Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Time Irado Finale.

It was been two weeks since I returned back to the United States from my participation in the 2011 Ernst & Young Corporate Responsibility Fellowship (CR Fellows), I wanted to summarize my experiences and thoughts on the program. Similar to my posts during my fellowship, I am writing this post from a hotel room, except this time I am in Memphis, Tennessee working on a client rather than spending seven weeks in Sao Paulo, Brazil. When I first heard of the CR Fellows program, I was a staff person at Ernst & Young, and was immediately drawn to the concept of skill based volunteering in Latin America. Entrepreneurship is my true passion even though I am not creative enough to invent the next iPhone, iPod, or iEtc. So you can imagine the excitement that I experienced when I was selected for the very competitive 2011 CR Fellows program and learned I would be spending seven weeks in Sao Paulo. As the time to leave the United States grew closer, the more excited I became to jump in and help out a wonderful company such as Tecno Logys. But never in my wildest dreams would I have imaged that what I was about to experience would be so rewarding both from a professional and personal level.

"Celebrating Success"
(L-R Valerio Dornelles, Founder and CEO of Tecno Logys and E&Y CR Fellow Tyler Schleich)
The entire program, but most notably the first few weeks, were all about discovery and experimentation. Pushing both the boundaries of what I knew and what I could only know through living in a different culture and helping a business with a creative mastermind such as Valerio Dornelles, Founder and CEO of Tecno Logys. Working with the company on a wide range of projects that mattered so much to a medium sized company provided me with a great sense of accomplishment. After presentations to external consultants and business associates I could tell that what I was doing actually made a difference to this fast growing company. This sense of accomplishment can sometimes get lost when you are working on our billion dollar multinational corporate clients back in the United States. It was great to be able to initiate conversations and exchange ideas in an effort to position the company for continued long term success. The hardest part, other than the language barrier of English and Portuguese, was manging my time throughout the remainder of the project. I wanted to help the company with anything and everything I felt would help because I began to feel a sense of ownership and pride in not just my project but also the company.

I visited manufacturing facilities and several high rise building sites which gave me perspective of what the company was trying to accomplish and that was to provide an innovative construction solution to the Brazilian residential marketplace while "Respecting the Resources". My final deliverables (which were spectacular if I do say so myself!) comprised of charts, Excel spreadsheets, graphs, PowerPoint presentations, and a final bound hardcopy report consisting of over 150 pages are not what I will remember most about my experience. What I will remember most about my experience at Tecno Logys are the people that I shared each day with at the company. Day in and day out I learned something about Brazilian culture and indirectly about myself as a result of my interactions. Over lunches, dinners, and drinks, I became a part of Tecno Logys and a part of Brazil, or as the locals say "Becoming a Paulista". I do not have enough time to name them all and explain why each one is important (including the cleaning lady who I will give a shout out to, Ms. Dona Vera!) but want them all to know how important it was to me that they treated me not just as a colleague but also as a friend. I will also remember the Endeavor CEO Summit and the Annual Gala where I was able to network with many of the young and intelligent Endeavor staff members as well as prominent Entrepreneurs in the Sao Paulo area. And of course, I will also remember my famous office chair that made the news!

I also had many experiences within the culture that I will never forget that I shared with my fellow Ernst & Young Fellows and one tag along fiance (Hi Ryan!). We experienced the horrendous Sao Paulo traffic jams, revisited 80's American Music we had not heard in years, ate wonderful food, drank delicious cocktails including the Caipirinha, watched soccer matches, and had crazy taxi adventures. We all became detached from our Blackberry devices together and functioned as a support group for our withdrawal symptoms. We vacationed together in Rio de Janerio, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina taking in yet more culture and perspective to draw upon. We shared Brazilian holidays and also McDonalds which somehow is even better 5,000 miles away from home. When I look back on our time in Brazil, "Time Irado" or "Team Awesome", which consisted of Katie Duggan from New York, Jamie Schafer from Detroit, and Ryan Kyle (Katie's Fiance), I realize that just we lived a story that is a once in a lifetime. It was also a story which I tried to tell to you with my blog posts which were read more than 6,000 times in just about two months. I could have never imagine it would have received that much attention, but then again, I could not have imaged how rewarding my participation in the 2011 Ernst & Young Corporate Responsibility Fellowship Program could have been either.

