ERP Is No Longer Considered a Four-Letter Word

first_imgFor most IT executives, the term ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is often a four-letter word, but it doesn’t have to be.I’ve had the good fortune of leading several major system transformations in my 20+ years in the industry, most recently at EMC. And while replacing EMC’s legacy systems with a standardized SAP-based one was challenging, there are strategies I’d like to share that can help the process go smoothly.At EMC, we were faced with an aging ERP infrastructure that was limiting our ability to scale and support a dynamic business model. More than 10 years old and customized so extensively, it could no longer be upgraded. This resulted in a significant increase in total cost of ownership and a high level of risk to our growing business.We were determined to take a radically different approach with our new ERP program, code named PROPEL. As such, we worked with EMC senior management and a number of key business leaders to define critical guiding principles at the outset. They included:No customizationsUse an agile and “go fast” approachAdopt industry standard practices and adapt business processesBuild a foundation for future growth and scalabilityMake it a business-led program with strong governanceAs a business-led project, PROPEL had to be staffed by talented, senior business people from the major process function areas—Manufacturing, Finance, Engineering, Procurement and Supply Chain. These people, combined with the IT team, formed the core PROPEL team.From a technology perspective, we chose the industry-leading SAP ERP package, and leveraged EMC technology to ensure a high-performing, scalable and efficient system. As a result, we are now the largest SAP instance that is 100 percent virtualized on VCE Vblock technology.A critical success factor for ensuring we adhered to our guiding principles was establishing a strong program governance model. This model served as a review board for all enhancement or customization requests and also was key to our change management and communications efforts.In addition, we had more than 500 “super users” from the PROPEL team’s respective business units who acted as extended project team members and helped drive implementation of the system and new business processes.We had all the pieces in place—the right people, the right governance, the right processes, the right approach and the right technology. The communication, governance and the level of rigor were critical.This winning combination allowed us to meet our go-live target and budget. We have successfully closed multiple quarters, handling record volumes on the new system with minimal issues.In addition, by leveraging EMC and VCE technology, we have a high performing, scalable and highly available infrastructure, all while saving more than $10 million.Some of the lessons we learned along the way that are important for those who wish to embark on their own ERP implementation include:Executive support is critical to success.Identify and assign the right resources from the business. These projects need to be business–led to be effective.Spend time cleaning up your critical data such as customer, product and material records. Clean it as early as possible—before and during the project. And then put a master data management governance process in place to make sure it stays clean.Don’t underestimate the level of business change required to implement a new ERP system, especially if you want to minimize enhancements and customizations.As you make changes and transform processes, know when what you’ve achieved is good enough. In some cases, perfect is the enemy of good, which is sometimes a tough realization for people.Establish key metrics up front and ensure they are tracked post implementation.Although ERP projects, like any large transformational program, are often incredibly challenging, we’ve proven that with the right principles, technology and approach you can truly be successful. And ERP no longer has to be a four-letter word.last_img read more

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We’re Ready For An Epic EMC World, Are You?

