Category Archives: School and Family

Janice’s Transformational EMBA Journey Results In Lifelong Opportunities

Janice Trew

Shared by Janice Trew

As a senior in high school, I had an opportunity to join a two-day business session in our regional school district. Our first guest speaker talked to a room full of college-bound high school seniors about the importance of a college degree and more so the importance a Master’s Degree would be 15 years from that moment. I remember thinking I was barely prepared to spend another 4 years in school, yet alone more. His comments stuck with me and here I am today, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. And though it took a while to convince me I needed additional education, the choice was based on timing, opportunity and support.

Stetson’s Cohort 14 EMBA students posing for a group picture.

My career path has always been focused on Food and Beverage. From my first job at 14 in a breakfast cafe, to my first professional internship at 21, I have worked all types of food service in many different positions. I wanted a change after 15 years as a Food & Beverage Leader at Walt Disney World. Better yet, I needed a change. An old friend, and alumni of Stetson EMBA, called me up with an opportunity to work in Revenue Management as an analyst, focused on Food & Beverage Line of Business. I was overjoyed to join the analytical workforce where I could use my vast knowledge of the food and beverage industry behind the scenes. Not only was I fortunate to work along side my friend Brian Sward (alumni) and Krista Eudene (alumni), I  also met and became friends with Marissa Condello who was just finishing up her program at Stetson. Along with past F&B peers I’ve had the privilege to work next to, those three spoke so highly of the program, I finally sought more information. I knew I could be more successful in my new role, with additional education. It was the first time in my 15 professional years, I felt the desire to learn more to advance my potential.

The choice to go back to school became a family decision. Both my husband and I worked full-time during the weekdays, and watched over our three young daughters. We analyzed our finances and talked through what a typical week schedule would look like if we decided I was able to go to grad school. Since our daughters were still in elementary school and middle school without after-school activities, the timing was the best it could be. I never wanted to be a “calendar person” but quickly realized my success as a professional, a college student, a wife and mother would depend greatly on a balanced schedule. We made it work. We agreed to keep family movie nights every Friday, but sacrificed family dinners on Sunday to study. We agreed on early bedtimes, so I could study at night and still watch Saturday football every other weekend. Even squeezed three half marathons into the 18months, for added fun.

Cohort 14 at Disneyland in Hong Kong during their International Trip.

I could have never predicted the profound influence the EMBA, and my cohort, would have on me. The leadership course taught me so much about myself, in both a professional perspective and a personal insight. I was taught vulnerability and strength. It allowed me to thrive in my past role, and gave me courage to seek out new opportunities. Half-way through my program, I was promoted into a senior analyst role within the Food and Beverage Pricing and Revenue Management team. Through the business courses, I realized what I passion I had for financial business aspects. Motivated by Dr. Giovanni Fernandez’ classes, I started to look for new roles at Walt Disney World in the financial arena.  Since my last class in Spring 2018, I was offered a role with the  Attendance Forecasting team on a large-scale project with vast scope and challenges. And just recently joined the Merchandise Forecasting team as a Senior Analyst. I truly believe the Stetson EMBA helped create the opportunities for me, through advanced education and leadership.

I graduated in May 2018, as part of Legion 14, with a Masters in Business Administration and 11 life-long friends. We shared ideas, projects, long study nights, and lunches. We bonded in Hong Kong and Thailand but grew roots for those friendships since Day 1. We watched one another grow personally, and professionally. We had each others’ backs; if one of us stressed, we all offered a helping hand. All the late nights, all the weekends studying, all the pressure and all the help: it was worth every minute, every penny, every effort. This program helped me believe in myself and helped me reach my potential.

Janice & family on graduation day.

Scout’s Honor

Shared by Brian Vann


Scouts, BSA offers boys and girls the opportunity to build leadership skills, develop strong character and learn how to provide service to their communities.  These teachings and the Scouts’ philosophy of developing boys and girls led me to introduce scouting to my sons.  Brian, Jr., 10, is a Webelos and Layson, 7, is a Tiger.

I decided to lead my oldest son’s Tiger Den four years ago.  As a leader in the Scouting program, I learned how the organization impacts our young people.  After two years of leadership at the Den level, I moved to lead the entire Pack as the Cubmaster.  As a Cubmaster, I plan the programming for our Pack meetings and help our Den Leaders deliver the Scouting program to our youth. 

Reflecting on my time in Scouts, the program has impacted me just as much as it impacts the youth.  Watching the youth learn and develop character, service attitudes, and honor inspires me.

