Innovator Article

Executive Education Offers Suite of Innovative Programs

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by Marianne Skoczek

With customized programs representing the fastest growing segment of the executive education market, the Graduate School of Management is focused on delivering tailored, nondegree programs that give executives the tools and confidence to solve organizational challenges, reach new markets or seize opportunities.

Managing Director Wendy Beecham brings more than 25 years of leadership experience and a global perspective to the program. Beecham works with clients to design programs that tap UC Davis’ strengths and network to deliver exceptional results with practical and actionable knowledge and skill building.

“I enjoy the close partnership and collaborative work process we have with the client,” says Beecham. “I feel like we are jointly creating something purposeful.”

Beecham says initiatives are underway in a wide variety of industries and sectors. Most recently, clients have included leading firms and organizations in biotech, finance, agribusiness and energy.

Customized Series for Genentech

In February, 70 top leaders from Genentech’s Vacaville, Calif., plant convened at the School for an exploration of how to manage organizational risk—the third in a series of customized programs for the maker of cancer fighting and other drugs. Previous programs for the Genentech team focused on productivity in 2012 and innovation in 2011. Genentech, known as the birthplace of biotech, is part of the international pharmaceutical giant Roche.

Pension Fundamentals at CalPERS

This fall, the School will launch a workshop series with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the U.S. The School’s finance faculty will present an in-depth look at the intricacies of pension funds and their management for staff who work in, and support, the CalPERS Investment Office. The Pension Fundamentals training series will familiarize employees who have worked in the private sector financial services industry with the prominent issues affecting public pension fund management, and will leave all employees with a basic understanding of asset liability management.

New Opportunities in Energy

Beecham and Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director for energy and sustainability at UC Davis (see page 2), are collaborating on new executive education offerings focused on risk and safety for the energy sector, including climate change factors and cybersecurity. “The energy industry is undergoing a period of tumultuous change that will require new strategies and business models,” says Jaffe. “We are designing programs to help companies identify and navigate transformational events and to convert emerging risks into opportunities for new products and services.”

Food for Thought: Agribusiness in China

Agribusiness in China is undergoing a fundamental transformation from traditional to modern farming. From the farm to the table, there is a growing need for practical knowledge about the latest techniques and technologies to help the agricultural industry scale up and meet new standards for food safety, organic foods and nutrition.

The Graduate School of Management is partnering with the CHIC Knowledge Center of Excellence to deliver a series of senior executive symposia at their state-of-the-art training base near Shanghai. The series will launch in June with a two-day program keynoted by Charles Sweat, CEO of Earthbound Farm, who will share how he grew his company from a small, family-owned business into an international organic farming success story.

The symposium’s faculty, drawn from UC Davis and other leading agriculture institutions, will provide China’s top agribusiness CEOs and other leaders with practical tools for determining farm site and crop selection, securing financing, ensuring food safety and more.

“What does success look like? Raising this key question and listening closely to the response ensures that our executive education program delivers clients a critical investment in their company’s leadership team and keeps them at the top of their game.”

— Wendy Beecham, Managing director, Executive Education

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