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Melania Lavezzi and Melbi, who served as inspiration for the book.

Melania Lavezzi, a Celebration resident and a graduate of the Executive MBA Program in Cohort 6, releases her first children’s book in both paperback and an e-book version available now on Amazon.On December 20th, you can download the Kindle edition for free for 1 day!  Go to www.amazon.com and search “Mom, dad, can we get a dog?” Click on the Kindle edition and enjoy with your family! In addition, the book can be borrowed from Kindle owner’s library until the end of February.

Book Description: “Mom, dad, can we get a dog” is written by a dog trainer and is the story of two children, CJ and Sofia, that want a dog.  Their parents know that owning a dog is a long-term commitment. For this reason, the wise parents try to expose the children to the canine world as much as possible. During their adventures, the family learns how to behave around dogs in order to be safe, how to have fun with dogs and how to be responsible dog owners. At the end of the book there is a quiz that reinforces the learning experience.

Congratulations to Melania for this incredible accomplishment.

Alumni and students, please keep sharing your successes with the EMBA team. Your fellow hatters, cohorts, faculty, and entire Stetson “family” enjoy celebrating with you.

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Cohort 9 creates memories in Deland – Next visit will reward their MBA accomplishments at Graduation, May 2013

Stetson University’s Executive MBA class of 2013 visited the Deland campus, a ritual that occurs at least once during their 19-month graduate program.  This year, cohort 9 had the opportunity to collaborate with the Roland George Investment students, enjoy a conversation with Provost Paul during a catered lunch in the Carlton Union, and further their graduate studies by interacting with 3 faculty members in the fields of Finance, Integrated Business Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Strategy.

Coincidentally, the Deland City holiday parade was in full swing, so as the Executive MBA students toured the beautiful campus, the sights and sounds of holiday music, laughter, and joy filled the air.  Crystal Koepke, Walt Disney World, manager shared “this experience was one of the highlights of my graduate experience.  Being able to participate in strategic discussions, seeing how investment decisions are made by the Roland George students, and seeing Stetson University’s Main Campus gives me a greater appreciation for what I’m about to accomplish – my MBA”.

The Roland George Institute Program experience was dynamic, said Wendy Lowe, Assistant Director.  The Director, Dr. Ma and his undergraduate students, prepared student research on 3 global companies that was presented to the Executive MBA students and Board of Trustees.  This information was evaluated and a final determination of the viability of the students’ recommendation to purchase shares based on their findings was made.  The Executive MBA students were extremely impressed with the high quality of the research conducted, the apparent confidence and ability of these undergraduates to field and address questions from executive level students and finally the conclusive process that is conducted in the Roland George Investments Program.  David LaRocque, Senior IT analyst at Genworth Financial, enjoyed returning to his Alma Mater.  David shared, “I had a great sense of nostalgia and pride returning to campus as a graduate student with my Cohort.  I look forward to returning to Deland in May to graduate with my Cohort”.  David will officially become a “Double Hatter”, meaning he will have both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stetson University.

Provost Paul shared numerous opportunities to stay connected to Stetson University upon graduation in May 2013 including career services, participating in additional course/class offerings, attending alumni events, enjoying football tailgating and games, and by continuing to share their “Stetson story” with others.  Students were encouraged to continually challenge themselves to learn, guide, and engage in the community to be “Lifelong Learners”.  By engaging in such activities, continued professional and personal growth will occur and have a profound impact.

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 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.

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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

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Stetson University launches a mentor/mentee program with Executive MBA Alumna and Cohort 10 executive students, as they engage in a personal and transformational journey.  Mentoring relationships are designed to help and support people “manage their own learning in order to maximize their professional potential, develop their skills, improve their performance, and become the person they want to be.”Eric Parsloe, Coaching, Mentoring, and Assessing (London: Kogan Page, 1992).

As an EMBA student, the goal is to develop not only your skills and abilities, but also you as a person.  Specifically, the unique talents, insights and values you bring to bear in any situation. 

The mentoring program is designed to help develop and refine you as whole person.  Mentors/Mentees will meet this month to set expectations, establish an agreement, set SMART goals, use a conversation model, look for growth and reflection opportunities, and celebrate and come to closure.  Mentor/Mentees will interact at least 2 times monthly. 

The Mentors/Mentees will have a Stetson University facilitator guiding the continuous process.   External Mentoring Professionals will provide targeted workshops and training to the executive group. 

Krista Scimeca gains support, perspective, and a “coach”.

