Leadership and Coaching

Everyone loves a promotion, right? But be careful what you wish for! Every time we are given a new role with increased responsibilities, the transition can be rough, and the new skills now required can feel daunting according to Huffington Post, Forbes.com, and a variety of Harvard Business Review articles.

Any shift in role involves more than simply adding new tasks to one’s daily routine; it actually calls upon us to expand our sense of self. When roles change, leaders encounter challenges that are usually unfamiliar and not part of their self- concept. Leadership coaching can help executives manage the inevitable challenges involved in role transition, promotions, attention to long range planning and productive team work.

When leaders are able to walk their talk, people listen and are likely to follow, improving the levels of enthusiasm, trust, and team effectiveness throughout a team or organization. Leaders get even better by recognizing that leadership comes from who you are: your own values, unique strengths, overall well-being, and the ability to inspire hope in yourself and others.

There is a direct link between emotion and successful communication. And in day to day situations, as well as in times of crisis, it’s the leaders who can use a wide range of emotions effectively who gain the most support from their audience.

When it comes to building your personal brand, a coach can be a powerful resource who can help you get out of your own way, stand out, and take action to achieve the things that are truly important to you, that’s why in Stetson University’s Executive MBA program, coaching as an integral part of the curriculum throughout the 18-month program experience.

Your coach can help you to:

  • Get clear about your goals. Your company may be pulling you in one direction, while your manager is giving you different advice based on other criteria. Your coach will help you determine what’s really important to you and help you stay focused on that.
  • Keep you on track and moving forward toward new levels of achievement by identifying blind spots. They help you figure out what you don’t know, and they clue you in to things you may not be able to see.
  • Know the difference between weaknesses you need to fix and those that are best left as they are. This can help you invest time and energy only in the most fruitful opportunities.
  • Get from point A to B faster than you could on your own, helping you differentiate yourself from the pack and advance your career at a quicker clip.

After you work with a coach for a while, you can start to adopt those powerful questioning techniques, which helps you become a better listener. This is just one of the many ways you can integrate a coaching style into your own leadership approach.

Simply put, a coach will help you stoke your success. How much is that worth to you?

Cohort 12: First meeting of the Consulting project with Tangent Foods!

Blog Credit: Liliana Molina, Kim Tuttle, Melanie Johnston and Valerie Drebsky.

Cohort 12 visited for the first time our client Jareer Abu-Ali who is the CEO & founder of Tangent foods/New directions. It was a blast! He did a great job presenting to us in preparation for our upcoming presentations (Thursday). His passion for the product was contagious! We cant wait to meet with them again!

Jareer Abu-Ali 2

Jareer Abu-Ali 3

Jareer Abu-Ali 1

Cohort 12 in action during the first meeting of the consulting project with Jareer Abu-Ali, the CEO of Tangent Foods!












Cohort 12 Prepares to Travel to Bangkok

Stetson EMBA ThailandCohort 12 began their Executive MBA journey with Stetson University in August 2014. As evident in the video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2IvHwI_M_U, the cohort has embraced this experience both professionally and personally. They have committed themselves to the work, challenged themselves to grow, and continue to have a tremendous amount of enjoyment bonding as a true “team”.

Now having completed 9 of 17 courses they are prepared to take their learning international, specifically to Bangkok, Thailand, in mid-June. This abroad course is designed to provide students with the basic knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary to understand the international business environment and manage more effectively within different cultures. Students will travel abroad for 9 days to experience the local culture which supports international business activity.  The cohort will meet with a variety of international business leaders, learning first-hand how business practices differ.  The course focuses on issues that managers face while directing their organizations, such as: cultural issues that affect how we perceive and are perceived by others, the effects of culture on human resource management, international accounting and financial systems, marketing in an international environment, and organizational structure.

McDonald's 2

Business Discussions Pre-Travel

The Cohort will become acquainted with the impact of our global economy and the importance of appreciating the differences in international business practices.

