Associate dean passes leadership lessons to students

Manik Elahi

Staff Writer

Student Activities held its 11th student leadership workshop of the semester on Monday, Apr. 27, in Siek Campus Center Room 150. The topic of the workshop was “Implementing Change as a Leader–Powerfully & Successfully.”

About 25 students attended the workshop, which was led by a very well-respected individual from the campus community, Karen R. Ferrer-Muniz, associate dean of the Learning Center of the college.

Director of Student Life Louis Coplin opened the workshop, briefly introducing the speaker to the crowd. He added that the attendance of these workshops has doubled since the last semester.

Ferrer-Muniz opened her talk by giving a warm greeting and introducing herself. She explained that she needs leadership tips every day on her job because it involves leading a team of almost 70 people, and that she wanted to pass these ideas on.

Firstly, Ferrer-Muniz took on the the idea of communication. She talked about how communication and voice is the biggest tool a person can have. It can motivate, persuade and encourage people to achieve something productive.

Then Ferrer-Muniz moved on to her main agenda, which was to discuss “eight steps to emerge as a leader in your organization.” Her eight-point agenda for bringing about change in a formal or informal leadership role began as follows: establish a sense of urgency, then form a powerful guiding coalition (a motivated team), and after this create a vision.

Ferrer-Muniz went on to urge the participants to communicate their vision effectively and empower others to act on that vision.

Next she stressed the importance of planning short-term achievable goals, then consolidating improvements to bring about more change in the system.

Lastly, Ferrer-Muniz spoke on the significance of institutionalizing these new ideas so that your vision can last for a long period of time in the system.

Following this the students and Ferrer-Muniz had a very up-close Q&A session in which they discussed how they could apply and extend the leadership tools to a variety of other social settings such as their personal lives and family matters.

One of the attendees asked how an individual can bring change in their family lives. Ferrer-Muniz replied, “Just be very conscious about what you do, and take responsibility to make some decisions. Instead of trying to lead, just always think genuinely, ‘I know that my family and close friends are my motivation to lead and take charge everyday.’”

Another attendee asked, “I’m not a good public speaker. Can I communicate with my team via other methods, like e-mail?”

Ferrer-Muniz answered, “Well, even though it’s a tough and scary thing to learn, public speaking is inevitably an integral part of being a leader.”

To top off the workshop, Coplin conducted a prize drawing for two gift cards to the Viking’s Cove Bookstore.

The next leadership workshop will be on May 3. The topic will be “Weed: The new miracle drug.” The workshop will be held in the Siek Campus Center 150 and is open to all Hudson Valley students.

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