CIMBA Newsletter


December 2009
In This Issue
CIMBA Undergraduate
Al's Book Club
CIMBA Calendar of Events
Alumni Updates

Jeremy Lill, of the MBA class of 2006 -- and program coordinator and lecturer -- married Sarah E. Conklin on December 19, 2009.

Julie (Carter) O'Brien of the MBA class of 1998 and her husband Michael, proudly announce the birth of their twin sons on May 6, 2009 -- Carter Allen and Tyler Patrick.

Congratulations to all of you from the CIMBA family!

New job? Moving somewhere new? Getting married? Other life changes? Keep your fellow alums in the loop! Send your news items to and they will appear here the following month.
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It has been quite a transitional phase for CIMBA in the past month. At the undergraduate campus at Instituto Filippin, the fall 2009 semester has officially come to a close. At the beginning of December, nearly eighty CIMBA undergraduates packed their bags, either to continue travels across Europe or to make their ways back home for the holiday break.

The first half of the MBAs' CIMBA experience has also come to a close -- triply punctuated by Dr. Milan Pagon's leadership and personal development exam, two weekends of production and operations management with Dr. Kirk Karwan, and a formal CIMBA holiday dinner. Starting early in the morning of the 21st, the MBAs also have packed their bags to make use of their time away from CIMBA, either across Europe or at home with their families.

What's next? For CIMBA, finalizing on preparations for the undergraduate class of spring 2010 (of nearly 150 students!) and planning for a second half of the MBA yearlong experience that will be as successful as the first half -- but, in the meantime, a well-deserved holiday break!

Thanks for reading -- and, of course, a warm and enthusiastic "Happy Holidays!" to you from everyone here at CIMBA!

As the first half of the MBA students' semester comes to a close -- as each of the MBAs leave CIMBA to travel across Europe, or to return home for the holidays -- many of the students at the MBA campus reflect on their time with CIMBA thus far. On the 14th of this month, the MBA students and the CIMBA staff met for a formal dinner at Ristorante Barbesin in Castelfranco in celebration of this halfway point.

Says MBA Amanda Wallace of the experience, and of the first half of her experience with CIMBA in general, "It seems like only yesterday when we were first arriving at CIMBA as a group of individuals, but now we consider ourselves to be one big family. In the short time that we have been here, we have made so many memories together. Halloween in Milan, a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner at CIMBA, and bus trips to MOMA are just a few highlights from fall semester. Most recently, we celebrated the holidays with a formal dinner at Barbesin in Castelfranco. It was a treat to see everyone in their best attire, engaging in conversation outside of the CIMBA walls, and sharing an authentic five course Italian meal."

Safe travels and happy holidays, CIMBA MBAs! It has been a wonderful first half of the year -- each member of the CIMBA staff looks forward to seeing you again in January!

CIMBA Undergraduate

Michela Marin has been with CIMBA as a language instructor for nearly eight years. She teaches two Italian classes for the CIMBA MBAs, and one class and a seminar for our undergraduate students. This article is an opportunity for you to get to know one of our most coveted and passionate CIMBA instructors!
First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I graduated in foreign languages and literature at the University of Venice in 1990, and the following year I was hired by the Istituto Filippin, which was opening its girls boarding school. I am still part of the educational staff of the Institute. In 1995, in the beautiful setting of Villa Fietta, we started a summer school of Italian language and culture. I was one of the teachers and the assistant to the director of the project. I also took the students on guided tours of the Veneto region so that they could better understand and appreciate Italian culture. After this experience, I went back to university and got a certificate in Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language (ITALS). I am from the Veneto area, and in my free time I like hiking, international folk dancing, and going to the movies.
What is your experience with CIMBA?
When I first heard that there were going to be American college students at the Filippin, I was thrilled -- it reminded me of my exchange student experience in Chagrin Falls, Ohio as a teenager. I thought it was going to be a great opportunity for the school (and maybe also for me!) to broaden its horizons. In fact, in the spring of 2002, I joined the CIMBA team as a language instructor and I am still here, proud of being part of this program. I like working with people at an international level for the cross-cultural experience: it is like having a window open on a wider world. I only wish I had more time to spend with the other professors. At present, I teach the "Italian for Travelers" course to the undergraduate students and two modules of Italian at the MBA Program. I also teach the CAP (CIMBA Advantage Program) "Survival Italian" seminar every semester to incoming students.
What about the CIMBA philosophy most appeals to you?
I like the care the CIMBA Program takes of the students to help them learn and grow both academically and personally.
What are your favorite parts of your typical CIMBA semester?
"Scusi, parla inglese?" Among my favorite parts of the semesters is the "Survival Italian" seminar, as it is the first experience the students have with the language. They are already out of their comfort zone, a bit anxious, but, at the same time, curious to see and to learn. The seminar also gives me the chance to meet all of them. Then I like when I start to see "results" -- that is, when my students are able to communicate more fluidly. Sadly, not very long after that, it is time to say goodbye!

