By: Sokny Kim, EEP fellow from Cambodia
In a blink, 2 weeks has gone. Time flies!
It is unbelievable that in a very short period of time how much the program has linked all the participants to many aspects of life from friendship to team spirit to improving knowledge of own works and careers, and given us actual and hands-on experiences of American social lifestyle from different angles to learn and understand through various components. To understand a culture is not easy nor difficult; it takes one’s effort and willingness to learn, observe, understand and participate closely with its people and through the home stay program, I come to learn more and more that movies or media just reflect what some groups of peoples’ thoughts and views over things and they do not necessarily reflect the whole picture and that leads to misperception and judgement. Over the past weeks, many lessons learnt academically, professionally and emotionally.
The Mansfield Centre has given us the opportunity to sit with, to learn from and listen to experts sharing knowledges to give us a better understanding of different things within and out of the areas of each’s expertise through academic presentation and lectures. It prepared us well before moving to the home-stay with our host families and starting the professional fellowship, which each participant was assigned to be and work with their American fellow coordinator based on each’s working and professional background.
My first week host who is also my professional fellow coordinator, Ms. Colleen Rudio, Chief of Strategic of Cascadia Business Consultant is a wonderful woman who is very strong with high self-confidence and esteem, knowledgable, has full capacity and ability in her works. Yet, carrying a beautiful and kind heart. Besides the training sessions on Strategic Plan, Organisational Conflict Management, Building Networking, Lean Management and Operation Management, through her networks and arrangement I was able to sit with and learn from many strong and talented women from various background and agencies on how to build up networks between business to business, business to people, to empower not only women but universally to have strong self-esteem and go for extra miles:
Missoula Downtown Association: How the association operates and how they contribute to the development of Missoula;
Missoula Businesswomen Association: How the association helps their members in terms of business strengthening through knowledge and experience sharing, trainings and symposium where successful business people are invited to speak and train;
Ms. Karen Porter, Marketing Expert with over 30 years experiences: How can one business improve its sale and customer interaction through digital including social media;
Breakfast meeting with Voice of Montana: How each sector can contribute to the state economic through tourism;
The United Way Credit Union: Where the United Way get funded from and how they contribute to local development;
PartnersCreative Advertising Agency: A very outstanding Advertising Agency, which they not only provide services locally, but interstates and internationally. With tools and right people at the right places they manage to handle up to more 400 projects for October and November;
Falco Industry – storytelling: Storytelling is an inexpensive yet effective tool for marketing. It not only help to preserve what have been in place, but how to let the audience learn and understand well about the business;
Butte, the city of historical preservation: Beautiful town of Butte has a wonderful and sad history, where the biggest mining industry was the main source of its economic and later became the town’s greatest misery! More than 3,000 miners were kills before the government decided to close down this industry. It’s both fascinating and sad to come to know how mining workers went through their days in those days and what even more fascinating is how the community preserves the history, culture and makes everything alive as if it’s in the mining period. Life is not always about working, life is about the combination of handwork and enjoyment. One week of home stay given me much more than i ever expected from the Grizgame to Monday night friendship dinner, Wednesday girlfriend night, family love and unity, sharing cooking lessons, more and foremost is LOVE! Love is a very cheap gift, but it’s so priceless… She is a role model who has an amazing soul and family!
The journey of the second week of homestay and fellowship has began and each day fills my soul with new things and joys!