Speaker and Mentor to Business Students in Monaco

Last updated: August 8, 2020

Museum and Business School Team Up for Healthy Planet!

In April, I traveled to Monaco with an organization called Monaco Impact. I was invited to work with students participating in a really cool museum consulting project at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

Group shot of the students, the Monaco Impact team, the museum team and me!

Monaco Impact & Students from IUM

Monaco Impact is an organization that promotes the soft power of Monaco. They work to promote Monaco as a world center of philanthropy and social impact. 

I was invited to help mentor students from the International University of Monaco by Linda Blanshay, a Monaco Impact member from California. She also made the trip to Monaco, helping to guide me and translate French. Thanks to Peter Kutemann, President of Monaco Impact and Marilyn Santino for organizing and sponsoring my trip.

The Ocean Protection Project is a collaboration between the International University of Monaco, Monaco Impact, and the Oceanographic Museum. The students were challenged to act as “CSR consultants” for the museum, helping the museum come up with ideas to attract new visitors and engage them in caring about ocean protection. They then pitched their ideas to the museum board, a group from the university, the Museum Director, and University Director. The student’s presentations were judged and the winner picked.

This is the VR room in the museum. It was super cool!

The students from IUM were led by their professor, Marjorie Bertschy, Director of the Master of Science in Management Programs, CSR Professor Damyana Bakardzhieva, and marketing Professor Christian Remon.

Me and one of the student groups. I loved being able to work one-on-one with the student groups.

My part in this project was two-fold. I was there to give a presentation on Museum Hack and the challenges we faced shaking up the museum world, and most importantly why museums matters. I also was there to help the students with their consultation presentations.

Some of my slides about Museum Hack and one of my favorite objects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Working with the Students

Selfie from the rooftop.

I had one-on-one coaching sessions with the individual teams of students as they prepared for the competition.

  • Two student teams were focused on revising programming at the museum
  • Two teams were focused on ocean conservation and putting the museum “on the map”

My job was to listen to their ideas and give feedback.

Me talking with the students from IUM.

After the students shared their presentations with me, we workshopped their ideas. They had such creative and amazing ideas. I’m lucky to have been part of their learning process.

Chatting with a small group of students to explain what we do at Museum Hack.

In small groups, the students and I developed ways that their ideas could be refined. We also talked about how they could present their ideas to the judges in more concise and direct ways. The feedback I gave was all about how they could engage new audiences, be accepted by the museum, and be sustainable.

The teams looked at several key initiatives:

  • What does the museum of the future look like?
  • How do we get new audiences excited about saving the ocean?

The Final Presentation

On May 2, IUM students made their final presentations to the panel of judges. You can watch the presentations in the video below.

Congrats to the winning team! They had fabulous ideas of transforming the Museum’s rooftop cafe into a creative and environmentally friendly space and creating an Escape Room experience for the museum. I loved that our discussion helped shape the final product. It was also great to see how creative and passionate all the students were about their ideas.


I was honored to be part of this! This program will be a recurring event. They have plans for this to be a model that they bring to other campuses in the future. Interested to take part? Check out: IUM on Instagram.

This program is part of a growing trend in business schools. Many schools are adapting their programs to integrate topics of social value and purpose. Providing future leaders with more soft skills, such as empathy and communication are critical for preparing them to be the best leaders they can be. This article in the New York Times talks about why this new model is popular.

“There’s a turning point in what’s expected from business leaders. Up until now, business leaders were largely responsible for delivering products. Now, shareholders are looking to corporate leaders to make statements on what would traditionally have been social justice or moral issues.” – Leanne Meyer, co-director of a new leadership department at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, NYT:


Me with Florent Favier, Chef de projet Stratégie Digitale at the Institut Océanographique.

Thank you to everybody that was in involved with bringing me out to Monaco.

Special thanks to Monaco Impact, who funded and brought me out there. Thanks to the International University of Monaco and its students. Extreme special thanks to Florent Favier, Chef de projet Stratégie Digitale at the Institut océanographique. Florent arranged for an awesome behind the scenes tour for me and was an excellent host! Shout out to Solene Baque, Monaco Impact Intern, and IUM student, for serving as the student liaison.

Bonus: Museum Hack and Monaco Partnership

Some ideas I had for how Monaco and Museum Hack can work together.

  • Development of Premium VIP Private Tour: Replicate this in Monaco at the Oceanographic Museum.
  • Stewardship Roadmap Development: One of my greatest assets is my global understanding of what it takes to lead a cultural institution. Initiatives such as Young Patrons programs, Social Media, and Customer Appreciation could be beneficial.
  • Museum Hack Training Workshop: Museum Hack provides training services to many museums on staff training and professional development.
  • English-language Social Media Outreach: Focus on making the Oceanographic Museum one of the top three activities and tours within Monaco so that when tourists are researching what to do when they are in Monaco, this is one of their top choices.
  • Viral Videos: Work to create 1-3 viral videos, similar to these to be shared to increase the soft power and tourism potential of Monaco.
  • Event Partnership: Plan a gathering in Monaco to attract visitors from a certain niche or event.

More Information

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