A Busy Summer for the IEP

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Mio Katayama Owens, Ph. D., is the director of the International and Executive Programs (IEP). Building on the outstanding success of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, IEP functions as a mechanism for effectively linking academic and professional entities, developing non-degree professional programs in Berkeley and overseas.
by Mio Katayama Owens


The 2016 ELP is just around the corner. My team and I are tying all the loose ends of the program as I type this: confirming speakers, instructors and panelists; checking the venues and equipment; and finalizing the field trip itineraries. When the new cohort arrives in Berkeley later this week, we will be ready for a big adventure together. For those of you who participated in the program and those that are interested in learning about where we are, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of this year’s program.

IMG_3447After last year, the 15th year of the program, my team and the Co-Directors were trying to bring a more focused approach of transforming our participants into true leaders. No one can effectively lead a project — let alone a department, agency, or organization — if they cannot perform as a leader. You need to possess vision, commitment, integrity, magnetism, presence, compassion, authenticity, and exude enthusiasm and confidence while being completely authentic. Our past curriculum has touched upon many of these elements throughout the program, and this year, we get to tackle this challenge head on. As many of you know, Dick, along with his wife Carolyn, has been one of the biggest supporters of the Beahrs ELP. As a former executive of major TV networks, including HBO and Time Warner, he has led many organizations and teams to reach higher goals by imparting his experiences as a leader with proven track record. My hope is that this session will push our participants to embrace bolder side of themselves, which they may not even recognize they possess.

Also, after the successful introduction of a communications session last year, we decided to have two back to back sessions on communications with David Reimer. David, the Executive in Residence at Haas Business School and a former Marketing Executive at Yahoo!, is coming back to teach the power of storytelling. Many of the business skills development books and programs emphasize the importance of storytelling as a key strategic business tool. As a leader, you have to be able to communicate your vision to your team, stakeholders and clients, in a manner that allow you to connect them through story to those of people you’re trying to engage. Over the last several years, I had the chance to work with many of our participants. I’m constantly impressed by their expertise, commitment, and accomplishments. After his sessions, they will have the ability to turn their visions into powerful stories that can turn their visions into action. In conjunction with Dick’s session, this tool will help all of us to materialize the newly cultivated leadership skills.

IMG_2356Of course, we can’t have a summer ELP course without our signature field trips. This year, Professor David Zilberman is leading the annual field trip to Salinas and Santa Cruz. He will be discussing his latest project on Climate Smart Agriculture, the role of innovations in supply chains, and issues of drought and global food security as part of the trip. We are scheduled to visit agrifood firms and make a pit stop at a strawberry farm before we reach the final destination in Santa Cruz, where we will have gourmet California seafood lunch at one of Santa Cruz’s most popular restaurants, Crows Nest, We’ll be joined by Dick and Carolyn Beahrs, as well as our long-term supporter, Bob Munsey.

One of our alumni, Noureddin Driouech (ELP 2012) of CIHEAM- Instituto Agronomico Mediterraneo of Bari (CIHEAM-IAMB) is coming back to the Beahrs ELP as a guest this year. While he will explore collaborative strategies with the College of Natural Resources, he will attend the program along with the rest of the participants. Given CIHEAM’s areas of expertise, I hope we will be able to identify opportunities for UC Berkeley students and faculty within the Mediterranean region.

This year’s ELP will be followed by a brand new addition to the IEP family, the Conservation Strategy Fund’s Economic Tools for Conservation. This course, held between July 25th and August 5th, will focus on applied economics for environmental professionals. While the Beahrs ELP covers a wide array of subjects and skills, this course provides tools critical for those that are at the forefront of conservation challenges, providing opportunity for our participants to hone in on their natural resource economic skills. Many of the ELP alumni have attend CSF training in the past, and their alumni come to the ELP, so I absolutely believe this is a complementary pairing. I hope to see many of the ELP Alumni at our inaugural course this year!

As we are getting ready to kick off the ELP summer course again in a few days, what I’m most looking forward to is everyone’s stories – about their project, organization, family, community – and be amazed, moved and encouraged that we are all striving to solve complex global environmental problems. I’m grateful that I have this opportunity to share this amazing experience with the rest of UC Berkeley community. For those of you who are around Berkeley this summer, it’ll be great to see you there too!

2 Responses to “A Busy Summer for the IEP”

  1. Roger says:

    Hi Mio,
    This is Roger, from the Philippines. I’m an ELP 2014 alumnus. I just would like to send my best regards to everyone in the ELP. Good luck for the ELP this year. I’m pretty sure that you guys will change another set of lives just like what you did in our batch back in 2014.
    Thank you for the amazing lessons and experiences I got from all of you. It inspired me to further hone my knowledge and expertise on issues confronting the environment and sustainability. At present, I just started my PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering here at University of Canterbury, and I have ELP to thank for the motivation to embark on this specific project on biofiltration, an environment-friendly air pollution technology, for my PhD thesis. I also thank you for the confidence I earned from ELP, the confidence to be in an international learning environment, learning with people from other parts of the world.
    Again, all the best in the upcoming ELP 2016.
    Cheers from New Zealand!

  2. Gbolagade LAMEED says:

    The leading Team of ELP Expertise are always wonderful and ready always to give all what it takes to provide sound academic intuition. I am sill lingering on experience gained in 2014 and this has formed the bedrock of my research and publication till date. Thank you Mio; because through your communication and keen encouragement I was able to attend 2014 maiden edition. I still hope for more exposure in the near future for there is no end to learning. Greeting to all and wishing you happy deliberation for this year programe.

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