Professional Development and Engagement

CoB Truist partnership helps build leadership skills

by Stephen Briggs

College of Business Student News

The Office of Professional Development and Engagement (OPDE) recently hosted its third group of students in a partner sponsored leadership certification course, with plans to host another session in the spring. 

The Emerging Leaders Certificate program is offered by the Truist Leadership Institute, which was formed in 2019 through a merger of BB&T and SunTrust banks. By charging professionals already in the workforce for the same training, they are able to offer this for free to college students.

This “virtual” version featured two three-hour sessions led by Madison Hester, senior student leadership specialist for Truist, delivered to 27 students from freshman to senior and representing every major in the College of Business. 

Students who participated completed assessments to identify their own natural behaviors and strengths, then discussed as a group how these tendencies could come into play in various situations. According to OPDE assistant director Anna Boley, “Awareness of these strengths and the ability to identify these qualities in other people gives the students a foundation in leadership and tools to take with them in future leadership roles.” 

Kristen Schur - 2020Marketing major Kirsten Schur sees both short and long range uses for the training. “As a sophomore, I will be working a lot with my classmates throughout my time at JMU and in the business school,” she said. “I am always looking for new ways to better myself, and I knew that this would help me enhance my leadership skills, which I can use in the classroom during projects and also in my future career.” 

Jessica Bunda - 2020Junior management major Jessica Bunda saw it as an opportunity for both personal and professional development, saying, “I decided to participate to further my understanding of my personal style of leadership to better lead and serve others. Now that I know more about my leadership style, how to work with other types of leaders and my signature strengths, I feel confident that I can work to foster strong collaborative environments that are built on beliefs, behaviors and results.” 

Both OPDE director Sam Collier and Anna Boley are trained to lead the sessions and provide students with the certification, and are looking forward to another, hopefully even larger group of students in the spring as the word of mouth and awareness of the program grows.

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Published: Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, May 6, 2021

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