Business and ethics training offered to youth
July 17, 2009
Teaching leadership and management skills was Martin Fox’s favorite part of his 15 years with Ingersoll-Rand. This summer he’ll launch a new venture offering the same kind of training to young people in Summit County.
He said he isn’t interested in advocating a position or converting teenagers and college students to a way of thinking. He said he’s excited about improving young people’s lives and what they’re capable of through basic business skills.
If there’s one value he does want to instill in all his participants, it’s a concern for people and the environment.
"I don’t care what career they go into; these skills will help everyone everywhere. But I do want to convince them to work for the common good," he said.
For Ingersoll-Rand Fox traveled the world meeting with some of the best and brightest students on college campuses. He interviewed them about participating in the corporation’s Leadership Development Program eventually recruiting some of them as managers and executives in some of its companies.
As he assessed their skills and talents, and talked to them about the training he could offer, he realized that many high school students were capable of participating, and if they only had the chance, would be better people and better workers for it.
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For the past three years, creating a program to open up the same opportunities to any college student, as well as teenagers as young as age 13, has been his passion.
Since Fox is no longer preparing people for positions with specific companies, the focus of his efforts is to teach entrepreneurship. Cornell University’s Business Opportunities in Leadership program recently agreed to a multi-year partnership to provide entrepreneur training for its students.
This summer, the first courses of The Center for Global Leadership will be offered in August near Vernal and in the Uinta Mountains. What the center offers that Cornell doesn’t is trainings mixed with outdoor adventures. Being outside participating in ropes courses, tours, rafting trips, treks and regular recreation adds an element to the program that classrooms can’t, he explained.
"It teaches them what real risk is versus perceived risk," Fox said. "A big math test isn’t as intimidating anymore once you’ve scaled a 400-foot wall all by yourself."
Being able to set up a complicated tent all by themselves, or steer a raft down rapids, instills confidence that they can handle other new or difficult challenges in life, he said. Or he might time teams putting up tents. After the first try, they take it down, assess what problems wasted time, and work together doing it again faster and more efficiently.
Fox’s long-term vision is to see local kids participate in his courses year after year. Centering the activities near Park City, he’s able to keep costs down and offer scholarships to interested participants who can’t afford tuition. Also, he said, Park City is the perfect environment to foster young entrepreneurs.
For people with the time and the funds, he has also set up collaborations with outfits all around the world. One program will consist of his trainings in Nepal. A non-profit will lead outdoor adventure tours through the country talking about what they’re doing to improve the lives of young women.
Another program will partner with a school in Tanzania. Others will visit Switzerland or Alaska to see firsthand the effects of global climate change on glaciers.
Fox describes The Center for Global Leadership as part outdoor adventure, part business school, part executive development, part United Nations, part micro-lender and part conservation alliance.
For more information on the programs offered this fall, or to check out what Fox is putting together for 2010, visit http://www.leadglobally.org or call 649-0482.
Center for Global Leadership