CIMBA Newsletter
May 2014
Read ABC..
Last month's ABC marked the first public discussion of our ongoing efforts to respond to constituent requests to expand our development focus beyond individual change to encompass organizational change (The "What" in our What, Why, and How decision algorithm). As we saw in last months' ABC, the compelling book Choosing Change by McFarland and Goldsworthy provides us with an interesting, logical foundation upon which to build the necessary support structure.  
Author Walter McFarland Visits CIMBA 


This past week Walter McFarland (author of Choosing Change: How Leaders and Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time [topic of last month's ABC] and Board Chair at the Association for Talent Development was on CIMBA's campus to learn more about our programs and how CIMBA approaches the education of change management through our innovative tools and unique leadership system.  


While on campus, he was interviewed by Panorama magazine, one of Italy's most read business magazines. In the interview, Walter expressed the importance of a leader's ability to help team members re-frame "fear" to "opportunity" when faced with organizational change. He also discussed the trend of how America is becoming more collaborative with other cultures and learning to listen more to global perspectives on change management.

CIMBA Alumni Event 


When: Saturday June 7th 5:30-7:30pm
What: Meet and Greet Aperitivo with American, Italian, and other nationality Alums from CIMBA MBA programs.

Where: Bar al Castello (Castle Bar), Asolo

Who: All CIMBA Alumni...More than a dozen Alums from the Class of 2011 will be in town from all over the world! Dr. Al and Cristina will also be making an appearance.


Please RSVP by noon on June 6th 
by e-mailing Chris Ancona (

Come out to enjoy this great networking opportunity!

Calendar of Events:
June 2014

May 31 and June 1
Product Lifecycle Management
with Prof. Michael Grieves, University of Michigan

June 6 and 7
Kepner-Tregoe Training
Problem Solving and Decision Making
English edition 
Instructor: Cristina Turchet

June 20 and 21
New Venture Creation and Business Planning 
with Prof. Richard Boulger, University of Iowa

June 20  
Riconoscere i propri punti di forza 
Italian edition
Instructor: Katiuscia Baggio 


(soon to be) ALUMNI:  

Kevin Zakorchemny 

Class 2014


The following is an interview with Kevin Zakorchemny. From 2012 to 2014, Kevin held a Campus Life Coordinator (CLC) position at the CIMBA Undergraduate campus in Paderno del Grappa. This July, he will be graduating in Iowa as a member of the CIMBA 2014 Class of Part-Time MBAs.


What about CIMBA originally drew you to the Campus Life Coordinator position?

A few different aspects of the CIMBA experience drew me here. First, coming from a relatively new career in Higher Education Administration, I wanted to get experience working in the Undergraduate office. Second, having the opportunity to continue learning and growing personally and professionally through the MBA and leadership programs sounded exciting. Additionally, the idea of living abroad in Europe for two years was appealing from a language and culture perspective!


What has been the greatest value of the position for you?

Working in such a small organization like CIMBA has a real entrepreneurial feel in ways and the greatest value of the position for me was having the opportunity to experience wearing many different hats as part of my role. One day I could be giving out laundry tokens and taking students to the nurse and the next day I could be working as part of the team developing the online leadership dashboard specifications. You had to be prepared for a variety of situations and I think that I'm more adaptable and patient as a result.


What has been the greatest challenge of the position for you?

During the semesters when the students are around, the CLC role requires a great deal of multitasking. The greatest challenge with all of that was learning how to focus and slow things down when needed. Luckily, CIMBA offered a daily mindfulness exercise practice that definitely enabled me to increase my attention and focus abilities.


Looking back on your experiences as a Campus Life Coordinator, what do you remember most fondly?

During my two years here I had the opportunity to work as a personal development coach as part of the CIMBA Leadership Program, LEAP. For me, the interactive process during my coaching sessions and being able to watch my coachees learn and grow during the semester was extremely valuable. My favorite memory each semester was always the LEAP celebration dinner, where I got to interact with all of my coachees together in an informal environment.


What advice would you give to future Campus Life Coordinators?

