Nonprofit organizations strive to enrich the lives of the community being served. That requires building a leadership team with the skills needed to make a meaningful impact.
“There’s a bit of a tendency to say that just because I’m good at my profession or I’m passionate about a topic, I must be a good board member,” Fox School professor TL Hill says. “But it’s a professional skill very few people have.”
For nonprofit board members looking to enhance their effectiveness or for board leaders who want to attract and train the next generation of members, the Center for Executive Education at Temple University’s Fox School of Business is offering a Nonprofit Board Service Training Certificate program.
“The goal of this program is to train a group of people who will be better, more effective board members who can help the people around them,” Hill says. “There is a lot to be learned in this program and it is all evidence- and experience-based.”
The program is led by Hill, an experienced facilitator, and features a variety of topic experts who bring insight and real-world knowledge to the sessions. It will be held on four Saturdays (March 21, April 25, May 16 and June 13) in the Center for Executive Education’s learning space located on Main Campus at 1810 Liacouras Walk, fifth floor.
“The experience of all of the topic specialists who are coming in is varied,” Hill says. “Some of them are formally trained; others have learned it through the school of hard knocks. But they have all learned it and want to help others avoid what they’ve been through.”
The program is organized into four sessions (below) and will include presentations, hands-on learning, panel discussions, coaching and peer interaction.
- Saturday, March 21: Building an Effective Governing Team: Composition, Structure, Process and Culture
- Saturday, April 25: Cultivating Excellent Leadership: Selection, Supervision, Succession
- Saturday, May 16: Guiding the Organization: Developing Strategy and Managing Risk
- Saturday, June 13: Ensuring Sustainability: Finding and Managing Resources
For more information about the sessions and topic experts, click here.
“Well-informed strategic decisions improve an organization’s chances of actualizing measurable impact that is aligned with its mission,” says Maureen Cannon, program director for Fox Board Fellows and senior associate director, Fox Management Consulting.
For those not yet on a board, the Center will coach participants through a board search that includes clarification of goals and passions, as well as structured networking. In addition, nonprofit boards looking to train and attract the next generation of board leaders are encouraged to send members to the program.
“The Center for Executive Education is excited to add this program to our portfolio as we look for more ways to support an individual’s continued pursuit of lifelong learning once they have entered the professional world,” says Rich Morris, associate director of business development, Center for Executive Education. “We like the idea of providing participants the tools to give back to the community and become more effective board members of area nonprofit organizations.”
The cost of the program is $3000 per participant. Temple alumni pay $2500 per person. Nonprofit organizations sending multiple board members are eligible for a discounted program fee.
For more information about eligibility and how to register, click here.
Sometimes it takes a delegation to host a delegation.
The Fox School’s Center for Executive Education extended its networking arms to bring together a team of Temple University faculty, industry experts and professionals to help a delegation of government officials from Vietnam better understand the relationship between the U.S. government and business enterprises.
The Center coordinated lectures, workshops, tours and on-site visits for the group during its extended stay in early November.
“Their visit gave us an opportunity to tap into resources we don’t normally utilize,” says Rich Morris, associate director of business development at the Center. “So outside of the Fox community, we reached out to the broader Temple system and then beyond Temple to connect with additional subject matter experts and other entities within Philadelphia to set up field visits.”
Field visits to the headquarters of Philadelphia Gas Works and SEPTA showcased the information being shared in lectures and workshops.
“That was key in the design of the program,” says Renée Hartwell, assistant director at the Center. “It is crucial to the learning experience to go outside the classroom. It would be hard to do 10 days of lecture-only learning. Going on-site really helps put the learning into action.”
While the delegation spoke a different language from the team assembled by Morris and Hartwell, there were very few topics that were foreign to the delegation.
“A lot of the business principles translate around the world, so they are familiar with the practices and concepts being discussed,” says Ho Tram Anh, the group’s translator who works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vietnam. “I think there are immediate takeaways from this experience, especially for the people who manage the state capital and the businesses. This program tackles issues around state-owned enterprises and the potential privatization of companies. That is of great interest to them.”
After several lectures on government history and how federal, state and local governments work, the group delved into specific topics including anti-corruption laws, Social Security and policies related to government assistance and Medicaid, and how the U.S helps vulnerable populations.
“Anti-corruption is one of the key topics that interests the delegation most because they represent the Party Commission of the Central Authority as well as businesses,” Ahn says. “The Social Security system was also of particular interest. They did not expect something so comprehensive that relates directly to the benefit of the people.”
Transportation was another issue on the delegation’s agenda.
