My Business Advantage For Life

Joining the professional sales and marketing fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon, has been a pivotal moment in my college career.

This year, I decided to dive in to professional development and networking opportunities by getting involved with sales competitions. I tried out for Pi Sigma Epsilon’s Regional Convention and made it on the team. I began preparing for the sales case as soon as it was released. A few weeks later, I competed against many of the top sales students in the region. My buyer and the judges were all recruiters from different companies.

That weekend, I applied my professional skills when networking with various recruiters and students, attending a career fair and dining using proper etiquette. I practiced carrying myself in a confident, competitive and sophisticated manner. I also learned new skills from peers at the competition. I was surrounded by many driven professionals all weekend, and the environment made me hungry to be successful.

I want to continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone with these competitions. It’s a great way to learn and apply real-world sales skills, plus they are fun. After competing, I received a video of my role play and have reviewed it a few times to take notes. The feedback I was given from others and the notes I took myself were applied to my next competition at Quicken Loans.

There are so many ways to get involved, but I truly think the most valuable is attending competitions because I get to apply, practice and enhance my skills.

I plan to continue trying out for the sales competitions and being involved with PSE. It’s a great organization that I’m flourishing professionally in. At the end of the year, I decided to apply to be on the executive board for next semester. In the fall, I will be my chapter’s Vice President of Alumni Relations. I will continue using the networking skills I have gained to reach out to the alumni and invite them to remain involved with the chapter by coming to our events. I’m very excited to continue being a leader in this organization.

 

 

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Alternative Winter Break: Access to Sports and Recreation

For winter break, I decided to give up a week to volunteer my time in Asheville, North Carolina. Eleven students and I packed our belongings Saturday night after finals and started helping on Monday. My group partnered with a YMCA in Asheville where we assisted them for the week. Tasks included: power washing buses, cooking rice, talking about healthy eating and exercising in schools, landscaping, sorting fruits and vegetables, and working mobile food markets.

The first day, we power washed three buses. Power washing was helpful to the YMCA because they were going to sell the buses and put the money towards programs for kids. We also had to push one of the buses out of the grass and into the parking lot. This helped the YMCA because without us, they would have had to pay over $150 for someone to tow it. That would have taken money away from programs.

Next, I headed to the kitchen.

I helped cook whole grain rice for students at a school so they could see healthy food can taste good. At the school, we handed out worksheets about the importance of colorful plates. With the lesson, students would be better informed on fruits and vegetables. At a different school, we facilitated a game of Simon Says. We incorporated different exercises to get students up and moving. Not only did it get students to exercise, but it also taught them different exercises they might not have known.

As much as I preferred to be inside where it was warm, I also had to put on work gloves and pull some weeds.

Landscaping helped the YMCA because they needed weeds cleared out for kids to be able to play. We did not clear out every single weed, but every bit helped. Somewhere down the line, some sort of structure will most likely be put in the area. In the past, students that went on the same Alternative Break installed a disc golf course and gaga ball pit.

Everything I did on the break was fun, but my favorite part was the direct service handing out food.

Many grocery stores in the Asheville area donate the fruits and vegetables that are not “shelf-quality” to the YMCA. The YMCA then sorts through all of the fruits and vegetables, throwing away the moldy and squishy produce. They keep what is edible, sort them in crates, load the truck and distribute the food in the community for free. When distributing the food, there is no questions asked about income.

Our role as a group was important because we provided extra hands. We allowed the process to run more efficiently by reducing the time it takes to sort and load the food. Because we reduced the time, we were able to load more food in the trucks before it was time to go. The workers at the YMCA said we broke their record for the most mouths fed. Not only is this important in itself, but we also did all the work right before the holiday season. The families we supplied food to would not go hungry on the holidays.

 

One thing I’ve taken away from this experience is to not waste food. Just because something doesn’t look picture perfect doesn’t mean it’s not edible. There are plenty of people in the world who would love to eat the food people throw away because it has a brown spot or is a little squishy.