This year, our students will be consulting for a Thai company.  The cohort will be divided into small groups and each group will address a specific issue that is determined by the group and client.  This consulting work will involve in-depth assessments of given industry and market contexts, appraisals of key issues, reviews and valuations of strategic options, recommendations and considerations for implementation and stakeholder management.

By the end of the week, our cohort will have engaged and interacted with business, government, and not-for-profit organization leaders. They will have a strong understanding of the goals and strategies of multinational corporations. They will understand a company’s structure and be able to evaluate its effectiveness in the local market vs. globally. Additionally they will analyze and evaluate a business within its local market by understanding the financial implications of doing business globally. Students will depart Thailand understanding the factors that influence regional and global relationships and marketing efforts, not to mention the strategic issues that impact global business decisions.


Video credits: Heitor Bover and Cohort 12 studentsLet's go to Thailand

Bumrungrad Hospital

Bumrungrad Hospital is one of the businesses that Cohort 12 will be exploring during our mid-June visit to Bangkok.

Bumrungrad was the first Asian hospital accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), the international arm of the organization that reviews and accredits American hospitals. Their checklist includes over 350 standards, for everything from surgical hygiene and anesthesia procedures to the systems in place to credential medical staff and nurses.

This multi-specialty hospital located in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. Founded in 1980, it is one of the largest private hospitals in Southeast Asia, with 580 beds and over 30 specialty centersBumrungrad Hospital

Bumrungrad International serves 1.1 million patients annually, including over 520,000 international patients, 40 % of them are expatriates, tourists, or medical travelers from 190 different countries who go to Bumrungrad because of its reputation for high-quality care at exceptionally reasonable prices.

Bumrungrad aims to provide medical and service quality at a level among the world’s best hospitals. It measures itself by medical outcomes, patient satisfaction, doctor satisfaction, and staff satisfaction.

Bumrungrad International offers a range of in-hospital accommodations from lower-priced four-bed rooms to Royal Suites. All hospital rooms have been designed with the patients comfort and safety in mind.

Technology features such as Wi-Fi; LCD directories and TV; an automated lab to provide faster, more reliable results; online registration, medical records, and diagnostic images, allowing doctors immediate access to patient information from their exam room computers. A spacious 10th floor Sky Lobby featuring a premium member lounge, and international medical coordination, business and visa extension services (for patients that need to overstay because of a medical treatment).

Bumrungrad International is managed by a team of experienced hospital administrators from America, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and United Kingdom. The hospital’s medical Chairman is board certified in the UK. Its Group Medical Director is board certified in the US. Other top medical officers were trained in the US or UK, and/or held positions at one of Thailand’s top teaching hospitals.

Carl & Arden

Carl Pfeiffer & Arden Tilghman

In June 2014, students from Cohort 11 traveled to Bangkok, Thailand and they had the opportunity to visit Bumrungrad hospital. The following are just some of the experiences they shared about the visit:

“Bumrungrad visit in Bangkok provided us with amazing insight into their business along with issues and successes as well as reasons why. It was extremely eye opening and      professionally presented” – Jennifer Farb, Cohort 11

“It was amazing to learn how differently and well run the hospital was as a business model and the attention they put on every detail so serve each culture was amazing. It also showed a piece of Thailand– Kobina Amoo, Cohort 11

“Bumrumgrad hospital is revolutionizing the world of medical tourism, thanks to the effects of globalization that allows patients around the world to outsource their own healthcare”– Carl Pfeiffer, Cohort 11


Negotiations Workshop – Cohort 11

Dave Rothfeld - Executive in Residence for Stetson University

Dave Rothfeld – Executive in Residence for Stetson University


Cohort 11 participated in an all-day Negotiations workshop delivered by Dave Rothfeld, Executive in Residence for Stetson University.  During the negotiating session, students were instructed that virtually anything in the business world can be negotiated as long as the negotiator knows exactly what they are trying to accomplish in advance.

