Category Archives: News

Becoming a Leader: Tools and Tips

Becoming a leader in today’s world – irrespective of what industry – can be extremely challenging and competitive.  Having a mentor help navigate the system and share their experiences is a very positive way of getting started. 

This is especially true for women.  While there are mentorship programs available, often it is best conducted through an informal arrangement.  This was one of the messages given at last year’s Women Leaders in Global Health Conference, London.  According to Dr. Joanne Liu, International President at Médecins Sans Frontières:

“For me, a mentor is someone who believes in you when you don’t believe enough in yourself.  [She also said that age is not a factor..taking advice from those who are] 20 or 25 years younger [than herself, which is why she] believe[s] in the wisdom of youth.”

Another success female medical leader is Chair of the Department of Radiology at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Professor Hedvig Hricak.  At the recent European Society of Radiology Congress (February 28-March 1, 2019), she organized a program entitled ‘Women in Focus.’  These sessions were for both women and men on what it takes to become a leader. 

Hricak explained:

“Many people aspire to be leaders and sometimes really don’t know which way to go and how to take that path.  So it really starts with leadership but it has a combination of academia, administration, as well as industry and government and then the second one is about understanding people, listening, and understanding differences.  This part looks at the generation of differences and respecting everyone’s opinion and understanding where other people are coming from.  There’s also a session which is mostly for women on women in challenging environments.  So often we take for granted what we have and we have to be reminded – just like ECR has celebrated Africa or Pakistan – that so many luxuries that we take for granted are not really available to all over the world. And lastly we all need mentors.  Children, parents, teachers, you always have mentors and then you start working and suddenly you’re on your own.  The last one is dedicated to mentorship.”

In an article in Business2Community, Larry Kim gave his opinion on what qualities make a leader.  He touched on 7 qualities people have that they may not even know they have which are crucial to great leadership.  These are: empathy, optimism, forgiveness, altruism, eloquence, discernment and modesty.  These attributes are not traditionally associated with leaders but in Kim’s experience they can be very useful for those who want to lead and mentor others.

There are many  different routes to becoming a great leader in one’s industry but it seems they all have one common denominator: staying open to new ideas, to advice and to change.

US News’ Most Powerful Countries List Released

Every year the US News and World Reports ranks the world’s most powerful countries. The study assesses the political and economic influences and alliances, plus the military strength it wields and the quality of its international leadership.
The ranking was done together with the University of Pennsylvania, which questioned over 20,000 people about 80 countries and the global role they play. The result was “2019 Best Countries.”
We will just give you a brief summary of the top ten.

  1. South Korea: In 2018 this successful Asian country was ranked 11th last year. It is the world’s seventh largest exporter, and 11th largest economy.
  2. Saudi Arabia: Described as “the giant of the Middle East” by US News, this country has huge oil reserves which it sells across the globe. The country’s reputation was severely tarnished by ongoing human rights issues, and especially the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.
  3. Israel: US News says: “For its relatively small size, the country has played a large role in global affairs.”
  4. Japan: With the world’s third largest economy, this Asian powerhouse nation is “one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations.”
  5. France: One of the oldest countries in the world, US News says that France’s reach “extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture.”
  6. United Kingdom: Struggling now with Brexit, nevertheless US News notes that the UK “exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence” on the world despite “new questions and anxieties about the country’s role on the global stage.”
  7. Germany: With the most people of all the EU countries, Germany also has a highly skilled labor force.
  8. China: This Asian powerhouse nation is the world’s most populated, and it wields the second biggest economy. Unfortunately, millions still live under the poverty line, but the country has seen fast economic growth which has the potential to continue.
  9. Russia: The world’s largest country in square miles, Russia stretches from Europe to Asia and borders over a dozen different countries. It power is invested in its legacy from the Soviet Union, huge coal and oil reserves, and a great emphasis on military strength.
  10. USA: Described by US News as the “world’s most dominant economic and military power.” This western power has exerted its influence culturally through the popularity of its books, films, music and television shows. However, the report also pointed out that some policy decisions made by the current president “have raised questions around the world, including from the country’s closest allies, about the nation’s future course on the global stage.”

Polar Vortex Costs US $1 Billion

The Polar Vortex . Courtesy
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA

The last week in January 2019 sent the US Midwest into a deep freeze that cost lives and about $1 billion.


At least one dozen people were reported killed by below zero temperatures which in some place reached record lows from Minnesota, Illinois to the northeastern USA. Thousands of planes were grounded or delayed, other forms of transportation, such as trains, were disrupted, and schools sere shuttered in Wisconsin and Minnesota. There were also several power and water outages reported.


Supply chains were disrupted as rail and barge transportation was halted or slowed. Retail shops and restaurants also suffered losses as most people sheltered indoors.


The $1 billion estimated price tag is still considerably less than the damage caused by the polar vortex of 2014, which came to about $5 billion.


Not everyone lost during the freeze. Stores selling winter items did a brisk business along with online sales and drive-through restaurants.


Chicago reported a bone-chilling minus-30 degrees Celsius, and Minneapolis recorded minus-32. Wind-chills factors made some places feel like minus-70 degrees.

Tyson Recalls Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets by
James Palinsad

Tyson Foods is recalling 18 tons of breaded chicken nuggets in the wake of consumers finding rubber in several packages purchased in stores.  The US Food and Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the recall at the end of January and told people not to eat the nuggets which have the potential to cause serious health issues.

Consumers complained of having found “extraneous material” such as “rubber” in packages of Tyson panko chicken nuggets, said the FSIS. The specific product is the five-pound bag of Tyson’s White Meat Panko Chicken Nuggets that have a use-by date of November 26, 2019. The case code is 3308SDL03 and the time stamp is 23:00 through 01:59, said the FSIS.

There have not been any reports of illness or other reactions from eating the nuggets.

The case was labeled by the FSIS as “Class I”, which the agency defines as “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.”

The FSIS is also worried that people put the packages in the freezer and could forget about the recall when they do finally pull the nuggets out of the freezer to eat.

Tyson’s tagline is “In life, as in chicken, it’s always better when you just keep it real. No filler. No nonsense. Just stick to the good stuff. The 100% real stuff.”

Diamond Giant Alrosa Names Female Head

Rare twinned diamond crystal. Photo courtesy Robert M. Lavinsky

The world’s leading producer by output of diamonds, Alrosa, appointed Rebecca Foerster to lead its USA division.

The move comes the reopening of its offices in New York last year, together with expanding sales in the US. The company chose an experienced female executive to lead its American operations; Foerster is former Vice President of Strategic planning and marketing at Leo Schachter Diamonds, a position she held for four years.

She has previous experience as Vice President at the US Representative office of Rio Tinto; executive roles at Frederick Goldman Inc, Revlon, Unilever, and Benckiser.

“The United States is the world’s largest market for diamond jewelry consumption. For this reason, special requirements are placed on the person who will represent Alrosa’s interests there. Foerster has a wealth of experience in companies that represent almost all parts of the diamond pipeline, from diamond mining to diamond jewelry sales. She knows the specifics of the diamond business and is well aware of American market needs,” said Deputy CEO of Alrosa, Yury Okoemov.

In 2016 Alrosa closed its New York office for “organizational reasons.” Since the office reopened in 2018 business has been expanding at a pace to the extent that from the two rough diamond auctions held last year in New York the company will have four such events in 2019. Alrosa, which mines diamonds, plans to also offer polished diamonds to the US market this coming year.