This is the 130th and final post of Time Irado (unless of course something else comes up and I want to blog about it) and I thank you all for following it so closely. If you have a chance to revisit some of my blogs I invite you to share with me which was your favorite and I encourage all of you to find your "Time Irado" opportunity. I end with a quote that I feel is fitting for a my blog and embodies the spirit of the 2011 Ernst & Young Corporate Responsibility Program.
"Don't go into business to get rich. Do it to enrich people. It will come back to you." - Leonard

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

I might be done with my Corporate Responsbility Fellowship but the publicity of the Program continues to grow with recent publications in the Sacramento Bee,, Hispanic Business, WSJ Marketwatch, Las Vegas Review, Stockrants, GreenConduct, and 3blmedia to name just a few. Below is the Press Release which will be hitting multiple newsstands near you!

New York, NY – December 5, 2011 – Ernst & Young LLP’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows have returned from seven-week assignments in Latin America, where they helped high-impact entrepreneurs from the Endeavor Network in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile strengthen their businesses, free of charge. The CR Fellows leveraged their workplace skills to improve a range of business processes, including business strategy, financial reporting, marketing and information technology, for their respective entrepreneurs.

For the seventh consecutive year, this skills-based volunteer program has enabled a group of the firm’s top performers to help high-impact entrepreneurs create jobs, foster innovation and generate broad economic value in regional emerging economies.

“Our Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program underscores the firm’s long-standing commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and valuing them as important players within the global market. In the present economic climate, nurturing entrepreneurs is more crucial than ever,” explains Deborah Holmes, Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility, Ernst & Young LLP. “Through this program, Ernst & Young contributes our most valuable resource -- our people -- to helping these promising entrepreneurs advance their businesses. This program also reflects Ernst & Young’s deep commitment to helping our people advance in their careers by providing them with global stretch assignments.”

Ernst & Young collaborates with Endeavor, a not-for-profit organization that identifies and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging economies, to match the CR Fellows with their host company. On average, these entrepreneurs employ over 200 local workers, pay 10 times the minimum wage, and generate sustainable economic value with a 96% survival rate after 10 years. To date, 55 high-impact entrepreneurs in Central and South America have received support from Ernst & Young’s CR Fellows.

In 2011, Ernst & Young announced a three-year sponsorship with Endeavor that includes support for International Selection Panels, executive-level mentors and connections, Global events sponsorship and the launch of a new financial course designed expressly for Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

The 2011 Fellows supported 12 distinct entrepreneurs with the following projects:

  • Diagnostika, a provider of surgical and oncology diagnostic services to hospitals and clinics, received assistance from a Detroit-based Advisory senior manager to prepare for an upcoming ERP implementation
  • Tecno Logys, a provider of wall-building solutions for Brazil’s largest construction companies, worked with a Tax manager from Columbus who enhanced their accounting processes
  • Endeavor Brazil, the local entity of the global not-for-profit, created a budget and financial analysis system with the support of a New York-based Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services senior manager
  • GrupoMIA, a provider of quality housing options to underprivileged populations in Mexico, had a balanced scorecard created by a New York-based Advisory manager
  • Alibio, a microbiology researcher and developer for the agricultural aquaculture and wastewater treatment markets, received guidance from a New Jersey-based assistant director in marketing to develop strategic marketing initiatives
  • Chilim Balam, a small chain of candy stores, improved their IT capabilities with the assistance of an Advisory manager based in New York
  • Mexis, an IT managed service provider, worked with a Miami-based Transaction Advisory Services senior manager to produce an expansion plan 
  • Keepcon, a moderator of user-generated content, worked with a San Francisco-based Assurance manager to improve their budgeting and cash flow management processes
  • Socialmetrix, a provider of market intelligence solutions, re-engineered their key business processes with the help of a San-Francisco-based Advisory senior manager
  • Smowtion, an online display ad network, received assistance from a Transaction Advisory Services manager from Tel Aviv for the development of an improved reporting system
  • Plataforma Networks, an online community for architects, had assistance with an expansion plan from an Austin-based Advisory manager
  • Araucania Yarns, a producer of hand-dyed knitting yarn, enhanced their accounting and financial reporting processes with the assistance of a Boston-based Advisory manager 

“High-impact entrepreneurs hold the key to economic growth in emerging markets,” notes Linda Rottenberg, CEO and co-Founder of Endeavor. “With the strategic business support provided through Ernst & Young’s Fellows, we have the opportunity to create thriving companies that generate thousands of employment opportunities and millions in wages and revenues.”