The cohort discussed common trends when negotiating professional agreements, salary increases, and extending job offers. Proven negotiation tools and techniques were shared and then modeled group exercises were conducted to practice the application of effective use in future encounters.

The executive students also learned the significance of non-verbal clues and their importance in any negotiating situation, and in fact that sometimes this communication is more impactful than what is actually being communicated verbally when negotiating.

The facilitator, Dave Rothfeld, stressed the importance of both parties in a negotiation walking away with the feeling that they have “won”.  Being creative and flexible is key. Innovative ideas were discussed in how to assist in the process.  The significance of such could result in a continued partnership, references, and an overall level of satisfaction by all involved.  This is the POWER of NEGOTIATING!

Cohort 11 - Negotiations

Cohort 11 – Negotiations

 The workshop concluded by the student teams working through “real” business scenarios and practicing their negotiation learnings.  Many commented that their confidence grew in handling delicate conversation and by their willingness to be open and flexible, sometimes even agreeing with their negotiator, to ensure that the negotiation worked out in their favor.

After successfully facilitating the workshop, Dave stated “In my 20 years of addressing MBA students at a number of universities, I must say that I enjoyed the enthusiasm and participation of Cohort 11 EMBA at Stetson University the most. Everyone was engaged and truly appreciative of the real-world approach to negotiating that I was able to present. I look forward to a future opportunity to address this group of committed executives.”


Leadership and Team Simulation: Everest

Cohort 12 – Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest

During the Executive MBA Cohort 12 Management & Leadership course, students participated in a simulation exercise called “Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest” by Harvard Business.

Students explored various group dynamics, the impact of individual vs. team goals, and the significance of clear communication to succeed as an overall team. Dr. Michelle DeMoss facilitated the simulation as student groups navigated various factors and problem-solved in this active learning challenge.Pic1

The overall goal was to summit Mount Everest. The students were assigned a role (photographer, marathoner, environmentalist, physician or leader) in each of their teams.

Each team member had their own personal goals they were trying to achieve throughout each part of the simulation.Team members may have been asked to sacrifice their personal goals in order to benefit the team commented Melanie Johnston and Tom Sharman, but ultimately it was up to the team’s leader to ensure the goals were met in the best way possible.

Complicating the work was the weather, food supply, medical supplies, health and mental acuity of the climbers, distribution of information needed for the ascent.Pic3

 The teams had several “a-ha” moments when information was individually being shared that would impact the overall performance of the team. This is when critical communication and decisions needed to be made for the team to succeed as a unit.

The valuable business lesson was that individual goals don’t always coincide with the team goals.

A valuable lesson that reinforces that each member brings unique strengths to a situation and by sharing them with integral members of the team, the entire group will perform better, whether that is in a virtual world or at work.

Leadership Starts with Self-Awareness

Greg McCann (2)

EMBA faculty & program director, Dr. Greg McCann

Executive MBA students in Cohort 11 are eager to share their Professional Development Plan (PDP) with their course faculty, Dr. Michelle DeMoss and Dr. Greg McCann. This month long project involved strenuous focus, soul searching, and discussions with professional leaders/co-workers and personal friends/family alike.

Dr. McCann, with expertise in leadership development, utilized the Professional Development Plan, which has been time tested over 15 years, “because all leadership starts with a deep-dive into self-awareness, a framework develops as a result, and then a  practice  is cultivated to move towards success.”


Professional Development Plan Dashboard

The purpose of the Executive MBA Professional Development Plan is to help students analyze who they are, what they value, how they define success, and what all of this means for them both professionally and personally.  This will serve as the foundation for monitoring their progress during the 19-month Executive MBA experience.  A Professional Development Plan dashboard will reside on their iPad, keeping each mindful and accountable for their goals each term.  The Cohort Coach will use the dashboard to guide their future coaching sessions and collaborative discussions.

