Grow Beyond – SEO-Vietnam Career Conference 2018


I recently saw this announcement on LinkedIn:

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity – Vietnam is organizing the largest career conference in Vietnam in 2018, aiming at connecting top young professionals and fresh graduates to the top-notch firms in Vietnam. We are still open to more booths at the career fair. If you are interested to boost talent acquisition at our event. please let me know. 

Our partners include top notch firms such as: ABInbev, BCG, SSI, Unilever, Traveloka, McKinsey, British American Tobacco and many more.

Here are my responses and other comments:

Great conference and opportunity with one caveat: I wish organizations would not take sponsorship money from companies that manufacture products that are highly addictive, make their customers sick and, in many cases, ultimately end up killing them. There’s plenty of sponsorship money out there for worthwhile events. Don’t follow the path of least resistance and take what is essentially blood money.  

Hi Mark, thank you for your attentive concern. The morale side of the business is yet controversial, but from our organizing perspective, we try to give a diversified company portfolio, which have prominent career trainings, employees benefits and opportunities for young professionals to make their own choices :). 

It’s not controversial for those who believe that people are more important than profit.  My point is about sponsorship not whether such a company should have a booth at your event. Regarding employment with a company that manufactures products that are highly addictive, make their customers sick and, in many cases, end up killing them, here are two relevant quotes from Thích Nhất Hạnh: 1) “Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.” 2) “The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others.” 

Thank you for sharing chi!

Peace, MAA

The Monsanto Vietnam “Charm Offensive” Continues

Courtesy of Monsanto
Courtesy of Monsanto

Why are these children smiling?  Is it because they’re excited at the prospect of tasting the sweetness of Monsanto’s generosity through its most recent philanthropic activity – in cooperation with Room to Read?  Naw, it’s just a file photo, but you get the idea.  Vietnamese children, smiling faces, Monsanto’s latest charitable gesture in a country devastated by one of its signature products, Agent Orange.  Flashbacks to that classic 1974 dramatic thriller, The Parallax View.

This is also the company that is challenging the food sovereignty of Vietnam and many other countries with the introduction of highly controversial genetically modified crops.  To date, Monsanto, which had 2013 revenue of $15 billion, has invested a grand total of $220,000 (70k + 150k) in scholarships for students at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (check it out my introduction to an article entitled The Audacity of Monsanto & the Short Memory of the Vietnam National University of Agriculture by Chuck Palazzo) and now this program.

Like I said in the aforementioned post, Monsanto execs must be smiling like a Cheshire cat at how easy it is to buy access and influence in a country that was once on the receiving end of one of its most infamous products and is now a living laboratory for genetically modified corn to be used for food and animal feed.

Not All Money is Created Equal

Nguyen Hong Loi and child born without eyes in Agent Orange children's ward at Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Nguyen Hong Loi, 24, cares for a child born without eyes in the Agent Orange children’s ward of Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. About 500 of the 60,000 children delivered each year at the maternity hospital, Vietnam’s largest, are born with deformities, some because of Agent Orange, according to doctors. May 1, 2013. Photo by Drew Brown

This is what I described in that previous post about the scholarship program as the Trojan horse approach to improving the bottom line, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, according to one media reference.  I once advised a well-known student organization that they should be careful who they take money from in the form of corporate sponsorship.  One example was an organization that promotes the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco-related products.  The problem is most nonprofits never met a donor whose money they weren’t happy to take.  The moral of the story is choose carefully and ethically, when it comes to sponsorship.  Consider the source.

The Ultimate Expression of Corporate Social Responsibility

The ultimate corporate responsibility for companies like Monsanto, Dow and Diamond Shamrock would be to take responsibility – in partnership with their client back in the day, the US government – by creating a superfund, substantially more than the token 220k donated thus far, to assist with clean-up efforts and to help alleviate the suffering of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations of Vietnamese affected by dioxin poisoning.