Global Links

Ten Ways The Global Links Initiative is Advancing its Mission on its 10th Anniversary

As The Global Links Initiative celebrates 10 years of success as a cross-cultural program empowering women through education and entrepreneurship, we share 10 exciting updates from the program.

The Global Links Initiative is a public-private partnership founded in 2011 by the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues with corporate sponsorship. With a mission of empowering women through education and entrepreneurship, The Global Links Initiative has impacted thousands across the world through its innovative, inclusive, and transformative programming. As they enter 10 years of impact, we look at 10 exciting updates and ways The Global Links Initiative continues to advance its mission.

1. Global Links is now the Global Links Initiative! You may notice a new name and logo. Global Links officially re-branded as The Global Links Initiative in March 2021, to celebrate 10 years of impact and acknowledge its growing network.

2. Continued support from the Rick and Susan Goings Foundation fuels success. In March 2020, the Rick and Susan Goings Foundation pledged $500,000 to become the primary financial sponsor of The Global Links Initiative that will support the program for years to come. The Global Links Initiative had its genesis in 2011 when Rick Goings ‘12H and Elinor Steele `01MBA traveled to Baghdad, Iraq on assignment with the Department of Defense to determine if sustainable business opportunities for women were possible. Goings realized there was a need when he observed that there was nobody qualified to teach entrepreneurship to female entrepreneurs there. That trip led to the Crummer Graduate School of Business joining as a co-founding partner in the cross-cultural training program that impacts thousands of people every cycle.

3. Fall 2021 will bring two program phases to Rollins. While the COVID-19 pandemic delayed international travel in 2020, The Global Links Initiative 2019 Scholar Dr. Denise Delboni, is set to visit Crummer for the third phase of her Global Links cycle early this fall. In this phase, Dr. Delboni will bring six select Brazilian “Changemaker” students to the Crummer School for a 2-week immersion experience in social entrepreneurship & American culture. The Changemakers will work alongside Crummer and Rollins students to develop social entrepreneurial ideas while building empathy and cross-cultural understanding. Additionally, the 2021 scholar, Marielza Cavallari will join us for Phase 1 of her program, which lasts the entire term.

4. A partnership between The Global Links Initiative and ESPM will develop entrepreneurs in Brazil for years to come. ESPM, a Brazilian university, will be the official academic sponsor of The Global Links Initiative in Brazil. In addition, ESPM has opened an entrepreneurship center, NAPEN (Núcleo de Apoio a Pequenos Negócios), that will support entrepreneurial-minded students. The center will be led by the Global Links Changemakers. This partnership will ensure The Global Links Initiative mission remains strong for years to come.

5. Two programs in India are preserving the Global Links Initiative’s Mission. After two successful cycles in Kolkata, India, Global Links scholar Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee received grant funding to launch the “Chain of Change” program, which enables the work of empowering marginalized communities through education entrepreneurship to be extended beyond Kolkata into West Bengal. The Change of Change program extends to Rollins as well, where an undergraduate course partners Rollins students with students in India to share learning across parallel processes. Second, the Global Links Impact Investment Forum (GLIFF) is a project led by the University of Calcutta as an extension of The Global Links Initiative. The idea behind creating this Impact Investment Forum is to leverage the intellectual and social capital that The Global Links Initiative has so effectively generated. GLIFF is a network of small business entrepreneurs, students, academia, incubators, impact investors, and bankers who together promote sustainable and socially impactful entrepreneurship among women.

6. A partnership with Sohuis will provide opportunities and expand The Global Links Initiative’s reach in the United States. Sohuis is a leading educational platform and membership community teaching female entrepreneurs how to market, brand and grow their business. Part of the Global Links Initiative’s strategic vision is to develop formalized partnerships with enterprises like Sohuis that share many of the same values. The Global Links Initiative is working with Sohuis on collaborations that would provide education to Sohuis’s community of female entrepreneurs, and also provide opportunities for The Global Links Initiative’s female entrepreneurs to become a part of the Sohuis membership community.

7. Digital initiatives have continued to advance The Global Links Initiative’s mission throughout COVID-19. With The Global Links Initiative being a program that has historically relied on in-person events, interpersonal relationships, and travel to international countries, the team has pivoted over the past year, by hosting a Webinar Series. Past events have included a conversation with former (and current) scholars Professor Banerjee, Dr. Chakraborty, and Dr. Delboni, a guest lecture on cross-cultural leadership by Rollins College President Grant Cornwell, and Find your Why with the Global Links Initiative featuring current and former graduate assistants. Most recently, they held a webinar to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. In total, the webinars have reached more than an outstanding 81,800 people!

8. The Global Links social media pages are bustling with content! To increase continued engagement among The Global Links Initiative stakeholders, the program is increasing its presence across social media platforms. On Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram you can find key Global Links Initiative supports, partners, and sponsors share what The Global Links Initiative means to them.

9. A strategic vision over the next five years brings impact to Mexico, Colombia and other parts of Latin America. The Global Links Initiative’s five-year strategic vision includes expanding across the Latin America region. After the next Global Links Initiative cycle in Brazil, the team plans to expand to Mexico and Colombia. Through strong partnerships already built in those two countries through Rollins and Global Links Initiative faculty director Dr. Mary Conway Dato-on, Mexico and Colombia are in a great position to benefit from the impact of a Global Links Initiative cycle. The idea of spreading throughout Latin America would be to have a Global Links Initiative hub in each country that will continue the mission.

10. Students, from both Crummer and in the Changemaker program, see incredible transformation. With The Global Links Initiative consisting of a small team making global impacts, students involved in the program are receiving experiential learning that stays with them long after they finish their graduate assistantships or Changemaker programs. Changemakers in the program have dramatically improved their business knowledge and self-confidence; they now comfortably – and routinely – present to large audiences on complex topics. “It’s truly a transformative experience for everyone involved,” said Global Links Program Manager Yasmin Mesbah`18MBA.