Geno Auriemma, head coach of the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team, is again partnering with the UConn School of Business – this time by supporting a new lecture-and-workshop series to help 2,000 graduate business students enhance their leadership skills.
The series, which began Oct. 13, focuses on value-centered leadership, learning to reset and transform, and intentional networking. Each executive lecture will be followed by workshops led by a career coach to reinforce the lessons.
“You, as graduate students, have decided to master your craft,’’ Auriemma said in introductory remarks to students. “All of us are constantly trying to learn, trying to improve the skills we already have, and trying to acquire new skills.’’
He went on to say that every great leader learns from someone else, and he hopes the program helps students take their skills to the next level, and, ultimately, inspire others.
The leadership series is open to all School of Business graduate students, regardless of discipline. The program is modeled off the annual Geno Auriemma UConn Leadership Conference for rising managers and executives.
The program kicked off with Joseph Terranova, Senior Managing Director for Virtus Investment Partners, who discussed “Strategic Pivoting with Humility and Grit.’’
“If you think that you’re not going to need to re-create yourself and to pivot and change in your professional career, at least three or four times, you are mistaken,’’ he told the graduate students. Trust your instincts and never be afraid to “reach around the corner,” he said.
The next presentation, on Nov. 17, features Joann DeBlasis, ’76, ’83 MBA, retired president of Accident & Health at Navigators Re and a member of the School of Business Hall of Fame, and Robin Landsman, ’97 EMBA, who has worked in human resources for 25 years and is currently leading the leadership development practice at executive search firm Beaumont Bailey. They will discuss risk and resilience.
The series will continue in 2021 with presentations on developing an entrepreneurial mindset, and intentional connections.
“Hearing leadership strategies from outstanding alumni and business partners will help better prepare our students for their post-graduate careers,’’ says Associate Dean Lucy Gilson. “The addition of the skills-based workshops is a unique and exciting component of this program. The workshops will link back to the presentations and help students hone their leadership abilities with a goal of differentiating them at the recruiting table.’’
“We’ve discussed creating a speaker series for some time now, and this program offers something unique and meaningful,’’ says Meg Warren, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the School of Business. “We’ve designed it so that every student can benefit, build business acumen, and develop leadership skills that are needed to become a tremendous leader. We will discuss values and what’s uniquely important to each student. We will challenge them to hit the ‘pause button’ and think about where they’re likely to find the most professional happiness.’’
Auriemma was excited to do something special for UConn graduate business students, Warren says.
“It was an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ from him,’’ she adds. “He especially liked the teaching component of the program.’’
The workshops are led by Karen Senteio, a professional executive coach and consultant and the director of consulting and training at Leadership Greater Hartford.
This year’s presentations will be virtual, due to the pandemic, but next year the School plans to offer the program in person to allow even greater networking opportunities.