After graduating, MA Leadership alumna embraces new skills and perspective on the world around her
Elaine Calvert has always valued a commitment to professional growth and chose the MA Leadership program to enhance her learning and enable her to grow as a leader. Through this experience, she not only gained new leadership skills to help her in the workplace, she also embraced a new perspective on life.
In this Q&A, Elaine discusses her reasons for choosing the MA Leadership program at the University of Guelph, her student experience and how the program helped her reach the next stage in her career.
What was your job after you graduated from the program?
Director, Post-Acute and Senior Services.
What was the most important connection you made at the University of Guelph?
Without a doubt, the most important connection I made at the University of Guelph was with the people in my cohort. These individuals came to the program with a wealth of knowledge and leadership experience from a variety of sectors. Because of the ongoing personal journey and commitment to professional growth that we all shared, we continue to support each other as we navigate the opportunities and challenges that present themselves in our ever-changing workplaces.
Why did you choose the University of Guelph for your Master’s degree?
When it came time to decide to continue my education, my children had just recently graduated from the University of Guelph. While I “waited for my turn”, I was able to explore the graduate programs that best fit my goals and figure out which programs would enhance my learning and be conducive to my success.
In the end, the U of G MA Leadership program was the best fit. The program is designed to support the development of leadership competencies that can be immediately applied in the work environment. As a result, the program structure gave me the foundation on which to build my future as a leader. Looking back, I am able to realize how important this program choice was for my career.
What course was most impactful to your professional development?
Every course spoke to me in a way that was relevant to opportunities and challenges I was facing at the time. Delving into a course on Organizational Politics led to a new appreciation for the climate and culture of a workplace, and the roles of individuals and influence on change. This course built off of previously delivered material and allowed for a level of reflection that has guided my decisions as a leader.
What other skills did the program help you develop?
Overall, the program improved my overall vision. I no longer see the world around me in the same way. There are four skills that I developed and enhanced, which have been critical to my experience as a team member and leader:
- Ability to critically review evidence;
- Maintain a people-focused lens;
- Build relationships supported by trust; and
- Engage in purposeful reflection.
What would you tell your graduating self?
The first thing I would tell myself is that I made a great choice by choosing the MA Leadership program at U of G, and not to waste any time in getting back out there and using my newfound knowledge wisely! I would also remind myself to continuously look for opportunities that will support a continue growth, while recognizing that leadership needs to be continuously worked on.
Lastly, I would tell myself that with graduation comes new responsibility; always have the courage to be a voice not only for yourself, but also for those who are not able to yet find theirs.
How are you using your degree to improve life in your community or abroad?
The completion of my graduate degree was more than just receiving a master’s degree; it was also a realization of my obligations to my community. In response to this realization, I have accepted a Board of Director position for an organization that is committed to supporting those at risk of homelessness. In addition, I recently accepted an offer to become an adjunct faculty member in the department of Gerontology at an Ontario University. Both opportunities will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the vulnerability of seniors, and the role of leadership in addressing related challenges.