Success Stories
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November 25, 2019 |
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Leadership Student Puts Management Theory Into Practice

Christine York was drawn to the MS in Leadership because of the program’s flexibility. What surprised her is how quickly she gained tools that helped her solve business problems.

By Jenny McKeel
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Christine York, Principal Process Excellence and Program Manager at a San Francisco biotech company, wanted to pursue an MBA but wasn’t sure which program was the best fit. She was attracted to GGU’s MS in Leadership because the curriculum emphasized hot topics—like Agile transformation and creative leadership—that reflected conversations happening at her company. The flexibility within the program convinced her the MS in Leadership was right for her.

“The fact that I could select my own concentration is what it made it a great fit for me. I was working full time while going back to school. Knowing I could tailor the program to my interests made it that much easier to make the commitment,” said Christine.

Real-World Applications

Christine found that her coursework was applicable to her role and her career. Senior leaders and executives at her company had started implementing Agile and Lean transformations as well as complex change thinking—management frameworks that help businesses thrive in a flexible, collaborative, self-organizing, fast-changing environment. Christine’s colleagues were impressed that she had the ability to teach others these same concepts.

“I was able to use the new terminology I had learned to explain to senior leadership how we would be able to succeed at solving problems where we hadn’t been able to before. That was powerful for me.”

“Some of the leaders in my organization were familiar with these concepts strategically, but they didn’t necessarily know how to implement them throughout the organization. That’s a skill set I’m able to bring. I’m able to explain how these concepts apply to our business groups. It’s one thing to send staff to a leadership development training. It’s completely different when you have someone in-house who can then help leaders and teams put these ideas into practice. That’s the value I’ve gained.”

Complex Change

In the course Leading Complex Change, Christine learned more about new approaches to organizational change. She applied new models to an ongoing challenge at work – models including Agile, which allows teams to create products in short, fast increments amid rapidly changing requirements. Within her organization, Christine’s team faced challenges related to onboarding new employees. She used the new change models to get her team to think about a multi-pronged, iterative approach to address the complex issues involved in managing this  problem.

“We can’t just spend $5 million dollars in the next 12 months on one big solution and expect it will work,” said Christine. “What I learned at GGU is if we implement a few smaller solution experiments, reevaluate, and then revise our approach – that can add more value, more quickly. Utilizing some of the new models, I was able to get a 12-month project implementation plan approved, where we are using this iterative solution approach, modifying as we learn what works and what doesn’t. What made the difference is that I was able to use the new terminology I had learned to explain to senior leadership how we would be able to succeed at solving problems where we hadn’t been able to before. That was powerful for me.”

Resilience Training

Beyond the tangible problem-solving frameworks Christine has gained, she has also learned resilience in the face of uncertainty.

“I’m able to handle a lot of changes at work better because I have a higher level understanding of business environments in disruption. I don’t get as frustrated in the face of reorganization  as I might have before. Now I know how to prepare for uncertainty. I can look at things with a new frame of mind, which has reduced my stress and allowed me to be there for other people in my professional life as well as my personal life.”

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Neepa Parikh, Director of the Office of Career Planning at GGU shares her story of volunteering in the next chapter of our "Why I Volunteer" microstories.
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I’ve been volunteering with the Mountain Pacific Association of Colleges and Employers (MPACE) since 2012 and served on their Board of Directors for two years. Through my involvement, I’ve learned to lead a team of volunteers and to work cross-functionally with individuals in different time zones. Volunteering has helped me build my professional network and contribute to my field while finding some amazing mentors. Plus, it can be a lot of fun! People looking to volunteer should have a clear goal in mind because a good volunteer needs to be reliable and self-disciplined.

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Looking for volunteer opportunities? Log into your GGU Career account to find out how you can get involved in your community. #gguELEVATE #mpacenews #professionalassociation #WhyIVolunteer
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Neepa Parikh, Director of the Office of Career Planning at GGU shares her story of volunteering in the next chapter of our Why I Volunteer microstories.
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I’ve been volunteering with the Mountain Pacific Association of Colleges and Employers (MPACE) since 2012 and served on their Board of Directors for two years. Through my involvement, I’ve learned to lead a team of volunteers and to work cross-functionally with individuals in different time zones. Volunteering has helped me build my professional network and contribute to my field while finding some amazing mentors. Plus, it can be a lot of fun! People looking to volunteer should have a clear goal in mind because a good volunteer needs to be reliable and self-disciplined. 

------------------------
Looking for volunteer opportunities? Log into your GGU Career account to find out how you can get involved in your community. #gguELEVATE #mpacenews #professionalassociation #WhyIVolunteer

There is still time to sign up for GGU's unique "Cannabis: Commerce, Culture, and Compliance" course, which will give students a one-of-a-kind view into the burgeoning cannabis industry. It runs from March 7 to April 25 and is open to both undergraduate GGU students and the general public. Non-students can also attend the first-session seminar for just $20. ow.ly/wXWa50ykNvw ... See MoreSee Less

There is still time to sign up for GGUs unique Cannabis: Commerce, Culture, and Compliance course, which will give students a one-of-a-kind view into the burgeoning cannabis industry. It runs from March 7 to April 25 and is open to both undergraduate GGU students and the general public. Non-students can also attend the first-session seminar for just $20. http://ow.ly/wXWa50ykNvw

Kate Sylvester of SFJAZZ shares her story about volunteer work and the importance of how it advanced her career. Read below to see what she has to say about volunteering in your community.

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What Organization are you a part of?
- SFJAZZ.

What organization did you volunteer with?
- I have volunteered for NCHRA (Next Concept HR), UVM (University of Vermont) Alumni Associaton, and the Las Casas de las Madres. I am currently regional co-chairs for NCHRA and the UVM Alumni Association.

What skills did you use during your volunteer work?
- Marketing, public relations, administrative, and HR skills.

Why did you decide to volunteer?
- To stay involved and active within my professional and personal community. I also wanted to meet new people and learn new things.

Did volunteering help you meet at least one new person?
- Yes! My network is HUGE!

What advice do you have for people hesitant to volunteer?
-It is fun!
-----------------------

Caught the volunteer bug? Log into your GGU Career account to find out how you can get involved in your community. #gguelevate
... See MoreSee Less

Kate Sylvester of SFJAZZ shares her story about volunteer work and the importance of how it advanced her career. Read below to see what she has to say about volunteering in your community.

-----------------------
What Organization are you a part of?
- SFJAZZ.

What organization did you volunteer with?
- I have volunteered for NCHRA (Next Concept HR), UVM (University of Vermont) Alumni Associaton, and the Las Casas de las Madres. I am currently regional co-chairs for NCHRA and the UVM Alumni Association.

What skills did you use during your volunteer work?
- Marketing, public relations, administrative, and HR skills.

Why did you decide to volunteer?
- To stay involved and active within my professional and personal community. I also wanted to meet new people and learn new things.

Did volunteering help you meet at least one new person?
- Yes! My network is HUGE!

What advice do you have for people hesitant to volunteer?
-It is fun!
-----------------------

Caught the volunteer bug? Log into your GGU Career account to find out how you can get involved in your community. #gguELEVATE
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