Yesterday, after 8 months of work we had our keystone event for the year; Preventative Healthcare in the U.S.: How Holistic Discourse Can Lead to Better Healthcare Solutions. This was the most ambitious and most public event I had ever tried to put on. My responsibility for the event included all the external networking, inviting attendees, and creating the forum questions; while my co-founder handled all the internal administration and dealing with school policies (it was a perfect partnership!) The group of panelists we put together was phenomenal. Brandon did an amazing job coordinate all our internal needs and dealing with the administrative burdens of putting together such a public event, Hayes, next year's president, really went above and beyond creating professional looking marketing materials and setting up classroom 50 to look like a first-class event. Without them I would have just had some really impressive professionals sitting in a room talking with each other - with them the event became magical.
Our goal for the forum was to bring together individuals from diverse professional backgrounds to highlight how when a societal issue is examined from a multi-faceted view point you will uncover new challenges and ultimatley identify a better overall solution. Our panelists included:
Dr. Dan Carey, President of the Virginia Medical Society,
Dr. Steve Danish, Professor of Psychology and Director Life Skills Center from VCU
Mr. Joel Salatin, Owner of Polyface Farms,
Professor Mary Margaret Frank, Associate Professor of Business at Darden,
Mr. Ridge Schulyer, District Director for Congressman Tom Perriello
Professor Gaare Bernehim, Director, Division of Public Health Policy & Practice at UVA and Associate Director, Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life.
The forum was moderated by Mary Ann Leeper, former President of the Female Health Company, an expert in public-private partnerships and a visiting professor at Darden.
All in we were covering preventative wellness from angles including tax policy, ethical concerns in public policy, medicine, behavioral health, procedural policy and farming. This was a unique approach to a complex problem and the rich discussion that forum created was all that I had hoped for and more. When Mary Ann asked me how I thought the forum went I replied, "my goal was never to try and solve anything with this forum it was to get individuals to start asking thought provoking questions that forced them to think outside the usual construct they would normal analyze a problem." The panelists were all challenged to think outside of the professional world they are comfortable in and that was exactly what I hoped for.
One of the big reasons I chose Darden for my MBA was because I believed the small class size and intimacy we have with the faculty and administration would allow me to find outlets for true leadership. I've always thought about things and wanted to do things the way I believe in; I believe in debate and I believe in looking at things from every conceivable angle. Yesterday's forum once again reconfirmed that Darden was absolutely the best place for me to pursue my MBA. It was an amazing opportunity to see the way my mind works come to life through a collection of panelists and to see how cross-functional thought can really push for better solutions. It was an amazing experience and a highlight of my MBA career. We hope to have the video of the event uploaded to the web at some point in the near future, I'll be sure to post a link when that happens.