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?

Marshmallow Challenge & Simulation Everest- Cohort 13

Stetson University’s Executive MBA Cohort 13 is underway. This dynamic group of talented managers is navigating the classroom experience and learning about each other as the next 17-months will be a result of collaboration, transformation, and challenging work.

Currently in their first course, Management & Leadership, the student’s awareness of their impact on others in the work environment is highlighted. Focus is on developing constructive approaches and methods to enhance creativity, innovation, employee motivation, and career success. Cohesiveness is formed as well as strengths and areas of opportunity are recognized.

The cohort has written a mission statement, “Growing personally and professionally while enjoying and embracing the experience!”  The cohort quickly realized that the Stetson way of learning will be challenging and a mix of diverse activities that elevate the “spark” of inquisitiveness and exploration through deep collaboration and faculty facilitation by Michelle DeMoss and Greg McCann.  In this course, Dr. Michelle DeMoss facilitated TED talk activities – Marshmallow Challenge, a Harvard Business Review Simulation – Everest, and One on One Executive Coaching are just some of the components that have added to the learning evolution!  Students were encouraged to “color outside the lines” and find new creative ways of thinking and doing things. The result was undeniable satisfying.

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 1

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 1 – “Super Sherpas”

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 2

Simulation Everest in progress- Team 2 – “The Summit Survivors”

Simulation Everest in Progress- Team 3

Simulation Everest in Progress- Team 3 – “The Yetis”

Marshmallow Challenge

Marshmallow Challenge

Near the conclusion of the first course, each student receives Executive Coaching to explore their unique situation and aspirations with our coach, Greg McCann,  “The Cohort’s commitment to deepening their self-awareness and empathy as the foundation for their leadership practice was evidenced in the coaching sessions where each leader was asked to reflect on themselves, what issues in their lives have them stuck or have been unaddressed, and how they might take ownership for them as part of their ongoing leadership development. We don’t just study leadership, we practice it”. This coaching will continue at regular intervals each term and within courses to aid in their growth.

Lastly, the culminating exercise in this course requires that each student write a Professional Development Plan that will guide their individual “practice” during the entire EMBA journey. This is an action plan that will provide structure and intentional focus, and will define success on their terms.

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.

Cohort 9 – Final Capstone Presentations

C9 Capstone 1

Team 1 presents

Cohort 9 completed their final capstone course on March 23, 2013, by bringing the knowledge and skills they had gained over the past 19 months, and applying these to real-life business cases. Students experienced a working product, and the processes of strategic business plan development while bringing together different functional business areas such as marketing, finance and management to develop a comprehensive plan to address the needs of the company.Each group worked with an existing company, collaborated throughout the semester by acting as a consultant to refine all aspects of their business plan, and eventually make recommendations accordingly. On the last day, the business teams presented their recommendations to the entrepreneurs and a panel of experts. Each group did a phenomenal job, making this a very rewarding experience for the students and businesses alike.

Below is a summary of the businesses that our EMBA teams were exposed to for this exercise.

The judging panel & audience

Natural Current, Inc. – Edwin, Crystal, David, Michelle & Brian.

Natural Current produces innovative and environmentally friendly products for the swimming pool industry by providing an off-grid alternative to clean residential and commercial swimming pools. The product utilizes solar technology to reduce the energy cost to the consumer, and also reduce their carbon footprint, and is capable of filtering up to 10,000 gallons of water daily.

ProFlower Design – Joe, Monica, Wayne, Nelson & Lindsay.

ProFlower Design offers unique and innovative software that has the potential to reinvent the world of floral design and events. ProFlower Designs provides a range of tools to companies in the floral industry.

C9 Capstone 2

Congratulations to the winning team!

Fusion Fitness Designs – Glorimar, Christina L., Rebecca, Bonnie & Duane.

Fusion Fitness Designs is a Florida based company which designs, manufactures and sells strength training equipment. Their mission is to “supply the international strength training equipment market with a superior product in design and aesthetics and provide new designs, increased technology and health awareness training.”

Choose Rain – Christina B., Danielle, John, Maria & Michael.

Choose Rain operates in the ultra premium bottled water category. The amount of water Americas drink has risen nearly every year and Choose Rain plans to capitalize this trend while standing out by offering a healthy alternative to the other bottled water products, which are treated with chlorine.