Making Magic with my MBA

Shared by Sarah Culver, Alumna of Cohort 12

Completing the Stetson EMBA has enriched my personal and professional life in ways that I could not have imagined. When I was considering MBA programs, I chose Stetson because it was complementary to my full-time job at The Walt Disney World Resort, and I was really intrigued by the cohort experience. I knew that no matter what master’s program I selected, it would be a challenge and come with trying times, so I liked the concept of going through the whole program with a cohort that would be a great support system. I learned it was much more, as the cohort quickly became part of my family.

Sarah Culver


The technical knowledge I gained during my EMBA gave me the depth of understanding and the credibility to be someone my team could count on to analyze financial reports and data, as well as the ability to see unconventional ways to improve efficiencies, save costs, and improve workplace safety. The varied subjects we studied gave me many lenses to look at the workplace with and a better concept of the “big picture”. This knowledge helped me as I got promoted during my program to being a Restaurant Guest Experience Manager in Magic Kingdom Park.


While the technical knowledge was an extremely important part of gaining my EMBA, the concepts that we learned about the difference between being a leader and a manager have been very relevant throughout my leadership journey at Disney.


One of the most valuable parts of the EMBA program for me was the coaching sessions and the focus on self-reflection and being intentional about how you approach each area of your life to be the best leader you can be. My advice to anyone considering this program would be that to reap the benefits of this approach, you have to be vulnerable and “all in”. Like most things in life, it will be what you make of it, and you will only gain what you are willing to put in. The result for me brought about a positive shift that allowed me to better align my personal and professional life and not only be a better employee and leader, but also be a better friend, partner, daughter, and sister.


Reflecting on my Stetson experience, I have taken away so much more than 18 months of intensive studying, learning concepts, and developing skills; I realize now that it was a platform to catapult me into a lifetime of learning. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to participate in this program because it would not have been possible without support from leaders, coworkers, family, friends, and Disney’s commitment to continued learning. Since graduation, I have had the opportunity to work and learn from different restaurants at Disney and most recently have had the opportunity to join a leadership team supporting Disney Internships and Programs that aligns with my values of ongoing education and development.


My personal life has also had some exciting changes since graduation; I met my forever partner, and we recently got engaged and bought our first house! I can’t wait to see what my next chapters hold; I’ve got a lot of learning and adventures ahead!

Britteny Freemyer, Jessica Zaucha, and Joe Iglecia (fellow Cohort 12 classmates) help Sarah Culver and Andrew Bosko celebrate their recent engagement!

An Alumna’s Journey – Julie Muckerheide

An Alumna’s Journey – Julie Muckerheide

My career path has been far from conventional.  Being raised in the restaurant business, I was not really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. After earning my Associate of Arts in Political Science, I began working for a commercial construction company initially doing project accounting but quickly moving up and into training and HR.  While I loved the work, I knew my lack of education held me back.  I decided to go back to school to study one of my passions, Culinary Arts.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts, I moved to Orlando to follow a dream of working for the Walt Disney Company.  I was hired as a Sous Chef at Disney’s Polynesian Resort where I worked for 4 years and then moved to Disney’s Old Key West Resort for 3 years.  It was there that I met my Front of House peer, Kim Tuttle.  Kim decided to start the Stetson University EMBA program, and I watched as she blossomed as a Leader and in her life.  It was inspiring, and I wanted that for myself.

It did not take long to convince me that I needed to look at the Stetson EMBA program.  I never thought I would go back to school at 40 to get a Master’s Degree in Business.  No one in my immediate family had advanced degrees, and my background and education did not include in-depth accounting and finance. I knew it would be a challenge for this Chef!  I thought I could manage attending school two days per week, and the Cohort program appealed to me.  I am so glad I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone to go to Stetson.  The EMBA program was life altering.  The Leadership component of the program alone is worth the price of admission.  The knowledge and growth I experienced was tremendous.  Here I was travelling to Thailand, to present a business case to an international technology company on how they could expand their business into the United States.  I came back a very different, and more confident, person.  Several people in my Cohort became like family, and we made memories that I will cherish forever.

Armed with additional experiences and increased knowledge, I took a chance and applied for a brand new role at Walt Disney World while I was finishing my MBA.  The role would move me out of the kitchen and was a considerable promotion.  I was offered the Labor and Training Integration Manager role starting in September 2016.  While my Professors and cohort were a source of support and encouragement throughout the program, they were especially there for me during this job transition, at which time I was also experiencing some health issues. These health issues resulted in a hospital stay and prescribed bed rest, so I very much appreciated my professors and cohort helping me remotely, allowing me to still get all my necessary work for the courses completed. It felt like one of the greatest accomplishments of my life when I walked across that stage for my diploma.

