Strengths in Action at MVCC

Some examples of how MVCC faculty and staff see their strengths working for them -

Achiever

I use this strength on a daily basis, as I coordinate a grant-funded program.  Our outcomes are quite lofty, so I set goals on a weekly basis to be achieved.  This way, I am constantly working to tackle the numbers so we acquire the necessary results.
Sarah Bogar, EOC Program Coordinator

Activator

I use my activator theme along with my other strengths, particularly strategic.  By gauging, often from prior experience, how a particular idea may play out to a positive result, I then plan the logistics (which also brings in my arranger skills).  To be successful, you have to understand as many facts as possible to think of alternatives and anticipate pitfalls, so input and learner are nice skills to add to the mix.  Patience, or the lack thereof, always is the great determiner of success – many an idea relies on timing for action, and sometimes I’m simply too impatient.  This is why I find the same idea cropping up years later and finally getting its due – but through someone else’s efforts!
Terry Schwaner, Dean of Life and Health Sciences

Adaptability

I use adaptability in both the classroom and my personal life as a tool to remain grounded in the present moment and connected to my immediate environment.
Bill Hysell, Professor of Humanities & Developmental Studies

Analytical

Over the last several years, it has been essential that I approach a very important aspect of my position in a very analytical manner – occupancy planning and projection.  This strength has been critically important in my approach to these occupancy projections by recognizing the importance of hard data, instead off anecdotal evidence.  This has allowed me to better project occupancy, and ultimately budget.
Dennis Gibbons, Associate Dean of Student & Residence Life Service

Arranger

Like pieces of a puzzle, no two students are the same.  My arranger strength allows me to look at each student’s needs and help them find an appropriate fit. 
Patricia Antanavige, Adult Learner Services Specialist

Belief

One of my deepest held values is the importance of making a contribution to society.  My Belief dictates that I am happiest when I can be a part of something greater, and consequently am better at what I do when I am a part of that positive change.  When I work with students, I listen to their situation or question and hope to give them as much information and options so they can chose the best route toward reaching their goals and potential.  The best solutions are not always the easiest to see or the easiest to follow, but I take the time to look at the whole picture with them.  I love the success stories and transformation we are fortunate to be a part of.
Tracy Coulson, College Advisor

Command

I use the strength command on a daily basis.  I find myself taking control of situations and making decision that have a positive outcome for the group.  Command in the classroom helps me to get the students to engage with the material and thus become invested in learning. 
Dave Nackley, Assistant Professor in the Center for Arts & Humanities

Communication

My Communicator strength is extremely useful to me as I work to market the college. It gives me the tools to turn complicated ideas (like the operations of a college) into simple statements that are easily understood.
Matt Snyder, Director of Marketing & Communications

Competition

I always strive to make sure I am putting my best foot forward and doing my best work.  In my job, I spend a significant amount of time dealing with the College budget and am both motivated by the importance of the task and my interest in doing the best job possible in my role.  Working by myself pushes me to want to be the best at what I am doing, and it causes me to focus on every detail to catch mistakes and make cuts or changes  as needed to help the institution reach our final goal.
Rich Pucine, Director of Academic Systems

Connectedness

I find when working with students or colleagues I use this strength to be non-judgmental because “everything has a reason” when working through challenging situations. I enjoy trying to recognize where a person is coming from in their rationale and “connect” with people in order to assist with as many ideas and options they need to work through an issue, problem, or challenge.
Tamara Mariotti, Coordinator for Disability Services

Consistency

I find that the consistency strength serves me very well in my position because I work so closely with a number of different faculty, staff and students as a part of the enrollment process.  The consistency strength, which indicates that a person works fairly with others for the greater good, makes it easy for me to work with this large number of very different people which in turn helps the overall enrollment process run smoothly. 
Nolan Snyder, Placement Testing Technical Assistant

Context

My strength in context allows me to figure-out complex issues by understanding the history behind them.  When seeking resolution to a problem, I first research the background of the problem and don’t generally accept things at face value.   While not inclined to assess situations on the fly, with adequate information I have a deeper understanding of how to resolve a complex issue.     
Joe Woodrow, Assistant Dean for Life & Health Sciences

