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OPEN Fellow – Wes Balda


Credentials

Led crisis management program serving states of the former Soviet Union, including the creation of the disaster response manual for Ukraine; senior leadership roles in numerous institutions and organizations, crisis management for famine issues in Ethiopia, invited member-FEMA Higher Education Consortium; crisis migration and complex emergency training program for nonprofit executives and government officials from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, assembling and supervising a faculty of fifteen nonprofit specialists from around the nation; created the Taiwan Emergency Management Institute, assembling a one-month training curriculum in emergency management for national government of Taiwan; Ph.D. in History, studying organizational sustainability, from the University of Cambridge


Interests & Passions

Crisis management for the climate emergency

Introduction

Dr. Wes Balda is president of the Simeon Institute, headquartered in Unity, Maine, USA. Prior, As Dean and/or Executive Director, he led business schools and their initiatives, ranging from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management, George Fox University School of Management, University of Oregon, Centre for Advancing International Management – St. Georges University, Grenada (West Indies), to the Robert P. Stiller School of Business at Champlain College in Vermont, USA. Celebrating over twenty-five years of operations, The Simeon Institute began creating community capacity in 1992 and continues this focused mission today. Early expertise in crisis management gathered momentum as significant State Department funding introduced our organization to leaders of the former Soviet Union, exploring new responses to crisis and emergency management in the wake of Chernobyl and the opening of the West. Today, the Institute is moving forward from community crisis capacity to the more strategic impact of sustainable community capacity, especially in local settings, spurring enterprise that creates flourishing. Our research and practice integrates the UN Sustainable Development Goals into both process and results.

Why am I an OPEN fellow?

After searching for a place that combined sustainability, leadership and management, and academic and professional credibility for some time, I discovered OPEN. I was primarily drawn to their mission and activities because people I already respected for their personal and professional commitment were involved. For me, each interaction with this organization has resulted in learning and application in a distinctive area that other organizational efforts do not appear to be addressing. Having served in numerous institutions as a business school dean, both in the U.S. and internationally, I believe that this is one of the important places that climate solutions, and especially those aimed at the climate emergency, will emerge from. My own focus in community crisis management for the climate emergency and current research in Pop-Up Mutual Aid (PUMA), helps explain my interest in supporting OPEN.

How can I help change agents?

My mentoring background with faculty, students, peers, and professionals spans decades, and characterizes a role I have enjoyed and hope to continue. I work extensively in developing mission and planning, especially in crisis and organizational areas. OPEN’s involvement with those change agents who will create and lead the futures where my grandchildren will live, is an important role, and one that I personally feel I can contribute to, especially with those who will lead in local settings.My mentoring background with faculty, students, peers, and professionals spans decades, and characterizes a role I have enjoyed and hope to continue. I work extensively in developing mission and planning, especially in crisis and organizational areas. OPEN’s involvement with those change agents who will create and lead the futures where my grandchildren will live, is an important role, and one that I personally feel I can contribute to, especially with those who will lead in local settings.My mentoring background with faculty, students, peers, and professionals spans decades, and characterizes a role I have enjoyed and hope to continue. I work extensively in developing mission and planning, especially in crisis and organizational areas. OPEN’s involvement with those change agents who will create and lead the futures where my grandchildren will live, is an important role, and one that I personally feel I can contribute to, especially with those who will lead in local settings.

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