic growth is developing in both countries, which deserves to be recognized, explored, and potentially adopted in other societies.

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Business Strategy for Innovation and Global Growth: The Case of CEMEX. In this presentation Hector Medina shared the major decisions taken by CEMEX over a 20-year period in which the company was transformed from a local mexican cement player to a global construction materials supplier. Mr. Medina highlighted the key cultural changes that CEMEX underwent to support this growth, with innovation playing a fundamental role in the process.

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Rachelle Snook provided insights on ways U.S. and multinational companies search for talent, looks at the application process through the eyes of the recruiter, and described frequently used candidate evaluation methods. She also offered tips and tricks for job seekers to successfully brand themselves to excel in the international work environment.

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Global Brand Expansion through the Great Recession and Beyond. In this presentation In this presentation Ms. Wight described how Taylor Guitars, a San Diego based company, has evolved into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium acoustic and electric guitars, while also promoting innovation in manufacturing and eco-responsibility at every level. Headquartered in El Cajon, Taylor Guitars employs over 700 people and currently produces hundreds of guitars per day. The company maintains an active dealer network with Taylor Guitars being available in over 800 retail location in North American and international distribution to 60 countries.

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Mr. Deering shared the story of Deering Banjos, and its 38-year history from a small family-owned business to a global leader in banjo sales. Founded in San Diego, Deering Banjos still maintains administrative and manufacturing headquarters here, surviving against low-cost Chinese imports and costly California labor laws. Greg Deering started with nothing but a passion to succeed, propelling his company into a global brand that dominates the banjo market.

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“Innovating for Impact” – on his visit to USD, Mr. Camil discussed the role of technology and the tech sector on the culture of social enterprises. He shared his learning as Co-founder of Enova about the optimal uses of partnerships (NGO, Government and Corporate) when scaling social innovation models, while also relaying “what-not-to-do” lessons to avoid pitfalls for future social entrepreneurs.