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Academy leader addresses Afghan, Rwandan businesswomen

Thursday, August 20, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katy Roybal
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During a recent presentation on the campus of Northwood University, Cedar Hill, Texas, Dr. Brian Bush, executive director of the Academy for Leadership & Liberty at Oklahoma Christian University, told 30 Rwandan and Afghanistan businesswomen that “Leadership hinges on character.

“Your employees, your vendors, your investors – each of these groups must be able to trust you to do the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when it might cost you money,” Bush said. “Character requires a willingness to do the hard things and make the tough decisions that face business owners every day.”

The businesswomen were part of Peace through Business®, a training program designed to provide long-term business education to women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda. Initiated by the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), the program is dedicated to developing commercial bonds between the U.S., Afghanistan and Rwanda. It seeks to help other nations achieve greater equity in business between men and women, and to encourage participants to “pay it forward” by taking what they have learned and applying it at home and also to share it with other women entrepreneurs.

Other keynote speakers included dignitaries such as former First Lady, Laura Bush and Ambassador Karen Hughes. Several Oklahoma City businesswomen are serving as mentors during the program, including Mary Melon, publisher of the Journal Record; Kris Rush, founder and CEO of Grassroots Consulting; Freda Deskin, founder and CEO of ASTEC; Darcie Harris, founder and CEO of EWP International; Nancy Hyde, founder and CEP of Hyde & Company; Angela Hedges Hendricks, president and CEO of Bentley Hedges Travel; and Julie Marley, owner of Hi-Lights Salon & Spa.

Oklahoma Christian University has developed a strong relationship with the nation of Rwanda and its government and has been seeking ways to assist their people. The Peace Through Business program was conducted on the OC campus last year. Rwanda President Paul Kagame is committed to the principles of democracy and free enterprise in his country and is seeking ways to boost trade and commercial development following the genocide which occurred there over a decade ago. Kagame has committed to deliver the commencement address at Oklahoma Christian next spring.

During his keynote speech, Bush discussed the principles of leadership including character, communication, teamwork and conflict management, and how character and communication are vital for them as business owners.
In his current role as Executive Director of OC's Academy of Leadership & Liberty, Bush is responsible for program development and Academy events. While assisting the Oklahoma Christian University President in various civic, foundation, and governmental relations, Bush serves as a liaison between the OC community and the professional legal, tax, and accounting communities, and judicial and governmental officials while overseeing general operations of the Academy.

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