Ernst & Young’s Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program is an extension of the organization’s global commitment to entrepreneurship, which includes the global Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards program, now commemorating its 25th year. This milestone marks the program’s tremendous growth in scale and influence and celebrates its establishment as the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs.

In addition to the Corporate Responsibility Fellows program, Ernst & Young LLP demonstrates support for the next generation of entrepreneurs with three additional programs:
  1. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, launched in 2008, helps outstanding women entrepreneurs accelerate the growth of their businesses by identifying and connecting them with the advisors, resources, and insights they need to scale up and become market leaders.
  2. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni-Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, created in collaboration with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), will provide scholarships for NFTE students while supporting NFTE in its mission of helping underserved youth pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses, and succeed in life. In addition to the Fund, Ernst & Young professionals provide leadership on each of NFTE's 11 Regional Advisory Boards across the US and demonstrate extensive volunteerism in NFTE programs.
  3. Ernst & Young awarded an in-kind donation of $1 million dollars of professional services to, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website that has helped fund over 670,000 entrepreneurs in developing markets. Ernst & Young LLP professionals from the Advisory and Assurance service lines contribute their time to in support of projects designed to help Kiva evaluate financial data and improve its controls.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lesson Learned: Communication

This post is one of reflection and forward looking thinking to life after Time Irado. There will never be a time when Time Irado and the lessons learned are not present in each of our lives. Our experiences have continued to mold our minds throughout the seven plus weeks of living in Sao Paulo. Working with each of our high impact Entrepreneurs has truly been a once in a lifetime experience. Our travels to other cities, beaches, and also historic sites within Sao Paulo have helped provide perspective along the way. But the greatest lesson to learn from all of this, is the lesson of Communication.

Communication is not just a required Freshman level course in college. It is the fundamental act of human kind. We are social beings, some of us more than others, and we all have very distinct styles of communication. If you look up the definition of communication on, it states

"the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Corporate Responsibility Challenge Results

If you have been following from the beginning, you should remember that I posted a challenge during my Spotlight on Social Responsibility Posts (see "an Invitation"). I declared that I would donate $25 for every four people that donated $25 to the either Endeavor, an organization that helps High Impact Entrepreneurs, or Kiva, and organization that acts as a micro lender to Entrepreneurs in poverty stricken countries. I am proud to announce that I had 4 friends lend $25 each to Kiva, for a total of $100.

As a result of their generousity, I will match 100% of their contributions to Kiva, by lending $100 to Kiva Entrepreneurs. With my $100 I was able to help Alfred from Rwanda ($75) reach his total amount of loan needed for his Charcoal business, and Ayoko from Togo ($25) move toward her goal of raising enough money to purchase more materials for her wholesale salt business. I'd like to thank you to those that donated and encourage everyone to go to Kiva now and start making micro loans today. Remember they are loans and do get paid back over the course of the loan which means you can then re loan that money to someone else.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life might not be fair, but the quality of it is determined by your "Attitude"

Life is all about your perspective and attitude you approach it with.

"This isn't a utopia we live in. I graduated from college the same time you graduated from college. You have a better grade point average than me, and are probably a lot smarter than me, but I've got a better job. Life isn't fair. You just have to continue to tackle the situations and continue to move forward" Luke Fickell, Head Football Coach, The Ohio State University

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks, on Thanksgiving.

In the United States, this past weekend we celebrated the Thanksgiving Holiday. The holiday is based on a celebration of the food harvests for early settlers of the United States. I took a few days of being back in the United States to spend time with my family, friends, and etc so I took a few days off from posting to enjoy some down time. I only have a handful of posts left, but one of the posts I wanted to make was about being thankful. I am extremely thankful for my opportunities that I had as a part of the Corporate Responsibility Fellowship Program and my time in Brazil. I met a lot of great people and had the chance to get to know one of the great Entrepreneurs, Valerio Dornelles, that is leading the growth in the Brazilian economy. Here at home, my thanks and appreciation are long reaching. I do not have enough time in my day to type out everything I am thankful for but it starts with family, friends, coworkers, and all of the gifts that have been provided to me by the man upstairs. But this post is centered around the thanks for my family, and Superman.

