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MOSAIC Week 2009 featured an array of events celebrating diversity at the Kellogg School, from talks by noted speakers to an international student fashion show.

MOSAIC international fashion show

A “MOSAIC” of cultures

A week-long series of lectures, discussions and social events offers Kellogg students a personalized global perspective

By Amy Trang

4/28/2009 - There’s no shortage of diversity at a school where nearly one-third of the student body hails from outside the United States. MOSAIC Week, the Kellogg School’s annual celebration of diversity, offers all members of the Kellogg community a chance to share in that richness and learn from each other.

Each year, the week features talks by speakers on global issues to music shows to discussions about stereotypes and cross-cultural leadership skills. This year’s MOSAIC Week, which launched April 17, was no different. The 2009 theme, “Celebrating Our Global Diversity: Understanding the World, Understanding Each Other,” offered a platform to focus on a wide range of social, cultural and political issues.

“The more diverse opinions you have on a team, the better the results,” said Eldwin Thay ’10, Kellogg Student Association global affairs committee and MOSAIC marketing representative. “We hope that students see tools they can use in the workplace.”

Jose Armario
MOSAIC Week keynote speaker Jose Armario discussed the importance of diversity at McDonald’s, where he is group president for Latin America and Canada.
Photo © Chris Guillen
McDonald’s executive Jose Armario was one of this year’s keynote speakers, sharing his leadership path to become group president of McDonald’s Latin America and Canada.

Armario’s start at McDonald’s was rocky. At 14, he was hired and fired in three months from the restaurant chain because he “talked too much,” Armario joked. So, Armario climbed the ranks at Burger King and then took executive positions at LensCrafters. He joined McDonald’s in 1996, after refusing positions at the chain three times prior.

Armario said diversity and inclusion of employees plays an important role in McDonald’s values.

“There’s not a finish line in diversity,” Armario said, adding that it is a company’s ongoing job to broaden representation within its ranks. He said McDonald’s management demonstrates a strong commitment to diversity, with about a quarter of its executive team made up of minorities and another quarter made up of women. More than 37 percent of all McDonald's U.S. owner/operators are women and minorities.

Armario also gave advice to students about the challenges of climbing the corporate ranks. Armario and his family have moved 18 times — including to Spain and Chile — over the course of his career.

“Be the best at what you do and don’t be afraid to take on more,” Armario said. “You have to make sacrifices but it’s part of the foundation to get where you need to and part of the learning process.”

MOSAIC is sponsored by the Kellogg Student Association, the International Markets and Business Research Center, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and several other student groups. The event, founded in 2006 by a Kellogg student, started as a two-day event with a series of discussions and panels.

Sandeep Baliga, associate professor of managerial economics and decision sciences, delivered a lecture on democracy and peace, and Katherine Phillips, associate professor of management and organizations and co-chair of the Center on the Science of Diversity, led a talk on the influence of stereotypes. Other MOSAIC programs included a panel on dating styles in different countries and a cooking competition.

“It’s our opportunity to showcase the diversity here,” said Samir Gokhale ’09, the outgoing Kellogg Student Association vice president for global affairs. “We’ve organized events to help understand each other beneath the surface. We owe it to ourselves to learn about other cultures.”