Allison Hastings, manager of the Office of Communications and Engagement at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, led a session on how her organization helps plan transportation projects that move both people and goods through the region.
“One of the things that I thought would be interesting to the group is that our staff informs the elected officials who make decisions about projects,” she says. “Our elected officials have to rely very much on our professional and technical staff for information and background.
“Also relevant is the fact that our transportation system has grown over 300 years. We still have a lot of legacy needs and not enough funding for it.”
Kim Scott Heinle, who focuses largely on customer service as an assistant general manager at SEPTA, continued the transportation discussion, meeting the group at Reading Terminal Market for lunch and a tour before heading to the transportation authority’s Market Street headquarters.
“Philadelphia’s transportation history runs deep and has experienced many changes,” he says. “It’s important to have a good relationship with our customers and we do everything we can to accomplish that.”
Heinle brought together staff from SEPTA representing its police department, general counsel’s office, citizens advisory committee, customer service team and market research group for a panel discussion. The topics included federal and state government funding, infrastructure upgrades, SEPTA’s high-speed rail, electronic key cards and privatization.
“They were interested in getting a better understanding for how the government funding works and how much is SEPTA’s budget derived from federal funds versus state funds versus the money riders are paying,” Morris says. “That gave them a better understanding as to the benefit of having a state government-owned entity as opposed to being private.”
Morris believes the delegation’s visit to Temple was valuable for everyone.
“The delegation could have sat in their offices and watched videos or read articles about us, but actually coming and hearing from people who are part of it, having the faculty talk about the history, and then going out and actually visiting the sites that were talked about makes this a unique experience.”
“You don’t get the same effect when you are exclusively in a classroom,” says current Fellow Colin O’Shea.
Learning by doing is the way Temple University’s Fox Board Fellows get things done.
Since 2011, more than 95 nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area have benefitted from the work done by more than 180 graduate students at the Fox School of Business.
“This is a really rich relationship from our perspective,” Professor T.L. Hill, managing director of Fox Management Consulting (FMC), says. “It’s the best way for our students to learn as well as provide good service to the nonprofits.”
After an application and interview process, graduate students are placed on nonprofit boards as visiting, non-voting members. Fellows then work with their partner nonprofits on a higher-level project and produce a research report as part of the elective Non-Profit Governance graduate course taught by Hill.
In the latest cohort, 18 students in several programs were matched with 18 nonprofits serving a range of communities and interests in the Delaware Valley. The fellows work with their organization over the course of an academic year, allowing participants to gain an in-depth understanding of board governance and practice effective board membership.
“You don’t get the same effect when you are exclusively in a classroom,” says current fellow Colin O’Shea. “So being able to actually sit on the board of an organization is such a deep dive and a great opportunity and learning experience.”
O’Shea is now part of the effort at Philadelphia Youth Basketball, a sports-based youth development organization that works to create opportunities for young people to reach their potential as students, athletes and positive leaders.
“We are really looking forward to this opportunity,” says Diana Venezia, MS ’17, director of development at the organization. “These past few months have been a time of learning for all of us and we are really excited.”
Stressing that this experience goes deeper than an internship, Hill encourages nonprofit leaders to challenge their fellows by allowing them to delve into what he calls the “ownership and institutional pressures” required to meet an organization’s mission.
The ownership pressures have to do with whether or not a nonprofit has the assets and the foundation to do what the work it wants to do. The institutional pressures involve culture on both the board and within the organization and it stakeholders.
“These are areas where there might be really interesting, useful projects that will help the board and the organization move forward in a way that the nonprofit might not have the capacity to think about,” Hill says.
The program is structured around a series of four Saturday seminars at Temple’s Main Campus as well as time the fellows spend working directly with their nonprofit. The seminar topics cover the basic governance issues that many boards face including nonprofit economics, impact measurement, management of the executive director and finances.
“Depending on the projects the students are working on, special topics also emerge,” Hill says.
In the past there have been discussions about earned income streams, leadership succession and merger discussions.
“Throughout it all, the project and the research is the core piece,” Hill says, adding that the overall experience prepares the fellows for future board service.
Fellow Chris Barba, who has been paired with the Montgomery and Delaware County-based nonprofit Girls on the Run, will be working on several areas including program growth, fundraising and overall strategy.
The organization, with international headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, uses a curriculum-based program that creatively integrates running to deliver a social, emotional and motivational learning experience.
“I have, and will always have, a social sector top-of-mind focus and Fox Board Fellows allows me the opportunity to continue to do this work.”
“I’m excited to really contribute to the goal of how to make growth happen for this organization,” Barba says.
