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How Female Business Leaders Succeed

A conversation with Belén Garijo and Felicia Marie Knaul

By Alexandra Bassil
UM News


Belén Garijo, left, and Felicia Marie Knaul share a laugh at the inaugural Women’s Leadership Forum.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2017)—During Women’s History Month, the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and the School of Business Administration’s Center for Health Sector Management and Policy and Women in Business Group presented real-world tips and advice at the institute’s inaugural Women’s Leadership Forum. The topics ranged from career success and work/life balance to other issues affecting women globally.

During his welcoming remarks to over 50 students, faculty, staff, and guests, School of Business Interim Dean Anuj Mehrotra highlighted the importance of the forum. UM President Julio Frenk said that women are at the heart of the University’s education and engagement efforts, and introduced Belén Garijo, CEO of healthcare and executive board member for Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany. Frenk also mentioned Garijo’s leadership and her corporation’s support of “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies,” an initiative designed to promote good practices to enhance women’s economic participation by improving women’s health.

Institute Director Felicia Marie Knaul, also a professor at the Miller School of Medicine, started the Q&A session by asking Garijo to share advice after her long career as a physician-scientist in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and life sciences industry, and as CEO of Merck KGaA over the past six years. At Merck, Garijo is responsible for the health care business sector, comprising the biopharma, consumer health, allergopharma, and biosimilars businesses.

“From day one you are in charge of your career and must be willing to take the challenges and make them opportunities,” said Garijo. As an example, she said after earning her medical degree in Spain, a surplus of physicians made it difficult to begin a practice. With that realization, she decided to take an opportunity to start as a clinical researcher in the pharmaceutical industry. Garijo also advised the attendees not to let others influence their desire to achieve career success and to network as much as possible.

Knaul also brought up work/life balance, to which Garijo advised seeking employers that have flexible working models, telecommuting, and parental leave so having a family life is possible. In addition, they discussed Garijo’s commitment to increase gender diversity in management and emphasized that success is usually driven by a top-down approach.

Garijo also shared Merck’s role as the only private sector company to join the “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies” initiative. The socially responsible company chose the project to impact women’s lives in developing countries in an effort to address access to health care, gender-based violence, birth control and the safety of women.

Closing remarks and a recap were offered by the founder of the Women in Business Group, Ann M. Olazábal, vice dean of Undergraduate Business Education and professor of business law. In her remarks, Knaul mentioned that future Women’s Leadership Forum guests will include singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman Gloria Estefan, a UM alumna; Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo; and Kathleen Sebelius, former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services.


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Real Estate Impact Conference Zeros in on Disruptive Forces

For the sixth year in a row, South Florida, national and international industry experts converged in Miami for a meeting of the minds at the University of Miami Real Estate Impact Conference. Hosted by the School of Architecture and the School of Business Administration, the 2017 event at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami was standing room only. Top real estate executives were joined by UM’s Real Estate Advisory Board members and the next generation of leaders from UM’s interdisciplinary Masters of Real Estate Development + Urbanism program in the School of Architecture, the undergraduate major, Accelerated MBA and MBA Real Estate programs in the School of Business Administration, and the LLM in Real Property Development in the School of Law.

As in past years, the conference featured global leaders in commercial and residential real estate in one-on-one conversations. Innovators and trendsetters, informing and shaping the industry’s future were also on hand to share their perspectives and insights regarding disruptive technologies and business models that will continue marking the industry.

The event, which drew many of the who’s who in real estate, kicked off with the panel “Finding Opportunity in Disruption.” Natalia Martinez-Kalinina, general manager of the Cambridge Innovation Center, a real estate services company that bills itself as a “community of entrepreneurs,” moderated a discussion exploring how the commercial real estate industry can partner with, and profit from, firms like Amazon, Bonobos, AirBnB and WeWork as they continue to revolutionize their segments.

“There has always been disruption in the industry. Department stores used to be in the downtowns in the 1800s. They moved to the suburbs in the ‘60s and ‘70s. There have always been bankruptcies,” said James Bry, executive vice president of development and construction at Seritage Growth Properties, a self-managed REIT with a portfolio of 235 properties and 31 joint ventures. “If you go to good centers, you see a lot of people with bags. Retail is about the entertainment as well as the shopping experience. We’re all still social. The majority of us want to get out of our house and do things. That’s not going to change no matter what generation it is.”

Bob Gray, a partner at Rockwood Capital LLC, a real estate investment company managing more than $6.5 billion of equity commitments from investors, agreed that the experience is vital in retail. For that reason, he sees many centers working to bring the supermarket, healthcare providers and fitness businesses into the mall. That makes location more important than ever in a retail world that’s seeing increasing e-commerce disruption.

“Real estate is occupied by tenants, and tenants need employees. We are focused on areas that are conducive to growth. San Francisco is a wonderful exporter of talent to other parts of the world because it’s too expensive for people to rent apartments or buy homes,” Gray said. “We’re focused on Boulder, for example, because Google is going from 400 to 1,500 employees right next door. Value of talent is what’s driving location today. In certain locations rent is not a factor, not when the value of the talent can change industry.”

