As a part of the collaboration between the Center for Career Development and International Programs (CDIP) and AKIN ASIA, a community organization that celebrates and promotes female leadership, a series of Professional Development Workshops were conducted weekly from Sept 24th to October 12th 2017 facilitated by Ms. Nicola Jones-Crossley, Director of AKIN ASIA.
Before starting her own company on professional development in 2016, enterprising Ms. Jones-Crossley, a Sociology and English Literature graduate from the University of Notre Dame Australia, worked in the field of education by teaching and conceptualizing and delivering various training workshops. She has also worked for a number of community development and nonprofit initiatives in Sydney, Australia.
Ms. Lorena Tovar, Consultant for AKIN ASIA and Founder of 24PLUS1, a social innovation project in the United States, also joined Ms. Jones-Crossley for a week.
The Professional Development Workshop Series was held at the Tale Space of AUW Campus. The workshops series specifically targeted for AUW students encompassed topics on,
Visions for the Future – Keeping your Doors Open
Entrepreneurship 101 – Just do it
Adding Value – Give More Than You Take and Know Your Worth
How to be an Intern
Learning from Failure – Building Resilience
“Everybody is a teacher. Every place is a school. Every moment is a lesson.”
Overall, the workshops were focused on soft skills development particularly on leadership, communication and resilience building. Activities concentrated on helping AUW student participants to reflect on their past and understand themselves and their accomplishments better. Other activities helped the participants set future goals and work towards achieving them. Workshops fostered trust and honesty between participants, empowering them to appreciate themselves for their accomplishments, and helping them gain better clarity on setting and achieving goals.
Entrepreneurship was also tackled that introduced various competencies such as risk taking, innovation, and resource maximization. Activities enable students to pitch a start up business plan with limited resources. The activity was a great way for participants to learn about effective use of resources, comprehensive team work, and time management. In addition, Ms. Lorena introduced a highly useful method to being organized and remaining self-driven. The method included breaking down goals into five different categories of why, how, when, what, who in order to track progress effectively. LinkedIn was mentioned as a valuable online tool for networking among others in the professional field. Participants were immensely motivated and inspired to be a successful entrepreneur on their way out of the workshop.
Branding, punctuality, positive impact, priority; the different definitions and adjectives portrayed the diverse understanding of value among the workshop participants through introspection to understand the common qualities that an employer would seek in an applicant and encouraged them to work on building the skills that they might not be paying attention to. Adding value involves suggesting new ways of doing things in a workplace, and helping to increase work efficiency of employers.
Learning how to determine the purpose of doing an internship, gaining new information, adapting, excelling in new surroundings, expanding networks and increasing leadership skills, venturing out of the comfort zone, and finding a job while working on one’s own elevator pitch as a great tool to efficiently convey important information about one’s self to other people, including potential employers.
Students were encouraged to learn from failures and to consider converting abstract concepts like success and failure into tangible components. Awareness of tangible aspects of one’s failure and success can be used to build resilience. Drawing on strength from one’s success is as important as learning from one’s failures.
Overall, the workshop series fostered creative thinking, self reflection activities, and team work. It has contributed greatly to the personal and professional development of all participants. The valuable knowledge received in these workshops can now be passed on and applied in both their professional and personal lives.