ChildFund International Seeks to Reduce Mass Child Migrations

ChildFund International pic
ChildFund International

An accomplished entrepreneur and educator, Joann Baney splits her time between serving as vice president of the Professional Development Company, Inc., and teaching courses at Columbia University. Committed to charitable giving as well, Joann Baney supports ChildFund International.

As part of its effort to help children around the world achieve their potential, ChildFund International has joined with Christian Children’s Fund Canada and Educo to reduce child migration from Central America and Mexico. The group of organizations are working toward reducing the recent child migration waves from Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. These efforts will be funded by a $9.7 million grant from Canada’s foreign relations departments. Additional funds from members are expected to increase this amount to $11.7 million.

The money from contributions and the fund will allow these organizations to address the causes of child migration. Currently, the primary causes appear to be limited educational and employment opportunities and high levels of violence and crime. ChildFund International and its partners also believe that the lack of understanding of the dangers of irregular migration is a contributing factor.

Over the next several years, these organizations plan on reducing violence, educating locals about irregular migration, and improving employment opportunities. In doing so, they hope to improve the quality of life for children in these areas and reduce mass migration.


Larry Brown: An Underrated Steelers Great

Larry Brown pic
Larry Brown

There are obvious choices when it comes to naming the all-time great Steelers. Names like Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Troy Polamalu, and Ben Roethlisberger immediately come to mind. There are other players, however, whose efforts have largely been underrated by Steelers fans for years. One such individual is Larry Brown.

Brown was a fourth-round draft pick in 1971 as a tight end. Playing in an era where the tight-end position was not often utilized in the passing game, Brown finished his career with 48 receptions, five of those being touchdown grabs. His most memorable catch, however, came in Super Bowl IX against the Minnesota Vikings, where he caught a touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw that sealed the team’s 15-6 victory.

In 1977, Brown did something unusual for the time, switching positions from tight end to offensive tackle. In two Super Bowl appearances at the position Brown helped keep a clean pocket for Bradshaw, which allow him to shred the Cowboys and Rams secondaries, securing two more Lombardi Trophies for the Steelers in the process.

Roethlisberger Won’t Change Rugged Style


Ben Roethlisberger pic
Ben Roethlisberger

Joann Baney is the owner of Professional Development Company, Inc., a New York-based firm that helps clients improve their public speaking and presentation skills. Outside her professional life, Joann Baney is an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger has often been described as a rugged quarterback, garnering a reputation for taking big hits in the pocket while still being able to make big plays. Entering his 13th season, however, the Steelers would prefer Roethlisberger take less chances and preserve his health.

Measuring in at 6-foot-5-inches and a robust 240 pounds, Roethlisberger is a challenge to sack. That size has afforded him the opportunity to make plays that other quarterbacks simply can’t make, because he can often shrug off the initial hit by a defensive end or linebacker, requiring a second defender to bring him down.

Roethlisberger says he won’t change his style, but he has missed 21 games throughout his career due to injury. Given that Roethlisberger has more years behind his career than in front, the Steelers have expressed that they would like him to play with a little more caution this year, especially in light of the team’s Super Bowl aspirations.

With arguably the best receiver in the league, Antonio Brown, and a high-powered offense, the Steelers could make a deep playoff run in 2016, but it all depends on Roethlisberger staying healthy.

Three Tips Speakers Use to Improve Presentation Skills

public speaker
public speaker


The cofounder of the Professional Development Company, Joann Baney works with other firms and organizations in developing their communications programs. Throughout her career, Joann Baney has coached top-level executives in improving their interpersonal skills, including their presentation and public speaking abilities. To become an effective public speaker, individuals must:

1) Practice. A good presentation comes with preparation. Rehearsing several times gives speakers the confidence they need to deliver the speech. Preparing scripts or visual cues also keeps them on track with the subject they wish to deliver.

2) Acclimatize to the venue. Speakers often find that visiting the venue before the actual presentation makes them more comfortable during the event. It also gives them the opportunity to identify and address elements that can distract their audience, such as poor sound.

3) Allow audience participation. The success of the presentation can be measured through the active participation of listeners. Engaging the audience by encouraging them to ask questions builds rapport and establishes a connection.

The Story Behind the Malala Fund

Malala Fund pic
Malala Fund


Based in New York City, Joann Baney is a professor at Columbia University, where she teaches courses in the Executive Master of Public Administration program of the School of International and Public Affairs and serves on the faculty of the Executive Master of Business Administration program and the Graduate School of Public Health. Joann Baney also supports several charities, including the Malala Fund.

Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai has a tremendous story. As a result of her efforts to be educated, she was shot by the Taliban but miraculously survived. In response to this brutality, Malala became a global advocate for girls who were being denied a formal education. Ms. Yousafzai established the Malala Fund in 2013 to help raise awareness of this issue. Due to her successes, she won the National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.

To learn more about the Malala Fund and its programs, visit If you want to get involved with the work, the Malala Fund is always accepting donations as well as passionate volunteers.

A Look at Hamilton, the Smash Broadway Musical


Hamilton pic

Professor Joann Baney teaches in the Executive Master of Public Administration program of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. When she’s not working, Joann Baney enjoys attending Broadway shows.

The astonishingly popular Hamilton has taken Broadway by storm since opening on August 6, 2015. The musical was nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the most in history, and won 11, including best musical. It has also won a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy Award. In addition, the show is expected to make more than $100 million in its first year.

The show was written and produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who first became interested in Alexander Hamilton, the titular character, when he wrote a paper in high school about the founding father and his duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. He later read the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow and spent several years writing the work, using a hip-hop musical style he felt befitted the narrative.

In addition to writing it, Miranda appeared in the show for the majority of its opening run as Hamilton himself and also hired a diversity of actors, so that the musical features primarily black and Latino talent. While Miranda has stepped down from playing the leading role, the musical is expected to continue running on Broadway.

Is Saudi Arabia Ready for a Tourism Boost?

Saudi Arabia pic
Saudi Arabia

Joann Baney, a business professor working at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), is also a consultant and the co-owner of the Professional Development Company, Inc. Although based in New York City, Joann Baney often travels out of the country, and, on several occasions, has traveled to Saudi Arabia to teach in executive programs sponsored by the King Khalid Foundation.

With the drop in oil prices in recent years, Saudi Arabia is now considering increasing its tourism promotion. According to Brid Breeler, a tourism consultant, Saudi Arabia is “the last frontier of tourism.” The country has traditionally been reluctant to open up its doors to foreign tourists due to the differences in culture.

Now, even Prince Sultan Bin Salman, the head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, is lobbying for a more lenient stance on tourism. The nation’s most profitable source of tourist income is the annual pilgrimage. Around 18 million Muslims visit the country every year, especially the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Possible tourist activities include glamping (camping with glamour and luxury amenities), diving, sand skiing, and archeological site tours. Prince Sultan has proposed issuing visas to non-Muslim tourists, with Mecca and Medina remaining available to Muslim visitors only.