Ivey LEADER Project takes flight with help from Aeroplan

Aeroplan donating up to one million miles toward Ivey economic development project

TORONTO, March 2 /CNW/ - Students at the Richard Ivey School of Business are taking their overseas economic development program the distance thanks to a generous donation from Aeroplan.

The Ivey LEADER Project (Leading Education and Development in Emerging Regions) is a non-profit organization founded by students in 1991 that sends Ivey's undergraduate, MBA, and PhD students to Eastern Europe to teach foundational business skills to university students and entrepreneurs in newly developing economies.

A goal of the LEADER Project is for Ivey students to gain a breadth of rich cultural and business-related experiences.

"It's an incredible learning experience for both the Ivey students and the program participants. The Ivey students learn about different organizational cultures, about the constraints and opportunities in developing regions and in return we help the entrepreneurs solve critical business problems," said Mike Brosseau, an Ivey MBA student and Executive Director of the program. "This exchange of knowledge is particularly important in today's global business environment."

Aeroplan is donating 500,000 miles and matching Aeroplan Mile donations up to an additional 500,000, for a total of one million Aeroplan Miles that will go towards LEADER's travel costs. This will fund approximately 10 project participants.

"The LEADER Project has been a part of Aeroplan's Charitable Pooling Program for the past four years and we're thrilled to be able to support Canadian leadership skills and help Ivey share knowledge within the global community," said Kevin O'Brien, Vice President, Strategy and Planning, Aeroplan. "To date, Aeroplan Members have donated almost two million miles to the LEADER Project to be used to defray travel and hotel costs."

In addition, Aeroplan will send employee Hoda Mehr to participate in the LEADER experience as a part of an employee engagement program at Aeroplan that supports its employees in getting directly involved in the community. Hoda will travel to Skopje, Macedonia to teach in the program. She'll join 28 Ivey students travelling to seven cities in Russia, Ukraine, Macedonia and Moldova for two weeks beginning May 10, 2010.

Mehr has a business education and went through the same rigorous application process as all the students in the LEADER Project. Originally from Iran, she has international business experience in areas such as the Middle East.

"Through this project, I will be able to bring different perspectives and business know-how to assist entrepreneurs in advancing their situations. I hope this contribution will help them move beyond their usual practices by providing a strategic roadmap for manoeuvring through a challenging business environment," she said.

Ivey students will use case studies to teach entrepreneurs to heighten their competitive awareness and better analyze their competitors, as well as share knowledge of marketing, strategy development and implementation.

More than 700 Ivey students have participated in LEADER since its inception.

For more information on the LEADER Project or to donate Aeroplan Miles to the program, visit www.leaderproject.com.

About the Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario

The Richard Ivey School of Business (www.ivey.ca) at The University of Western Ontario is Canada's leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today's complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.

About LEADER

LEADER (http://www.leaderproject.com/) is a student-driven overseas economic development program founded in 1991 by MBA students from the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario. Its mandate is to send Ivey students on a two-week exchange to teach business skills to students and entrepreneurs in the developing economies of Eastern Europe and Russia.

About Aeroplan

Aeroplan, Canada's premier loyalty program, is owned by Groupe Aeroplan Inc., the global leader in loyalty management. Aeroplan's millions of members earn Aeroplan Miles with its growing network of over 75 world-class partners, representing more than 150 brands in the financial, retail, and travel sectors.

In 2009, over 2.1 million rewards were issued to members including more than 1.5 million flights on Air Canada and Star Alliance carriers which offer travel to more than 1,000 destinations worldwide. In addition to flights, members also have access to over 600 exciting specialty, merchandise, hotel, car rental and experiential rewards. For more information about Aeroplan, please visit www.groupeaeroplan.com or www.aeroplan.com.

SOURCE Ivey Business School

For further information: For further information: Dawn Milne, Richard Ivey School of Business, (519) 850-2536, dmilne@ivey.ca; Christa Poole, Aeroplan, (416) 352-3745, christa.poole@aeroplan.com

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