When you think of the business conference world, what usually comes to mind? Suits? Meetings? Money?
What about art? It probably isn’t something that pops into your head.
For the first time a spoken-word poet performed at UNC Kenan-Flagler. CJ Suitt performed two pieces during the opening plenary EPIC Global Leadership Forum.
EPIC stands for experiential, participatory, inspiring and connecting. The forum was designed by the Global Business Center to help students develop intercultural competencies needed to operate successfully in a global business economy.
It was a perfect venue to bring in the arts. The Global Business Center commissioned Suitt to write a poem he titled “Better Together.”
Suitt’s poems are based on his experiences and he shares them to inspire, build connections and act as a bridge for understanding across differences. He talks about topics such as heritage and accepting that people who are not like you are “not crazy.” Suitt relates his approach back to business, saying that business must be personal.
Cultivating cultural understanding and awareness facilitates effective communication with others. Whether someone is from the U.S., Japan, India or elsewhere they have certain values, beliefs and perceptions about the world. When conducting business, you must be aware of a person’s cultural values to be respectful and ultimately successful.
Art provides insights that are crucial to understanding how other people live. By incorporating art into business education and staying open-minded, we can develop greater cross-cultural understanding.
Suitt says it best: “We are better together. Let’s get to work.”
By Shawna McIntosh (BA ’19)