No matter where you are in your career or life, you should definitely take a chance on yourself and participate in this EMBA program!

Nicole O’Reilly Gives Back

 

At a young age, Nicole O’Reilly, a current student in Cohort 15, learned about the importance of giving back from her mom.Kate O’Reilly, mother of Nicole, shared “When our daughter Nicole was born, I was so thankful that she was healthy. Listening to the radio one day that September when she was just a few months old, the opportunity to become a Partner in Hope for St. Jude Children Research Hospital presented itself. Four and a half years later, our son Sean was born, so I upped the ante.” She participates each year in a national campaign, Thanks and Giving®, created by Marlo, Terre, and Tony Thomas, children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital founder Danny Thomas. Their motto: “Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not.”

While giving each year, Kate never had an opportunity to visit the facility. “28 years later, I was finally able to see this amazing place,” said Kate. Due to stringent security clearance requirements, she was not able to drive on property when she visited in March 2018. Though she was not able to go into the building, she stated, “I’m proud to be part of something that gives and asks nothing in turn.”

Continuing in her mother’s footsteps, Nicole shares, “I’m grateful to my mom for making my brother and me aware of such an incredible organization that does so much for families going through the unimaginable. In the future, when I have my own family, my goal is to have my kids make the biggest list they can think of: books, movies, toys, etc., go shopping, and then personally take all the donations to St. Jude’s!

Currently, I use an app called Charity Miles as a means to give back. Through corporate sponsors (like Johnson & Johnson, SwapPet, Marriott, etc.), for every mile you walk, run or bike those companies will donate a certain amount of money to the charity of your choice. There are over 40 charities to choose from including St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Even though each mile doesn’t earn that much, (I think 10 cents per mile or something along those lines) it adds up! Charity Miles is free to download, and then you just start working out.

I use Charity Miles daily on my lunchtime walk with my friend (and Stetson Hatter MBA ’18 Graduate) Sarah Zambrano, and we used it back in February of this year while I completed my first 5K.

This app can even be used for a fun scavenger hunt day, like my fellow Cohort/SqUadron members Brian Vann, Natalie Ferrer, Nicole Amero, and I did back in April 2018.

Pictured left to right: Nicole O’Reilly, Kate Kroll and Laurie Warfield (Cohort 15)

My fellow Cohort/SqUadron members Laurie Warfield, Kate Kroll, and I have started to walk weekly in Celebration before a homework session. You guessed it, I use the app then too. It’s great to see my daily accomplishments and know that I am making just a small difference to families that are experiencing some of the most difficult times in their lives.”

While balancing the demands of work, school and family, Nicole found her way of supporting those in need. We look forward to seeing the many contributions Nicole will share in the future!

To learn more about/sign up for Charity Miles visit: https://charitymiles.org/

To learn more about or donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, visit: www.stjude.org

 

 

 

 

Getting to Know You: A Q&A with Jessica Kozlowski

As Cohort 15 prepares to return and Cohort 16 prepares to begin their EMBA journey, we wanted to take the time to get to know our new Assistant Director of Graduate and Professional Programs, Jessica Kozlowski!

 

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands on the beautiful island of St. Croix. You should visit if you haven’t been there before. It’s a great place to kick back and relax with stunning beaches and lots of historical sites to explore.

Tell us about where you worked prior to Stetson

Most of my career has been spent in higher education. Right before joining Stetson, I worked for the University of Notre Dame with the Alliance for Catholic Education. It was a remote position in which I worked with four Notre Dame ACE Academies in Central Florida as the Regional Advancement Coordinator. I also worked at Valencia College as Director of Transition and Enrollment Services and Chestnut Hill College as Assistant Director of Admission and Coordinator of On-campus Recruitment. In addition, I have experience in the staffing industry as an Executive Mortgage Recruiter at ABTSolutions and Director at CareersUSA. I’ve also worked part-time at Walt Disney World for seven years.

What are you most excited about working at Stetson?

Meeting new amazing people, the opportunities for growth and making this a life-long career.

Are you married?

Yes, two years to my loving and supportive husband Tommy. He’s my rock, very handsome and I couldn’t imagine life without him.

Do you have any children?

I have two awesome stepsons, Karter and Tommy Jr., who are totally into sports and enjoy going on adventures with me.

Who inspires you, or is your hero?