first_imgWhile we’ve been busy working with our customers to modernize their data centers, we’ve also been busy modernizing EMC World, preparing to make 2016 the best event to date! This year we’re delivering an exciting lineup of educational tracks, sessions, speakers, and events to help turn plans into actions. In addition, we will be setting the vision for the new company we will become in combination with Dell.The theme of our 16th annual EMC World is Modernize and we can’t wait to join customers, partners, media and analysts over an exciting four days in Las Vegas. While I don’t want to give away all the surprises we have planned, some must-see events this year include:General Sessions: The EMC World general sessions this year promise to deliver an exciting mix of breaking news, big names and of course, a few surprises along the way. This year EMC’s leadership team, along with some exciting industry gurus, will enlighten us all on how EMC is modernizing the industry, IT and businesses around the world. Check out a full list of presenters here.Breakout Sessions: We’re excited to offer 300+ breakout sessions organized into content tracks for specific audiences – IT Leadership, Technology and, new this year, Code & Modern Ops. Technical or not, there’s a track for everyone at EMC World.IT Leadership Track: Designed for those decision makers shaping the future of business, harnessing Big Data, adopting Open Source and more.Technology Track: Dive into the latest EMC innovations including Flash, Cloud-Based Solutions, Cloud-Native Apps and more.Code & Modern Ops: Our new Code & Modern Ops track is built on the themes of Learn, Code and Deploy, and will feature sessions on how to successfully build and develop modern apps to help our customers grow their business and gain competitive advantage.Global Partner Summit: EMC’s valued partners will join us for the fifth-annual EMC Global Partner Summit (GPS), taking place May 2-4 at the Venetian. Attendees will hear directly from EMC executives, positioning our partners for success in selling EMC products and solutions in 2016 and beyond.Momentum at EMC World 2016 – The Content Management Event Content management professionals from around the world will descend on Las Vegas for interactive keynotes, educational breakout sessions and plenty of networking time to talk. Momentum 2016 is the best forum for customers to get direct access to EMC engineers, product managers and executives, as well as hands-on time with EMC products for content management professionals. At Momentum 2016 they’ll discover new and innovative ways to build and evolve their content management strategies.EMC vLab Experience: We’ll offer 13 instructor-led and 39 self-paced vLabs with a deep-dive into EMC’s products and solutions. This year, the excitement builds with a top secret bonus session – stay tuned!Solutions Pavilion: Attendees will be able to explore the exciting solutions pavilion and view product demos, speak with EMC experts, partners and customers. Some of the most exciting EMC-powered apps will be demoed LIVE at the Future Ready Pavilion within the EMC Solutions Pavilion. Come see next-generation applications in healthcare, government, telecom, and more. All major EMC product divisions and Federation companies will be represented, including Pivotal, RSA, VCE, Virtustream, VMware and more.Women of World: On Wednesday, May 4th attendees will join together to get a fresh look at managing their careers in the context of change at the annual Women of World. Attendees will learn how to navigate the fast-paced transformation of the technology industry and find new ways to own, modernize and direct their careers.Customer Appreciation Event: This year, EMC is welcoming Duran Duran and Fitz & The Tantrums. What better way to celebrate EMC World than to rock out with two hit musical acts?This year we’re also giving customers who can’t join us in Las Vegas direct access to the event virtually from anywhere in the world. Here are the best ways to engage remotely with EMC World 2016:Online: Track all the latest EMC World 2016 happenings at emcworld.comLive Streaming: View video of EMC World keynotes and select conference sessions at emcworld.com/virtualSocial: Follow @EMCWorld and monitor #EMCWORLD to join the Twitter conversation. For continuous updates on EMC news and announcements, follow @EMC_News.Excited? We are too. Get ready to modernize at EMC World 2016!last_img read more

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Look Before You Leap: The Importance of a Comprehensive AI Strategy

