By Dray Williams 

Summer 2018, Global Consulting Lab (GCL)
Ecuador, Heifer International

“Our palms sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, we’re anxious already: feeling Bonnie’s spaghetti. We’re nervous but on the surface, we look calm and ready.”

Eminem’s lyrics had never seemed more applicable than at this moment before we deliver our final presentation; showcasing all our work over the past two weeks. At the beginning of our project it was described that we would be ‘slumming it’ compared to the other two student consulting groups (Siemens, UMCO), but having the opportunity to see the groups of people that we are supposed to be helping through our project was an incredible foundation to start-off our project.

We traveled across five diverse regions in Ecuador, meeting communities and families that want nothing more than to create a better life. It was amazingly impactful and, as our contact and professor Tom Hunsaker said, there was no better experience that we could have than to help these same people. Somehow it got even better -- in addition to all of the visits to businesses we had the opportunities to milk a cow AND hold a baby alpaca!

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The Heifer team with Clara, our Heifer representative meeting with the Palo Santo Oil business

We spent the second week developing a training module that, once implemented, would deliver standard business skills, skills that we take for granted in the United States. The key focus areas of our training were marketing, finance, and management. Through these three key areas of business we were able to create a training module that came out to 236 pages! Sure, 29 of those pages included an appendix and glossary, but that was 207 pages of lesson plans, a crucial needs-assessment, an objectives list, and much more. It was certainly tough, included late nights, a lot of coffee and a lot of loopy moments, but we did it. Our team wrote a book--but more importantly came together as a family, or as we’re fond of saying, ‘nuestra familia.’

I’m incredibly proud of our team and the work that we have done. We created an easy-to-use training module that we believe could not only be used for our client Heifer Ecuador but other Heifer International countries across the board. Our professor even mentioned that our easy-to-understand concepts could be used in the United States for kids interested in business. What a huge confidence boost! We’re more than ready to impress our client, Heifer Ecuador.

Shouts out to my amazing team: our team lead and beautician Bonnie Miller, our rock and finance expert Olivia Mulerwa, our boundless fountain of cheer and finance expert Alex Lind, and our level-headed calming influence and marketing expert Marissa Garay. And it goes without saying that Dr. Hunsaker was imperative to our success throughout our experience. Finally, a huge thank you to our host, client, and fantastic client Heifer Ecuador who allowed us the gift of passing on the gift. 

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The Heifer team with Clara, our Heifer contact in the field