CIMBA Executive Programs
CIMBA's Executive Programs are starting off the 2010 with a variety of workshop and events open to the public. To sign up for any of the events listed below, please feel free to contact us at Enrollment is required for each event.
January 15
LIFE (Leadership Initiative for Excellence) Program Presentation
CIMBA, Asolo, 6:00pm - 7:00pm 

January 19
Presentation of Executive Certificate Program: International Management & Strategy
CIMBA, Asolo
6:00pm - 7:00pm 
January 22
Presentation of the Business Communication Certificate
CIMBA, Asolo
6:00pm - 7:00pm 
January 22 & 23
Negotiation Strategies Workshop
CIMBA, Asolo, 9:00am - 6:00pm 

In-Company Training & Coaching
Several companies are getting tangible benefits thanks to CIMBA's in-company leadership development training and coaching. If you are interested, give us a call or send us an e-mail and we will show you what your ROI could be.

A-B-C: Al's Book Club 
I am surprised at the number of people e-mailing me to ask what they should be reading to get more proficient in their understanding of the applications of neuroscience and social psychology to leadership. How much actual anatomy and physiology do I really need to know? As a researcher, do I need to learn how to read brain scans to be able to make meaningful contributions to the field? Do you think that business schools will become like mini-medical schools, at least when in comes to students gaining a working understanding of the brain? Increasingly, I find myself answering those questions more and more definitively; in the words of Professor Warren Bennis, "Neuroscience is going to be something long and important."
NeuroLeadership is without question going to become an important subfield of leadership, just like neuro-economics and neuro-marketing have become important subfields to their primary fields. As in those fields, there are people who are approaching it with curiosity; and, there are those who are approaching it with varying degrees of skepticism. Primary research results are being produced slowly, in large measure due to both a shortage of trained research personnel (in contrast to social science research in any of these fields, the necessity of interdisciplinary research teams is obvious; with the subfield beings less than 10 years old, there are few, if any, economists, for example, trained in economic and neuroscience research techniques) and costs (the typical neuroscience experiment involving fMRI images costs in excess of $100,000). Thus, to assist in developing the field by sorting out and identifying the interesting research questions, the initial stages of the development of the NeuroLeadership subfield has necessarily relied upon secondary research -- practitioners and curious research scholars taking existing neuroscience and social psychology research and making reasoned inferential applications to leadership. Further, those same practitioners and research scholars have been applying those learned techniques and have begun reporting their anecdotal observations (often to the chagrin of scientists who want observations to generate empirical data to be used in testing hypotheses). From these humble beginnings, NeuroLeadership is beginning to grow and take root. 
Two months ago, I recommended David Rock's Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long because it met several criteria that I feel are important for secondary research offerings: (1) it relies on recognized and understood leadership and neuroscience research; and, (2) it presents a detailed bibliography and references to assist the reader in gaining a strong foundation in the core sciences involved. I think John Medina's Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and Schoolmeets the same criteria very well. Recently, a reader to this column called my attention to a new book by Madeleine L. Van Hecke, Lisa P. Callahan, Brad Kolar, and Ken A. Paller entitled The Brain Advantage: Become a More Effective Business Leader Using the Latest Brain Research. Relative to the other two, this book is much lighter, but provides considerable food for further thought and conversation. In other words, it gets you started by providing a broad sweep of the NeuroLeadership subfield from the practitioner prospective (authors Callahan and Kolar) guided by scientists (authors Van Hecke, a psychologist, and Paller, a neuroscientist). The concepts developed are supported in large measure by reference to other popular press writings, but the majority of those writings cite original research.  To those readers of this column who have been following suggested readings closely, you will see reference to neuroscientists with whom CIMBA and the NeuroLeadership Institute (in fact, the book notes the institute and cites its journal) have been working closely together -- particularly, Profs. Naomi Eisenberger, Matt Lieberman, Kevin Ochsner, Mark Jung-Beeman, Jeffery Schwartz, and Marco Iacoboni.