Another thing I learned is tasks may seem little and easy to me, but they could really help someone else. Moving the bus from the grass to the parking lot took very little time and effort for the group. However, without us, there would have only been two staff members for the task. They could not have done it alone. This would have resulted in having to hire someone. I will keep this lesson in mind and remember that little things to me could make a huge impact on someone else.

PHL 318: Business Ethics

This past semester I took Business Ethics at Central Michigan University. I learned a lot about ethical principles and controversies such as planned obsolescence and environmental impacts. The class wasn’t strictly about business ethics, but every day ethics. For example, I learned about the classic trolley problem and how Utilitarians would choose the option that results in the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people while Kantians would choose whatever action derives from goodwill. Seeing a trolley flying down a track isn’t something you see everyday, however, people are faced with decisions where one action might benefit more people but doesn’t derive from goodwill and vice versa.

I learned it is important to understand different viewpoints of others and why they have them. This class didn’t change my beliefs or attitudes, but it made me aware of the beliefs and attitudes of others. I understand why some businesses make certain decisions. For example, I learned there is a broad view and a narrow view. The broad view considers all the stakeholders when making decisions while the narrow view considers only the stockholders when making decisions.

I believe an important takeaway is that everyone should consider each view before judging someone deeming their decisions as “bad”. Because of this class, I am expanding my way of thinking and how I see things. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing with the actions of others, I want to start understanding why people believe what they do.

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COM 461L: Communication in Leadership

I am just finishing up my last class with my Leader Advancement Scholar Cohort, Communication in Leadership. It was a very informative and interesting class that focused in depth on different leadership styles and how leaders communicate with their followers. My professor was one of the most passionate and bubbly professors I have

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The leadership case study book

ever had, which made learning the content super engaging and fun. Half of the content came from a textbook, where we learned the topics of discussion, but the other half came from a case study book. I really enjoyed the case study book because it applied the lessons we learned in class to real life situations. Out of the nine cases my class read, a little over half of them dealt with effective leadership. The others were more about cases that could have been effective if different choices were made. We had many group discussions about the cases in class that helped me see why some case results were super effective, while others were problematic. For example, it is always important to make sure a leader’s motivation is for the right reason. It is also important to treat followers with respect and have good ethical standards. However, other topics I learned can be rated on effectiveness by the different tasks at hand, and the readiness and willingness levels of followers. One example would be being a democratic leader vs an authoritarian leader vs a laissez-faire leader.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and I am glad I had the opportunity to take it with my whole cohort. It made group discussions and the class climate more open and collaborative. Everything I learned in class, I will be able to carry with me as a leader and apply it to my everyday life. I am glad this class is required for the Leadership minor, because even though there is content similar to LDR 200, there is more covered and it is much more in depth.

SOC 221: Social Problems

This semester I took the class Social Problems, at Central Michigan University, and had no idea what to expect. Six months ago, I did not even know about half the social problems that I do now. Each day I attended class, I was shocked and I always left feeling sad because I found out about issues I was not fully unaware of, such as violence and crime. I also learned more about issues I thought I was well versed in, such as gender inequality. However, even though being sad is not viewed as a good thing, there can be positives to it. The first step in fixing an issue is to know it exists. Now that I know about so many more issues in the world, I can start to take action and notify other people. For example, over the course of the semester I found out that I really want to become more sustainable and reach out to others and educate them. SOC 221 has a semester long project where each student selects a social issue, researches it, writes a paper on what institutions are causing the social problem and what can be done as a society to fix the issue, and then to take action themselves. For my topic, I chose plastic water bottles in the ocean. This class allowed me to fully educate myself on a social issue and take action to make a positive change. I gave a persuasive speech on the harms of disposable plastic water bottles in my Public Speaking class and encouraged everyone to start using reusable water bottles and reject plastic water bottles when they are offered them. I then typed my speech out, posted it on my blog, and shared the link on Facebook. I really do believe that as humans, we need to take better care of the Earth. This class has allowed me to speak out and create a positive change for the environment. I also plan on taking the information I have learned about other social problems in class, and sharing that knowledge with my peers.soc.jpg.