Next, the audience listened intently to a keynote session with Gregg Pasquarelli, principal and co-founder of SHoP Architects, and David Martin, president and co-founder of Terra. SHoP Architects was named Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Architecture Firm in the World,” while Martin has engaged some of the world’s leading architects in distinctive South Florida projects. The duo discussed many of the firm’s innovative projects and how SHoP’s disruptive thinking has impacted the industry.

“Real estate tends to do things the same way until one person innovates and then you all instantly change,” Pasquarelli told Martin. “We’ve found every time, that when we’ve been able to use technology to improve cost control or transparency or lower manufacturing costs in one of our buildings, and we have hard data showing it works, everyone jumps on board.”

In a panel called “Redevelopment Ready: Miami 2.0,” Al Dotson, a Partner at Bilzin Sumberg, moderated a panel about the next generation of South Florida development. Arnaud Karesenti of 13th Floor Investments a presented an intensive, mixed-use transit-oriented development in Coconut Grove called The Link at Douglas, followed by Related Urban Development Group Principal and Vice President Al Milo’s discussion of a mixed-income redevelopment plan for Liberty Square, Miami’s largest Depression-era public housing project. Michael Comras, president of Comras Company, shared how his firm has partnered with Federal Realty Investment Trust and Grass River on remaking iconic retail projects like Sunset Place and CocoWalk, while working to redesign high street retail on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Rounding out the day was a keynote session with David Simon, Chairman and CEO of Simon Property Group and Stuart Miller, CEO of The Lennar Corporation. The two discussed growing up as a second-generation real estate leader under powerful father figures as well as the evolution of the retail industry from bricks to clicks and from Wall Street to Main Street.

“We bought Sawgrass Mills in ’07 and had $55 million in NOI. Today we have $150 million in NOI,” Simon said. “People want to say retail is going out of business. There are a lot of negative headlines out there but the fact is if you can diversify the mix—if you can bring in the right retailers—if you can make it a real part of the community you can bring in tourism, and grow your business.” Simon emphasized the need for retail centers to invest in better architecture, diversify their mix of uses, and create a holistic experience and sense of place that cannot be replicated by online retailers.

The lead sponsors for the 2017 Miami Real Estate Impact Conference were Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the Kislak Organization, The Witkoff Group and Fortune International Group, which were joined by dozens of other sponsors representing of the real estate finance, construction and development industry in South Florida and beyond.






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Alex Rodriguez Gift to Help MBA Curriculum for Pro Athletes

By UM News

Rodriguez Gift

From left, Sebastian the Ibis; former UM President Donna E. Shalala; Anuj Mehrotra, interim dean of the School of Business Administration; Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost; Sergio M. Gonzalez, senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs; Richard D. Fain, chair of UM’s Board of Trustees; UM Trustee Alex Rodriguez; UM President Julio Frenk; and UM Trustee Stuart A. Miller mark the occasion of Rodriguez’s gift to the business school by throwing up the U.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 17, 2017) Alex Rodriguez, the retired longtime All Star for the New York Yankees, has made a $500,000 gift to the School of Business Administration to establish the Graduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Endowed Fund to support new co-curricular programs for participants in the Miami Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program and other MBA students. In recognition of his gift, a courtyard in the School of Business complex has been named the Alex Rodriguez Courtyard. Rodriguez, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, joined University President Julio Frenk and other dignitaries in the courtyard dedication ceremony on February 17.

“As an athlete and an entrepreneur, I am thrilled to help the School of Business create unique initiatives around innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in the Executive MBA program for artists and athletes,” said Rodriguez. “It’s my hope that these initiatives will encourage athletes and others to explore their own entrepreneurial path outside what they are exposed to in the classroom.”

The endowment will fund enrichment workshops in such areas as entrepreneurship, negotiation, multinational leadership, family business, and wealth management. These initiatives will focus on the most current and relevant issues to better prepare participants for the fast-changing business environment. Participants will receive assistance in forming businesses, personal development plans, and other related business initiatives.

“The School of Business is committed to continuous innovation to ensure that our MBA and other programs are consistently relevant in the ever-changing business landscape,” said Anuj Mehrotra, interim dean of the School of Business Administration. “As such, we are extremely grateful for this gift, which will enable us to provide our students with even greater opportunities to gain the skills they need to start, work in and manage innovative organizations no matter how the world changes around them.”

In 2002, Rodriguez, who accepted a football scholarship from the University of Miami in 1993 but signed with the Seattle Mariners after the team selected him No. 1 overall in the draft, donated $3.9 million to help renovate the University’s baseball stadium and fund an annual scholarship.

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Former Colombian President Calls for Stronger Democracy in Latin America

Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe guest lectured to students enrolled in UM’s Global Executive MBA Program.

By Alina Zerpa
UM News

Alvaro Uribe addresses the MBA class.

