Ten USF Sarasota-Manatee students were recognized with special certificates Wednesday for completing the Northwestern Mutual Leadership Series, a yearly program led by local executives of the wealth management company.
This was the third year for the workshops, which started in mid-February. Recognized for its advice and universal appeal, the program is popular with business students but open to any major.
“I was a little hesitant at first to sign up because I’m taking four classes and working full time,” business management senior Sherri Connor said. “But then I left after that first week going, ‘Oh yeah, this is good.’ So actually, I did learn quite a bit.”
Students applied for the workshops through the campus’ Career Services office, which forwarded resumes to the company’s human resources department. Ten finalists were chosen after an interview process. In addition to Connor, they included: Paige McKenzie, James Tran, Breanna Durrance, Gabriel Hawk, Jeremy Carter, Jessica Bowers, Annalia Rissman, Sydney Whitlock and Fredlain Denord.
At a ceremony Wednesday, the students were congratulated for completing the series and gave brief presentations about what they learned. Local executives from Northwestern Mutual led the program.
Anthony Holds, managing director of the company’s Suncoast Office in Sarasota, said he enjoys the yearly collaboration and talked about the importance of long-range planning while also focusing on the task at hand. He said life is comprised of small moments and greatness comes by concentrating on the everyday things we face.
“Honor small things of the moment, instead of greatness,” he said. “That’s how you will achieve.”
Whitlock, a senior biology major, said she’s happy she applied to the program.
“I got to learn more about who I am through the Harrison (Job Suitability) Assessment and one-on-one talks with the professionals from Northwestern Mutual, and they helped me to develop more concrete goals and an action plan for my one-year, three-year and five-year career path,” she said.
Planning was one aspect of the series, which consisted of four workshops of two hours each. Others included goal-setting, time management and leadership skills on and off the job. Some sessions featured one-on-one talks with the executives.
Fredlain Denord, a business marketing junior, said he liked the way executives emphasized goal-setting.
“One of the things that really stuck with me is they referenced this idea of, are you laying bricks or are you building a cathedral?” he said. “The concept is you can show up to work and just focus on laying bricks or you can look at the bigger picture of building a cathedral. Some people show up to work and have that long-range motivation of building a cathedral, and for me that stood out a lot. That’s very important, especially if you’re trying to motivate people.”