In particular, I would like to point readers to the last two sections of the book. The first, "How Will Today's Brain Research Shape the Future?" (and which is the conclusion to the book), discusses a variety of such issues and looks to the future in provocative ways. For example, we are becoming convinced that the key to effective coaching is better assessments. In fact, we are testing a variety of "neuro-based" tools against traditional psychological tests at CIMBA to see how robust the neuro-based tools are with the expectation of improving our ability to measure incremental changes attributable to coaching interventions. This section of the book provides a good general discussion of this notion and provides references for further investigation.
The second, "The Advantages of Brain Research" (and which is the afterwardto the book) begins by stating what the NeuroLeadership skeptics assert, without refection, "Contemporary brain research might seem like a funny place for people to look for ideas about how to improve their leadership skills."  The author of the section makes a strong implicit case for the NeuroLeadership subfield. Written by Dr. Ken Paller, director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Program at Northwestern University (where Mark Jung-Beeman is located), the argument for building upon the experience of leadership practitioners coupled with neuroscientists who are ready to analyze, probe, and question in greater detail the linkages between neuroscience and leadership research is well articulated:
The challenges of developing hunches and speculations into solid scientific advances is extended yet further when we attempt to translate neuroscience knowledge so that it can be applied outside the laboratory. Whereas all our hypotheses are subject to change, in subtle ways or with an all-out refutation, this state of affairs does not take away from the usefulness of the leadership implications drawn out in this book. The question is whether these ideas are useful. If they help a leader to be more effective, then they should be taken seriously.
At CIMBA, we are seeing that knowing about the functions of the brain does improve leadership effectiveness. We are actively pushing for more original NeuroLeadership research by beginning to work with the Matt Lieberman's SCAN Laboratory at UCLA. We are doing more in-depth testing of our various interventions within our leadership development system. It seems like every additional effort is being rewarded with student improvements, motivating us to do more and more. In this sense we are in complete agreement with Dr. Paller: "[I]t remains an exciting time to be in the business of deciphering the mysteries of human neurocognitive functions."
CIMBA Calendar of Events: January 2009

6-7, 12-13 Jan.: MBA Leadership & Personal Development (with Dr.
     Milan Pagon)
8 Jan.: MBA Production & Operations Exam I
9-10, 18-17 Jan.: MBA Production & Operations (with Dr. Tim Lowe)
14 Jan.: MBA Leadership Workshop
21 Jan.: MBA Leadership & Personal Development Exam II
22-23 Jan.: Negotiation Skills Workshop (with Dr. George Siedel)
27-28, 30-31 Jan.: MBA Finance (with Prof. David Carter)

18 Jan.: Spring 2009 Undergraduates Arrive!
19 Jan.: Program Orientation
19 Jan.: Classes Begin!
20-22, 26-27 Jan.: LIFE Programs (2 Events)
21-22, 27-28 Jan.: K-T PSDM Workshops (2 Events)
21, 22, 23, 29 Jan.: Da Vinci Challenges (4 Events)
22 Jan.: Neuroscience of Leadership (with Dr. Al Ringleb)
22, 23, 27 Jan.: Survival Italian I (4 Events)
25, 28, 29 Jan.: Survival Italian II (4 Events)

15 Jan.: Presentation of CIMBA's Executive LIFE Program
19 Jan.: Presentation of International Management & Strategy 
     (Executive Certificate Program)
22 Jan.: Presentation of the Business Communication Certificate
22, 23 Jan.: Negotiation Strategies Workshop