first_imgArtificial Intelligence is everywhere, but it’s critical for companies to take the time to research, analyze, and develop a strategic plan before deploying AI initiatives.Well it seems this artificial intelligence thing has caught on after all, and looks like it’s here to stay. AI is already used across most industries and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a rapidly growing technology that will impact nearly every product and business process over the next decade.Even late adopters are ready to embrace it, because it’s clear that AI, along with its machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), is reshaping the way we do business. AI can help organizations reach their targeted business outcomes by:Increasing efficiency of internal applicationsImproving customer experienceIncreasing lead generation and customer acquisitionAutomating business and HR operationsImproving ROIOf course, with all the cool and exciting things AI can do, it’s temping for businesses to jump in and get started right away. That eagerness can be a good thing, but deploying AI without preparation can lead to a wide range of problems. As with most new business applications, it’s critical to analyze and think through your IT Transformation strategy first. Carefully research when and where it makes sense to use AI, so that you can be most effective and cost efficient in the long run.IT leaders need to consider questions like:What projects make the most sense for our business and goals?What applications will give us the best ROI (both in the short and long-term)?What kind of shape is our current data in, and do we have the right data management technology?Do we have the proper infrastructure hardware to scale?Do we have the skills to implement AI initiatives? If not, should we train our current staff or hire new? Or both?How will we communicate across all our lines of business?The problem is that too many companies, excited about the benefits of AI, cannonball in without a strategic plan. The want to make a big splash, but forget to check that there is water in the pool first.Don’t be them.Just as you have to crawl before you can run, you have to start small with AI. It’s best to dip your toes in the water and Once you have some initial success and a solid strategy in place, you can move on to more extensive applications.Whether your organization has already embraced AI or plans to adopt it soon, consider the following before you go any further: Evaluate Current Challenges and OpportunitiesTake the time to research and evaluate your current opportunities. Chances are, there are multiple areas of your organization that can benefit from AI and ML. The different lines of business might be clamoring to get started, but it’s critical to do the research up front to ensure that your IT strategy aligns with your overall company objectives.Prioritize Your ListAfter you’ve gathered the data, you’ll need to prioritize projects based on the scope, potential risks and ROI. This is often easier said than done, because different departments will have different priorities. It’s up to you as an IT leader to manage this and make recommendations based on the company’s best interests.Examine Your Organization’s Current DataWhat shape is your company’s data in? Again, be realistic in your current state (not in where you hope to be), so that you don’t get in over your head. You can always start small, perhaps using your Big Data analytics to deploy one or two ML applications. Measure the ROI of those initial projects, using the data to develop recommendations for future applications.Focus on StaffingAI initiatives require a different skill set. Automating operations can free up your staff to do other things, but you may find that they don’t have the right skills. You’ll need engineers and data scientists to manage the applications and analyze the data. Will you retrain current staff or recruit new employees? Or a mix of both? Now is the time to think about and budget for these staffing issues.To succeed with AI initiatives, it’s critical that organizations have a comprehensive and prioritized execution strategy in place. Doing so will allow you to deploy the right technology and IT infrastructure for each specified use-case.For additional information on how IT leaders can ensure successful ML and DL projects check out The Artificial Intelligence Starter Guide for IT Leaders.  This white paper by Moor Insights & Strategy also covers Dell EMC’s hardware for classical machine learning, hardware for deep learning, pre-configured “Ready Bundles,” enterprise cloud services, and our consulting and training services.last_img read more

