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Social Responsibility in Small and Medium Enterprises Roundtable - Kansas City, MO

Park Distance Learning Conference Center, Park University

Kansas City, Missouri; October 16, 2011:  The Washington DC Metropolitan area based Association of Americans for Civic Responsibility (AACR) and Park University, headquartered in Kansas City, held a “Social Responsibility in Small and Medium Enterprises Roundtable” at the Park Distance Learning Conference Center on October 12, 2011 in Parkville, Kansas city area, Missouri.  Established in 1875, Park University enjoys a distinguished position in higher education as a growing entrepreneurial institution with campus centers in 21 states including an extensive online degree program. This is the first time they are partnering with AACR for this hot topic. AACR held a similar conference at Kellogg School of Management at the Northwestern University in 2009.  
Mr. Joseph Melookaran, President, JMA Information Technology, Inc.
The conference was well attended by leaders of small and medium size enterprises. The panelists and speakers included business leaders and philanthropists of the Kansas City area. The Dean of School of Business, Dr. Brad Kleindl, kicked off the meeting welcoming the audience and exhorting the importance of civic responsibility and ethics as a part of the academic curriculum. He also indicated Park University’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the inclusion of this topic in the courses relating to business and entrepreneurship. 
First Panel – Topic : Why Social Responsibility?
Ralph Reid, Vice President of CSR at Sprint gave the introductory address. He indicated that Sprint sells communication products that are used by millions of people around the country. Sprint’s corporate responsibility starts with getting the consumers the right products and giving them high level customer services. The CSR initiatives by Sprint have been a differentiator for their company in hiring and retaining many talented people. This is also a key in recent gain in the customers for their products. 
Second Panel – Topic : Sustaining A Socially Responsible Focus
Erik Bergrud, Senior Director of Park University introduced the first round of panelists that was moderated by Mr. Julius Karash, the Executive Editor of KC Business- a popular business magazine in the Kansas City area. The panelists included Susan Brown, Vice President of Brightergy Solar Solutions, Ms. Jill Phillips of SKC Communication and Gary Walker of Magic Touch Cleaning Inc. The discussion centered on the ways and means SMEs can get involved and make a difference in the community. 
Mr. Ralph Reid, Vice President, CSR at Sprint
The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Bert Berkley, Chairman and Former CEO of Tension Envelope, a 125 year old corporation.  As a well-respected philanthropist of the Midwest and the co-author of the book Giving Back, Dr. Berkley encouraged SMEs and individuals to give back to the community because it is part of their civic duty. He energized the audience sharing his own experience in giving back to the community and his relentless effort that still continues.  
Participants

The second set of panelists was introduced by Joseph Melookaran, CEO of JMA Information Technology Inc., a medium size business headquartered in Overland Park KS and doing business in the US and abroad. He explained the mission of AACR www.aacri.org  and the current major initiative to advance the philosophy of giving back to the society by SMEs and their owners without expecting anything in return. The panelists included Ms. Charlotte Barksdale, President of LaserCycle, Mr. Pat McCown of McCownGorden Construction and Danny O’Neill, CEO of “The Roasterie”. This panel was moderated by Ms. Dara Macan, the President and Group Publisher of Anthem Publishing Inc. 

Participants

Dr. Joy Cherian, President of AACR, concluded the conference by thanking the Park University and the speakers and panelists for the outstanding program. He highlighted the essence of his message and AACR paper “Be generous and become prosperous: A Challenging Business Strategy for SMEs” (to read this paper, please visit home page of AACR website and see under “AACR’s Position Papers” at www.aacri.org).

For more information about this conference, please contact Joseph Melookaran, at 913- 706 0759




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