Oh boy, this is a hard one for me. My parents were my first heroes and they always will be. I have also really admired Harriet Tubman, but there are many people that inspire me. I am inspired when I see random acts of kindness, good deeds and people bringing hope to others.

What are you passionate about at work?

Building relationships and finding ways to bring new levels of success to the institution.

What is your favorite type of cuisine?

I really enjoy all types of food but, if I really had to pick, it would be a tossup between Latin and Caribbean.

What are some of your secret talents?

I have danced since the age of two and became part of the Caribbean Dance Company and the Contemporary Dance Company in St. Croix so needless to say, I love to dance. I also competed in gymnastics, though I can’t tumble the way I used to anymore – bad wrists. I’ve been told I’m great at event planning, crafts and DIY projects.

Tell us some of your pet peeves?

Injustice, bullies, lies and people who don’t do what they say they are going to do. In general, I truly value integrity.

Where is your alma mater?

Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA where I earned both my bachelor and master degrees.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy going to the beach, hiking, Geocaching and just about anything outdoors. I love adventure and like to experience and try new things from skydiving to new restaurants.

What impression do you want to leave on EMBA students?

It is my personal mission to positively impact those I meet and I would hope to do that for our EMBA students.

Cohort 14 Presentations

One of the culminating efforts for Cohort 14’s, 18-month experience was to research and identify an innovative product or service (or redesign an existing product or service) for the bottom of the pyramid. As a team, they were to select the product or service and be prepared to present the target market, service concept, operations strategy and service delivery for your offering. Below is an overview of each groups presentation.

Good Turn

Good turn was created by Cohort 14 members Matt Wierenga, Dave Pickens, Desi Warner, and Adam Swiatek.

From left to right: Dave Pickens, Desi Warner, Matt Wierenga, and Adam Swiatek.

Their concept was to create a network of skilled individuals who have the opportunity to pay it forward with an act of kindness. Professionals fill out a survey identifying their skill set which then are added to a broader network list. These services would be beneficial to those in need or who may not be able to afford to pay for these services otherwise.

This company runs off of a give and take concept; looking at our community alone, there are 350,000 people who are in need, and 3.17 million with the skills to help.

These services would be accessed through a phone application or through the internet, and would work on a token system. Some of these e-tokens would be donated to charity, others sold to businesses that would gain promotion and online marketing from the experience. The e-tokens would then be distributed to those in need, who could exchange an e-token for a service they are in need of in the community.

The Kin~nected Hearts Foundation Empowering Families

This company was created by Cohort 14 members Julie Billy, Hakim Lucas, Lyndsey Denton, and Christy Reynolds.

From left to right: Julie Billy, Christy Reynolds, Lyndsey Denton, and Hakim Lucas.

Their concept was a company with a social enterprise focus and directed at those at the bottom of the World Pyramid, focusing specifically on single mothers of young children in Central Florida. A significant 68% of single parent households are living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, 85% of brain growth occurs in the first 3 years of life, yet 45% of center-based child care facilities do not offer infant and toddler care.

A social enterprise is an organization that has a mission that benefits the public or community; they utilize trade, of which a substantial portion of income comes from; and reinvest the majority of their profit into their mission.

Their mission statement is:

To serve the single mothers of young children in Central Florida by providing education, job placement, and support services, while providing high quality, on-site child care in a nurturing environment.

The company would offer support services, with a mentorship program, child care, job training, and job placement. This is an extremely unique offering as all of these services are provided in one location vs. what traditionally these single mothers face and that is having to go to individual agencies one by one to get their issues resolved.

Ms. Keeter Beater

This company was created by Cohort 14 members Jason Mejeras, Rachael Faircloth, Zineb Sands, and Janice Trew.

The goal of this company is to reduce the spread of diseases in the rural, southeast Asia region. Preventing illness and death from diseases is done through affordable sanitation and proper protection. They target families with school-age children 5-17, school teachers, healthcare providers, and those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid.’

A hygiene product combined with a bug protectant is used to reduce illness. It is made up of liquid citronella soap dried on paper which dissolves when water it is applied. This is then sold in small, local marketplaces. This is a unique offering as it is a solution that provides hygienic car

From left to right: Zineb Sands, Jason Mejeras, Rachael Faircloth, and Janice Trew.

e plus insect repellant all in one. Also, they address sustainability as there is no waste of any kind or footprint left behind. The box the product initially comes in, is returned to the distributors for reuse, and the soap dried paper dissolves and disappears.