1)Come with a completely open mind toward the experience and be ready for anything and everything!  

2)You need to take initiative here in Paderno, no one else will do it for you. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. There are lots of things to do and people to befriend, but you have to find them, they are not necessarily looking for you. 

Alumni Updates

Scott Newton
(MBA full time class of 2000) and Sarah Simioni (ECIMS class of 2013) got married on May 3rd.
Congratulations Scott and Sarah!!

Brandelle Unkrich,
director of CIMBA Italy programs at the University of Iowa became the proud mother of Bennett Stewart this month. This precious baby boy was born May 12. Congratulations Brandelle and Brandon!!

Heather Schnacke (MBA '13 and '11-13 Campus Life Coordinator) recently accepted a position as Box Office Manager at the World Golf Hall of Fame! She is thrilled to start a new chapter in St. Augustine, Florida and be a part of a very active community with a strong European feel!
If you ever find yourself area or would like to get in touch for any reason, email her at
Sophie Amado, UG alumna (Summer 2012), recently  received a 2014- 2015 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) award and will travel to Madrid, Spain. 
See the article here.

Dear ,    


We have lots of exciting news to share this month! 


In this issue, you'll learn about the international education conference we presented at in San Diego, the visit by Walter McFarland (author from last month's ABC article), and the start of our summer MBA and UG programs! 


This weekend is the final class session of the Part-Time MBA Class of 2014 before they attend their capstone course in Iowa. Senior Campus Life Coordinator Kevin Zakorchemny will be graduating as part of this class and will be saying goodbye to his home here in Paderno. Kevin will be greatly missed around the office; check out this month's Alumni Profile to hear more about his time here at CIMBA.


On Saturday, June 7th, we have a CIMBA Alumni Event in Asolo. All alumni area invited - see the article for more details!


We'd also like to report that the entire CIMBA team completed the Jesolo Moonlight Half-Marathon and surpassed their fundraising goal!




CIMBA Presents on Mindfulness Training at the Forum on Education Abroad Conference


In April, Mattie Clark, Senior Campus Life Coordinator, attended and presented at the Forum on Education Abroad's Conference in San Diego. The conference theme was "New and Emerging Paradigms for Education Abroad." The key emerging paradigm discussed was the necessity of intervening in a student's education abroad experience in order to help students have a truly meaningful experience and integrate it into their life. 


Mattie and three colleagues from US institutions addressed this emerging paradigm in a session tiled "The Role of Mindfulness Training in Intercultural Education." Mattie spoke about CIMBA's integration of mindfulness practice in its programs. She insisted that mindfulness training is revolutionizing how we assist students in making sense of their study abroad experience for heightened personal growth and global leadership competencies. Mattie said, "I have always known how unique CIMBA is but at the conference, I could really sense it, how we are ahead of the trends."


Below is a photo of Mattie with two of the conference's most influential attendees: Lilli Engle, known for the study abroad classification matrix and Milton Bennett, known for the intercultural sensitivity model 

CIMBA in the Community 

On May 24th, 11 CIMBA representatives ran and completed the Moonlight Half-Marathon in Jesolo, Italy. The team raised over $2000 including matching gifts from CIMBA Founder and Director Dr. Al Ringleb. Funds support the Cooperativa Vallorgana, a local organization assisting adults with special needs in where CIMBA students and staff volunteer their time. Kevin ran the team's best time: 1:39:42, a personal record!  
CIMBA Undergraduate
First glance of our Summer 2014 session in Italy!
First glance of our Summer 2014 session in Italy!

Time Flies when you are having fun...
By the time you receive this newsletter the UG summer students will already be completing their mid-term exams.

Students arrived on May 19th and have been staying busy ever since:  Trips to Possagno to learn about historic sculptor Antonio Canova, to Asolo to see the beauty of the city and views from La Rocca, to Bassano to see Ponte Vecchio and learn the history of ceramics and grappa in the Veneto region, and visits the top of Monte Grappa to take in the views and learn of its war time history.  These activities are example of just some of the fun being had by the UG students.

