Students Learn Collaboration Is Key In Business

By Sarah Elms The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Selina Griswold, a UT associate professor of management, designed the "Young Executive Scholars Program" to teach Toledo Public Schools students business and leadership skills and to encourage them to pursue higher education.

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

If Savannah Maddox is going to open her own plastic surgery practice one day, she's going to need a skill set she might not learn in medical school.

That's partly why the Jones Leadership Academy junior was happy to sign up for Young Executive Scholars, a partnership new this year between the academy and University of Toledo's business college.

Each month, a group of 10-15 juniors and seniors attend a class designed specifically to prepare them for the business world.

Selina Griswold, a UT associate professor of management, designed the program to teach Toledo Public Schools students business and leadership skills and to encourage them to pursue higher education. She has lined up a series of area professionals to lend their expertise to the entrepreneurs, executives, and investors in the making.

"It's opening their minds more and more to the world of business," Ms. Griswold said.

Wednesday's topic was business etiquette, and Toledo etiquette expert Robin Reeves walked the students through key verbal and nonverbal skills, how to effectively collaborate, and the importance of building relationships.

"The way we speak to each other, the way we greet each other, the way we call each other's name, the way we address our teachers and our principals -- it makes a difference," she said.

Ms. Reeves is founder and president of Reeves Etiquette and Image Consulting. She told the students simple things like remembering names, sitting up straight, and speaking loudly and clearly will help eliminate distractions and increase their likelihood of succeeding in a corporate setting.

Senior Monica Montez, 17, said everything in business etiquette ties back to communication.

"Communicating in the business world is the key to success," she said.

Junior Makenzie Cleveland, 16, said she learned the importance of first impressions.

"I need to sit up straight, project my voice, and pay attention to my tone and how I speak to other people," she said.

Ms. Reeves told the group that once they master professional communication and body language, there are etiquette skills that come with more practice, such as how to read a room, forge business partnerships, and garner community support.

"When you work in a larger scope, it requires more collaboration, more partnerships. Not one person can function in a community without the support of others. Not one business can survive in a community if they don't have the support of the people in the community," she said. "You need the community to help your business to grow."

Junior Delayna Walker, 16, took Ms. Reeves' lesson on collaboration seriously. She wants to be a cosmetologist and said she might need to work with other entrepreneurs with similar interests to make her dream job a reality. "Teaming up can help you achieve your goals," she said.

The Young Executive Scholars students will need to learn how to network if they want to meet other business-minded people, Ms. Griswold said, so she has made that the topic of next month's class.

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