Summaries ‘R US – Brad, Dianne, Gwen, Toshi & Valerie.

Summaries ‘R Us is a website of textbook summaries (focusing on History and Science) that helps students to focus their studies on important and relevant information in book chapters. The site would provide chapter summaries, as well as other useful resources to help students study and manage their workload.

Congratulations to everyone on some outstanding work, and we look forward to
celebrating your graduation with you next month!!!


Pozitron teaches Cohort 9 about entrepreneurship

Cohort 9 students enjoyed the youthful atmosphere at Pozitron.

Students from Stetson University Executive MBA program’s Cohort 9 got to meet with Firat Isbecer, co-founder and director and business development at Pozitron, earlier today. The highly entrepreneurial mobile app and IT business has been very successful in its short 12-year existence.

Pozitron’s founders came up with the business idea during their final years in college. The business’ mission is to help its clients grow their business with its unique, custom-implemented mobile technology.

The company is self-funded, and from 2006 to 2011, has experienced a revenue growth of 1,100%. Pozitron’s growth has increased by 80% each year, and Isbecer said the company looks for a continuation of this trend in the coming year.

“Cohort members were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of the company because Turkey did not embrace entrepreneurs until just recently,” said Wendy Lowe, program coordinator for the Executive MBA program.

The company has grown from a handful of people to more than 60 today, with the average age being only 25. These young engineers are competitively compensated and have access to cutting-edge technology, earn bonuses every six months and receive other perks to stay competitive in the high technology industry that exists today. Pozitron’s client numbers have risen with the release of the iPhone because now, not only do banks want to use its mobile applications, but so do thousands of others. Today, Pozitron doesn’t have to as aggressively sell into new clients as clients are looking to use mobile applications to communicate internally and externally with employees or partners.

Isbecer told the students he believes Pozitron was in the right place at the right time and that the economic downturn actually worked in its favor because competitors who were trying to come to Turkey didn’t have the patience for the economy to sort itself out. This impatience allowed Pozitron to nurture existing relationships, grow new opportunities and find ways to differentiate itself locally. Its focus on large Fortune 500 type of companies, primarily banks, hasn’t been a quick sell. It often takes 11 months in the works with a two-month delivery timeframe to deliver a customized solution.

Pozitron continues to deliver and build long-term relationships. Mobile applications and IT products in general will continue to be an emerging sector, said Isbecer. He added that some measurable risks must be taken to be ultimately successful and to grow! Isbecer said he believes you must be transparent and honest, as well as build a lasting team. “These components will earn integrity and opportunities, especially in Turkey,” he said.

Cohort 9 student Monica Jordan asked how Pozitron handles ongoing training and development.  “Very carefully,” said Isbecer. “As employees want to attend key conferences or workshops, we sponsor them. We will bring in specialists in a technical field as well.”

Student Rebecca Potter asked how the company handles human resources issues. The company has grown so quickly that Isbecer continues to be involved in the interview process of each candidate and even with financial decisions as well. However, he added, the company is scaling to a point that he will start letting go of this segment of the business.

Two other students made observations after the visit was over. Gwen Schaefer said she enjoyed the company’s entrepreneurial spirit, adding that she likes that they have made calculated decisions to prosper, using patience instead of making the wrong decisions in hiring or partnering with a misfit. Student David LaRocque pointed out that in both this business visit and the earlier one to GE, the speakers stressed the importance of using local people to impact local economy.

Chang and Trujillo honored by Hispanic community

Juliana Trujillo, left, and Yvonne Chang are active in Central Florida's Hispanic business community.

Yvonne Chang, an alumna of the Stetson University Executive MBA’s Cohort 5, was a runner-up for the 2011 Don Quijote Award for Professional of the Year. Chang was a finalist with peers José Costa, vice president of Nodarse, a Terracon company, and Jaime Piñero, director of sales for CenturyLink. Costa won the Professional of the Year award.

The Don Quijote Awards are the most prestigious honors within the Hispanic business community in Central Florida, presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida. The Don Quijote awards are a celebration of success, courage and determination. They recognize the hard-working, innovative entrepreneurs who have exhibited the spirit of Don Quijote — that is, visionaries, dreamers and businesspersons who are willing to take risks in order to achieve their dreams.