Tracy Ashdale, founder and executive director of the local council, believes in the power of the experience the fellow has on both themselves and her organization.
“The fellows bring a level of curiosity and inquiry with them,” Ashdale, BSW ’92, MSW ’94, says. “The experience offers the opportunity to see things differently from what we generally see. That often translates into innovation for our organization.”
Venezia adds the original project Philadelphia Youth Basketball had in mind went through some changes and evolved as O’Shea and the organization got to know each other better.
“Our original idea pivoted from an analysis of our donor database and email strategy to a new focus on volunteer engagement and streamlining that process,” she says. “There is a huge opportunity for growth for us and it can be a missed opportunity.
“But after our both our internal conversations and our meetings with Colin, we have a better idea now of what we need and where we need to go. Colin gets us and that’s great for everyone.”
For more information about the program, contact Maureen Cannon, email@example.com.
Working in an age of disruption, women are encouraged to embrace and grow their leadership styles.
Your leadership style is constantly evolving, even if you don’t realize it.
That’s because professional women are living and working in an age of disruption, says Wendi Wasik, facilitator of “Understanding and Leveraging Your Leadership Style,” the first of six sessions in the Fox School’s Women’s Leadership Series.
“Women have greater opportunities to shape and influence what is of importance to them,” Wasik says.
The monthly series, hosted by the Center for Executive Education, provides an environment for professional women to grow their knowledge of effective and successful leadership skills.
Wasik, an executive coach, was quick to issue a challenge to the room of women whose careers spanned a range of professions.
“What do you care about?” she asks. “What has you want[ing] to rise up and be the best leader you can be?”
For some emerging leaders, the answer to those questions might take them out of their comfort zone.
“When a situation calls for something different, we need to introduce some flexibility,” she says.
“Your leadership style is multidimensional and fluid, it is not hard and fast, although sometimes we think it is. It is constantly evolving and expanding your awareness as you gain experience and you integrate lessons from successes and failures.”
Temple University Provost JoAnne A. Epps joined the cohort for a conversation about women in leadership. She advised participants to think about what they want to achieve as leaders.
“We don’t actually ask ourselves that question often enough,” she says. “Feel free to think boldly and to try things.”
It’s important for all leaders to recognize their blind spots as well as the sweet spots and be open to input from others to help identify strengths and weaknesses.
“There is a lot of value in creating a learning environment where one can discuss failures and mistakes and learn from it and come back stronger because of it,” Wasik says.
Small team exercises allowed several participants to have “lightbulb moments” that helped them identify individual strengths and weaknesses.
“Awareness is really the first step,” Wasik says, “You cannot change what you are not aware of.”
Some of the things that influence most leadership styles center around a person’s mindset and the internal dialogue that takes place during a time of challenge.
A fixed mindset makes it difficult to grow as a leader. So Wasik urged participants to cultivate a growth mindset that is more open to learning new ways to lead and think about problems in front of them.
“This becomes the fabric of the culture,” she says.
Wasik believes internal dialogue can create both opportunities and limitations for women that ultimately impacts behavior.
“The perfectionism aspect that I see particularly around women executives is really intense sometimes,” she says.
Accepting and learning from mistakes is something successful leaders need to work toward.
“If you don’t own that and master that for yourself, you do not have it to give away to others,” Wasik says.
But both Epps and Wasik admit change and growth can be uncomfortable.
“If you are going to be an effective leader, you’re going to have people who are going to dislike decisions that you make and they are going to try to derail the decision or derail you,” Epps says.
It’s how someone deals with these difficult situations that can make a difference for all parties involved.
“I think you have to emotionally let go of that because it will hold you back,” she says.
It’s not always easy to get business professionals to quickly reach a consensus.
“A lot of people use their MBA to leave their current positions, but I was able to pivot within the company where I worked,” says Dan Tedesco, MBA ’15, a strategic planning manager at Essity, a global hygiene and health company headquartered in Sweden. “I used my Fox Management Consulting experience to change my role to more of a business strategy one. The experience paved the foundation of everything I’ve done since in my career.”
The capstone course provides an experiential learning experience to MBA students by integrating corporate strategy and marketing consulting projects within the curriculum. The process often allows students an opportunity to explore a variety of industries and topics that are new to them.
Prior to getting his MBA, Tedesco used his mechanical engineering background in a product development role. Now he’s responsible for the strategic planning process of the B2B business unit at Essity.
FMC has a team of project executives who are senior-level career professionals who work with the student teams to deliver results to clients.