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Chaos, Cacophony, and the New Data Order in the Coming Decade

first_imgThe total volume of data transmitted over the US mobile phone network in 2007 amounted to 86 petabytes. Today, the same volume is transferred in less than a day. So what will things be like ten years from now? We might only need ten minutes to transfer this amount of data, which would correspond to a 52,000-fold acceleration. It is safe to assume that the global increase in data transmission volumes will be in the same ballpark. At Dell Technologies, we refer to the next ten years as the “next data decade” and have aligned our 2030 goals accordingly.Dell has always set itself ambitious and long-term goals. Nearly ten years ago, for instance, we announced our “2020 Legacy of Good” plan, based on the idea that technology should be the driving force behind human progress. We adopted this key idea in the plan for the coming decade, which will, of course,lead us to a completely different world from the one we know today. We will generate vastly more data, because everything will be connected to everything else. However, data has no intrinsic value; we need to bring it to life to make it usable in areas such as industrial automation, which will continue to advance; in autonomous cars, which will shape the urban landscape by communicating with other vehicles, traffic lights and the power grid; in healthcare, which must be drastically improved worldwide; in smart homes, smart cities, smart government, in our personal well-being, and basically in every conceivable sphere of life.Not just big data (the term should actually be renamed incredibly enormous data in the new decade), but also thousands, millions, or perhaps even more fragmented databases and storage spaces will shape everyday life. This isolated data is nothing but chaos and noise until it interfaces with the rest of the world. The integration of all these data silos into countless clouds and on-premises systems is the Herculean task that companies and the IT industry are facing. Only when we solve the question of data integration will new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning blossom and play a truly fundamental role in our future society. After all, these systems need to make a vast number of sometimes vital decisions based on this data jumble in real time.However, this will only be possible if data security is also ensured. Therefore, data integrity and encryption will play an equally important role in the coming years. There are formidable factors to consider, among them the development of the quantum computer, which will completely revolutionize the way we do IT while also providing cyber attackers with a tool to crack almost any asymmetric encryption in mere seconds. We must therefore work to develop effective quantum-safe methods. Fortunately, the US organization NIST is already developing new standards for post-quantum cryptography.And there are more challenges in store for us. For example, we cannot simply allow AI, which is being made more powerful by the day, to act like “black boxes.” We must ensure that decisions remain comprehensible and algorithms transparent, if necessary based on legal standards. This is no small feat in today’s globalized world. We must also ensure that the human being remains the key focus of technological advancement. In other words, we need to uphold ethics and human values in a fully digitized society – digital humanism if you will. And we must increasingly protect our environment.All of this is part of our Next Data Decade plan, in which we will focus on product sustainability above all. Our concept here is what we call one-to-one recycling: for every product a customer purchases, we will fully recycle or repurpose a similar product. Second, we will promote inclusion with the goal of having 50 percent of our global workforce made up of women by 2030. Third, we strive to improve lives on a broad scale based on technology, that is, for billions of people. Fourth, we want to do so while upholding ethics and data privacy.Do we know whether we will achieve these goals? Do we have any idea how information technology, let alone our society, will evolve over the next decade? Of course not. Can we anticipate stumbling blocks? Certainly. Will we be able to handle big data, AI, data security, and technological innovation over the next ten years as envisioned today? Even though the future may be uncertain, we are optimistic and will do everything in our power to advance human progress by leveraging our technology, our knowledge, and our compassion. This new decade is certain to be an exciting one!last_img read more