In attendance at the awards banquet, Dec. 3, was Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 8 student Juliana Trujillo.

“It was such an inspirational event surrounded by successful, dedicated and humble professionals,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo was recently appointed president of Walt Disney World’s Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement (HOLA), in which she leads a committee that seeks to provide business insight to internal operations through engaging the Hispanic employee community at Disney while providing social, cultural and career advancement exposure for that key workforce segment.

Three Cohort 7 students win honors in worldwide business simulation

Kenyon Langford

If Dynergy Champ was a real company that manufactured athletic footwear, three Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 7 alumni would be millionaires.

The three alumni, David Ulloa (College Board in Virginia), Chuck Rivas (Walt Disney World), and Kenyon Langford (GE Healthcare), just graduated with their MBAs earlier this month. Their performance in their final classroom exercise earned them an invitation to participate in the Best-Strategy Invitational (BSI), and their accomplishments in this exclusive group earned the trio accolades.

Dynergy Champ won first place in its industry, dominating fashion, with more than $1 billion in sales in its final year, based on a 10-year simulation. The industry was made up of six companies total. “We tried almost every tactic from small boutique to giant mega-producer,” said Langford. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t try the virtual shoe because the second-place team had that sewn up.”

David Ulloa

In addition, Dynergy performed well in all the categories BSI monitored: earnings per share (EPS), return on equity/investment (ROE) and stock price. All places are out of more than 100 teams that participated. See the team’s placement in each category below:

9th-best stock price: $468.96

10th-best ROE: 42.8%

11th-best EPS: $22.31

21st-best overall score: 108.5 out of 110 points (six-way tie)

The team of Ulloa, Rivas and Langford will be enshrined as one of the best teams ever to have managed a BSG company, and the three executives will be inducted into the BSG Hall of Fame as BSI Grand Champions. Dr. Kathryn Martell, the team’s adjunct professor, will also be recognized as a Master Professor.

Chuck Rivas

All Stetson University Executive MBA students participate in The Business Strategy Game (BSG) as part of the BN 585 capstone course, in which class members are divided into teams and assigned the task of running an athletic footwear company in head-to-head competition against companies managed by other class members. Company operations parallel those of actual athletic footwear companies. Just as in the real world, companies compete in a global market arena, selling branded and private-label athletic footwear in four geographic regions — Europe-Africa, North America, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. BSG has a strong 21-year history.

Company managers must make decisions relating to plant operations, distribution and warehouse operations, work force compensation, online sales at the company’s website, sales and marketing, and finance. The challenge is to craft and execute a competitive strategy that results in a respected brand image, keeps your company in contention for global market leadership and produces strong financial performance.

Congratulations, Stetson University Executive MBA alumni, on this tremendous accomplishment!

‘Precious Pets’ business plan wins Cohort 7 honors

This is the team of Executive MBA students whose Precious Pets Resort and Spa business plan was selected by professors as the best. They are Wael Alfattani, Susan Golinsky, Terry Tasior, Kimberly Ruggiero and Joel Foreman.

Detailed business plans created by teams of students are a critical entrepreneurial exercise that draws on all elements of study and comes at the end of the rigorous School of Business Administration’s EMBA program.

Four teams in Stetson EMBA’s Cohort 7 created plans for businesses ranging from health and fitness to practical transportation and an art house. But professors and others who studied the plans awarded the Best Business Plan to a pet care concept developed by Kim Ruggiero of Winter Garden and four students from Orlando: Terrence Tasior, Wael Alfattani, Joel Foreman and Susan Golinsky.

Precious Pets Resort and Spa targets a high margin and underdeveloped niche of the steadily-growing pet care market by focusing on pet boarding supported with revenue from grooming, pet sitting, daycamp and care services and retail merchandising. The market model is tested and ready to be developed.

Participants in the Precious Pets project and other EMBA graduates will receive diplomas at Stetson University Commencement ceremonies on May 7.

Stetson University’s EMBA program is designed for mature students with years of real world experience who must fit weekend classes around family and career obligations. Most members of the group are employed by various Disney operations, but others came from backgrounds with Saudi Arabian Airlines, General Electric and other businesses.