In addition to their travels they have been studying hard and learning of the rich entrepreneurial spirit of the region.  This summer, students will have numerous guest speakers and company tours to learn directly from practitioners what it takes to run a successful business.  Some companies assisting in this are:

BENETTON Retail Clothing 
INGLESINA  Baby Strollers & Seats

TECHNOGEL Gel: Mattresses and Pillows

CLIMAVENETA  Energy Efficient HVAC
GENERALI Global Insurance and Financial Products

MOSE PROJECT  Venice Flood Protection

MONTEGRAPPA Writing Instruments





ALLNEX Resins and Coatings
VITEC MANFROTTO Camera and Video Accessories
ALPINESTARS Protective Gear: Motorcycle & Auto Racing

We would like to thank these businesses for taking the time to play a part in the CIMBA educational experience!
CIMBA Summer Graduate Classes 

Professor Mason and Summer MBA Students
"Dressed for Success"

This summer there are two courses available to MBA students who wish to study abroad here at CIMBA.  The first is the topics in accounting course: Business Fraud. This course is taught by Paul Mason of the University of Kansas; the 10 students are already prepared to to take their final and move on to their second intensive session. Monday, four additional MBA students will join those from the first session for the course: Leadership and Personal Development instructed by Ginny Wilson-Peters.
CIMBA Executive 


From May 16th to May 18th, a group of 19 Executives from six different countries (Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, France, US and Australia) took LIFE leadership training. Personal growth and leadership development required their full commitment. All executives measured their success, not simply by their individual contribution, but also through their interaction with and support of other participants. As always, it was a great success!



On May 23rd, we had the great pleasure of hosting a workshop on Business Planning held by Professor Giorgio Gandellini, Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Roma Tre (Italy). He is a Managing Partner at Nestplan International (Vernon, France) and Vice President at EM-CG (London-New York). 37 executives from a variety of different companies attended his workshop at CIMBA. They learned important tools and received several suggestions on how to write an effective business plan.


New job? Moving somewhere? Getting married? Other life changes? Want to volunteer your profile for the Meet the Alumni section?   

Keep your fellow alums in the loop! Send your news items to and they will appear here the following month!
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A-B-C's: Al's Book Clubabc 
Social Physics cover  

Last month's ABC marked the first public discussion of our ongoing efforts to respond to constituent requests to expand our development focus beyond individual change to encompass organizational change (The "What" in our What, Why, and How decision algorithm). As we saw in last months' ABC, the compelling book Choosing Change by McFarland and Goldsworthy provides us with an interesting, logical foundation upon which to build the necessary support structure. As to the "Why," a simple Google search inquiring about the success rate of organizational change initiatives serves as an effective enticement; Google pointed us to a recent major survey of some 267 major companies from around the globe, which provides convincing evidence that 75 percent of such initiatives fail. A similar rate of failure has been cited in other studies dating back more than 25 years. Could our use of "prescriptive" neuroscience and supporting technology bring about better results? The question all but begs for the "How" in our decision algorithm.


Understanding the "Why" may provide insight on the "How." As McFarland and Goldsworthy and others suggest, post-mortem forensics finger a lack of both ongoing communications on the purpose and intent of the change initiative and managerial training on how to manage it. On this key point, McFarland and Goldsworthy are more direct and succinct: Organizations as a rule simply do not make the effort to develop a change culture. In fact, in many organizations "Understanding Change" is not even listed as a leadership competency needed to move along their talent development pipeline. While the majority of the companies in the study did state they provide training, only about 20 percent of the managers surveyed in those organizations felt the training was effective. Although the data provided no way of making such a determination, one would like to hope that the "20 percent" who saw their training as being effective might actually match up in some way with the "25 percent" of organizations where change initiatives succeeded.