Deliberative

I had to really learn to take a liking to my deliberative.  When that came out as my #1, I was like no way, that is not me.  I saw it as a label for a slow moving, snail-like, talk it to death kind of strength and I could not make it a strength at all.  After voicing that, I was able to “learn” – second strength – that my deliberative just plays out differently.   My deliberative is very much a part of what I do on a daily basis in terms of evaluating an issue, determining the obstacles, considering the options, gathering input and then making the move.  My deliberative is not snail-like.  It’s jack-rabbit fast.  I was okay with that.  
Stephanie Reynolds, Vice President for Student Affairs

Developer

As a tutor, I value progress, and I strive to make students understand that every improvement they make is a step toward their true potential.
Kristen Raab, Writing Tutor

Discipline

Discipline keeps me focused and sane.  I have daily routines that begin as soon as I get up. At work my discipline strength keeps me on track and effective in my role as Assistant to the President. I try to complete my daily “tasks” in an ordered deliberate way and I have a hard time if my schedule is out of whack.  I am a true creature of habit!
Jill Heintz, Assistant to the President

Empathy

I use it every day, especially when dealing with students.  It helps me relate to their needs at that moment and allows me to customize my approach to the individual student.  The great thing about empathy is it keeps me grounded in understanding situations and how to handle each one case by case.  It is part of my relationship building process with students, and the college community.
Maria Salamida, Administrative Assistant for Vice President of Student Affairs

Focus

I often find that in my work I can easily identify the focus of what can be done, and I naturally am able to spend many hours concentrating on a single task to accomplish that goal.  Having a focus on patient needs is critical in Respiratory Therapy. Concentration and attention to detail are necessary elements of exemplary health care service.
Lorie Phillips, Program Coordinator & Professor of Respiratory Care

Futuristic

I use my Futuristic strength daily as a dean. It is my job to always be thinking forward to where the Center for Arts and Humanities should be heading, and what our programs and offerings should look like as we move in that direction. Having Futuristic in my top five means that I always have a clear and detailed vision of where I hope to be and what we have the potential to achieve.
Lew Kahler, Dean of Arts & Humanities

Harmony

If you were to look up harmony in the dictionary you may find a definition like this one, “a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.”    I use my harmony strength to bring together those with differing perspectives to see the practical side of things.    If we can see a common denominator it is the starting point of agreeing.   I often use my harmony strength with my consistency strength where I feel it is important to place everyone on an equal ground.
Janet Visalli, Director of Adult Learner Services

Ideation

I use my Ideation strength daily, in a position that was, here-to-fore, not existent at MVCC.  Each of the assignments I’ve been given require me to “innovate”, “cross lines”, “dissolve walls”, “push back against tradition”, “explore possibilities and potentials”, or “do something different” with colleagues and co-workers.  I love working with others to bring something “new” to the table and have relished discovering the potential of this wonderful organization.   
John Bullis, Executive Director of Organizational Development

Includer

While I do really enjoy socializing, my includer strength is about more than that.  I truly believe that every team or group member adds something significant to a process, so it is important to me that everyone gets a chance to be involved and contribute.  I feel best about my work when I can create a situation where that happens, whether it is while teaching a class, serving on a committee at work or planning an event with family and friends. 
Lizabeth Doherty, Coordinator of the First Year Experience

Individualization

My role at the college requires that that I work with many different people from college personnel to students and even parents.  I use my individualization theme every day to help me understand the needs of the person that I’m working with.  I find that individualization can be beneficial with collaborative relationships, but can be even more valuable where there is resistance.  I believe that an understanding of the needs and motivations of an individual is the key to progress.
Jim Maio, Associate Dean for Student Development & Transition Services

Input

Whenever I hear a new word, topic, or subject that interests me, I have to look it up and explore it. I frequently write down notes of things I catch in conversation, newspapers, or radio interviews to research at a later time.
Brandon Shaw, Instructor of Developmental Studies