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Taliban visit Moscow, voice hope US will honor peace deal

first_imgMOSCOW (AP) — The Taliban say after a round of talks in Moscow that they expect the United States to honor its pledge to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by May. Taliban official Sher Mohammed Abbas Stanikzai, who led a delegation that met with senior Russian diplomats during two days of talks, insisted that the movement has fulfilled its end of the deal. White House and U.S. State Department officials have said that Biden’s administration plans to take a new look at the agreement, which was signed last February with Donald Trump’s White House. The Pentagon says the Taliban’s refusal to reduce violence in Afghanistan raises questions about the peace deal.last_img

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Hilfiger offers words of business wisdom

first_img“I was at the right place at the right time, but I had the right product,” he said. “I was studying business myself, trying to figure out what was this role in business that would set us apart from competition. I wanted to understand what it was that would really push the buttons on the consumer and I figured it out.” “I wanted to build a different mousetrap,” Hilfiger said. “I wanted to reach back into my roots when I wore preppy clothes in grammar and early high school and redesign them. So I took every single one of those items out of my closet and redesigned every detail.” Looking back, Hilfiger said his biggest regret was skipping out on college. Hilfiger began selling jeans out of the trunk of his car in a high school parking lot at age 18.  Hilfiger’s parents preferred he go to college and focus on a more practical career than his updated business venture, a newly opened clothing shop called People’s Place, Hilfiger said. “If I were to talk about what I’m proudest about as a businessman, I am proudest of the fact that we are a giving, loving company,” and that will probably go down in history as the company’s greatest contribution, Hilfiger said.  Hilfiger said his subsequent successes after introducing his trademark red, white and blue logo can be attributed to his first private collection in 1985. “They said, ‘You’re crazy. There’s no way you’ll ever be able to do that.’” Hilfiger said. “But I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ I said, ‘I will do this.’ I took the path of resistance.”A self-taught businessman at the age of 19, Hilfiger wanted to bring big city fashion from New York City to his local community in upstate New York and began designing his own ideas when the trends of the late ‘60s left him and his customers unsatisfied, Hilfiger said.  “We’re becoming much more responsible as human beings and that is very meaningful to me,” Hilfiger said. He may be the king of a global fashion empire, but there is one dream that Tommy Hilfiger never saw through. “I thought I should be a professional football player,” Hilfiger said to an audience of Notre Dame faculty and students as he began a presentation in the Eck Auditorium Wednesday afternoon to share his business experiences and successes. Hilfiger entered the auditorium carrying a Notre Dame football helmet while and told the story of his failed football career, which ended, he said, after an unsuccessful tryout for the high school team in his hometown Elmira, N.Y.   “That was my master’s degree,” he said. Yet while still flourishing overseas, the American base of Hilfiger’s empire appeared to be headed for ruin in the late ‘90s after he seemed to have a monopoly over men’s, women’s and children’s casual fashions for the greater part of the decade, Hilfiger said. He said he blamed his business team’s faux pas of oversupplying the demand — a “business no-no.”  “As a result of that failure, I decided to do something else,” Hilfiger said. “I decided to become a businessman.” “I opened up my store and I said, this is my education,” he said. “But if I had been smart enough to go to business school, I would have avoided some major pitfalls.” Hilfiger said today, he considers hitting bankruptcy at 22 his greatest learning experience. In 1995, he established the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation to help empower America’s youth and as his fashion trends gain global esteem, his charitable endeavors follow. The Foundation recently announced its $2 million donation to Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization founded in 2005 to combat extreme world poverty.   While Hilfiger’s presentation resonated with business lessons to “be creative … never stop learning, never stop exploring,” in his discussion of the company’s philanthropic successes, a stronger message prevailed. “Boiled down to its simplest form, business is simple arithmetic … really a simple philosophy. It’s about supply and demand,” he said. “That’s something they teach in every business school, but we learned it ourselves and we learned it the hard way.”Today, Hilfiger said his recipe for success remains true to his original philosophy: right quality, right product, right price, right marketing, right technical fit, right people wearing your clothes and right stores selling them. “It’s all about finding a niche,” he said. “Many people ask me why I think we’re so successful and I have one standard answer — It’s always about the people. I have been fanatical about surrounding myself with great people. A great team will bring you great success.” “At the end of the day, they’re just clothes really,” Hilfiger said.last_img read more

