H.B. Fuller Gift Powers International Experience
Friday, October 14, 2022
BY GAYLA MARTY
Global Business Partner H.B. Fuller gift will support scholarships for study abroad.
This spring, as travel restrictions eased, H.B. Fuller CEO Jim Owens traveled to 19 countries in a month, reconnecting with company employees and partners on six continents.
“These visits are really powerful,” says Owens. “From Argentina to Egypt to Malaysia, we got to celebrate how we came through the past two years together.”
St. Paul–based H.B. Fuller specializes in adhesives, with applications today including solar panels, sustainable packaging, and batteries for electric cars. Owens and his whole company have become adept at remote communications during the pandemic. Owens also serves on the Carlson School’s Board of Advisors, which met remotely and so effectively during the pandemic that meetings are now held in hybrid format, meaning members can attend wherever they are.
As a partner of the Carlson School, Owens is acutely aware of the challenges the school’s Global Institute (CGI) has faced in working to help students fulfill their International Experience during the pandemic—a time that revealed just how critical those experiences are.
“There’s a huge value in creating global citizens,” explains Owens. “A big part of our revenue is overseas, many of our employees are overseas, and our U.S. employees need to think and act globally. We value people who understand the world—they are better businesspeople, better citizens, and react better to crises in the world, whether it’s a trade disagreement or war or weather.”
The power of in-person international experiences is one of the reasons why study abroad scholarships for Carlson School students will be funded with a new gift from the H.B. Fuller Company Foundation. International experiences play a key role in the larger aim of developing the talent needed today; scholarships remove cost as a barrier.
Kimberlee Sinclair, senior director for corporate communications and executive director of the H.B. Fuller Company Foundation, knows from experience the power of international experiences in college. She began her career in study abroad at Boston University.
“We are a global company with a direct presence in nearly 40 countries,” says Sinclair. “Our executives live and travel all over the world, so we understand the importance of global experience for both undergraduate and graduate students. As our company continues to grow and expand, our future leaders will need to be culturally competent and able to navigate global business. Because study abroad has such a profound and positive effect on students, it was natural for the H.B. Fuller Company Foundation to select CGI scholars as the beneficiaries of our most recent financial gift to the University.”
Partnership with CGI has taken many forms for H.B. Fuller, whose mission is to be a global leader with strong social business ethics. One company executive led a CGI program in Poland, for example; another graduated from a Carlson School MBA program in China.
“The challenge for all of us is to make certain that we push the world forward and create human connections,” says Owens. “At H.B. Fuller, we’ve embraced new ways of working, and CGI has done that, too. We’re accelerating what was already an evolving work process. We have to keep finding new ways to be even more connected.”
This article appeared in the Fall 2022 alumni magazine
Transitions present a time for celebration and reflection.
The Carlson School looks at past and present initiatives with an eye toward the future.