Juliana Trujillo, Executive MBA Graduate in 2012, said “I believe that Stetson’s mentoring program is a great   opportunity as it will allow the current students to share their ideas, experiences, and accomplishments with someone who perhaps is from the outside, but knows exactly where they are coming from.  One of the things that I have learned the most about mentors is that they are someone who can see the talent and ability within people, that perhaps they can’t see for themselves and just helps bring that out for them. I think anyone that is in this type of program has the skill and the will, a mentor will just help them never forget that.”  Juliana is mentoring Krista Scimeca in Cohort 10.  Krista enthusiastically shared that their initial meeting was impactful.  The camaraderie was immediate and the academic guidance was timely. 

Check back often to learn how these relationships provide meaningful impact and accountability towards ongoing professional and personal development.

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Cohort 9 student Duane Trumble said he learned how to better manage teams, thanks to the Organizational Theory & Behavior class.

Members of Stetson University Executive MBA program’s Cohort 9 successfully completed their 12th course of 17, Organizational Theory & Behavior.  The students said they appreciated the intense discussions regarding “soft skills.” They participated in various assessments, group and individual presentations, and individual activities, which enabled the cohort to study preferences, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for development as a person and leader.

“The Organizational Behavior course had a great impact on me,” said Duane Trumble, a Cohort 9 student who works for The Walt Disney Co. “Company organizational behavior is complex because it involves human behaviors. This course helped us learn how to utilize tools to better understand and manage teams and the organization, as well as help us with a structured personal development plan.”

Many of Trumble’s classmates added that the presentations encouraged thoughtful role playing, designed to provide a nice balance to the lectures, discussions, videos and written assessments with analysis that were threaded throughout the class sessions.  Students shared enthusiasm as they revisited their own personal development progress from when they began their Executive MBA journey just more than 12 months ago.

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Cohort 10 begins

Published in Celebration News

Cohort 10 students are, from left, Maureen Karkovice, Ray Harpel, Pablo Chavez, Krista Scimeca, Margo Haines, Mayra Santiago, Peter Platt, Judy Ashbrook, Lauren Hall, Sabrina Singleton, Angie Stevens and Cody Hampton.

Members of Stetson University Executive MBA Cohort 10 began their 19-month academic journey in Celebration on Aug. 10, 2012.

Executives travel in from Gainesville to Davenport, and cities in between including Celebration residents, who have immersed themselves in developing their professional and personal lives in pursuit of their MBA degree. For some, obtaining an MBA has been a dream, which can now be realized with the help of engaging instruction and supportive faculty.

The program began with a Management & Leadership course with emphasis on developing their professional and personal and lives. By the end of their first course, the cohort identified their strengths, areas for development, how to effectively deal with conflict and communications, and how these skills would be critical individually and as a team member within the group dynamic. The students developed as a team through experiential and collaborative action, applied intelligence, trust and authenticity, and through peer and professor feedback, support and overall coaching.

Cohort 10 is off to a brilliant start, with process values and a definition of success that will imprint their behavior through the intensive program and onto completion of their MBA goal. These executives pride themselves on contributing positively to our local community, through both work and leisure activities. Currently, they are balancing professional, personal and graduate education, which means spending alternating Fridays and Saturdays in the Celebration Center, learning from topic experts and preparing for numerous global visits where they can experience “best practices” first-hand.

“I am fulfilling a dream as a part of the Stetson EMBA Cohort 10,” said Maureen Karkovice, Celebration resident. “After careful research and consideration, I realized that the Stetson EMBA is a premier program, and a cut above. Stetson is providing not only the highest quality educational instruction and environment, but goes above and beyond through the Cohort experience. I am already experiencing more from the program, professors, and the team than I ever imagined!”

To learn more, attend our School of Business Open House on Oct. 6, 2012, at 10 a.m., which includes a classroom observation and lunch or a reception on Nov. 8, 2012, at 6 p.m. Questions can be directed to 3231-939-7603.

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Published in Celebration News

Stetson University Executive MBA students floated between two continents as they sailed down the Bosphorus Strait between the European and Asian side of Istanbul. Astonishing views of architectural jewels like the Dolmabahce Palace, the Ortakoy Mosque and Bosphorus Bridge were glowing in the distance. Twenty-five students embarked on the trip of a lifetime as they experienced global business practices and explored the historical and cultural influences of the Middle East and European region over the course of nine days. We had a similar delight in Budapest when we sailed down the Danube River with views of Parliament, Chain Bridge and the impressive Vajdahunyuad Castle. Each year the Executive MBA program, as part of its coursework, travels to a different destination to engage with entrepreneurial and well-established companies in marketing, finance, hospitality, operations and manufacturing. Immersion in these destinations increases the students’ understanding of international business and its application to their own corporate careers.

General Electric Co., Divan Hotel Group, Budapest Bank and Koc Holdings, all profitable and expanding in this region, shared their unique goals for Istanbul, their strategic ties as business partners, and the economic opportunity with tourism growth, leveraging best practices, expanded marketing efforts, or as a “safe haven” for those wishing to escape volatile zones.