In keeping with the change philosophy espoused by McFarland and Goldsworthy, it is important to focus on actions (including, but not limited to, communications) during organizational change that are likely to push past the anxiety and uncertainty employees in the organization experience (which if left alone activate the brain's threat circuitry), and create an environment that enables greater thinking, and thus greater performance (That is, actions and activities which activate the brain's reward circuitry, dampening negative SCARF influences and increasing brain resources available for creative and productive pursuits, largely by taking them away from social anxiety distractions). Virtually all of the innumerable approaches proffered to "assure" successful organizational change emphasize the importance of communication. Leadership and organizational trust, a fundamental ingredient to such communication in order for it to be effective, are often implicitly assumed to be present in sufficient "quantities" to manage employee suspicions (Brain's default mode, and the opposite of trust).  Under this assumption, employee fears are alleviated, allowing them to take effective action in this complex, often stressful world. Lacking functional, automatic measurement technology, the social sciences "measured" trust through self-report anecdotal data in the form of surveys or "collected" data through human observation of individual behavior. In this way, trust is difficult and expensive to measure and subject to considerable measurement error. Thus, it is unfortunately easier to first assume trust exists and then have it all dressed up and ready to go as the "fall guy" if/when the initiative fails.


But what if trust was measurable? Rather than being able to merely assume it exists before the change initiative and then blame the lack of it for the ineffectiveness of the change initiative, what if we could both measure it and address any issues or concerns regarding leadership trust and other change competencies before undertaking the initiative? Prof. Alex Pentland in his second book on the topic, Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread-The Lessons from a New Science (His first book on the topic was entitled Honest Signals), presents an interesting technology-based potential means for addressing some of these questions. Those of you familiar with the CIMBA Leadership System's approach to personal development are not at all surprised that we would look to both technology and "big data" in seeking answers to these very important questions.


In Social Physics, Prof. Pentland updates and expands upon the work he is doing with an interesting piece of technology he calls a Sociometric Badge. Although we have been aware of the Sociometric Badge for some time, we first became acquainted with Prof. Pentland at the Boston NeuroLeadership Summit in Boston in 2012. According to Prof. Pentland, a Sociometric Badge is a "wearable electronic badges capable of automatically measuring the amount of face-to-face interaction, conversational time, prosodic style, physical proximity to other people, and physical activity levels, using social signals derived from vocal features, body motion, and relative location." (Olguin & Pentland, 2007).  The device is worn around your neck in much the same way you would wear a name badge at a conference or other large gathering. It is also quite similar in weight and as such, is not intrusive. To get a sense of its use in addressing change, imagine an organization being "wired" up, with each employee wearing a Sociometric Badge. The organization would remain wired up for a period of about 30 days, after which the individual data would be compiled, the data analyzed (Along with data on telephone calls and e-mail), and social communication networks defining the organization identified. Understand that we are talking about terabytes of data; again, increasingly the world is becoming a "living" laboratory, generating "big data," and being defined by analytics -- do not let yourself go uniformed about this emerging business necessity.


In Social Physics, Prof. Pentland shows us that these social networks define how ideas flow and decisions are made through the organization and, importantly, that those social networks can be fine-tuned and optimized to enhance organizational productivity and creativity. In that social physics as a new science helps us to understand how "ideas flow from person to person through social learning and how this flow of ideas end up shaping the norms" of an organization, the social network data can also be used to assess trust - and whether communications are likely to activate threat circuitry (suspicion) or reward circuitry (trust). As Prof. Pentland states, "the amount of direct interaction between two people predicts both the shared level of trust and the effectiveness of peer pressure." In this sense, his research argues that a better, more efficient approach to getting everyone to cooperate is to use social network incentives rather than to use individual market incentives or to provide additional information. That is, we should focus on changing the connections between people rather than focusing on getting people individually to change organization behavior. Drawing on the social research of Prof. Matt Lieberman (Recall the review of his book Social in a recent ABC), given that the social pain associated with rejection or exclusion makes exchanges between people of significant value to the participants, those social exchanges can be used to generate social pressure for change -- social anxiety driving social conformity. Prof. Pentland would argue that the most effective network incentives would be those focused on the people ("leaders") who have the strongest social ties, thus the highest level of social trust, and who will have the most interaction with others. To this end, the model and supporting data accurately identifies an individual's social role: is the person a protagonist, attacker, supporter, neutral, and so on and can best be used to identify these "leaders." To get a very interesting conceptual picture of this social network notion, LinkedIn« provides you with the ability to pictorially represent your social network on the basis of the connections you have. It is an interesting exercise and I highly recommend it.


