As a business owner with clients around the world, Nella Barkley understands the importance of operating in a globally connected world. That’s why she supports the College of Charleston’s Global Leadership Institute (GLI), which is dedicated to inspiring students’ world views, international experience and intercultural competency so they can take their careers anywhere.
“Given the world we live in, it’s critical that we accommodate the needs of people globally, not just locally,” says Barkley, who serves as a member of the College’s School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs (LCWA) Advisory Board.
Barkley has been involved with the school from the beginning, when Sam Hines was the first dean followed by David Cohen and now Tim Johnson, current LCWA dean.
“LCWA was a marvelous concept,” says Barkley. “It cuts across disciplines, which requires an enormous amount of diplomacy. I enjoyed working with Sam, David and now Tim Johnson and dedicated board chair, Hilton Smith, to make LCWA a success. Dean Johnson is passionately convinced that an understanding of different cultures and backgrounds can favorably influence thinking in this increasingly interconnected world. Formation of the Global Leadership Institute will help LCWA and the College make tangible our belief in and acknowledgement of the interconnectedness of the world.”
But the GLI’s goal isn’t just about simply broadening a student’s point of view.
“A global perspective and international understanding are not options – they are a necessity,” says Johnson. “GLI ensures that international experiential learning occurs throughout our students’ college experience no matter their major or area of study. Our goal is for students to develop an intellectual aptitude that transforms a CofC degree into a competitive asset in the global marketplace.”
In many ways, GLI is taking the numerous programs that LCWA already has in place to the next level. GLI will help build the College’s international partner network and experiential programs; ensure that international education is part of each CofC student’s classroom experience; expand the International Scholars and Global Ambassadors programs; and make study abroad and global internships available to all CofC students.
“It is very gratifying to have someone of Nella Barkley‘s standing in the field of strategic life planning to contribute to the development and advancement of GLI,” says Johnson. “It not only gives the project credibility, it demonstrates how much she and others care about our students’ success and employability.”
The GLI builds on Barkley’s involvement in mentoring students – something that comes quite naturally given her profession as co-founder of the career coaching firm Crystal-Barkley Corporation. She enjoys helping people chart new courses and typically mentors one student a year.
Barkley recalls an accounting and Spanish double major she mentored who was all set to go to Price Waterhouse Cooper, but came to realize that was not at all what she wanted to do. With Barkley’s encouragement, Katie Williamson ’11 went to Peru first to visit and later to work in an orphanage. Ultimately, she began running retreats in Peru for international travelers.
“People need to follow their own path, but first they need to discover what they want to do,” says Barkley. “They need to realize and trust their passion. Developing people is a wonderful dynamic. It takes time for people to test themselves and how their talents are received.”
The results of that exploration will yield big results for students.
“GLI will help students discover satisfying careers by giving them the opportunity to swim in a big pond,” says Barkley. “They will discover where currents may be swift or not understood and gain practical knowledge on how to fulfill their own needs and the needs of others.”
Barkley loves the direction LCWA is taking and credits the LCWA advisory board for supporting the success of the school and the inroads that will be made through the Global Leadership Institute.
“We all have an opportunity to make an impact because of our diverse cultural backgrounds,” she says. “We all really go out of our way and are a very committed, faithful board who are making a tangible contribution.”