“Our project executive, Wayne Rosengerger, was always encouraging us, making us believe in trusting the process and watching how things would evolve. It’s those little things, that diligence, that stay with me now,” he says. “I tell people about this program and how it is a phenomenal experience that can change the path of your career.”
Garrett Frankford, MBA ’18 used his MBA to change industries while remaining in the same line of work. He believes part of the challenge in consulting is knowing you could be working in an unfamiliar business landscape.
“Some of it was completely different from anything I had done before and the projects caused many of the students to step outside their comfort zone,” the customs compliance manager at Carter’s / OshKosh B’gosh says.
His team worked with a client to develop a market entry strategy around a personal mobile safety app. Part of that work included financial modeling, a skill Frankford says he didn’t believe he would need.
“Just knowing the type of jobs I was applying for, I didn’t think I would use that experience,” he says.
He quickly realized otherwise.
“My FMC work gave me the skills I needed to direct a presentation to our CEO about tariff changes that directly affect the organization. Financial modeling was a skill I didn’t think I’d use, but within three months, I did.”
In addition, Frankford says he now thinks differently about the challenges before him. “I’ve gone from a technical thinker to a more strategic thinker because of this experience.”
It’s the complexities of business that remind Carey Gallagher, MBA ’08, of her international MBA experience at the Fox School.
“There are so many ways to get things done in business, there are no right or wrong ways,” she says.
Currently a partner at C-FAR, a management consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia and Boston, Gallagher focuses on culture and change in healthcare. She describes the work as “focusing on complex problems in complex organizations.”
As part of her MBA program, Gallagher worked on projects that took her to India, Ireland and Temple’s Japan campus.
“Having a glimpse of different countries helped me understand all the complexities of how business is done,” she says. “There is so much more than you realize and the experience helped me get a better understanding of it.”
It’s come full circle for Gallagher, who now combines her Fox MBA experience and her professional expertise to serve as a project advisor at FMC.
“I thought what better way to get involved in the conversation about changing business needs and also help support the learning process for other MBA students than by joining this effort?” she says.
“It’s exciting because I don’t work on just one type of project and that’s significant. It’s really valuable to me to be around people who are all working in the same direction.”
For more information about Fox Management Consulting, click here.
Timing is everything when you are looking to add international educational experience to your MBA capstone class.
Working on a team comes with challenges. But what if part of your team is more than 5,000 miles away — following a different schedule, living in a different culture and ending the workday shortly after yours begins?
Add in a 4.6 magnitude earthquake that strikes in the middle of your final presentation, and things can get pretty hairy.
But Temple University Fox School of Business MBA students Zhi Liao, Jennifer Miescke, Sylvania Tang and Nicole Zeller navigated it all this spring to deliver a presentation in Tel Aviv as part of their capstone experience with Fox Management Consulting (FMC).
“We didn’t even notice the earthquake, we were so focused,” says Liao. “Someone told us later that it happened.”
The students, led by FMC project executive William Kitsch, worked with a team of MBA students and faculty at Tel Aviv University (TAU) as part of an ongoing joint venture between the Fox School and the Israeli university.
“We do this so students get a global experience with a diverse group of students, faculty and businesses,” says David Nash, operating director at Fox Management Consulting.
Forming a team
The American and Israeli groups worked to deliver strategic recommendations to a startup e-commerce company with offices in Tel Aviv and California. The Israeli-owned company, which helps sellers optimize sourcing and selling opportunities across eight countries, was seeking ways to expand its current marketplace.
“It was a very difficult task in the sense of timing,” says Miescke, who served as a project manager. “We were working seven hours behind Tel Aviv all the time and their workweek is Sunday through Thursday.”
The intensity continued as the group arrived in Israel, just days after Temple’s May 9 graduation, and joined the TAU team to prep for the client presentation.
“There was a lot of pressure around the fact that there were two teams,” Kitsch says. “Both had different expectations, schedules, project deadlines. But by learning to work through and manage it all, it gave us opportunities to find leadership in everything we were doing.”
The FMC capstone course is built around a curriculum that helps students apply the competencies and skills they have acquired in the MBA program through the client projects.
In addition to being an exceptional learning opportunity for students, the projects deliver dynamic business solutions to clients facing various challenges.
Since students participating in the global project graduate before the actual client presentation, they first present to faculty for grading purposes.
“Presenting early really helped us see where we could improve, helped our focus and allowed us to see where we needed to get to,” Tang says. “That experience really helped us get things in order and take things to the next level.”
With feedback in hand, the team is ready for the next step.
