Tupperware Brands Global Links
Background & Need
In January 2011, two senior executives of Tupperware Brands Corporation: Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO, and Elinor Steele, Vice President Global Communications, visited Baghdad, Iraq as part of a Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations delegation. While there, they observed that as a previously centralized economy, Iraq did not have a small and medium enterprise (SME) sector or a robust entrepreneurial class. Key elements of a peaceful and successful Iraq rest in cultivating a middle class and empowering women, currently an underutilized asset.
While Iraq is poised to experience double digit economic growth over the next few years, a strengthened private sector is required to support the needed equitable distribution of these gains, particularly for women who experience the brunt of high levels of existing unemployment, weak labor laws and barriers to accessing credit. Strengthening women’s economic security leaves women poised to participate fully in civic life and in the active growth and development of the country.
Genesis of the Program
Inspired by the 2011 trip to Baghdad, Tupperware Brands decided to create a program, “Tupperware Brands Global Links - empowering women through education and opportunity,” which would sponsor a female Iraqi professor to come to the U.S. for a year-long “learn and return” experience. To develop and launch the program, Tupperware Brands partnered with Rollins College — a school with strong expertise on a variety of women’s and international issues — and the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, which mobilizes support for women’s rights and empowerment around the world. Launched in January 2012, Global Links was designed to include a hands-on “externship” at the company’s global headquarters in Orlando, Florida and an academic year in residence at Rollins College’s Crummer Graduate School of Business.
Purpose & Design of the Program
The Tupperware Brands Global Links program was launched to inspire the development of a new generation of entrepreneurs in Iraq. The one year immersion experience allows a promising and dedicated female business or economics professor to learn training and entrepreneurship through a train-the-trainer model that integrates both technical skills building through an externship in a multi-billion dollar public company as well as the business fundamentals from a leading academic institution in the United States. This model has the potential to reach hundreds of Iraqi university students and positively impact the lives of American students.
Rollins College’s Crummer Graduate School of Business developed a program to host the Iraqi professor within the college community for an academic year. The Global Links Scholar program experience has been constructed around five key areas: Culture, Career, Curriculum, Community and Coaching. The skills building in business development and entrepreneurship complements the coursework offered by Crummer and allow for a comprehensive “train-the-trainer” model to take root. Ultimately, this opportunity provides the professor with the training and skills in order for her to return to Iraq to teach and empower other women to contribute to the future of their country.
The Inaugural Scholar
Through an application process, the first Global Links Scholar, Dr. Amel Abed Mohammed Ali, was selected and arrived in the States in January 2012. Dr. Mohammed Ali is a professor of Operation Management and head of the Department of Industrial Management at Babylon University, College of Administration and Economics, received her Ph.D. in Business Administration at the University of Al-Mustansiriyh, her M.Sc. in Management and Technology at Wales University, UK, and her B.Sc. in Management Sciences from Baghdad University.
She is an accomplished researcher and academician focusing on several research topics, including strategies of organizational conflict management and change management and the effect of transformational leadership and information technology on business operations. She received a B.S. in management from the University of Baghdad, an M.S. in management and technology from the University of Wales and a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Al-Mustansiriyh.
During her Global Links experience, Dr. Mohammed Ali has participated in a specially designed graduate-level curriculum focused on entrepreneurship (traditional and social), women business ownership, and financial self-sufficiency,. At Tupperware Brands, she has learned the fundamentals of direct selling, sales force development, entrepreneurial strategic planning, market analysis and general management skills, among other business skills that are essential to successful entrepreneurial ventures.
She believes the program will enable her to “develop both the intellectual and economic standard of Iraqi women, as well as the Iraqi community.”