Global Leadership Academy: Reflections on Week in Geneva

| June 27, 2013
Kim McGrath, Nancy Higgins, Samantha Davis, Hannah Verity, Jaingping Wang, and Melanie Gottlieb have their picture captured in front of a serene Swiss landscape by GLA fellow Peter Maher and Ron Daniel, Academic Director of the Geneva campus.

GLA fellows Kim McGrath, Nancy Higgins, Samantha Davis, Hannah Verity, Jaingping Wang and Melanie Gottlieb pause by the lake as they are photographed by GLA fellow Peter Maher and Geneva academic director Ron Daniel. Holly Hubenschmidt (not pictured) took this photo.

The Global Leadership Academy’s 2013 cohort held its second week of meetings and workshops at the Webster University Geneva campus last week. The week-long session focused on topics key to leading in an international organization.

Geneva provided a rich backdrop to explore these topics as well as an immersion experience which allowed GLA fellows to better understand Webster from a global perspective. Fellows stayed in student housing and traveled to the campus on public transportation each day to learn from experts, teach each other, work on team projects and more.

“The GLA in Geneva was an amazing cultural and eye-opening experience,” said controller Curt Vehlewald. “Meeting students, faculty and staff from different backgrounds and building invaluable relationships with peers from around the world was inspiring. The knowledge, experiences, and friendships I gained will not be forgotten.”

Julie Loyet, Peter Maher, Elizabeth Stacey, Nancy Higgins, Ruben Molina, and Kristen DiFate try out new configurable furniture in a Geneva campus classroom.

GLA fellows, from left: Julie Loyet, Peter Maher, Elizabeth Stacey, Nancy Higgins, Ruben Molina and Kristen DiFate try out new configurable furniture in a Geneva campus classroom.

Online Services manager Elizabeth Stacey agreed. “Traveling to Geneva was a critical and eye-opening experience,” she said. “Many of us may kind of work with ‘blinders on,’ making assumptions about what we think other campuses are like, how they operate, what needs they have and how we can or should work together.

“Actually being there gives us the opportunity to see the realities, take off the blinders and begin to break down the invisible barriers that separate our worldwide network.”

Library department head Holly Hubenschmidt said her experiences as a GLA fellow in Geneva were incredible. “To discuss leadership and then visit the UN or CERN really brought home the powerful effects that an organization with engaged leaders can have in the world.

“Learning about the challenges and opportunities that Webster University Geneva faces — opportunities and challenges so different from those we deal with in Webster Groves — was a revelation. The exposure to this perspective gives me a more universal view of Webster University and the role I play within it.

GLA group bridge 6-13

From left: Elizabeth Stacey, Stephanie Schroeder, Elizabeth Risik, and Holly Hubenschmidt at the confluence of the Rhone and the Arve rivers.

Hubenschmidt said there are no words to describe the amazing connections she forged with members of her cohort. “Taking us out of our element so our entire focus was on this group was so beneficial for all of us from the home campus.

“Navigating the simplest tasks — transportation, shopping, eating out — in a place where my language skills are not strong became a great adventure requiring teamwork to accomplish. I am so grateful for this opportunity.”

The 2013 GLA cohort will meet one final time in October to learn more about leadership, to explore metropolitan and military campus network and finalize team projects on topics of strategic importance to the University.

A call for applications to be a part of the 2014 GLA Cohort will go out very soon.

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Category: Employee News, International & U.S. Campuses

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  1. Sharon Hitchcock says:

    It was lovely to meet you all and I appreciate the time and energy you put into experiencing some of the realities of living and working abroad. From my end I have to especially thank Elizabeth and Holly for arriving early to train staff and faculty on Canvas use. It was very helpful and Elizabeth was a good instructor even on jetlag!