“They go to Israel, meet with fellow team members and faculty to refine the project,” Nash explains. “They meet with the client later in the week and after all is done, the group does manage some social time.”
Taking it all in
The four Temple students stayed on in Israel for a few additional days to travel to Jerusalem and immerse themselves into the culture and attractions of the region.
“It was great to have that time together after spending so much time working on the project,” Liao says.
Zeller says she knew she wanted to get her MBA from Temple.
“The FMC capstone project, specifically working on a live problem, was the biggest thing that made me come to Fox for my MBA,” she says. “Temple really supports you in the process and that meant a lot.”
Kitsch believes the Tel Aviv experience is an extraordinary opportunity. “Every student should be competing for a spot on that team. It’s that valuable.”
Now that the project is over, the students agree that the experience will move them forward in their careers.
“Without this project, I probably would never consider venturing toward e-commerce or international business and I am fully grateful for that because now it’s something I would consider,” Liao says.
Tang says she is only now realizing how big an impact the project has had on her.
“This experience has definitely fueled a desire in me to look at how far my potential can go,” she explains. “For me, my MBA journey was four years long and in those four years, my MBA capstone class experience — this global journey — was my greatest learning experience at Temple.”
Helping achieve a global experience
Not all Fox Management Consulting projects require traveling abroad to meet with a client, but when they do, Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) can assist.
The center helps pay the team’s travel expenses related to the project, associate director Jeff Conradi says. The center serves to improve U.S. competitiveness in the world marketplace and to produce globally competent students, faculty and staff. It is funded by a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
For more information about the center, click here.
Women in leadership face a myriad of challenges that could push a career off track.
“I think these challenges are best navigated by building savvy business skills and exploiting the advantages that women do have,” says Kelly Grace, one of the session leaders in the upcoming Women’s Leadership Series hosted by the Center or Executive Education at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
The six-session series, which begins Sept. 26 and runs monthly through February, will focus on developing well-honed skills in strong communication, effective negotiation and confident leadership. In addition, the opportunity to regularly network with other professionals in the area will help leverage participants’ potential for career advancement.
“Given the unique group being assembled, we gave a lot of consideration to the faculty who are leading the sessions,” says Rich Morris, Associate Director of Business Development, Center for Executive Education. “We found facilitators who are passionate about supporting the professional advancement of the participating women and, in addition to being fantastic teachers, they also have served as role models for the participants.”
The sessions kick off on Sept. 26 with “Understanding and Leveraging Your Leadership Style” led by Wendi Wasik, founder and CEO of Wasik Consulting.
“My goal for this workshop is to help our attendees see leadership as a way of being, rather than a list of to-do’s and not-do’s,” Wasik says. “We all have a unique way of expressing ourselves as leaders. Your leadership style is as unique as your fingerprint and reflects your personality and values.”
Strong communication skills are required for the majority of professional job postings, notes Melissa Glenn-Fleming, Assistant Professor of Practice at Temple’s Fox School of Business.
On Oct. 17, Glenn-Fleming will lead “Executive Presence and Communications Skills” using the three pillars of executive presence — act, speak and appearance.
“We will discuss those definitions as they apply to women specifically, then identify personal challenges (and/or) strengths,” she adds.
Grace’s session “The Art of Negotiation: As Informed by the Science” will follow on Nov. 14. The Assistant Professor and Director of Master of Science in Human Resource Management at the Fox School believes negotiation is one of the most practical skills needed in any environment.
“We negotiate every day with our business associates as well as our partners and family members,” she says. “This course allows us to explore many ways negotiation occurs in our lives and how we can become more intentional about these processes.
“I want to share the science so participants develop deeper understandings of why they have been successful in past negotiations and consider alternative strategies for future negotiations.”
Over the course of the final three sessions, participants will attend “Finance for the Non-Financial Manager” led by Sherry Jarrell, Coordinator, Finance Curriculum of the MBA Programs at Fox; “Leading Organizational Change” led by Marilyn Anthony, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Director of Business Consulting at Fox Management Consulting; and “Career Management” led by Jackie Linton, President of JL HR Solutions, LLC.
“The class is a peer-learning opportunity and gets people to share the good, bad or ugly, as well as their experiences,” Anthony says.
Part of each session will allow participants to work in small groups to solve challenges related to the particular topic.
“That is the super fun part of the workshop,” Anthony adds. “Everything they are doing and sharing is real. Everyone is facing new challenges and is very open to this peer-solving problem.”
Linton believes Women in Leadership participants will walk away with a framework they can build out into a plan.
“I want the women to learn from each other as much as they learn from me,” Linton says. “And we will have a little fun in the process.”
