Blog Entries

Kijana on Obama

Kijana Bowers

Sobey School Commerce Society Financial Director Kijana Bowers was one of the 200 students Saint Mary’s sent to see Barack Obama on Wednesday. The student tickets were sponsored by past and current Saint Mary’s Chancellors Bob Kelly and Michael Durland.

Kijana reported that he was grateful, and took away some key messages related to responsibility, leadership and the changing perceptions of a business’ value.

BComm, Commerce Society Finance Director

“Obama talked about corporate social responsibility, how now and over the next 10 years, employers who do not demonstrate commitment to CSR will see fewer applicants, and businesses with good track records will see more. He also talked about this affecting their sales and branding: sales will increase or decrease based on a company’s environmental record and what they are doing socially.

This is true, many people my age care about the way a company treats the environment and people.

On leadership, Obama said, “focus on *why* you want to do what you want to do. Unless you figure out the “why”, there’s only so far you can go.”

He also talked about about climate change, and some of the pushbacks he experienced when they were negotiating the Paris accord. For instance, when India was being asked to cut their emissions, the Prime Minister of India said that if he were to cut off coal-fired power generators there would be 3 million people without power. Obama said the Western world has a special responsibility--it’s not only that we have to take care of our own waste and omissions and change the way we behave, but we need to also consider what effect our actions will have on the rest of the world.”