Intellection

I use my intellection strength to analyze the information I have about library resources, such as books, articles, and web pages, and use the information to construct teaching plans for the library classes that I do for the instructors. For example, students need to learn how to research authors, find biographies of them, read some of their works, and analyze them. I show them how to find the information and use it.
Barb Evans, Librarian

Learner

I have used my Learner during my first year at MVCC to help me begin to understand the culture, processes, how people and offices interact at the college as well begin to become integrated in the community. This strength manifests itself in the form of active listening, observing and asking questions during meetings.
Richard Quest, Dean of the Rome Campus

Maximizer

Whether in the classroom with my students, on the court with my players, in one of my workshops with my colleagues, or in the design of professional enrichment programs I am always tweaking things and trying to improve them.  I get pumped trying to go from good to great!  I may not get there, but I love the pursuit of excellence.  It feels like I have an obligation to do my very best.  I find it satisfying and uplifting.
David Katz, Associate Professor of Political Science

Positivity

I use positivity often in my interactions with others by giving them compliments or helping them look at negative situations differently. I believe my awareness of my positivity strength has helped me personally in times of distress as well.
Alicia Aiken, Mental Health Counselor

Relator

As a Relator, I draw strength and inspiration from helping others. I find it rewarding to figure out problems and find alternate was of getting things accomplished. Through this, I am often able to help others succeed and make them feel appreciated. As an example, years ago, I was working on a college accounting project. One of my classmates was having difficulty figuring out the software. I sat with her and explained it in several ways until she understood it.
Gail Warchol, Coordinator of Healthcare Careers

Responsibility

When I was 10 years old, I was helping my mother prepare for my cousin’s bridal shower.  She had asked me to arrange the flower bouquets and then set the table.  When she came back into the dining room she said, “Um, Em, you know no one’s ever going to pay you by the hour at the rate you’re going.”  Apparently it shouldn’t have taken an hour to put flowers in vases.  I see her point of course, but I also remember that those bouquets looked great by the time I was done with them.  I guess what this shows is that when someone gives me a task, I make sure that I do it right and that I do it well.  When I am responsible for doing something, whether it’s writing a lesson, making a meal, or decorating for a party, I give it everything that I have and make sure that I can be proud of the result (even if it takes me twice as long as it would anyone else).
Emily Hantsch, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Restorative

As an Academic Advisor, I daily use my strength of Restorative to help students problem solve their obstacles and difficulties.
Jessica Holland, College Advisor

Self-Assurance

My self-assurance allows me to try new things, even when others are unsure of them or have even never heard of them. I will jump on something that seems interesting to me, and I work on it without looking for a lot of external support or praise. I love to experiment with new ideas in the classroom, and let the students know that this is something new and different and we’ll see where it goes.
Melissa Barlett, Instructor of Life Sciences

Significance

At MVCC, I take pride in aiding students on their paths to gaining greater significance. The amount of work required for college completion can sometimes overwhelm college students, blurring their track to academic success. I try to make students aware of the fact that everyone leaves their mark on the world in their own unique way through the choices and actions taken on a daily basis. Seeking value in the accomplishments that are obtained through these actions is important, as these achievements are often linked with the passions in our lives, and aid in defining our skillsets and who we are as individuals. Focusing on, and catering to, these passions often yields our greatest triumphs and gains us greater significance in our lives and others around us.
Josh Piejko, College Advisor

Strategic

I use my Strategic strength to see quickly, almost simultaneously, all possible outcomes of any course under consideration.  When I look up the road of projects or decisions, I see the challenges with each route, and intuitively spot the one that has the fewest roadblocks and the best result. Sometimes when others feel bogged down by the complexity or complications, I see clearly many dozens of distinct paths, and even if they overlap or are entwined, I can anticipate where each will wind up.
Jennifer DeWeerth, Associate Dean for Student Enrollment and Advisement

Woo

Every semester I am responsible for welcoming our new international students to MVCC’s campus community by providing them with activities and outlets to help them better acclimate to our culture. I am energized by interacting with others, and I thrive on meeting new and diverse people. Connecting our new and returning students, both international and American, is one of the most rewarding pieces of my position as I see how much one connection can contribute to a student’s overall happiness and success.    
Sara Boulanger, Coordinator for International Students