Students were provided a bird’s-eye view of lean and “just in time” manufacturing processes at both Mercedes-Benz Turk and Nokia. Just fascinating to witness a motor coach and a cell phone being assembled from parts in a very methodical manner.

Pozitron (mobile applications) and IND Group (internet banking), entrepreneurial companies, were similarly initiated by their founders during their late college days and feature a very young staff with an average age younger than 30. Both started with family financing, and now fewer than 12 years later generate huge revenue growth and sales. Pozitron reports 80% growth each year, and IND Group has revenues that top $12 million Euros with more than 220 employees in 15 countries.

The business visits were incredible, but even more significant was the appreciation we discovered for their traditions and culture by exploring the various mosques, castles, governmental buildings, and cathedrals. As we walked the pedestrian streets each night, the breathtaking architecture, community spirit and importance of maintaining traditions are evident.

To culminate our International experience, the executive students wanted to “give back.” We partnered with a local university and adult volunteers from Hakosz and treated more than 20 children in “state care” to a morning at the Budapest Safari Park. In six teams, we escorted these children, ages 4 to 12, through the various animal exhibits while playing interactive games which involved the executive students learning basic Hungarian words and the children learning some English words. The adult volunteers served as translators.

“Despite the language barriers, the walls came down with smiles, sharing of local snacks and with the help of the volunteers,” said Wendy Lowe, assistant director of the Executive MBA program. “Stetson students felt proud to be able to give these children a field trip away from their everyday surroundings and into a natural habitat where we could join in their excitement. During our three hours together, we shared more than just fun and games; we truly made a significant impact on one another’s lives! The children helped our students realize that the motto “work hard, play hard” is definitely rewarding, and as we learned at Nokia, ‘living adventurously’ is possible. We will take away numerous life lessons from our time with these loving children.”

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Thomas Schwarz celebrated his birthday with Executive MBA students.

On July 13-14, Stetson University’s new dean of the School of Business, Thomas Schwarz, visited the Celebration Center’s Executive MBA current students, alumni from previous cohorts, and future students beginning their Executive MBA journey in August.

“The Center was bustling with activity and excitement as current students were reunited after their International Trip experience in Istanbul and Budapest,” said Wendy Lowe, coordinator of the Executive MBA program. “The students were recharged and ready to begin their advanced level courses starting with the Strategic Management course facilitated by Dr. Ram Subramanian, returning to teach for the third year. Ironically, our new dean and Dr. Subramanian were business colleagues many years ago, which made the visit a special reunion for them as well.”

Schwarz observed classroom instruction, visited with the executive students (individually, in small groups and collectively), engaged in interviews with prospective students, and even celebrated his birthday with his extended “Stetson family.”

Schwarz clearly set the tone with future plans for building upon the current Stetson Executive MBA success while enhancing academic innovations, placing emphasis on business application, and leveraging Stetson’s uniqueness.

“Stetson provides an authentic, rich and personal learning experience, combined with unparalleled student talent that is highly motivated, bright and experienced,” said Schwarz. “This combination is lethal. The Executive MBA faculty, staff and cohorts partner in this dynamic and collaborative process, resulting in a lifelong benefits both professionally and personally.

“We take our role in this process very seriously and are committed to growing and adapting to the evolving business needs globally.”

“The Executive MBA faculty and staff are invigorated to be a part of this opportunity,” said Lowe, “as new leadership helps guide the way.”

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Make just one change

Just making one change in your daily routine could make you happier and more productive at work. That is, according to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, who maintains that happiness is a choice.

Stetson University Executive MBA alumnus Penny Miller of Cohort 7 found out about his book and wants to pass along Achor’s ideas to her fellow alumni.

The article she passed along recommended adding one of the following to your daily routine for three weeks:

• Write down three new things you are grateful for each day;

• Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours;

• Exercise for 10 minutes a day;

• Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out;

• Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising someone in your social support network (family member, friend, old teacher).

The article explained that, in a study, the group of people who added in one of these activities had a better general sense of well-being within three weeks. Within four months of incorporating the exercise, they had a significantly higher life satisfaction score.

“I will be working on a new habit or two,” said Miller. “I can handle writing down three things I’m grateful for and a quick thank-you note every morning. Seems those two make sense together!”

After several weeks, Miller had kept up the new habit. “I have continued to note three things I’m grateful for and send a thank-you note each workday,” she explained. “I’ll admit sometimes I make up for missed notes later in the week. I’ve had some busy and challenging days over the past couple of months and it really does help. Plus I’ve shared this article with some co-workers in hopes that they too will make the choice to be happier at work which will only help me.”

If you try adding in one of the exercises, let us know! We’d love to hear how it goes.

And if you have articles, books or ideas you’d like to share with Stetson students and alumni, e-mail program coordinator Wendy Lowe at wlowe@stetson.edu.

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