Dolan Advisory Board Steps In to Fill Summer Void

Dolan Advisory Board Steps In to Fill Summer Void

Beauty shot of the exterior of the new Fairfield University Charles F. Dolan School of Business building

With student internships postponed and jobs rapidly disappearing this summer due to the pandemic, Dolan’s Career Development Office was eager to do something to help move students' career development forward.

At a meeting this past May, Charles F. Dolan School of Business Advisory Board members floated the idea of creating a series of online “master classes," each focused on an aspect of career development and team-taught by an Advisory Board member and a professor. The idea took wing, and seven classes — ranging from strategic networking to project management and the post-Covid financial sector — were quickly formed.  Students who participated in five of the seven classes and submitted a final reflection received a Master Class certificate and Professional Development credit.  

Elaine Hughes, who helms her own executive search firm, taught a class on networking and human resources. Bill Curley, former vice chairman of Deutsche Bank, led students on an exploration of the post-Covid financial world; while Ursula Hurley, treasurer of JetBlue Airways, spearheaded a class on the major transitions in the airline industry and what they might mean for job seekers.

Advisory Board member Chris Stephens developed a class called “Leadership in Uncertain Times.” As senior vice president and CFO of Barnes Group, a global provider of highly engineered products, he shared his own “uncertain times” story about joining Barnes Group in 2009, “in the middle of the financial crisis storm.”

“I wanted students to understand a few key attributes of leadership — such as integrity, teamwork, collaboration, and employee development,” he said. “But just as importantly, I wanted the students to pull together their own personal leadership development plan.... That might entail leading a team, learning a new skill, or targeting ways to practice communication and presentation skills. The idea is that leadership development is not one-and-done, it’s a lifelong endeavor.” 

Tom Kushner ’86, managing director of the Global Institutional Client Group at Wells Fargo Securities, brought together expertise in real estate for his class, “Developing a Thriving Finance Career in Real Estate.” 

“I’m in finance, and I see real estate as a huge asset class. Yet, like most business schools, Fairfield only has one course in the field,” Kushner explained. “My goal was for students to see that they can build on the skills they already have in finance, management, and other areas, to be successful in real estate.”

Alumna Sue Davis Gillis, MBA’03, senior vice president of consumer solutions at Synchrony, taught a workshop on inclusive leadership, while Trish Preston, senior vice president at MasterCard Worldwide, gave students the benefit of her experience in product management.

Board members Kelly Lafnitzegger ’89, vice president of human resources at GE Gas Power, and Steve Siwinski ’92, partner at High Road Capital Partners, taught classes specifically tailored to Dolan graduate students. Completion of these classes earned grad students credit within the Dolan Graduate Professional Development Series.

More than 30 Dolan School students received Master Class certification. “Taking the classes over the summer shows that they took the initiative to advance their skills, despite the setbacks they faced,” said Sarah Bollinger, director of the Career Development Center. “We’re fortunate to have such active and committed professionals on our Advisory Board, and we couldn’t be happier about the success of this program.”

Tags:  Dolan School,  Top Stories


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