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Students Focus on Strengths During Semester’s First Women’s Leadership Series Event

September 21, 2016

On Friday, Sept. 16, 18 students from the St. John Fisher College School of Business had the opportunity to examine their strengths and talents during the first session of the Women’s Leadership Series.

Dr. Julia Overton-Healy leads a leadership session for the School of Business.

The series was created by a steering committee, consisting of faculty and staff, which plans four key events throughout the academic year. The topics have been carefully selected to inspire students as they consider their academic and career paths, as well as how they can build their personal brand.

The first session focused on finding and leveraging students’ strengths. The Clifton StrengthsFinder, an assessment tool developed by the research organization Gallup, Inc., was made available to the cohort. Individuals were asked to complete a questionnaire that recognizes signature themes—or talents—that one possesses. Each individual had a list of the top five talents they can leverage and develop to meet and exceed the demands of their careers and personal lives.

Dr. Julia Overton-Healy (pictured above), a leadership coach and director of the Career Development Center at SUNY Plattsburg, worked with the students, having them reflect on their own strengths and interact with members of the cohort.

“You will never be able to control how other people respond to you,” said Overton-Healy. “But you can accentuate your strengths to manage situations in an effective manner.”

Ariel Dailey, who attended the Women’s Leadership Series session for the first time, noted that each of her five signature themes—learner, achiever, restorative, futuristic, and positivity—did not come as a surprise. She noted that she could recognize her use of the different strengths in her personal and academic life.

Dailey, a transfer student in her senior year, said that although she could easily recognize her strengths once they were presented to her, she had never taken the time to process how to use those strengths to further develop herself.

“It was an excellent experience. The positivity and self-confidence was overflowing from each member after the session,” she explained. “Taking the time to assess my own strengths and share them with people I have not met before was not only influential, but also essential to my future growth in the business arena.”

The goal of the leadership series is to assist young women in the School of Business by providing them with resources to build confidence and leadership skills. Dailey, who is majoring in marketing with a minor in finance, found this session in particular was helpful in changing how she views her potential.

Nicole Coffey ’19 agreed with Dailey’s assessment. She felt her five signature themes—positivity, empathy, adaptability, restorative, developer—came as no surprise as she had always been a relationship builder.

“Anyone who knows me would agree that my top five strengths are spot on,” she said. “I am always looking at the brighter side of situations and putting myself in others’ shoes.”

Coffey, a sophomore marketing major, found Overton-Healy’s message to be crucial and helpful.

“I am looking forward to the upcoming Women’s Leadership Series events, to learn more about myself and the members in the cohort,” she said.