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Science Friday to tape at ND

first_imgThe College of Science’s sesquicentennial celebration will continue on Wednesday night with the taping of “Science Friday” in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) at 7 p.m. to a sold-out crowd. Science Friday, an NPR radio talk show dedicated to science news and entertainment stories, airs every Friday on NPR affiliate stations from 2-4 p.m. EST.Host and producer Ira Flatow will interview three Notre Dame faculty members as part of the show in addition to at least four other non-Notre Dame guests, according to Marissa Gebhard, assistant director of marketing and communications for the College of Science and a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary’s College.The show will be divided into six segments, and the Notre Dame Glee Club will sing “science-themed songs” in between, Gebhard said.Associate professor Philippe Collon, who specializes in experimental nuclear physics, will speak about the applications of his research on the world of art. Through his research, Collon has developed a method of revealing counterfeit artwork without destroying the sample taken as happens with chemical analysis, according to Gebhard.“He uses nuclear physics to pinpoint the age, date, and material of artwork,” Gebhard said. “Collon will be joined by Greg Smith from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and together they are going to talk about combating counterfeit art.”Collon’s work centers on “radionuclides,” or radioactive isotopes, which are atoms with unstable nuclei. Radiocarbon dating uses relative amounts of certain types of these isotopes to date artwork and determine authenticity.“The field I work in is called Accelerator Mass Spectrometry or AMS for short. It basically is a very sensitive detection technique that combines accelerators and nuclear physics detection techniques to allow the detection of radionuclides at extremely low concentrations (i.e. the ‘needle in the haystack’),” Collon said in an email.“This technique has applications in art and archaeology,” Collon said. “I got particularly interested in this through the development of the ‘Physics Methods in Art and Archaelogy’ course—PHYS 10262—with my colleague Michael Wiescher. We have now been teaching this course for over eight years here at Notre Dame and it is a fantastic way of introducing modern physics through the bias of art and archaeology to numerous students who would not traditionally be taking a modern physics course.”Jeanne Romero-Severson, professor of biology, will kick off the Science Friday taping, Gebhard said.“Jeanne Romero-Severson, who studies plant microbiomes, will be the first segment,” Gebhard said. “She does a lot of work related to the health of oak trees. Her research has implications for outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to contaminated seed sprouts, and she’s working to combat those bacterial infections.”In the program’s third segment, David Lodge, founder and director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative, will speak about the ecology of the Great Lakes. Lodge is currently on a one-year leave as a Jefferson Science Fellow in the U.S. Department of State.“[Lodge] is a world-renowned expert on invasive species,” Gebhard said. “He is one of the faculty that is in the media the most of all of the Notre Dame faculty. He studies Asian carp and some other invasive species, which is of particular interest to everyone in the Great Lakes area, as we spend millions and millions of dollars trying to clean them up.”Other guests to the show will include representatives from Studebaker to discuss their electric car, forensic science professor Anne Perez from Saint Joseph’s College, who will discuss her work in forensic entomology and interviews with the Kellogg brothers with University of Michigan professor Howard Markel, according to the College of Science press release.Tags: College of Science, DPAC, Physics, plants, Science Fridaylast_img read more