For more information
The first Women’s Leadership Series was held in 2018 and brought together professional women from a wide variety of companies and organizations. The upcoming series will be held in the new Center For Executive Education space at Temple’s Main Campus at the Fox School of Business, 1810 Liacouras Walk.
Each session will run from 9 a.m. until noon. A networking lunch will follow. The series fee is $2000 per individual participant or $1750 per participant for groups of 3 or more. Early bird registration of $1,850 per individual participant runs through 7/24/19.
Click here to register for the series. For more information or to register a group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-204-3990.
Engaging a community and its leaders to build an innovative, entrepreneurial workforce is a huge challenge. However, Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI), with support from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has done just that — and the momentum is not showing signs of slowing down.
NVI’s work has helped grow more than 32 businesses, train more than 3,000 students and workers and implement an entrepreneurial curriculum in a region hit hard by the closing of a Mitsubishi plant in Adelaide, the capital city in the state of South Australia.
Matt Salier, Director at the New Venture Institute, TL Hill, Managing Director at Fox Management Consulting and The Center for Executive Education and Michelle Histand, Director of Independence Blue Cross Innovation, outlined NVI’s journey during their May 28 presentation “Transforming an Innovation Ecosystem in South Australia (or Looking Far Afield to Find Inspiration at Home).”
Universities have a responsibility to train the next workforce through an adaptable, enterprising curriculum, Hill says. In 2013, Flinders embarked on its mission of creating a path to innovative thinking that would benefit not only the university but also the 1.2 million residents who lived in the surrounding community.
Because of Fox’s strong business curriculum and the demographic similarities between Adelaide and Philadelphia, the partnership with Flinders seemed a natural fit. Fox Management Consulting used its expertise to help bring Flinders University’s vision for the future of education to life.
The key to being transformative in education is to be more industry-led, recognizing how businesses are developing and making adjustments to move forward.
“The research is to put industries’ needs at the center and say what is needed to be successful in the future. We tried to take that model to Flinders as well,” Hill says.
With an early framework in mind, Flinders brought 1,000 business people together to think about what competencies should be driving the university’s transformation as it moved toward being more innovative and entrepreneurial in its overall educational offerings.
“We believe that innovation stretches across all disciplines,” Histand says. “So the idea was not to do ‘innovation instead’ but to do ‘innovation with.’”
New Venture Institute successfully worked with government officials to create “entrepreneurial schools” where curriculum built around innovative thinking begins early in a student’s development.
“We better be working with the supply chain of students coming through, particularly from elementary (what Australia calls high school), but even beyond that,” Salier says.
Hill envisions bringing the work being done at Flinders back to Temple and the city at large.
Both Flinders and Temple recognize the importance of being good community partners, he said. To do that, it’s important to recognize the need to “keep one foot in the university setting and one foot in the community.”
Flinders is working with cities located near the campus to think more creatively in working with residents, businesses and industries to improve conditions.
“There are a range of things that have enabled us to have more of an impact in moving the needle on economic areas outside of our own closeted world of the university,” he said.
What is important to keep in mind, Salier said, is to keep pushing the edge of what is possible.
It’s great to dream. It is also very exciting to think up ways you can move the needle for your organization. But you must build a team that can bring your strategy to fruition, which is no small feat. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), an estimated 67% of well-formulated strategies failed due to poor execution last year.
At the Fox School of Business, we often hear how employees’ skill gaps are a key reason these kinds of failures occur. The good news is that this is a simple problem that can be overcome. Execution doesn’t have to kill your company… or your dreams.
Take a minute to consider how your company can be more successful in deploying its strategy.
Strengthen Pertinent Skills
As an executive, you must deliver opportunities to fill your employees’ skill gaps so that they are prepared to carry out the right course of action (RE: your strategy). Skills to focus on depend on your organization’s needs and goals. They could include negotiation, communication, finance, leadership, or others. Spending on workshops in these areas will decrease the likelihood that you’ll fall down when executing. Your competition already knows this. That’s why, according to HBR, budget allocated toward corporate professional development increased by over 310% in a three-year period.
Know Your Market
Teams often fail when they’re too internally focused. They must understand market dynamics, the competition, and how the firm’s strategy can grow the bottom line and make the organization a market leader. When it comes to shaping strategy, and delivering an action plan, it is also crucial that your team understands your customers, even if they aren’t working in a marketing function. Doing so will help them tune into the business environment, anticipate market dynamics, and understand the role they play in successfully executing a strategy.
