Thursday, June 30, 2011

A simple farewell....and a hope to return...

We have finalized the journey of the Fulbright scholar experience and begin to unwind, collect memories and cherish the times. As a family we have known blessings beyond measure while completing all the work in Hong Kong and mainland China. The lines spent in this blog are only a brink of the many fine and beautiful details this experience has meant for the Munley family.  I say a family....YES ALL of us are changed forever.

It is in the true spirit of the Fulbright mission to collaborate and have a full exchange between cultures and ideas that this chapter in our lives concludes. The mission fulfills more than scholarship- yes much research, writing and travel, however, more importantly the lives touched.....and this goes both ways. We were blessed, loved cared for by many who truly embraced us as family. My colleagues at the CUHK who reached out in many different ways, from lunches, to times shared at the parks, pools, libraries, so much more. Hannah and Mia enjoying meeting so many wonderful children, enjoying the company of all the wonders of this culture, while polishing on their Mandarin. Mia who can write Chinese characters and build and group characters to write several words. Hannah pronounces and recognizes Chinese characters everywhere we go.

The Norwegian International School became our home away from home, our times spent with families on weekends to enjoying meals, children playing and getting to know more of Hong Kong. Hannah in deep thought one morning, with much confidence tells us that she has four homes: "One in China, this is my first home mom and dad because I was born here, Virginia our second home because we live there as a family, Guatemala because mommy you are from there and Florida because grandma and grandpa are there".  I smile with tears thinking, how six year old understands more than I could ever imagine. This experience has been more than words could sum up for both of our girls.  Mia on another beautiful Hong Kong day at the breakfast table smiles big and says: "Mommy and Daddy thank you for bringing me on this journey to Hong Kong"...I ask and why are you thankful? " because you brought me here and it is pretty".  From the mouth of babes!  as the word of our Lord proclaims...come to me childen....our children Hannah and Mia forever changed. Jack reminds us that they have lived more than many will in a lifetime.

To my colleagues at the CUHK- Chairman Shige Makino, who graciously extended a warm welcome and now a friendship and continued collaboration to come. To my dear colleague Dr. Ping Ping Fu- for always being so committed to the research, the projects and to always make sure that "the girls" had everything they need. You are an amazing woman!  To my friends, Xu Fei and family, John Lai, Daphne, Pamsy, Dora, C.M Lau, Kenny, C.S. Wong, Qin, Fred, students, Fiona, Shirley, Claudia, Ken, Didier, and Almaz.  Thank you to you for making me a better person, for opening your space at the MGT dept, and for giving me an opportunity to learn from you.

To our dear friends at NIS- Sara and Nathan, Noelia and Miguel (Spain), Verina (Germany), Greenies(China), Tanya and Sean (Australia) Lilian and Simon (Hong Kong) Abe and Terry (Hong Kong and Canada) Kendra and Harold (Hong Kong and Brazil) , Sally and Richard (Hong Kong and China)to you we are all indebted for your care, love and for being our family in Hong Kong.

It is not a goodbye Hong Kong, but an "hasta luego" in English this means "until next time- which should be soon".   Hong Kong, we will see you again- -the Munley family has been changed, blessed by the almighty.  Hong Kong we will come again!

(Island of Lantau- Hong Kong)

(view from our apartment, Shatin, New Territories Hong Kong)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It has been rewarding

The time in Hong Kong is filled with numerous lecturing invitations, presentations and also discussions about the research and book project. I had the opportunity to present the research and book project to the Department of Management and Faculty of the Business School.  CUHK has one of the most respected school's of business in Asia. There are visitors, special seminars, and lectures weekly. The presentation on the current Fulbright research and also projects was very rewarding. To has discussions with seasoned faculty from around Asia is highly valuable.

Working with the faculty of the Department of Management has been more than academic rigor. Friendships and wonderful times have also been part of my time at the CUHK.  The campus has beautiful areas from the Pavilion of Harmony, the highest point on campus with breathtaking views of the Tolo Harbor, to the handful of libraries and the University Library housing some of the most prized Chinese titles. The Art Museum with exhibits of great artist and displays of the red lacquer, pottery and jade so incredible. The winding roads with the great shuttled service to get you up and down from the mountain.....truly amazing. All of this and more will be missed.