Both the faculty and the cohort coach agree that there is no magical formula in these individual Professional Development Plans. Each individual’s issues, history, journey, and goals will be varied. Each individual will be held accountable for following their plan, paying careful attention to both the personal and professional aspects. The Coach will help facilitate adherence to these goals and success as the student as defined it!

Cohort 9 Graduates!!!


Three cohorts - working and supporting each other!

Three cohorts – working and supporting each other!

After 19 months of hard work and dedication, we were delighted to watch our largest cohort to date cross the stage, be individually recognized, and hooded during their rite of investiture. The Dean of the School of Business and Provost shook each graduates hand as they celebrated their personal journey in the quest of an MBA degree. Family members and fellow cohorts were just as vocal about their accomplishment, as cheers erupted from the audience. “This graduation experience was so much more overwhelming than any other I’ve been a part of before. It made me realize just how hard I’ve worked throughout the EMBA program and how badly I wanted to accomplish this goal. It was so inspiring to hear every single one of our names called and know that we had walked this journey together!” – Lindsay Swantek

The commencement ceremony included a speech from Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby who gave the “charge” to graduates – a tradition of placing a duty and responsibility upon the new graduates. Libby highlighted how a Stetson University education assists graduates in moving from success to significance, and reminds them how to be of service to the world.

C9 Grad 11

“Graduation was awesome. The message to lead a life of significance resonated with me. I took the president’s charge to heart! What a great way to conclude our program. I look forward to leading an active alumni life.” – David LaRocque, Stetson Double Hatter


During the cohorts time with us at Stetson, the group have developed lifelong relationships and grown together personally and professionally, resulting in tomorrow’s future leaders. We feel very privileged to have been a part of this transformational experience which included a 10-day international trip.  We have shared in their successes, challenges, and their personal journey – the proposals, pregnancies, and the losses shaped our overall experience. We are so fortunate to have experienced all these impactful moments!

We are so proud to have Cohort 9 join the Stetson Alumni family, and hope you will stay connected and continue to share your journey and lifelong friendship with us.


Executive Students “Support Systems” Impact Success

 Stetson University’s Executive MBA Cohort 10 students participated in our 1st “Family Day” in late October, co-hosted by Dr. McCann and Dr. DeMoss and the Executive MBA team.  The event was held for two purposes:

1) To be introduced to the cohort’s “support system”

Pablo Chavez and his wife, Kristen

2) To hear from both students and their respective “support system” the impact the Management & Leadership course has had on their personal and professional lives over the past 2 months.

The Management and Leadership course, scheduled at the beginning of the EMBA program, provides each student the opportunity to craft a Personal and Professional Development Plan while receiving faculty facilitation, expertise, and suggestions from an “executive coach”.  The students will use this Plan as they practice these goals and work/life behaviors during their 19-month EMBA Journey and beyond.  During this process, each student noted the significance of their “support system” and how these individuals will be instrumental in their practice, journey, and overall success. Therefore, we felt that it was extremely important to wrap these members into our larger “learning community” as quickly as possible!

The students’ “support system” arrived and shared lunch and a discussion regarding their signifi

Judy Ashbrook and her daughter, Kelsey

cant other’s growth since starting their Stetson Executive MBA program on August 10, 2012.  Guests included spouses, fiancées, children, cousins, mentors, alumni from their respective workplace, and even an undergraduate professor, Dr. Allan Hall, who recently retired to Celebration and was the instructor to one of our EMBA graduate students. 

This event was definitely another “learning opportunity” in which all participants benefited greatly. 

  • Students introduced their peers to their support system
  • “Support system” members felt validated in their role as “coach” and “supporter” and the significant appreciation of their student
  • Stetson course facilitators, Dr. Greg McCann & Dr. Michelle DeMoss, were able to glean progress made based on the students diligent efforts and ongoing “practice”

 Wendy Lowe, Assistant Director, shared her understanding and significance of the “support system’s” role in the EMBA experience having once played that role herself.  Wendy encouraged family members to stay involved and as a result of this time together, the EMBA team will be formalizing the “Support System’s” participation in upcoming events with all current students and their families and future cohorts.

