Going Global

I am neither an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
– Socrates

Looking ahead five years – maybe fewer – if the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership's vision plays out, my university-rich locale will be enlivened not only by the presence of global students, researchers and faculty members, but by global corporate leaders and professionals as well.

To achieve that vision, here are the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership's recommendations (my numbering and bold):

Cities with strong universities are particularly well-positioned to be among the globally competitive regions as the economy of the 21st century evolves. To do so, they must:

  1. pro-actively embrace globalization
  2. expand their regional brand recognition by deliberately creating multi-layered global networks, and
  3. act in a regionally coherent manner at every opportunity.

Martin Houdbine, Anne Clelland, and Charles-Eric Gorron My company, Handshake Media, Incorporated, is a VT KnowledgeWorks member company, as is Automation Creations, Inc., from which She Chooses(TM), the social network for women, is a co-spin-out enterprise. From my upbringing with parents who quoted Socrates and from the myriad powerful experiences I've had through my association with VT KnowledgeWorks, I have natural buy-in to the idea of "going global."

Although to create "globally competitive region" using the Partnership's list of "musts" requires regional consciousness and effort, let's see how I'm contributing personally to the mission.  I'll use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is "Who needs global? I have a local company." and 5 is "I'll be in Beijing then, too.  Shall we meet?"

1. pro-actively embrace globalization

Handshake Media's fundamental mission is to create global handshakes, first of greeting, then on deals.  Every time a post goes live on Handshake 2.0, it's globally available.  That's an on-going, proactive reaching out to the world. This is definitely a 4.  An actual handshake beats a virtual one, but a virtual handshake is better than not even knowing the other hand exists!

2. expand their regional brand recognition by deliberately creating multi-layered global networks

Handshake 2.0 is a "multi-layered global network" by definition, so that's good.  Handshake Media developed the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Directory, a mobile app for both iOS and Android, also a global network by definition, also good.

Those are the more cerebral facets of creating a multi-layered global network.  More personally, I loved being a host from the community for student entrepreneurs competing for the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Challenge Trophy.  We had the delight of spending a week with Martin Houdbine and Charles-Eric Gorron of Artbeating in 2010 and look forward to hosting a team of this year's competitors. Professor Nikola Hale, a scholar visiting Radford University from Hochschule Furtwangen University, was also a recent welcome guest at Handshake 2.0 Headquarters.

Overnight guests were infrequent in my childhood years and rare also in many of my adult years, so I will acknowledge that opening my home to people I've never met feels more like a leap off a cliff than a leap of faith, but the global-made-local in my very own home has generated priceless, unforeseen insights for me. More, please!  Let's go with a 3 on this one.

3. act in a regionally coherent manner at every opportunity

My best effort to date to "act regionally" – by which I was joined with the support and sponsorship of Coldwell Banker, Townside REALTORS, First Bank & Trust CompanyHutchison Law Group and Ryan Hagan - was to organize a network of women mobile application developersto address the shortage of mobile app developers in the New River Valley of Virginia.  This shortage may well lead to a regional loss of current and future market opportunities in the mobile industry.  Now known as the Brava Network of Women Mobile Application Developers, the group has met regularly for three months. 

Software development is difficult and takes more resources for training than we have.  This initiative was well-intentioned but points out that "acting regionally" requires a budget.  Pats on the back for everyone who tried and is still trying.  But able only to start this, but not yet sustain it, this is a 1 while I plan next steps.

Three 5s would be great, but a 4, 3, and 1 will do for now.  I want to be part of a globally competitive region.  I know what to do and where I stand in contributing to getting that done.  I'm going global.

Added 5/4/11: You're invited to take the Global Handshake Survey. 

Handshake 2.0 is the flagship site of Handshake Media, Incorporated. VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media.

Global Handshake Survey
Who's in FRONT? Kathy O'Hara


  1. Anne, you have a great vision for your company and yourself. I truly relate to your post. On this side of the border our reality is not so different. Our blog in English reaches professionals around the world and our blog in French engages EDOs active in Quebec and in France. We think global but we are rooted to our local reality. Lecturing at Georgia Tech Innovation Institute and University of Waterloo (ON) allows me to engage on a more personal level outside my usual network. We are passionate and we want to be part of the solution 😉 On one last note, I’m not sure if cities can have a direct influence on universities. We must consider into the equation how businesses do impact universities and cities.

  2. Isabelle,

    If things play out as many predict, the universities will, more and more, become prime generators of creative entrepreneurs, ones who truly innovate. Of course, the local environments will differ widely: cities versus towns; private versus public institutions, and so on. But those who assist those creative entrepreneurs with globalization (like you and Anne) will be increasingly important ingredients in the economic development mix. The universities will not fail to notice.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Isabelle, and for your follow-up Jim. My follow-up is here:


    And I know my views will continue to evolve. I like being considered among those who “assist those creative entrepreneurs with globalization”! Thanks again!

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