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ND Votes examines political and theological stances on income inequality

first_imgND Votes ’16 hosted a “Pizza, Pop and Politics” discussion on Thursday evening in Geddes Hall to examine what presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called “the great moral issue of our time … and the great economic issue of our time” — income inequality.The event featured lectures from Christina Wolbrecht, associate professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center for American Democracy, and Margaret Pfeil, associate professor of theology and co-founder of St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House in South Bend. Pfeil also discussed the impact race has on inequality.“The typical white family earns $50,400, while the typical black family earns $32,028, and the typical latino family earns $36,840,” she said. “Disparities in homeownership fall upon racial and ethnic lines as well — 73 percent of whites own a home, compared to 37 percent of Latinos and 45 percent of blacks.”Pfeil concluded the talk by reiterating the words of Pope Francis on the subject.“When a society … is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely ensure tranquility … because the socioeconomic system is unjust,” Pfeil said.Tags: income inequality, inequality, NDVotes ’16, Pizza Pop and Politics Caitlyn Jordan Margaret Pfeil, who holds a joint appointment in the theology department, spoke at an event about income inequality in terms of Catholic social thought and race.Wolbrecht kicked off the discussion, describing the rise in income inequality in America.“In the post-war period, after World War II … all groups slowly made gains in income. People could expect that over time, their real income would grow,” she said. “That has changed since around 1980. What we have seen is that incomes for people in the middle … have stagnated — same with the poor. But income growth for people above the 95th percentile has increased fairly dramatically.”Wolbrecht then examined specific policies in American politics that she said have contributed to this inequality, focusing especially on issues relating to housing. The application of certain tax breaks that apply only to homeowners has proved to increase inequality, while also being politically popular, she said.“[These policies] are not only not progressive, as in they help out the poorest, but they are regressive. A lot more of the benefits accrue to the wealthy,” Wolbrecht said.Wolbrecht concluded her talk by addressing the possible effects of income inequality on the American political system.“[Income inequality] can undermine the collective, in one sense. Democratic politics is that we’re all in one boat, and that we are working towards not just making ourselves better, but our community better,” she said.Wolbrecht also discussed how inequality could impact popular participation.“The other concern is that [income inequality] breeds apathy, that politics really just serve the 1 percent,” she said.After Wolbrecht, Pfeil spoke on income inequality in terms of Catholic social teaching, and also income inequality as it relates to race.“The ethical issues raised from the perspective of Catholic social teaching are structural in nature,” she said. “These structures, objectively speaking, are morally skewed because they violate the standards of justice, specifically distributive justice, commutative justice and social justice.”Pfeil referenced St. Ambrose, who said, “You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor person, you are giving back to him what is his.”last_img read more

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IDEA Week promotes entrepreneurship, innovation

first_imgThough the Studebaker plant closed in the early 1960’s, many still identify the city of South Bend with its manufacturing past — and the after-effects of the factory’s demise.Associate provost Bryan Ritchie wants to change this perception.“This community has been mired in its past for so long,” Ritchie said. “I mean, OK we’re the ‘Studebaker City.’ When do we move past that? What’s the new moniker? We’re the ‘Big Data City.’ We’re the ‘Advanced Manufacturing City.’ Whatever that case might be … we just need to get to that next thing. So I want people to start to see that and understand that that’s a possibility.”Ritchie is leading the efforts behind IDEA Week, a Notre Dame-led festival highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship. Ritchie — whose official role is associate provost and vice president of innovation — said the week combines many of the initiatives already taking place in the community.“We were doing a lot of things in April anyways around innovation and entrepreneurship, and so we said, ‘Why not create a celebration week where we pull all of these events into one week? And let’s get everyone motivated and excited about what we’re doing.’ Hopefully, that will have knock-on effects,” Ritchie said. “I mean, it will bring others out of the woodwork, get them engaged, make sure they understand and see what’s happening.”Nick Swisher, executive director of IDEA Week, said the conference is a direct result of Notre Dame’s efforts to become a leading research university.“It’s now maturing to a place that the ideas that are coming from the labs and from the students are enough of a critical mass to really put a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, patents [and] intellectual property in general,” Swisher said. “This will just be an exclamation point on really what already was happening within the University on the faculty and staff side.”Hosted by Notre Dame’s IDEA Center, the conference will bring together a number of panels, workshops and competitions. The week officially kicked-off Friday and will continue through Sunday, April 27, with speakers such as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Adam Savage of “Mythbusters” and Daymond John, CEO of FUBU. The festival will also feature performances from comedian Gabriel Iglesias on Monday at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend and The Chainsmokers on Friday in the Purcell Pavillion.In addition to the keynote lectures this week, Swisher said he is looking forward to the McCloskey New Venture Competition, which will take place Friday. The event allows start-ups to pitch their ideas and compete in a “Shark Tank format.”“All together, there are going to be around $400,000 in prizes and in-kind donations given to teams,” Swisher said. “This is major that’s going to count. So this is real stuff. The grand prize winner is $50,000 and there’s other prizes. So there will be a lot of money going out next Friday.”Swisher said he hopes IDEA Week will inspire students and expose them to new career paths.“I have never been in a university where more young people want to make an impact in the world and really be a force for good,” Swisher said. “We’re saying that you can do this through entrepreneurship … and you don’t have to be a greedy capitalist.“There’s another way. And you can choose to do right and still make a lot of money. And that’s what we’re also trying to support and show and lift up as an example to students that this is another path forward.”Ultimately, Ritchie said, IDEA Week is not a one-time event, but rather a long-term initiative.“What we’re really doing is we realize this is a multi-year effort,” he said. “This isn’t a one and done. This is something we’ve got to do this year and next year and the next year and then if we can just get this to a point where people say ‘Wow, that was great. I’d come back again’ that’s a win. That’s a big win. It doesn’t have to be the most amazing thing ever. It just has to be good enough that people say, ‘That was cool, let’s do it again.’”Tags: Adam Savage, Daymond John, IDEA Center, Idea Week, The Chainsmokerslast_img read more

