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Alumna Stephanie Weaver is a 2023 graduate of the BGSU Executive Master of Organization Development program, the first program of its type in the nation, which this year marks its 50th anniversary of emphasizing professional development to produce better leaders.

BGSU alumna finds organization development master's program to be a catalyst for professional change

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Stephanie Weaver '23 developed confidence and skills to excel in coaching and leadership, proving to be a perfect fit for her people-centric career aspirations

Stephanie Weaver '23 was certain that some advanced education and training would enable her to push for excellence in her career. She and her husband have two children, so there were significant time commitments on the family side of her life.

When her daughter went off to college, a window of opportunity to pursue an advanced education opened wide.

“I ran out of excuses to delay starting a master’s program, so I thought it was time to get started,” Weaver said. She found the ideal landing spot in the Executive Master of Organization Development program at Bowling Green State University.

“I liked the fact that the program was a mixture of remote and in-person sessions,” she said. “Sure, it is hard to make the time commitment because you’ve already worked all week and that first class is Friday night, but once you get to campus and see your cohort, you become full of energy.”

Weaver said her husband would sometimes tag along on the weekend trips to Bowling Green and meet her for dinner following the class sessions.

“The program has a lot of value and I found it to be affordable, as well,” she said. “The professors were very good, and I really grew as a person and professionally.

“The program complemented my work and gave me the personal confidence I needed to move into my current role, which involves coaching and leadership development programming."

She recalled the initial in-person session of the program as providing a seemingly anxious moment, but it took little time for the group to mesh and begin learning from the professors and from each other.

“I remember that first day, wondering who these people are, but once you start working with the cohort that all changes," Weaver said. "You gain so much from each other, and that communication benefits everyone. Several of us still talk to this day.”

Weaver, who previously had a career in banking, found her way into a human resources-related field after a career counselor guided her through some assessments and told her that her personality was the opposite of a bank examiner because Weaver liked being able to help people.

“They were right – I am a people person – so this program was a plus for me,” she said. “I liked working with the cohort, and I liked the writing that was involved in this program. Those weeks when we didn’t meet in person, there was quite a bit of writing, and I think as a professional, the more you write, the more you are able to think and present your ideas.”

The University's nationally recognized EMOD program focuses on the leadership skills necessary for success in today’s global landscape. The first program of its type in the nation, the BGSU EMOD program has an alumni base of around 650 as it reaches its 50th anniversary of emphasizing professional development to produce better leaders.

Dr. Deborah O’Neil, director of the EMOD program, said she has seen many positive experiences come from the program as the students embrace vital skills and diverse approaches to managing and leading others.

“The only way work gets done, no matter what you do, is through relationships,” O’Neil said. “Understanding yourself, understanding others and how to motivate teams is a very important part of this program. We focus on how to inspire those you work with, and how to get things done. It is all very human-centered.”

Weaver said she is confident that she emerged as a more skilled professional who brings greater value to her employer, and to her fellow employees who look to her for advice and direction.

“Many of us have very challenging jobs, and we are interested in anything that can help us be better mentors, better coaches and better leaders,” Weaver said. “If we can take what we learn, go back to our offices and see how our advice helps others achieve something or be more confident – we can see progress and know we’ve made a difference.”

The program’s curriculum consists of 10 courses, two per semester, and an international trip that focuses on utilizing organization development principles in circumstances and cultures other than those in the United States.

“I had never been to Europe, and I didn’t know exactly where we would be going, so I was a bit apprehensive at first,” Weaver said of her cohort’s trip to Prague.

“But the trip was totally beneficial. You got to see that no matter where you are in the world, we are facing some of the same challenges. The fundamentals of the program really come through on the trip – it was like putting the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae.”

The program has residency weekends twice per semester for the fall and spring semesters, with classes Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Outside of the classroom, the students connect with their cohort and instructors via online chats, video conferencing, conference calls, discussion boards and videos of lectures.

“The discussion board format, the leadership training program, the strategy format we learned, the change model – I rely a lot on the materials we got from the program,” Weaver said. “Once you put those things in your files, you keep referring back to them. And as members of the cohort, we continue to rely on each other, we stay in contact with each other, and that is also a plus. The program is invaluable, and it keeps on giving.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 07/08/2024 09:04AM