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Fisher program helps professionals expand knowledge, career options

Executive Education classes designed to accommodate busy schedules

The Executive Education program, offered by The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, provides a variety of professional development options for working adults.

Two-day sessions led by Fisher faculty enable participants to explore topics such as leadership, operational excellence, financial intelligence, innovation and health care, data analytics, sustainability, artificial intelligence, Lean Six Sigma principles, and “Advancing Equity, Inclusion & Belonging in the Workplace.”

“For those business leaders who won’t settle for just being good at what they do, our topic-based programs will help them take the next step to become the leader their organizations need,” said Meredith Conder, executive director of Executive Education at Fisher. “Our programs are built on current research and trends in management and leadership, providing strategies and tools needed to solve challenges and lead effectively. New managers and even seasoned executives will find these programs will take them to the next level.”

In the financial intelligence session led by Senior Lecturer in Finance Chad Zipfel, participants learn how to interpret financial statements from a managerial point of view, understand budgets and financial forecasts, and how key performance indicators can help companies manage risks and opportunities.

Chris Palmer, vice president of sales for furniture manufacturer Leggett & Platt, said attending the financial intelligence session earlier this year “worked out perfectly because my job had tasked me with finding a financial course for non-financial staff.”

Palmer said he learned practical strategies that he implemented right away, including how to read balance sheets and decipher finance-related acronyms. The format worked out for his demanding schedule, he said.

“I travel for work a lot,” he said. “The two-day format seemed perfect.”

Missy Kilpatrick, a business manager at BBCO Design who also participated in the financial intelligence session, said the intimate group setting enabled her and her classmates to share best practices.

“The instructor catered it toward us because it was such a small class,” she said. “He was able to get pretty specific … and we were able to work together and learn a little bit from each other.”

The “Unlocking Your Leadership Potential” session that was conducted in July by professors Angus Fletcher and Larry Inks challenged participants to tap into their creativity and find new ways of motivating employees to maximize their potential.

“One of the things that I learned early on as a professor is that students never remember what you say, they remember what they say. A huge part of teaching is actually getting students to express themselves,” said Fletcher, who also teaches story science in the Department of English. “The reason I think it’s fun to teach this leadership class is teaching and leadership are similar in that they basically hinge on you creating an atmosphere of trust in which people will be their best selves.”

Inks, a clinical professor of management and human resources, said the session aims to help participants zero in on their personal leadership style.  

“The way I explain leadership is the potential that each of us has,” he said. “First, we want to get really comfortable in our skin. And then, what are some tools that we can apply as an individual and as a team at an organizational level?”

Peg Pennington, president of process improvement firm Moresteam, said the leadership session helped her with strategic planning that her organization is undertaking.

“(Fletcher) talked a lot about emotional resilience … and when you have a problem, how to tap into that reserve,” she said. “And then actually putting a better plan in place, as opposed to being overreactive or angry.”

Keith Gaskins, chief financial officer of Bry-Air manufacturing company, said he also found the material covered in the leadership session applicable to day-to-day business operations.

“One of the things we specifically talked about was you can’t lead like somebody else does. You have to be your own leader,” he said. “You have to stand back and look at yourself and say, ‘Am I practicing what I preach?’”

Faculty who lead the Executive Education sessions get as much out of the classes as the participants, Fletcher said.

“If you’re teaching professionals, you immediately realize, ‘Okay, this is what they need to know and this is what I need to research in order to help them,’” he said. “It’s that cycle of continuous learning through your life and your career.”

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