Diversity, Integrity and Innovative Leadership in the Human Resources Field

Meet Sonja Scott from Cohort 13

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 9.43.01 AMOriginating from Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, Sonja Scott has spent the majority of her life in this majestic place. With a Bachelors degree in English, a Master’s Degree in HR Management and vast business experience, Sonja wanted more. So, in the fall of 2015 she decided to move to the U.S. in order to accomplish one of her goals; to get a Master’s Degree in Business in an Executive Program had to be the next step. But how did Sonja get to Stetson University?

“I did considerable research into MBA and EMBA programs worldwide before choosing the EMBA at Stetson University”, explains Sonja. And it was not a simple choice for her. With an excellent background and with an audacious objective, Sonja had a lot to consider. “There were a number of things I considered; an accreditation to guarantee quality, international studies, excellent professors, a University with proven strong academic performance in the education and a program that had ambitious links to the business world”, she says while remembering all the research and analysis she did before having her decision made. And she completes “After the interview process, I felt that Stetson’s EMBA program would serve me best”.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.28.32 AMBut that was not everything. Choosing the right university was important; however Sonja had a lot more to think about. “Taking a break in my career and bringing my family of five half way across the globe was a leap of faith”, states Sonja who believes now Stetson’s program was the right choice.

After eight months in the program, Sonja is amazed by the fact that Stetson’s staff and faculty not only go deep into the education process on behalf of knowledge, but also stress important things a leader will need to develop teams, create great teamwork atmosphere, and lead.  “I am pleasantly surprised by how much my professors emphasize integrity and authenticity in business procedures as well as understanding and optimizing financial performance”.

Having her background in HR and special interest in diversity, since the onset, she was very excited to incorporate such grounded values in business studies, and bring everything together to enhance her capabilities as a leader and her knowledge and understanding as a person. “I was also surprised by how much we are encouraged to be the best that we can be, not only in our careers but in our private lives as well. The program takes a holistic approach to leadership development, which I truly believe is one of the program’s best qualities”, she says. Stetson believes that the personal and the professional cannot and should not be separated. For Stetson, the alignment of these two perceptions creates a leader with greater integrity, trust, and greater meaning in life. In times of exponential change, being grounded in deep self-awareness, including your character, besides being introduced to the best theory, is absolutely imperative.

Sonja has already experienced half of the EMBA program at Stetson, and besides the regular classes, she has been participating in executive one-on-one coaching sessions. Not usually offered by other MBA programs, the coaching sessions are developed to bring more effectiveness to the educational process, and to create a holistic environment where students are able to develop not only their professional and business acumen, but also the personal characteristics that complement their curricula and make them more vulnerable to the world and to themselves.

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 11.10.26 AMThe cohort-based learning environment is a great differential of Stetson’s program as well. Sonja affirms that “In the cohort environment, it becomes a more personal experience and we are able to make more meaningful working relationships with each other. As we have gotten to know each other better, we are able to draw on individual strengths and learn from everyone’s skills and experiences”. This is very important to Stetson; learn to connect your self-awareness to the cohort and interact as a team not only on the application of course material, but also in supporting each other’s growth, development, and success.

When asked about goals, Sonja is decisive and direct. “I hope to leverage my HR and management experience with newly acquired business acumen and leadership practices to become a more successful and agile leader. My goal is to secure a new position in leadership or start my own company where I can engender personal and organizational excellence through innovation, acceptance of diversity and integrity”. And Sonja can be totally comfortable with that, because Stetson also believes that agile and inclusive leadership is the future of businesses.