Put Data into Practice
Educate and empower your executives to use data effectively and beneficially for your organization—and then put this to work during the execution phase of your business strategy. To begin with, you must collect meaningful employee performance metrics and provide information in an appropriate way to your employees—this is the growing field of human capital analytics. This approach will not only help you analyze and leverage metrics to drive your bottom-line, it will also help your employees understand their personal contributions.
These skills are the building blocks to ensure that your organization can execute on its strategy.
Fox EMBA’s newest graduates of 2017 are turbocharging their careers to reach even greater future professional successes. One reason Fox EMBA alumni outperform the rest is their ability to anticipate and adapt to changes in the workforce. Once students master their skills during the EMBA, they carry those skills over into their next positions, promotions, or projects.
We asked recent graduates Steven Pan, Shannon Connolly, and Carlos Chavarria to detail how their EMBA experiences are translating into their upcoming steps.
Their Thoughts Post Graduation…
Steven’s new firm and new perspective
I formed a consulting joint venture firm, called Hubway, and was appointed as the COO of the firm. Hubway helps Chinese manufacturers establish business in the U.S., and provides consultation, logistics, warehousing, fulfillment, and marketing, a to whole line of B2B and B2C services.
Was made by reaching out to the prospect firms after the Disruptive Leadership Class. The course provided a good framework and way of thinking between me and my suppliers.
The Disruptive Leadership class provided a whole new perspective on how to manage my current business. In class, Anat shared her experience at Mckinsey Consulting on how they successfully helped IBM to sell off their PC business to Lenovo, including strategy generation and key business decision making. It provided a good framework and way of thinking between me and my suppliers.
Advice for Future Students or Colleagues
Bring your questions to the classroom, be a good listener, and learn from the cohort.
Shannon’s transition from sales management into account management
I spent my first four years with MetLife in a Regional Sales Manager position. I was responsible for selling our global employee benefits product within a defined geographic territory.
About halfway through the EMBA program, I took on the role of Director of Account Management, in which I became responsible for a team of ten individuals, two of whom manage our implementation process, and eight of whom manage the ongoing client relationships for our overall book of business.
I was approached by two of the leaders within our business about the opportunity to take on the new role. This was my first time leading a team, as well as my first experience of becoming part of the leadership team at MetLife Expatriate Benefits.
I have really enjoyed leading a team for the first time. I have never been directly involved in growing and developing the human capital in our business, so that has been a very rewarding experience.
I gained insight into change management and leadership strategy, which have helped me think differently in my new role. I have been able to apply many of the concepts I learned during our program to my discussions at the leadership table and with individual members of my team.
Advice for Future Students or Colleagues
Make your intentions around growth and career goals very transparent to those in your business, both at the peer and leadership levels.
Carlos’s uncovering new professional development
Within the first three courses in the Fox EMBA program I realized the company I was with just wasn’t the right fit for me.
Taking the skills, I learned I was able to locate a new job, with a higher salary, more responsibility, and overall better cultural fit. A close friend saw a new position open up, and immediately recommended me for the position.
Being in a less toxic environment, under good leadership. It affords me the opportunity to demonstrate my capabilities and really grow professionally.
I can 100% say I use all the skills and knowledge the program. It helped me to develop and discover.
I have a greater appreciation for truly building good, professional, interpersonal relationships and I understand the value of those “soft skills” people talk about. It’s been a fundamental transformation in how I view the world, both professionally, and personally.
Advice for Future Students or Colleagues
Think about what goals you really want to achieve, take ownership of those goals, and get after it. It’s nobody else’s responsibility to push you or drive you to accomplish those goals so it has to come from within. Even when there’s external pressure from family, or your boss, or just life, the drive and motivation to be successful has to come from you. Climb the mountain.
From April 1 – 10, 2017, Philadelphia Fox EMBAs travelled to India and Israel as a part of their Global Management Enterprise course as a way to study innovative international companies and global strategy. “It was spectacular for my fellow students and I to have a chance to ask questions related to the concepts we learned in the program. We talked about financials, strategy, operations, etc. and gained a new perspective with each company with met with,” says EMBA student Allyns Melendez, who attended the India trip. “There is a greater, deeper understanding of globalization no book or program would have ever taught me. Seeing a developing and emerging market for my self allows me to apply the concepts that I’ve learned to what I do and understand and even identify the advantages of any market. I am certainly better at knowing the right questions, what strategy to employ, what people to bring in, how culture affects business, etc.”