All three teams presented their very different products with passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm; however, our guest Alumni panel selected Ms. Keeter Beater as the company with the overall Most Innovative Product or Service. A huge congrats to their company for their creative and well-thought out plan which we all agreed could be implemented and solve a looming problem in this region!

We are so fortunate to have watched our students transform professionally and personally over the past 18 months. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of them! 

Top photo: Cohort 14 on their first day of classes 18 months ago. Bottom photo: Cohort 14 on their last day of classes!

Where Are They Now? – A Q&A with an Alumna

Cinthia Douglas, a Cohort 11 alumna of our Stetson EMBA program shares her personal journey and experiences!

How did your education enhance or change your current career path?

Since graduating with my MBA, I received a promotion with Disney Parks & Resorts.  I am now leading the Trade Marketing and the Consumer Marketing for both Disneyland and Disney Cruise line in Latin America.  I can definitely attribute this growth directly to my experience at Stetson.  The program was a wonderful balance of business acumen and meaningful leadership courses.

What piece of advice would you give to students considering pursuing an EMBA?

My #1 piece of advice is that YOU CAN DO THIS!  I did it with a young child and a full time career.  The hardest part is taking that first step and committing.  It is a lot of hard work, yes, and a lot of pressure, but all of it is manageable.  You will learn to manage time like you never have had to in your life.  And, you may have to give up watching TV for about two years (giggles).

How has your education at Stetson impacted your professional life? 

My entire life was impacted truly – Because the leadership courses and career coaching included some serious self-reflection.  That guided self-reflection is what helped me get a clear view of what I valued, and how to lead others by understanding what they value.

Why did you choose our EMBA program over others in the Central Florida area?

I chose the Stetson EMBA because a co-worker recommended it.  I had worked in my field for over ten years, and I was looking to connect with other professionals.  The Friday/Saturday all-day classes were also more convenient for me, having a young child at the time.  I did not want to have to drive Downtown or farther for evening classes during the week.

Spend A Day the Cohort Way, During the EMBA Test Drive

Stetson’s EMBA Test drive allows potential EMBA students to experience our innovative curriculum and immersive learning environment designed to accelerate your career and broaden your business acumen. Cohort 15 members Laurie Warfield and Nicole Amero reflect on how last year’s Test Drive positively impacted their experience with the program, and even played a key role in their decision to attend our EMBA program.


Laurie Warfield had been “contemplating going back to school for a Master’s Degree for several years.” Laurie needed a program that was in-person and fit around her work schedule. After exploring the programs in Central Florida, she found Stetson’s EMBA program and thought that it looked “like a great fit”. After talking with Wendy, the director of EMBA program admissions, Laurie decided to attend an EMBA Test Drive event.

The Test Drive event solidified my decision to enroll in Stetson. It was a personalized, in-depth and engaging session that allowed us to meet alumni and prospective students alike. It was energizing to be in a room with so many successful professionals from a variety of career fields!

A particular positive of the Test Drive experience for Laurie was the chance to hear stories from the program alumni; “they expressed how much the program not only changed their career but their life.”

Laurie also found that the program had an enticing diversity of experiences; Laurie has an undergraduate degree in Biology and was delighted in finding that other members of the program also have extensive backgrounds – because of this, Laurie felt that her cohort could be more like a family.

 Together, our strengths and differences would allow us to be successful throughout the 18 – month program. After attending the Test Drive, and learning how personalized and interactive the degree program was, I knew that pursuing an EMBA at Stetson University was perfect for me personally and professionally.

 

 

Nicole Amero had already submitted her application to the program by the time she attended our Test Drive, but was still awaiting her acceptance letter.

The Test Drive definitely was a validation for me that I had made the correct choice in applying to the program.

Nicole particularly appreciated the opportunity of experiencing a classroom setting. She also took the opportunity during lunch meet and greet with members of Cohort 14. Nicole asked the alumni as many questions about the program as she could, and still keeps in touch with Alicia Matheson, whom she discussed the program with at the Test Drive.

Nicole also noted that the Test Drive displayed to her that Stetson is also “focused on the mental health and well-being of each of their students, in addition to their success.” She discovered that there was a “tight-knit” family feel to the current and past programs members, as well as staff and faculty. I could also tell how much of a tight-knit family it is between current students, staff, and alumni.

Nicole also felt more at ease on her first day of classes as she was familiar with the building, as well as the class setting from the Test Drive, and could also recognize faces from both Cohort 14 and Cohort 15.

I think it was the perfect amount of time to get a glimpse into the lifestyle of a Cohort at Stetson in the EMBA program. The free lunch and swag is always cool, too!

