KF Salzburg Global Seminar Internship
My main work as an intern for the Salzburg Global Seminar was supporting Session 582, “The Courageous Director: Can Corporations Better Serve People, Planet, and Profit?” Session 582 was held on October 5–7, and it explored the important role of corporations as ethical global leaders and citizens. Discussions centered on how corporations can succeed in both attaining profit and in satisfying the conflicting demands of business and society.
The Salzburg Global Seminar launched the Global Forum on Corporate Governance in 2015, and it has facilitated critical discussions on the roles and responsibilities of company directors and the changing regulatory and economic environments with an inter-generational group of participants including directors of corporations, senior managers, lawyers, and academics.
In 2017, the session discussed at length the role of shareholders in corporate governance, specifically the idea that including shareholders in corporate decision-making connotes a sense of ethical leadership, ensures accurate reporting and accounting practices as well as the pursuit of long-term goals, maintains good relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders including consumers, and creates a more secure and practical work environment. It is an axiomatic fact that corporations will suffer from losses in their brand, profits, and even ability to plan for the future if they fail to properly handle governance-related mechanisms.
One other intern and I served as the main interns supporting the session. Our primary work was assisting the Program Director and Program Associate in the preparation and implementation of the session by researching potential participants and institutions. Specifically, we had three primary tasks.
First, I attended and participated in session planning meetings before the session began. The Program Director and Program Associate specified what we would have to do during the session, and we prepared materials in advance. It helped us gain an understanding of what our work for the session would be, and allowed us to keep up with the latest developments.
Second, I compiled participant welcome packets as well as all other program-related materials prior to each session. I contributed to gathering information about the event schedule and its locations, participants, travel sites, and so on.
Third, I attended sessions and supported the program staff by responding to ad hoc requests, providing AV support, and assisting in all other operational facets during the session. Unexpected situations often arose during the session, and thus it was critical to quickly attend to sudden requests from the program associate. My duties also included playing a video and passing a microphone to participants who wanted to speak. After the session was complete, I worked to provide topical research on potential future sessions.
By taking part in Session 582, I was able to understand the need for private sector leaders to demonstrate more ethical and sophisticated viewpoints and actions. In the future, in order to effectively assist with upcoming sessions, I will need to comprehensively research the background and topic of each session. In case of an upcoming session on environmental and climate issues, which I may take part in as an intern, this background research will allow me to understand the diverse perspectives of the participants as they find ways to advance climate and environmental solutions, broadening my perspective on tackling environmental problems. I also hope to organize my own future investigation from different approaches.