As I mentioned in day nine’s post, I switched directions and instead of using my marketing degree and going into corporate, I started working at Centenary College in August of 2006. The job at Centenary gave me the opportunity to build their campus recreation program from the ground up, develop student leadership initiatives, build a network of other student affairs professionals and work with incredible college students. In addition, this job allowed me to go back to school and earn a masters. Now, I didn’t jump right into a masters program - partly because I only started working there in August and it was difficult to enroll and be accepted that fall. Luckily, this timing allowed me some time to determine if I wanted to get an MBA or a Masters Degree in Education. In all honesty, I needed a few more months to clear my head of four straight years of college classes.
By that October though I started finalizing my options because a few of my colleagues, including my boss Kristen McKitish, recommended an amazing program to earn a masters in Leadership and Public Administration. She said the professors were some of the best professors she ever had and she had applied a lot of what she learned everyday. I applied, was accepted and signed up for my first class - Advanced Written Communication. This course was taught by Jeff Carter. It was a requirement in the program because of intensive writing required in order to successfully complete the program (when I completed the degree I had a portfolio of my papers from the ten classes in a four inch binder).
Jeff Carter was by far one of the best professors in the program. He was down to earth, treated us like adults and was one of the most efficient and well-prepared professors I ever had. I succeeded in the next 9 classes because of the discipline and attention to detail he instilled on the class. Our very first class he told us we would be writing a 20-30 page paper which I thought was a daunting task. However, he taught us how to research, how to write accurately in APA style, and chunk your writing instead of waiting until the last minute.
In addition to Jeff’s teaching skills, he captured my attention every class for each of the three courses I took with him. He was a retired police captain and was attaining his doctorate degree where he was doing a dissertation on Toxic Leadership. He matched the style of Ann Huser and Hart Singh, two of my favorite FDU professors, because he brought real-world examples into every classes.
What they taught me:
A lot of what Jeff Carter taught me has framed my leadership style: relational leadership. He was one of the main reasons I succeeded when it came to writing and presenting in each class as well as creating an engaging environment that made me want to go to every single class.
How they inspired me:
In a professional setting, Jeff has influenced me to be the best leader I can and provide the resources for those around me. In an academic setting, I strive to be a professor one day. His presentation style and ability to engage with his audience has spilled over into my presentation style.
When you are in a position of leadership, don't stand on a pedestal. People want to connect and relate to you, so give them stories and open yourself up to be able to do that.
Learning to write and present is so important for someone that is carving out their niche. Look for any opportunity to fine tune those skills. This will ensure that when you have figured out what your message is to the world, that you have the skills to share that message.