 

HDF 110: Oppression: Roots and Impact on Human Development in the United States

In the first semester of my sophomore year I took the class Oppression: Roots and Impact on Human Development in the United States, also known as HDF 110. The class was very interesting and informative because it taught me about privilege, power and oppression from a non-bias standpoint. The forms of oppression I learned about were: racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism and classism (socioeconomic status).

I never realized how easily we are exposed to privilege, power and oppression. One of the projects I completed in the class was a cultural awareness assignment. The first part of the assignment required me to write about five different instances where I observed privilege, power or oppression in my every day life. My observations came from stereotypes of race, sex, sexual orientation, ability to complete certain tasks, and social class. Some of the conversations I heard encompassed more than one of these stereotypes. For example, one of the conversations I heard was about race and sex. Stereotypes and expectations from a group of people can range from huge topics in the news to assuming a woman will take a man’s last name when she is married. I realized that I hear about these topics more than I was previously aware. The second part of the assignment was to find an instances from news sources or pop culture sources that highlight each form of oppression I learned about in class. I found the instances in music, television shows, YouTube videos, online news, and magazine articles. Privilege, power and oppression are spread throughout society on a wide scale using the media, whether it is to acknowledge or enforce it in a negative or positive way. The unfortunate reality is that many people are not aware of oppression if they are not in the group that is being oppressed.privilege

HDF 110 taught me there are ways to fix the issues of privilege, power and oppression. The first step is to acknowledge that a problem does exist and that it is a problem for everyone. The second step to to pay attention to where the privilege, power and oppression come from. This step is what the cultural awareness assignment did – it made everyone in the class see where these issues are found in every day life. The third step is to listen to opposing viewpoints and counter arguments. It is also important to listen when an opinion gets checked because there is always a reason why. Maybe something that was said was offensive and it was not even known to be offensive. The final step is to do something about the issue of privilege, power or oppression on a micro level or macro level. A micro level would be to point issues out to friends and family. A macro level would be to join organizations or write letters for change.

Everyone has the ability to be a leader and make a difference in this world, but it is important to listen and understand everyone’s viewpoints. It is our job in society to reduce the power given to privileged groups and distribute it among everyone because in reality, we are all humans who deserve to be happy.

LDR 200L: Introduction to Leadership

Introduction to Leadership was taken my second semester at CMU with Jesi Ekonen as the professor. This class was my first 3 hour class and my first night class in college, but it was still enjoyable to attend every week because the energy of my professor, the teacher’s assistants, and the rest of my cohort was infectious. In this class, I learned about the different leadership theories and styles and how different ones evolve over time. My class was split up into groups and we taught each other the different leadership theories and styles through workshops. My workshop group covered Servant Leadership and made sure we taught it to our classmates with the best of our abilities. The class was split into groups again so everyone could facilitate a leadership activity. Towards the end of the semester, my class also took a service trip to Detroit to volunteer with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and CASS Community Social Services.

From LDR 200L, my facilitating skills increased immensely. Before, I never knew what facilitating was, let alone that effective facilitators debrief at the end of their sessions. That term was completely foreign to me. I would just jump right into an activity and jump right out, but now I know how to properly introduce an activity and bring meaning to it at the end by tying it all together. I also learned about different leadership theories and styles, for example the Trait Approach says leaders are born and not made while the Skill Approach says the opposite. While each theory might be true, it is important to understand both and why they were each developed.

It is important to know the different theories and styles to understand different leaders and see why they act the way they do. Knowing about each of them also shows everyone the different skills and weaknesses they have. Different approaches work in different scenarios. Followers are essential to leaders so it is vital to understanding when to act in certain ways. From doing my workshop on Servant Leadership, I can now be conscious if I am genuinely acting like a leader. When I am doing community service, I can ask myself am I just doing service for attention, or am I actually displaying the 10 characteristics of a servant leader (listening, empathy, healing, etc.). I will also carry my facilitation skills with me and can apply them everywhere: in group projects, work, and activities I have been instructed to lead. Effective facilitation is important because it brings a group together and helps get creative thoughts to flow between members.