Sweet Paris-Chicago Safari

Sweet Paris-Chicago Safari

by Valerie Beck, chocolate expert and Kendall College Adjunct Professor

The view from 360Chicago on our Day of Mentoring: Helping Others to the Top
The view from 360Chicago on our day about The Business of Mentoring: Helping Others to the Top

In addition to being an entrepreneur, founding the original chocolate tours years ago, and today doing speaking engagements about chocolate, and consulting in the chocolate space, I love teaching at Kendall College because I can contribute to the amazing and energizing students, and because I can create applied learning experiences – not just lectures but activities and excursions for real-world learning.

I had the opportunity over spring break this year to create a series of 8 excursions for a cohort of French business majors studying abroad in Chicago from their school in Paris, the ESCE. Our theme was American Business Explorations, our classroom was the city of Chicago and beyond, and our focus was on networking, volunteering, and mentoring as crucial to success in American business success.

Students and me with dear friend Shaun Rajah of The Drake Hotel on our day about The Business of Hospitality: Every Detail Counts
Students and me with dear friend Shaun Rajah of The Drake Hotel on our day about The Business of Hospitality: Every Detail Counts

My friends and contacts opened their doors to welcome us and speak to us. We toured companies such as Google, had a private tour of a gallery with an international light artist, participated in a speed-mentoring event held by Business Journals, and heard from speakers ranging from entrepreneurs to non-profit founders to executives to yours truly (chocolate supply chain and chocolate tasting!).

Sampling Graham's Fine Chocolates on our day about The Business of Chocolate: Geneva Getaway
Sampling Graham’s Fine Chocolates on our day about The Business of Chocolate: Geneva Getaway

The experiences were meaningful to the students, who wrote blog posts at www.parischicagosafari.blogspot.com. The experiences were also meaningful to me in ways I hadn’t expected: I connected more deeply with some of my friends and contacts, thought more intently about the themes I built the course around, and got to see Chicago and American business through the eyes of my bright and perceptive students. See our posts online, including my tie-it-all-together post at the top showing the theme of each excursion, where we went, and links to our hosts.

As the saying goes: “school is never out for the pro.”

Cheers!

“Professor Beck”

chocolateuplift@gmail.com

Honored to receive recognition from the President of Kendall College for the Paris Chicago Safari
Honored to receive recognition from the President of Kendall College for creating the Paris Chicago Safari

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