Poland Day Offers Learning, Networking Opportunities

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Special events like the one presented by the Center for Global Business at the Naveen Jindal School of Management on Nov. 4 help fulfill the school’s mission of meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing global society by partnering with the business community to deliver high-quality education to its students.

That synergy was in full display on Poland Day, an all-day event held at Richardson’s Hilton Garden Inn. Dallas-based personal-care marketing and direct sales company Mary Kay Inc. sponsored the day, which consisted of various facilitated discussions with Polish diplomats and representatives from industries that do business in Poland and promote trade with the United States. Attendees were immersed in Poland’s economy, trade, business practices and role within the European Union.

Hubert Zydorek, Center for Global Business director, director of the Jindal School’s BS in Global Business program and a native of Poland, was pleased with the turnout of approximately 100 students, Polish community members, industry leaders and Jindal School faculty members.

The Jindal School’s role was “to bring all of these people together,” Zydorek said. “It was a wonderful event.”

Lukas Grabiec and Dr. Piotr Moncarz

Speakers included:

• Dr. Aleksander Poniewierski, a partner at EY (formerly Ernst & Young) Poland, who spoke about Poland’s business and technology.

• Polish Consul Sabina Klimek, who covered Poland’s economy and trade.

• Dr. Piotr Moncarz and Lukas Grabiec, representatives of the US-Polish Trade Council, who introduced the audience to their organization and discussed innovation in Poland.

Anne Crews

A panel discussion featuring Anne Crews, a vice president of public affairs at Mary Kay Inc., and Wilbur (Jay) Gregory, a vice president and chief compliance officer for Irving-based NCH Corporation, underscored the theme of the day. Both companies have large sales operations in Poland, and the pair spoke about the benefits and challenges of doing business there.

“My personal opinion is that this whole international studies concept in this global economy and this global world — it can’t be anything but a positive thing,” Gregory said in a post-event interview. “This is the way the world is now, and the way it’s going to be — and I think UT Dallas is addressing a need in doing it in a proactive way.”

The Poland Day event also included Polish music, dance, art, culture and food. Participants tasted such traditional favorites such as cucumber salad with dill, pork tenderloin stuffed with prunes and doughnuts filled with rose-flavored jelly or plum butter.

Kerry Tassopoulos (left)  and Hubert Zydorek

Mary Kay’s sponsorship funded the event and provided Jindal School students with learning and networking opportunities. Kerry Tassopoulos, a vice president of public affairs at Mary Kay and a member of advisory groups that serve the BS in Global Business and MS in International Management Studies programs, was in attendance and stated that the cosmetics and personal-care-products manufacturer also benefited from its participation.

“It gives us exposure to students who don’t have a lot of knowledge about Mary Kay,” he said. “We also get to learn from them. The student population here is very diverse. Since they come from all over the world, we want to hear their views on the products, the business opportunity and how our brand is being viewed out there in the marketplace.”

Tassopoulos said the company, which has a successful operation in Poland, stood to benefit from the event in other ways, too.

“It gave us the chance to really learn more about what our colleagues on the ground in Poland are living every single day,” he said. “We’re in the relationship business, so understanding their background, their values, what it’s like to be a woman employee or beauty consultant in Poland is going to help us meet their needs and support them as they go about taking the Mary Kay brand and making it strong in Poland.”

Habte Woldu, director of the MS in International Management Studies program, and Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds, MS 2016, attended the event with an eye toward continuing his international management studies education, especially with regard to how different countries react to the global economy.

“I learned a lot about that today,” he said. “What their efforts are — they seem to be pretty on it, trying to send people out. They have a coalition, almost, going out there, fighting for Poland, bringing business to Poland, exposing Poland to the rest of the world.”

Jimmie R. Markham


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