Let me take the opportunity to consider an interesting question that was posed to me by an executive in a discussion we were having about the use of this interesting technology. His question was this: When would be the appropriate time to measure and assess an organization's social network? Let's return, for a moment, to McFarland and Goldsworthy. They argue persuasively that organizations should make change a leadership competency. The implication is that by "choosing change" an organization is both prepared to manage change whether it takes the form of a threat or presents an opportunity. Most organizations, however, typically take a reactive posture with regard to change and are, therefore, often overwhelmed by it (It is difficult to image they are truly surprised by it, but ...). To the executive's point: Would that be an appropriate time to undertake a Sociometric Badge analysis? Prof. Pentland makes it clear it would very likely not be: "One exception to using these patterns of interaction as a guide is performance in times of stress ... [or] when emotions are high." We see Pentland's research as empirical evidence for the proposition upon which McFarland and Goldsworthy are adamant in their stance. Those organizations choosing change are far more likely to be successful with the initiative because they prepared themselves -- even fixed a change mindset -- in advance of the change encounter; that is, by choice they made themselves proactive instead of remaining reactive.  How can that mindset not be a competitive advantage?


In this specific regard, and as part of our efforts to best understand organizational change, we are testing the Sociometric Badge through the Summer and into the Fall. Let me give you an idea of our general expectations. Prof. Pentland's thesis can be na´vely summarized as follows: The receptivity of an organization to change is a direct function of the effectiveness of its social network and its ability to use it. Change, and particularly behaviors related to social norms and values, is best implemented through identified leaders who then facilitate the transmission of appropriate behaviors and norms. In this real sense, Prof. Pentland is directing our attention toward Part II of McFarland and Goldsworthy's Choosing Change, which discusses the role of the organization in the change process. Prof. Pentland's notion assumes the fluid adaptation of his model's suggestions at the individual and team levels -- interesting, because the Sociometric Badge data also identifies those individuals who were not as connected as an effective social network would otherwise aspire. Much like the assumptions made by organizational change theorists with regard to trust at the organizational level, Prof. Pentland is essentially making an analogous assumption about the receptivity of the individual to change. For example, the individual who has difficulty speaking up in group settings, and is so identified by the Sociometric Badge, may be having social transition issues the resolution of which would be far better served by our personal development system than by simply providing comparative data about their social network.  The leadership competencies that would empower the leader to be the communicator Prof. Pentland advocates (and with which we are in full agreement) may demand focused learning and the assistance of a coach in order to make the change-oriented performance expected by the organization a reality.


In combining these notions, a choosing change intervention would seemingly begin with the acceptance of the McFarland and Goldsworthy notion that the organization must first choose change, practice and build change capabilities, and, by so doing, dramatically increase the likelihood that change initiatives will be successful. To identify where to best allocate change development energies in this regard, we would hypothesize that the company may be best served by starting with a one-month intervention using the Sociometric Badge to identify organization behavioral and emotional "bottlenecks." The CIMBA Leadership System would then be utilized at the individual and team levels to bring about the requisite individual behavioral changes and to develop the appropriate change leadership capabilities in the "leaders" identified by the Sociometric Badge (We use the quote marks around leaders both here and above only because we are not convinced, a priori, that they are the titled managers/leaders the organizational chart would identify). Later, the Sociometric Badge would again be used to assess progress in preparing the organization for a potential change initiative or event. Beginning to see the "How?"


As you can well imagine, the exciting times at CIMBA continue. The fountainhead of our competitive advantage remains the thoughtful suggestions, perspectives, and insights from our dedicated former students, client companies, tech partners, and research brethren from around the globe. It is the intellectual curiosity of all individuals who define those groups that makes our work here such a great pleasure.