Alvaro Uribe addresses the Global Executive MBA for the Americas class.

Students enrolled in the Miami Executive MBA en Español program had the opportunity recently to learn from, speak with—and express their gratitude for—a former head of state, Colombian Senator Álvaro Uribe.“On behalf of all Colombians, thank you for repairing our country,” one student in the class told Colombia’s former populist president at the February 3 guest lecture.

Invited to the School of Business Administration by Roberto Rave, a student in the MBA program who serves as an advisor to the Republican Congress of Colombia, the former president discussed the current state of economies in Latin America and the necessity to strengthen democracy to improve the quality of life.

“Democratic values and a private sector are a must for the country to progress,” Uribe said. “When there isn’t a high education level, well, people must go to another country to find it.”

Uribe, who is credited with reducing Colombia’s crime and poverty rates when he served as the war-torn nation’s 31st president, was as warmly received by the class as he is in his homeland.  During his 2002-2012 presidency, homicides, kidnappings, and poverty dropped considerably, and Uribe left the top office with a 75 percent approval rating.

“He is the guide and shares in our sense of patriotism,” Rave said of Uribe.

The visit marked Uribe’s second time at UM; during his first visit in November 2015, he spoke out against the peace negotiations his successor, Juan Manuel Santos, initiated with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombian (FARC), warning that the negotiations would weaken the country’s institutions. His vocal opposition was seen as critical to last year’s failure of a national referendum on the peace accord.

During this visit, Uribe echoed many of the sentiments he expressed previously, particularly his call for democracy and his belief in Latin America’s ability to be incredibly successful.

“In Cartagena, there is an acceptable quality of life on the side of the city that has industry,” he said. “On the other side, it is full of poverty due to the lack of (business).”

Pointing to Venezuela as an example of a country that should not be in its current state of impoverishment and turmoil, Uribe told the story of the time he advised the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that Venezuela needed a strong private sector because the country’s oil wealth would not sustain it forever. Chávez’s answer was that the late Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, told him Venezuela did not need one.

The former president also urged the crowd to seek more information, especially since technology is so readily available.

“I had to ask my son how to use my first MacBook,” he joked. “I watched so much television and read so many newspapers.”

Colombian Senator Alvaro Uribe signs books for students.

Now a Colombian senator, the former president signs books for students.

The audience showed their admiration for Uribe in a question-and-answer session following his lecture. At one point, he mentioned the books he was reading and a few in the crowd nodded their heads; two women excitedly said they also had them.

As the two-hour talk ended, Uribe urged governments to be more responsible to the people they represent.

“There are three factors that should be in the model: confidence in investments, strengthening the press, and having integrity in your region,” Uribe said.

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Tattoos Don’t Impede Employment


Tattoos Don’t Impede Employment

 Special to UM New

Having a tattoo has no impact on an individual’s employment or earnings, according to a new study from the School’s health sector management and policy and economics departments. After accounting for personal traits (i.e., education, behavioral choices, human capital, lifestyle factors, etc.) the researchers found no significant difference in the way people with tattoos are treated in the workplace than those without tattoos.

The study, in the February issue of the Southern Economic Journal, is the first to rigorously investigate whether having a tattoo is significantly associated with employment or earnings. The research paper won the 2016 Georgescu-Roegen Prize, which is presented each year by the Southern Economic Association® to the author(s) of the best academic article published in that journal.

The researchers explain that differences in employment and earnings can occur for a number of reasons, including productivity differences, employee signaling (i.e., information potential employees may reveal about their likes and dislikes), and in some cases, discrimination by either the employer or customers on the basis of having a tattoo. But, when the researchers controlled for a large set of factors that have been shown to affect employment and earnings, the negative impact of having a tattoo becomes small and non-significant.

This result may be partially explained by the fact that some industries, such as music and entertainment, professional sports, fashion, bars and nightclubs, styling, etc., actually welcome employees with tattoos.

“Qualitative research shows that tattoos are definitely becoming less taboo and somewhat accepted even in traditional workplaces, especially among younger employees,” said Michael T. French, professor of health sector management and policy at the School, who conducted the study with Philip K. Robins, professor of economics. “If someone’s main concern about getting tattooed is whether body art will make them less employable or limit their earnings, this research suggests it should not be a major deterrent.”


The authors analyzed two large and nationally representative datasets from the United States and Australia–National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and the Australian Longitudinal Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR)—each with specific questions about tattoos, employment, and earnings. The total sample sizes were 9,691 in Add Health and 3,518 in ASHR.  Using these data, they were able to estimate whether having one or more tattoos is significantly related to employment and earnings after controlling for demographics, human capital accumulation, lifestyle factors, and other variables that predict labor market outcomes and could relate to tattoo status.

“We believe it would be interesting in our future research to explore whether prominent tattoos (on the face or neck, for example), multiple tattoos, provocative images, or large tattoos, are significantly related to employment and/or earnings,” said Robins.

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