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Lasting, positive changes made possible through "Women on the Move."

“I was thoroughly impressed with how the ‘Women on the Move’ program helped me better understand my strengths, make positive changes and develop an on-going strategy for my business,” said Maria Elena Aitken, one of 22 women who participated in the leadership program developed and presented by the Center for Leadership in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU).

Participants included executives from Baxter Pharmaceutical; Odebrecht Construction; Preferred Care Partners; Ryder System, Inc.; U.S. Southern Command; and other businesses and organizations.

Benefits start before the event, last long after.

Each woman completed a pre-program exercise to assess her strengths, including gathering input from friends and business associates.

“It was eye-opening and a good confidence builder,” said Aitken, founder of Sabia Communications in Coral Gables, Florida.

Then, during the four-day “Women on the Move” program, held in May at the Hyatt Bonaventure in Weston, Florida, sessions helped the women learn about managing work/home worlds and developing personal action plans.

“I was hungry for academic stimulation,” Aitken said. “I finished my MBA ten years ago, and I wanted fresh information from intelligent, well-prepared presenters. That’s exactly what I got.”

Participants of the spring 2011 offering of “Women on the Move” took part in an exercise geared toward developing and implementing strategy.

Joyce J. Elam, executive dean of the business school and the program’s academic director, presented as did executive coaches Nance Guilmartin and Gino Coca-Mir. Guest speaker was Monica Luechtefeld, Office Depot’s executive vice president, supply chain and information technology.

Personalized coaching adds to value of experience.

As part of the program, each participant had an individual coaching session.

“Nancy Gould suggested more effective ways to communicate with my family, delegate additional chores and get better organized at home so that I now have more freedom and time for my business,” Aitken said.

Joyce J. Elam with Maria Elena Aitken

“It has been very rewarding to see this program expand and grow in demand,” said the center’s Garth D. Headley (MS ’07), industrial psychologist and associate director, marketing and corporate relations. “Learning to capitalize on individual strengths and leveraging them remains a fresh approach to executive leadership development.”

The next “Women on the Move” program is scheduled for October 25-28, 2011.

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