Job rotation is a win-win solution, says Schulich HR instructor

Nortel Networks Corp. and a number of other companies – including Bell Canada, Telus Corp. and Pitney Bowes Inc. – have turned to job rotations as they try to build their leaders of the future, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 17. The trend is being driven by increasing competition for management talent, says organizational consultant Stephen Friedman, who is also an instructor in human resource management at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

"Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the leaders they need from outside the company. So they are setting up programs to identify promising new recruits and train them within the organization for future leadership roles," he says.

The detailed effort and potential for fast-tracking into leadership is what attracted Melony Gare (MBA ’07) to Bell’s program. And she thinks the visibility is giving her bigger responsibilities faster than she would get without the program. Gare joined the Bell program in July after graduating with an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Many employers still resist the idea, says Friedman, because "they cannot wrap their heads around front-end investment for results later on. It is too much learning and not enough doing for them…. But organizations that invest the time will find it is really beneficial," he says.

Tapping into contracts just a keystroke away

Five years ago, former York student Barry Payne found an opportunity for a $1-million contract with the federal government to supply office furniture systems on MERX, a Web site that helps companies research government tenders, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 17.

"I didn’t think we’d get it because we were so small," says Payne, 46, whose Adirondack Technologies Furniture Inc., based in Peterborough, Ont., partnered with Canadian furniture maker Teknion Corp. to make the bid. His company did land the job – and went on to hit $3 million in sales that year – all through MERX. Today, sales are north of $11 million at Adirondack Inc., and the Web site remains Payne’s primary business tool to find customers.

When working with MERX, the ace in his hand is his status as a member of the Hiawatha First Nation; his company employs 12 aboriginal workers, drawn from various bands. Because federal procurement rules have "set asides" – a preferential allotment of contracts – for certified aboriginal businesses, Adirondack’s bids get attention, if he gets his numbers right.

Bought deal gets high marks

The bought deal, an arrangement whereby an underwriter agrees to purchase a block of stock from an issuer before a preliminary prospectus is filed, is a Canadian invention, wrote the National Post Oct. 17. Ari Pandes, a PhD student in finance at York’s Schulich School of Business, has put the bought deal under the microscope. And Pandes likes what he has analyzed. "Overall, the savings from the abnormal stock price effect of the bought deal outweigh the higher direct costs, lending support to the overwhelming use of the bought deal in Canada."

York prof critiques racial profiling

Five years ago, the Toronto Star published a special investigation into racial profiling by Toronto police, said Carol Tator, an anti-racism and equity professor in York’s Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, at a symposium at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education yesterday, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 17.

That series sparked a lot of denial and debate, said Tator, who, along with York Professor Emerita Frances Henry, wrote a book about racial profiling in Canada. Racial profiling doesn’t keep citizens safe from violence, Tator said. "It is violence…. It can be argued that racial profiling by the police is the proverbial canary in the coalmine. Racial profiling exists in many of our democratic institutions."

$17B for transit; that’s good, right?

You can call it the quietest $17-billion gift ever promised the Toronto region in our lifetime – such has been the low-key, almost "I don’t believe it" reaction to the province’s stupendous funding announcement for public transit, wrote columnist Royson James in the Toronto Star Oct. 17.

Maybe some are concerned that even if the feds acquiesce, the money will be too long in coming. Consider that in March, the Stephen Harper government announced nearly $1 billion in funding for transit, including huge sums to finance the subway expansion to York University. None of that money has flowed yet, locked in red tape. Imagine the delays with a plan they didn’t conceive.

Martinez adds Latin spice to local jazz night

A large and happy crowd turned out Monday night to the Sanderson Centre lobby to hear peppy Latin music from Amanda Martinez (IMBA ’99) and four instrumentalists, all from Toronto, in the second concert of the Brantford Downtown Jazz series, wrote the Brantford Expositor Oct. 17.

Martinez has not yet established herself on the same level as many of the other performers on this esteemed series. But, as usual, we were left in no doubt that she is on that path. That path has not been an easy choice for Martinez. She has an MBA in international business from the famous Schulich School of Business at York University and worked for six months as the Latin American relationship manager with one of Canada’s leading banks before quitting to follow her dream.