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GALA Awards honor Mayor Pete Buttigieg, leaders within LGBTQ community

first_imgMaria Leontaras | The Observer South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was honored by the Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s on Saturday, along with Fr. James Martin and Notre Dame law alumnus John Sullivan.Although he sees change occurring in the community, Buttigieg said the University administration could do more to increase acceptance and referenced a lack of inclusivity of sexual and gender identity in the University’s non-discrimination clause. “Certainly when it comes to non-discrimination policies on campus there is some work to be done,” he said. “Some of its more intangible — not as much about policy, but about culture. That’s where I think the involvement and visibility of groups like this — students and alumni making clear who they are and being vocal and building bridges — can really turn the tide.”Ricketts said he believes the University’s lack of a non-discrimination clause hurts both staff and students. He also said the University has not been responsive to bringing a transgender speaker to campus. “We don’t have a non-discrimination clause, which has been an issue since the 1980s when the people who started this group were fighting for it,” Ricketts said. “So there are no legal protections for people who are LGBTQ. I know for a fact there are people who were not able to advance in their careers here as faculty members. It’s not just about the students, it’s about being able to belong at the University regardless of your sexual identity. We definitely have a long way to go for transgender students. As long as I’ve been here, since 2012, we’ve wanted to have a transgender speaker on campus. But it’s been communicated, perhaps not verbally, but it’s been made clear that that’s not welcome — at least not without repercussions.”Ricketts said other policies the University has enacted, such as the six-semester housing policy, have created a barrier for LGBTQ students.“I was a member of Duncan Hall for many years, and I loved both of my rectors,” he said. “They are wonderful people, but I didn’t really have a home in Duncan. I had to find that somewhere else, and I think that’s true for a lot of students that are marginalized … To ask those students to stay an extra year is harmful to the community, and that’s exactly the opposite of what their goal was.” John Sullivan, a 1983 alumnus of Notre Dame law, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his work in law and advancing the rights of the LGBTQ community, according to the press release.Sullivan works in corporate law and serves on nonprofit boards such as the Human Rights Campaign, which works to promote corporate law equality, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which works to address hate crimes through advocacy and legislation. “One of the things with good legislation is that it allows people to have conversations,” Sullivan said. “It’s not going to change everyone’s mind, but it gives you at least a little bit of comfort and safety in that you can have those conversations in an environment that might be a little bit more safe.”Buttigieg, as a resident of Indiana — one of five states without hate crime legislation — said he hopes Indiana will soon pass hate crime legislation, perhaps through a bipartisan effort.“It’s pretty embarrassing for us to be just one of five states in the country that lacks meaningful hate crime legislation,” Buttigieg said. “The encouraging thing is that a lot of people — from Democratic legislators to a Republican governor — recognize that this needs to change. I am disappointed that the legislature has not been able to fix this yet, but I think as we keep organizing we will see improvement there.”Sullivan said resistance from some in the Catholic community may be a result of a lack of understanding and an urge to read the Bible in a certain way that is harmful to the LGBTQ community.“A lot of it is a lack of understanding,” Sullivan said. “Once people get to know [members of the LGBTQ community], they realize how lives are pretty much the same as theirs. For us to be willing to share that, we have to be out and be willing to listen to where their concerns are.”Fr. James Martin is a Jesuit priest, an author and was appointed by Pope Francis to be a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications in 2017. Martin received the Thomas A. Dooley Award for his work in creating a platform of acceptance for LBGTQ members of the Catholic Church, according to the press release. He was unable to attend the ceremony and instead sent in a pre-recorded video message accepting his award. In his acceptance speech, Martin said LGBTQ people are still marginalized in the Church, and one way to mend that relationship is through getting to know each other. “As you know, LGBTQ people are the most marginalized group in the Catholic Church today,” Martin said in his message. “In some ways, they are treated almost like lepers in some dioceses, parishes and schools … In my experience what can help that is simply for people to get to know each other. Nothing is as transformative as encounter.”Ricketts said there is a way to reconcile the Catholic Church’s belief and attending Notre Dame with being LGBTQ. “I came here knowing I was gay because I still felt a sense of community,” Ricketts said. “I felt connected to the Catholic campus and the sense of justice. Tonight’s prayer before we start is one of Fr. Hesburgh’s — ‘For those who are hungry, let them have bread, and for those who have bread let them hunger for justice’ — and I think that sense of purpose on the campus is meaningful. Anyone who feels drawn to that, whether they are LGBT or not, should have a home here.”Ricketts said the ability to have the GALA Leadership Awards is something that would not have always been able to occur, and he is thankful to the people at the University who has supported the LGBTQ movement.“We are very grateful to be able to hold this event on Notre Dame’s campus — that wasn’t always possible — and we are very grateful for the people from both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s who have helped us pull this off in the past,” he said. “Even though policies aren’t as welcoming as they should be doesn’t mean there aren’t welcoming people here at the University in administrative positions.”Tags: 2020 presidential election, Catholicism, Fr. James Martin, GALA Leadership Awards, GALA-ND/SMC, hate crime legislation, John Sullivan, non-descrimination clause, Pete Buttigeig The Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s (GALA-ND/SMC) awarded their biannual LGBTQ Leadership Awards Saturday evening to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Notre Dame law alumnus John Sullivan and Fr. James Martin. Since 1996, GALA — independent from the University and College — has awarded honors to members of the community through a nomination and voting process, Bryan Ricketts, vice chair of membership of GALA, said. Ricketts said Buttigieg — who has been the mayor of South Bend since 2012 and has recently launched a presidential exploratory committee for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination — was chosen before he grew in prominence due to his committee. Buttigieg received the Larry Condren Distinguished Service Award at the ceremony for his leadership and service to the community, according to the press release for the event. “I was on campus when he wrote a letter in the newspaper coming out, and I was on campus in 2012 when we were just fighting to even have a group, so it was good to have someone out and proud in the community, and be able to look to that person as an example that you can come to South Bend, Indiana, and still be out and a public servant,” Ricketts, a 2016 and 2017 alumnus of the University, said. Buttigieg, who attended Harvard as an undergraduate, said the climate for LGBTQ students has improved since he was in college, but there is still work to be done.“I think it’s improved, but I don’t think we are there yet,” he said. “You can tell by talking to young people — especially with the uncertain environment nationally — that a lot of people still feel vulnerable. But I also think organizations and events like where we are tonight, and a general rise in the tide of acceptance has helped us move in the right direction.”Buttigieg, a South Bend native who grew up with parents who were Notre Dame professors, spent time on the University’s campus while growing up and said he can see the campus climate has changed. “It was still edgy to even acknowledge the idea of acceptance for the LGBT community,” Buttigieg said. “Now I think it’s more the University — sometimes a little haltingly — trying to do the right thing. So there’s no question that there has been progress. Even just the breakthrough of even having an organization on campus recognized — better late than never — shows you that there’s a trajectory here. I wish the clock was ticking a little faster than it has been, but I do think you have a lot of people here who want to do the right thing … As long as we can beckon people rather than drag them into the right place, then I think we stand a very good chance of this University community eventually becoming a leader in this respect.”last_img read more

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