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Category: Professional Development

Leveraging Community Expertise to Address Today’s Pressing Topics

By: Andie D'Agostino, Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies recently hosted a professional development webinar series addressing some of today’s pressing topics – from women in leadership to developing a workplace culture in this “new normal” to the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

This three-part series featured members of Brandeis – Graduate Professional Studies’ program advisory boards. These individuals offer strategic guidance and expertise on the latest advances and demands in their respective industries. 

“At the Rabb School, we are continuously striving to support our mission and provide innovative educational opportunities to students. The Brandeis corporate team has been collaborating with members of our community and finding new ways of engaging the broader community outside of our traditional course offerings. We are thrilled to have hosted this webinar series and really leverage the expertise of members of our programs’ advisory boards. The success of this professional development opportunity will no doubt lead to similar events in the future!” – Kathryn Wight, Director of Partnership Engagement at Brandeis 

The full breakdown of each webinar is as follows:

Leading and Managing Diverse Teams

Today’s workforces are diverse, and leading them effectively requires leaders to be skillful in their approach. This interactive presentation focused on three key areas of impact for leaders: personal filters and how this impacts perceptions; unconscious bias and the role it plays in leading teams; and finally, how neuroscience is showing the key role that dignity plays in creating engaged teams. 

Led by: Kari Heistad, CEO of Culture Coach International 

Link to recording here

Women in Leadership and the Evolving Workplace

Women now make up the majority of the workforce in the United States, and yet, they continue to face challenges in the workplace. Unfortunately, gender inequality is still a huge problem in the workplace today, and the divide grows wider towards the top. This panel of women in senior leadership positions in their respective industries covered topics including the impact of unconscious bias in the workplace, the importance of representation in leadership positions, and how to include men as allies in the conversation. 

Panelists included:

  • Chris O’Connor, Divisional Information Technology Management at MIT Lincoln Laboratory 
  • Christine Loredo, President and COO at TiFiPay 
  • Diane Menasco, Director of Nursing Informatics at MGB Salem Hospital 
  • Subhadra Mahanti, Software Engineering Manager at Medtronic 

Link to recording here 

Managing and Navigating the New Workplace Culture 

Workplace culture is not only a business imperative; it’s also critical to future success. A big part of the workplace experience is the daily interaction with our “work family.” This personal and social aspect of work has suffered a Coronavirus blow. There’s no simple solution to finding future success when employee interactions are virtual, but there are ways to help. In this panel presentation, the panel talked about how their companies have responded to the pandemic, what workplace culture means in a virtual environment, and how employers can support, motivate, and develop their staff at a distance. 

Panelists included:

  • Sam Shoolman, Director of Sales at HubSpot
  • Christine Zimmerman, Product Marketing Manager at Curriculum Associates
  • Sarah Salbu Young, Talent Programs Partner at Pegasystems 
  • Michael Katz, Director of Digital Marketing at BitSight 

Link to recording here 

Red Hat Cohort Explores New Professional Development Opportunities at Brandeis

By: Andie D'Agostino, Assistant Director of Partnership Engagement

“As an enterprise software company that relies on an open source development model and the communities that create it, we wanted to broaden our staff’s perspective on open source and to take advantage of the unique, management-focused education available through the Brandeis program. Having a strong foundation and understanding of the history of open source, community development, and product development cycles contributes to professional development and expands opportunities for Red Hat associates, so supporting the cohort of Red Hatters interested in the program was an easy choice.” – Neisha Fredericks, Operations Manager – Open Source Program Office (OSPO) at Red Hat.

Brandeis University has been offering a unique custom education program in partnership with the Open Source Initiative since January 2019. The Open Source Technology Management (OSTM) program is dedicated to enhancing and supporting the open source community through content that is founded in the principles of software freedom and collaborative development. Red Hat, the largest open source company in the world, shares these principles and has enjoyed a close collaboration with the university for some time.

Currently, we are pleased to have a cohort of Red Hat associates participating in the program working toward certification in Open Source Technology Management.                                                                                                                   

Each member of the current Red Hat cohort is involved in the company’s Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (B.U.I.L.D.) community. B.U.I.L.D. is one of the many diversity and inclusion communities within Red Hat that supports cultivating a work environment that thrives on diverse perspectives and fosters a connected community of Black Red Hatters and their allies. B.U.I.L.D. supports Red Hat’s efforts to recruit, develop, and engage Black associates thereby advancing Red Hat’s diverse, inclusive meritocracy.

“The community is voluntary and most importantly, associate-led, with a focus on fostering diversity and inclusion within Red Hat and often contributing to our overall diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy,” said Neisha Fredericks, operations manager, Open Source Program Office, at Red Hat.

The Brandeis corporate team interviewed three of these Red Hat associates half-way through the program to learn more about their motivation for joining and their experiences in the micro-courses. Carl Howell, who is a knowledge management process owner, joined to expand his perspective on open source. His team recently began collaboration with Red Hat’s open source program office (OSPO), and the Brandeis program presented an important opportunity to gain a better understanding of the role and responsibilities of the OSPO to help ensure the services he was providing were of value to them.     

Stacy Hamilton, a workflow and tooling enablement project manager on Red Hat’s Customer Experience and Engagement team, shared that “being able to speak to open source software, open source technology, open source communities … was something I was really interested in being able to do.”     

As more and more companies start to adopt open source software (OSS) in their business practices, it was important for us to design a program that provided content applicable to a wide audience with varying degrees of open source knowledge. Although the Red Hat cohort is only half-way through the program, the students interviewed noted these courses have been enlightening, and have even expanded their knowledge of Red Hat’s own business.     

Stacy has valued the opportunity to work with colleagues around the world and noted that having a similar opportunity in the OSTM program was an added benefit.     

The OSTM program has welcomed students across multiple time zones, from San Francisco, California to Brooklyn, New York to Geneva, Switzerland. Ron Brown, who is an IT Enablement program manager at Red Hat, agrees that working with people from other companies on group projects has enriched his experience in the program.     

He said, “For new ideas to form, for cultures to be challenged, and for things to change, you actually have to step outside that box and try and engage people with different ideas.”

“Brandeis is thrilled to have this cohort from Red Hat participate in the OSTM program. At the Rabb School, we create professional development opportunities that align with industry demand and needs. We are proud to support Red Hat in their learning and development initiatives through this series of micro-courses, digital badges, and certification in Open Source Technology Management.” – Dr. Lynne Rosansky, VP of the Rabb School of Continuing Studies.

We run our four-week micro-courses on a regular basis but can also customize the experience for a team or organization upon request. For more information, visit our website or contact the Rabb School corporate team at partnerships@brandeis.edu. 

 

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