New EMBA Focuses On More Than Education

Dr. Greg McCann leads a discussion with the executive students and their “support system” members during “Family Day”.

Begin with “know thyself,” the ancient Socratic wisdom.

Blend with an array of business knowledge–innovative, theoretical, practical, academic. Stir in a diverse team of executives with close attachments and extremely personal commitments to success. Mix well with customized ingredients for human development and just a dash of boot camp intensity.

That powerful recipe is creating a “new” Executive MBA Program in the School of Business Administration, one that is changing lives and will produce exceptional individuals charged with remarkable energy and knowledge to focus on career success. Now in its tenth year, the EMBA Program is being infused with potent new elements to offer students something beyond “mere education,” something leadership is calling “development.”

“The (new) EMBA Program is broader, more inclusive and holistic than merely education,” say two top business professors who helped create the changes. “Development,” unlike usual classroom education, requires working with each practitioner to craft a values-based definition of success. It begins with one-on-one coaching and transitions to a team effort integrated throughout the 19-month program.

“EMBA professionals achieve success as they define it,” said Dr. Greg McCann, director of the school’s Graduate Council and EMBA faculty member. He and Dr. Michelle DeMoss, Marketing Department chair, have created changes to stay abreast of the needs of executives in today’s global business universe.

“We want to affirm the program’s strengths while building new and effective elements aimed at individual student needs,” said Dr. Thomas V. Schwarz, dean of Business Administration. “Personal coaching and mentoring are potent elements that can help catapult careers and give our school wide exposure for its innovative and intimate design and culture.”

The holistic approach develops the whole person, personally and professionally, because the two aspects of life are highly interdependent. Building and sustaining strong long-term relationships encourage quick response to individual needs.
A major linchpin of the program begins on the first day when participants start creating their Professional Development Plans, a month-long process that demands intensive, insightful review of one’s character, reputation, values, emotions, definition of success and a step-by-step action plan.

The long, detailed document becomes the catalyst for vital customized elements of the program energized through executive coaching sessions that guide and monitor progress. Every student is matched by commitment, personality, professional experience and expertise with an EMBA alumni mentor. Frequent mentor/mentee meetings lend constant guidance, feedback and wisdom to facilitate growth and development. Consultations with visionaries and global leaders will guide curriculum, rigor and relevancy of the program.

“Our intention,” said McCann and DeMoss, “is to empower each person to have a life-changing experience that leads to their development as a person, as a leader, and as a member of a team.” Cohorts are collaborative, not competitive. They share the core goals, learning values, reputation and behavior in communication, conflict resolution and mirror workplace teamwork. Members hold one another accountable. Success is shared.

Families are drawn into the EMBA experience to increase the comfort level and help create a sense of community for everyone involved. Advice for success is shared in discussions about the ripple effect of the program on practitioner/students, significant others and everyone involved in the process.

The members of Cohort 10 began work in August and will complete the program in spring 2014. Noticeable changes in their personal and working lives are already evident to them and others, they say.

“This approach to development and creative advancement is worth the personal investment,” said Peter Platt, a cohort member from Sanford and senior vice president of Jones Trading Institutional Services in Heathrow. “I am more than willing to pay for Stetson’s program.”

“This is the program,” said cohort student Mayra Santiago of Kissimmee, a workforce planning and leadership development manager for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “It has changed my life.”

The EMBA Program is based at the Stetson Center at Celebration, Florida. Classes are offered on alternating Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit the EMBA Web site, call Wendy Lowe at (321) 939-7603 or email at emba@stetson.edu. Ask about informational sessions held several times a year.

by Ronald Williamson