MA Leadership alumna Connie Stevens works to make impact in health care through teaching
Throughout her career in health care, Connie Stevens has worked in many different areas, but her main priority has always remained constant - to make a positive impact on her industry. For Connie, being an effective leader was central to achieving this goal, and the MA Leadership program at the University of Guelph allowed her to learn from people in different industries, while reflecting and critiquing her own leadership style.
In this Q&A, Connie discusses her reasons for enrolling in the MA Leadership program, her student experience and how it enhanced her ability to lead.
What drew you to the MA Leadership program at the University of Guelph?
The flexibility in the program’s online delivery was a key factor in my decision to apply to the MA Leadership program. I was also impressed with the number of diverse professions of students in the program. I believe the exposure to the diverse professions enhanced and influenced my overall future career philosophy and paradigm.
How did the program enhance your ability to lead in the workplace?
The program provided the opportunity to use reflection, and critique and improve my leadership style. It also increased my awareness of functional and desire leadership styles. It allowed me to question my goals and direction in leadership: What did I want to achieve? Who did I want to influence and how?
How did it change your career focus?
I had been teaching part time as well as working full time as a Public Health supervisor while a student in the MA program. The program impacted my decision to accept a full-time teaching position. I believe that I was able to influence a greater number of health care workers by being in an educational position versus the smaller and limited impact I was able to achieve in a middle management position. My career goals changed while I was in the program due to the exposure and experience of the classmates. The Politics of Organizations course provided me with an increased reality and awareness in my ability to lead. I see myself as an effective leader who positively influences others to achieve a common goal.
In addition to leadership, what other skills did the MA Leadership help you develop?
I believe the MA program enhanced my research writing skills. I had the opportunity to apply new and relevant research skills, and write a final research project. My confidence as a person also increased and I felt empowered to be vocal about rights and wrongs through advocacy, especially providing a voice for unempowered persons.
What parts of the curriculum did you find most rewarding?
I enjoyed the online delivery of the courses, as this provided me the autonomy to schedule studying into my active adult lifestyle. However, I also really enjoyed the in-class weeks. The in-class weeks gave me the opportunity to bond with the classmates who I had been chatting with online for months! I enjoyed the first in-class week, where I was able to meet with other students, where we shared our fears and apprehensions as adult learners. Then I enjoyed the second in-class week, as I was able to celebrate the successes and achievements of my classmates.
In your opinion, what is the best part of the program?
The best part of the program was meeting and working with people who I would not have had the opportunity to work with in my career.
What advice do you have for people considering the MA Leadership program?
I would suggest that potential candidates identify what they would like to achieve with the program. I would share with students that going into the program I had different career goals than the goals I surpassed by the end of the program. I was motivated to go above and beyond in my career, with thanks to the support and encouragement of the program and my classmates!!