"It's a bird, It's a plane, It's Superman!"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Photo of the Week

I am back in the United States but showing my Brazilian pride in my new gear. Brazilians are often known for their colorful clothing and unique fashion sense, which may or may not be true. Now that I am back in Ohio I am trying to keep the style rolling.

My Wardrobe:
Tinted Aviator Sunglasses, White Armani Exchange Watch, Nike Brazilian Football Confederation  Jacket, Nike Brazilian Football Organic 5 Star Tee, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Nike Trainer 1.2 Mid in dark cinder/smoke/blue/pink

Video of the Week: Week 8

The 8th and final submission for Video of the week of "Mirror Lake Jump" comes to us from The Ohio State University. Tomorrow is the big rivalry game with Michigan so in honor of the game I have shared one of the most famous traditions. "Beat Michigan Week", a tradition started 21 years ago, and  continued this week as several thousand students jumped into a tiny lake on campus, during the end of November when water temperatures are near freezing (32F or 0C). "The Game" with Michigan which is perhaps the best rivalry in all of sports.

Some Fun Facts according to Wikipedia:
A study was conducted during one of the Mirror Lake Jumps where water samples were taken from the lake throughout the night. It was note worthy that the ammonia levels in the lake greatly increased throughout the night. This has been attributed to people urinating in the lake. There has also been concern that the lake may be a potential source for disease infection, salmonella is a concern. The Ohio State University usually spends approximately $20,000.00 cleaning up the landscape and property surrounding Mirror Lake after the jump event. Jumping into Mirror Lake is also a fourth-degree misdemeanor.A notable non-Michigan game jump occurred on the night of May 1, 2011, when students jumped into the lake in spontaneous showing of patriotism in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, announced on television at approximately 11:30 pm.

It should also be noted that there are much better videos of the Mirror Lake Jump if you search for them on YouTube, however they might not be suitable for young children and thus not suitable for my blog!

Go Bucks!

Week #8 Poll Results

The 8th and final poll in the Time Irado Blog Series has come to an end. The question was "Which job perk would you rather have?" and the answer choices included the following: An Extra Week of Vacation; A $5,000 bonus; Better Health Benefits; and Educational Assistance. According to the scientific poll results, the majority of those surveyed would prefer an additional week of vacation over the $5,000 bonus which was a close second. Better Health Benefits and Educational Benefits each received one vote. And now almost two months after the poll of the week began, it has come to an end. Thank you all for voting and playing along during my time in Brazil.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Take a Step Back

An often overlooked life lesson is that sometimes to take a step forward, you have to take a step back. This has never been more evident in my life than in the past year with life's pace ever increasing. For many years clarity was often found through analysis of others and applying it to my own life. One of my favorite pastimes is "People Watching", which is the is the act of observing people and their interactions, usually without their knowledge. I am not doing any formal scientific research or collecting data, but I do take mental note of individual and group behavior. I love to watch how people react to various situations and sometimes the best place to watch people is at the airport while waiting for a flight. I continued my analysis of things in Brazil during my two months there and reached many of the same conclusions that I reach here in the United States. Again I have not performed any statistical analysis of my studies, but Columbus author Jason Barger has. He studied and best observed people at the baggage claim and in airports throughout the United States. Welcome to the "Step Back from the Baggage Claim" movement. It has received rave reviews from national and international media sources and The New York Times says "It's evidently contagious".

The Business of the Airport

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


One thing is for sure, living in a country outside the United States (or those from other countries living in the U.S.) can be tricky when it comes to the cost of goods, measurements, telling the time, or even the outside temperature. Telling time is rather simple, because all you need to do is subtract 12 from any number greater than 12, but when it comes to converting money, measurements, and temperature, matters become a bit more diluted. Dating back to the British rule over the American Colonies, we have used our own system based on the standard unit of measurements which includes inches, feet, yards, pounds, Fahrenheit, and etc. But as time rolls on, I wonder why we are still using this system when our military and many other professionals use a system in line with the rest of the world. So some simple math is needed to get by outside the friendly borders of the United States.

The Big Give Results

The press release from the Columbus Foundation provided the overall totals stating that $8.7M was raised for local charities in just one 24 hour time period. That might not be a big number for some, but for a first year initiative that got a late start in promotions that is a great start. Lets hope this becomes an annual event and the numbers keep on growing.

 The Columbus Dispatch also reported on the event and I have provided that text below.