SparkPath at Mexico Meet America

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On July 3rd I had the privilege to deliver a workshop to future leaders from Mexico through a program called Meet America. The program, delivered jointly through Global Ties U.S. and Global Pittsburgh, was designed for international students interested in building their networking skills and preparing for the global job market. The cohort I worked with consisted of 25 students, professionals and teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers.

The two-week immersive experience connects participants with businesses, professionals and universities in the United States. The group I worked with met with GE Global Research and Carnegie-Mellon, amongst other companies and universities.

The workshop I delivered was on career and leadership development. I focused on three topics: 1) How to find your dream job 2) How to get your dream job and 3) How to use leadership skills to excel in your dream job.  The group was a pleasure to work with. The participants were friendly and eager to learn as they dove right into the material. They also laughed at my jokes, which is always a plus.

A main highlight of the workshop was an interactive activity where participants had to choose between different challenges they would like to work on during their careers. For example, would they rather work for an organization that helps develop sustainable sources of energy or one that improves the education system? This exercise cemented an important career lesson: if you don’t choose the overarching challenges you want to work on in your career, someone else will.

Another highlight shared as feedback from participants was the content on leadership. The importance of leadership development really hit them when I introduced this surprising question: “In 10 years, most of you in this room will share the same job title. What is that title?”  The answer I was looking for was “leader.”  We discussed the importance of leaders as being a catalyst for action in others through effective communication. We used a DDI model to talk about how leaders need to meet the personal and practical needs of the people they work with.

Here are some other highlights from participant feedback:

“The talk was really interesting and dynamic. There were things I had never thought about but after this session I have changed my way of thinking.”

“I really love the advice you gave us to focus on leadership.”

“Very inspirational! I see many things that I need to improve as a leader in my community.”

Through my new connections at Global Pittsburgh, I hope to run a similar session for leaders from Brazil in the fall.

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