The views from the 61st.  floor of The China Tower will be remembered forever. I had the privilege of meeting with the executive director of The Better Hong Kong Foundation and our meetings were overlooking the Victoria Harbor.  The conversations on leadership, on women in their role as business leaders for the future of Hong Kong....conversations that will continue to develop.  Meeting with groups of leaders and consulting on leadership programs developed for Hong Kong will continue to provide further conversations on the impact Hong Kong will have on the rest of the world.

Jiaotong University, Xi'an China and the Han Feng Tai Fruit Wood's Manor

The experience of traveling to mainland China is always filled with great adventure. We live about 15 minutes from the border. Our subway route ends in Lo Wu or (Luohu) which is Shenzhen, a large up and coming industrial city. The train approaches Lo Wu with thousands of people who cross the border daily between China and Hong Kong.  There are special immigration lines for school children who attend their classes in Hong Kong but live in China. The fluidity of the "come and go" of this area is an experience difficult to explain in words, you must come to experience it.

Such are the happenings of the border that many times it is just easier and cheaper to fly around China from the border. My experience traveling to Xi'an was to teach and learn at the new Center for Valued Based Leadership, founded by Dr. Ping Ping Fu. The center is new and has Ph.D and other master level students working on Chinese leadership research. The range of studies will shed a new perspective on learning and understanding Chinese leadership. The research is rich, filled with incredible rigor from the committed students at the Jiaotong University.
It was my privilege to spend two days lecturing, teaching and in discussion with this group of Xi'an young people. Xi'an is a historical city, where the dynasties meet and the power of the history of China unfolds. The Terracotta Mausoleum is located about 30 minutes from the center of Xi'an. There is the famous Walled City, the Bell Tower and Drum Tower.  Having the opportunity to sit with such passionate people about their history was an incredible honor. On a beautiful Friday evening, Matthew and Fang took me to the square where the largest Chinese water display happens. Every evening, a water fountain goes live with music, while the water moves to the rhythm of the music and lights. It is truly an amazing experience. The sunset was beautiful the walk around the park and the Pagoda- the evening so wonderful with great conversations.

The time spent served to encourage those who are directing and moving the center forward,  discussing the
research themes and methods among students and also being able to learn from these outstanding students. The Jiaotong University , a national key university under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, is one of the country's oldest institutions of higher learning. Founded in Shanghai in 1896 as Nanyang Public, it was renamed Jiaotong University in 1921.  It holds awards and visitors from around the world. It is a place where learning is global and the students exposed to the most current issues.

The final part of our time with Ping Ping engaged female leaders across Xi'an. These are successful women paving a way for a new generation of leaders. There success stories and challenges inspire as they speak of their desire to continue to move forward in their industry and business. The Han Feng Tai Fruit Wood's Manor- a vineyard and cherry farm-  We spoke to the owner of her beginnings and how the farm is now a model for all vineyard start ups in Xi'an, lead by a dynamic and highly committed woman. We ate fresh cherries as the women gathered to tell their stories. As the evening approached, we moved to the manor's restaurant where we were fed the most wonderful Xi'an food. The conversations continued in learning how wonderful these women are.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zhuhai, China- Teaching at the United International College

I had the opportunity to be part of the Fulbright Scholar lecture series in China. This series was arranged and coordinated by the Hong Kong Fulbright Commission office and maintained in part by the Hong Kong America Center. The course is taught for a semester by several Fulbright scholars and themes vary from arts, science to business and leadership. My portion was to introduce the student to leadership concepts and give them an opportunity to discuss exemplars in leadership. I chose to bring the life of Frances Hesselbein as an example of a great leader in the United States. She was responsible for the vitality and reach of the Girls Scout Organization. As the CEO of the GS, she provided vision and change for millions of girls across the United States. Upon introducing the highlights leadership lessons unfolded. Discussions about what is leadership? Defining leadership within the context of those listening and learning.

Zhuhai is a beautiful coastal city that is near to Hong Kong by ferry. It is a city that is fast growing where the United International College has found its home. UIC is part of a university alliance linked to the Beijing Normal University providing a quality higher education to the young people of China. UIC is unique in its education structure. It is one of the first universities in China exploring the concept of a "liberal arts" education. Because of this development in education, an interdisciplinary course was introduced a few years ago. The Fulbright scholars in Hong Kong are now part of this great collaboration, providing the interdisciplinary experience for these wonderful students.

Working with colleagues from around various parts of the US- University of San Francisco, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, University of Boston and William and Mary, makes this collaboration so enriching. In collaboration with my colleagues, a journal will be published on the content of the course and the themes of each topic discussed.