Chavarria, a member of the Class of 2017 cohort that traveled to Israel, explains the impact of the international immersion trip: “The course material we study provides the academic foundation to practice in a controlled system that Temple EMBA format provides. The immersion trip is the real world application of those skills, concepts, and ideas. It provides that proof of concept, and ties the classroom into a grounded reality.”
Giac Nghe, an EMBA Class of 2017 student who attended the Israel trip, explains his favorite part of the immersion trip: “My favorite part of this trip was the relationship building aspect that I was able to engage in with my cohort… We spent every second of our ten-day immersion trip with each other. Networking is more than just getting to know an individual’s core competences and skill sets; it is also about getting to know their emotional drivers. As future executives, not only do we need the intellectual intelligence but we also need to have the emotional intelligence as well to be successful leaders of the future. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the class of 2017 but more importantly, I have been blessed to have gained new lifelong friendships with each member of the 2017 EMBA cohort.” Stay tuned for immersion locations for the EMBA Class of 2018!
Fox EMBA Human Resources Professor Dr. Art Hochner , who teaches Power, Influence, and Negotiation in Organizations in the Executive MBA program, is no stranger to advocacy. Throughout his career as a human resources professional and professor, he has advocated for human rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and social justice. Dr. Hochner has served as the Chief Negotiator for Temple University Association of Professionals (TAUP) for the past 23 years. He was essential in the Temple University adjunct faculty members’ battle to unionize in 2015 and he continues his career of advocacy to this day. On April 21, 2017, Dr. Hochner was recognized by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) of Pennsylvania with an award at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Coalition Conference. He was acknowledged for his service as an educator, his work for the Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP), and his lifelong dedication for human rights, civil rights, and social justice. We are honored to have such a talented and dedicated professor a part of our Fox EMBA faculty!
Matthew Stitt entered the Executive MBA program in January 2017 with a mission to develop a stronger understanding of the how the private sector intersects with the public sector. As the Philadelphia City Council’s CFO—a unique position not found in other city governments—he is responsible for working within the City Council to gauge the financial impact of both their legislation and the Mayor’s budget, and help inform policy debates from a monetary perspective.
“One of my personal missions,” Matt says, “is to raise awareness of how both sectors can more effectively drive change in our communities, primarily through maximizing each sector’s leverage and resources. I chose Fox because what I learn here will allow me to navigate both sectors throughout my career [and] to expand on my education in a meaningful way while continuing to focus on bettering our community in the most effective way possible.”
Even though Matt began the Executive MBA program only six months ago, he has already found ways to apply what he has learned at work in the City Council. He reports that he has begun to incorporate transformational leadership concepts into his management style, and to apply corporate strategy principles to problems.
“My ultimate goal,” he says, “is to take the most holistic and informed approaches possible in producing analyses for lawmakers to use in decision making.”
To read more about Matt’s career and his unique position in the Philadelphia City Council, click here:
Sari is a highly methodical, business-savvy strategic planner who blends her broad expertise to catapult innovation and maximize growth opportunities. Her passion for collaborating across teams and bringing people together to ideate, create and deliver new and reimagined products and services is her driving force. She is excited to join the Inspirus team and be a part of turning new ideas and technologies into products that will transform an industry and change people’s lives.
Sari earned her Executive Masters in Business Administration from Temple University. She currently serves on the Temple EMBA Board of Directors. She attended The University of Delaware and earned her Bachelors of Science in Human Resources in 1995.
In Her Own Words….
I am grateful every day for my amazing children, family and friends. I love to spend quality time with them at the beach, dining out and enjoying great food, attending sporting events, traveling to new places and watching my daughter play soccer is a favorite.
Earning my EMBA from Temple University. It represented a sense of accomplishment in so many ways. It introduced me to a cohort of colleagues and professors that became like a family to me, in this respect it was a team achievement. Most importantly to me, it created a rich opportunity to share an experience with my children. Looking out into the sea of people at graduation and seeing my children cheering me on created an overwhelming sense of pride. We did it together – many late nights of studying together and lots of support along the way. It was a family accomplishment; we grew from the experience in ways I could not have imagined.
Favorite Recognition Moment
For me, it is the moment when an individual pauses, reflects and experiences an amazing sense of appreciation and accomplishment for the difference they have made at home, at work or in the community. It’s the kind of feeling that warms your heart and has an immeasurable impact on others.
Making idea’s happen. I love turning a vision into reality, at work and at home, with colleagues, friends and family.
What Workforce Recognition Means to Me
Happy and fulfilled employees living the values of their organization and delivering on the organization’s mission. When this is achieved, you know the organization behind the team has invested time, resources and best in class solutions to empower their people to achieve excellence. The business results follow.