 

Andrew Wertheim, a recent Stetson EMBA graduate from Cohort 13, “found the Test Drive sessions to be a valuable resource for prospective students to get a “real world” feel for how a typical EMBA class is run.” Andrew explains that the Test Drives have a “good mix of Alumni who collaboratively participate in case simulations and discussions in much the same way [that they] would do in a class.”

He states that he has “found … students benefit not only from these interactive activities by working closely with [alumni], but it [also] helps to take away some of the “unknown” and break down any apprehensions students might have in terms of their ability to navigate the program successfully.”

Andrew also reflects on the added bonus of the lunch as it “is scheduled along with the current Cohort. This offers potential candidates a chance to open up and really ask questions they’d like to hear firsthand from current students.”

 Overall, the Test Drive is a great “mini-sampling” of what the EMBA program will be like. I recommend it to anyone interested in possibly pursing an EMBA at Stetson.

 

Adam Swiatek is a current EMBA student in Cohort 14, and enjoys sharing “the EMBA experience with prospective students. There’s no better way to experience the EMBA than by spending the day with [current students] during the Test Drive.”

At the Test Drive, you’ll meet “students of the current cohorts enrolled in the program today. The cohort is an important component in creating an open and supportive learning environment. You’ll learn more about how group work, classroom activities and the international trip can bring your fellow students together. By creating those closer bonds, you’ll build each other up and help each other out in ways that you might have never expected.

As you’ll see during the Test Drive, the learning and deeper interactions among cohort members continues outside of the classroom. During lunch, breaks and after-class happy hours, the cohort continues to help each other navigate their own educational journey. Your richer education is important – but, so is applying that experience to your home and work life. Through these more social interactions, you’ll uncover just how your cohort members can help you think differently and possibly solve your own personal challenges.”

I hope to meet you during the Stetson EMBA Test Drive!

The Newest Cohort in Celebration

On August 18th, Cohort 14 welcomed Cohort 15 to Stetson’s Executive MBA Program. Adam Swiatek from Cohort 14 shares some great highlights from Orientation weekend. Our new students are eager and enthusiastic to begin classes and we are excited to have them!

Each year, the Stetson EMBA admits a tight-knit group of students to the program. The group takes classes together, travels abroad, creates group projects and socializes together. Through the structure and the experience that the EMBA provides, students are able to take relationships to the next level – creating bonds that are unparalleled and unmatched.

Since the program is selective, there is extra special attention given to each student and the relationships that form as a result of the program. Cohort 14 (affectionately called the “Legion”) welcomed Cohort 15 last weekend. These are the new eager students who will be sharing the Center at Celebration with the “Legion” – and more importantly, the snack room! They are the next generation and the next wave of EMBA learners coming through the program prepared to receive a transformational experience.

Cohort 14 paved the way for strong relationships and close bonds. Over this past summer, those relationships were strengthened as the cohort traveled to Hong Kong and Bangkok as part of their International Field Experience course. Through in the moment scenarios, that could only come up when traveling, the cohort bonded and learned more about each other. They were already close – but, the trip experience really solidified the deal.

When they returned back to the Center, they were excited to keep the memories of their time together going with the new wall décor in Celebration featuring their travels and experiences of our Cohort 14 students on the walls for all to enjoy!

Cohort 15 was welcomed to the EMBA program by Cohort 14 students with open arms. Returning students could not wait to meet the new students for breakfast. And, the meeting of new friends continued at lunch at Happy Hour after class. Returning students interspersed with new students during meals – as they told the tales and shared their personal experiences of the journey the next 18 months ahead.

Following the first weekend of class, some Cohort 15 students already started using the study rooms and taking advantage of the resources that Stetson provides. This won’t be the only opportunity that they have to use the study rooms. There will be 18 more months of coursework and small group work ahead. While some of it will be relatively easy, some of it will really take the mental power and support of the whole cohort. They will discover their strengths – some strengths that they might not even know they had – and band together to make the educational experience truly amazing.

Cohort 14 undoubtedly will continue to be great mentors and supporters of our new executive students as they learn to balance professional and personal priorities with being a student in a progressive master’s program. As these two cohorts collaborate, naturally skills will be transferred and networks will be broadened heightening each individual’s experience.  Later this fall, Alumni will be added to the mix with our Tailgate Mixer at the Stetson vs. Brown football game in DeLand and then in the spring at our annual Alumni event. Pairing emerging leaders in Central Florida has been a highlight for all involved.