Dusting off the shelf......revisiting the blog

This is the initiation the last chapter in my experiences here in Hong Kong and others parts of Asia. I have several memorable events that have transpired over the last few weeks. I will review these, in parts these will be filled with great emotion and also stories of incredible people who I have met. The students that I have taught and the lessons learned about leadership and what it means to lead?  It is a fast review, but one worth to write.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Updates- End of March and beginning of April

It has been a busy time for all of us in Hong Kong. The girls continue to do very well with their schooling and Mandarin is flowing. Hannah, reminds me of the characters she has learned, she can pronounced perfectly and is developing good penmanship with the learning. Mia, is impessing the teachers since Mandarin is her first language, so she responds and talks back to the Mandarin teacher at school.  We are proud of their continued progress while attending NIS in Hong Kong. The experiences at the school have been fantastic for all of us as a family.

I am busy with research and also writing a book with my colleagues at CUHK.  We have been in meetings discussing and editing the content of the book. It has been a learning and yet very rewarding time to work with great leaders in the field. I have learned much about the Chinese culture, business culture and what are the norms.  Interesting discussions about HRM and the process of dealing with people have unfolded while we write and edit. The CUHK is a diverse campus with many happenings and this has made the research very valuable. You have to be here to experience it and to know the culture. The time is rich and so rewarding in many ways.....truly words cannot express all the memories that are being made while here. In addition to this book, Ping Ping and I are collaborating on research around women in a leadership role. Interviews and focus groups have been our continued schedule on this research. It has been rewarding to share valuable time with great women leaders in this area.

My cameras need repair.....I have two cameras and each one has an issue. I hope to get this resolved soon so that I can get pictures up on the blog. In the meantime, I depend on the kindness of others to forward photos to my account.

Sad news from home-- it is with great pain in my heart that I announce the passing of my nephew Elisha Hudson Flick on Thursday, March 31.  He has fought a great battle here on earth and now receives peace and healing in the arms of God. It is difficult to be 8000 miles away and not be there physically with my sister and family.  It has been very hard to weather this news and think of being there.  We are at peace given the times spent before our departure to Hong Kong. Our hope is that we will meet again, and this is not the end. For those who know the Flick family, a service is being held at KPC 2PM on April 6, 2011.

Finally, I continue to prepare lecture materials for several invitations in mainland China and Hong Kong. The Fulbright program in Hong Kong is one of the most competitive and vibrant programs Asia awards. As a Fulbright scholar you are called and invited to present and lecture at various events.This also keeps me busy preparing materials and engaging in interesting projects in this area.

It is busy...however, there is always time for friendship, dim sum and a few noodles here and there.  Friendships are unfolding and it will be difficult to part.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Speaking to the student body of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (HKIVE)

A wonderful opportunity awarded by the US Consulate of HK, department of Cultural Affairs to speak at the "Cultural Awareness" week for the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (HKIVE). An auditorium full of students from various backgrounds and ages were the audience. A wonderful group of leaders greeted me at the door and I was introduced immediately to some of their most outstanding students, the honor roll and shook hands with those who are about to graduate.  I had a bottle of water, my folder with notes and a bag full of Regent University goodies....these provided by our wonderful staff at RSU (thank you- students loved the red flags, pens and Regent logo balls).

Upon being contacted to represent the US Consulate as a Fulbright Scholar at events such as these, I thought of some great topics and themes. Immediately, I knew I had to present on Leadership and Vision. Given that these students are making career decisions, I felt moved to speak about personal goal setting, becoming a leader regarding your very own future. Reminding the students that leadership is not about position but about attitude, behavior and personal growth. Vision is a image of what we seek to attain, the goals lead us to that place. I quoted several leaders, noted statistics, but more importantly encouraged those listening. I voiced in many places, more than once that leadership comes from within, and that many are watching and much is learned through observation. It is about integrity, honesty, responsibility.....

So the questions came flooding out of the audience-- What about failure? is it possible to have something good from failure. Absolutely, failure gives us the opportunity to rethink to reposition and make stronger decisions. Then the next question, about hard choices in life, being confident about choosing the proper career, and it went on.  Everyone was so delighted that students engaged in such a way. Adelaide, my host and guide, was pleased and continually reminded me that this is rare to have such return.

The accomplishment is great and the encouragement was felt, but more than anything it is a seed of hope, bringing understanding that vision is important, stated strongly that without vision the people will perish. These are challenging words by the old testament prophet. The encouragement comes from knowing that we are not alone.