Campus Dean of Learning Support Karen Reilly Shifts the Focus on New Year’s Resolutions

When we think about New Year’s resolutions, it’s only natural to focus on our weaknesses. Always trying to better ourselves, we often gravitate toward resolutions about things we want to improve, fix or change. However, by focusing on our strengths instead, we may find our New Year’s resolutions to be more effective and, perhaps most importantly, more attainable.

This was Campus Dean of Learning Support Karen Reilly’s approach in meeting 2017 with actionable, doable and impactful New Year’s resolutions.

Using StrengthsQuest as a guide, she decided to focus on two of her key strengths — strategic and learner — to better serve her team.

“Reflection (learning) and strategic thinking are a necessary part of what we do both as leaders and employees at Valencia,” Karen said. But too often, as she explained, the need to move through urgent tasks quickly makes reflection and strategic thinking easily overlooked components of our day.

Luckily, Karen has a solution.

“For the New Year, I resolve to routinely set aside time to reflect deeply, learn from the past, explore options and then formulate a collaborative plan for the smaller things that often don’t get the attention they deserve,” she continued. “This will be the perfect year to carve out time to review every aspect of our division as we write our new five-year division impact plan. My goal is that, by example, I can foster the same gift of time for my employees, allowing them to learn from terms past and strategize how we might move forward with exciting new initiatives that will evoke change … such as the Downtown Campus.”

In establishing goals for her whole team, Karen plans to continue finding ways to help the team achieve their goals — which includes fostering a healthy, comfortable work environment in which colleagues can be confident. This also means supporting collaboration and relationship building, which Karen finds to be a vital part of her team’s work.

“We are fortunate to have a collaborative culture at Valencia that allows us to come together to form a vision organically,” she said. “In the coming year, we will work together to form our new West Campus Learning Support vision by building a new, five-year impact plan based on the College and campus plans. Together, we will design our future.”

While Karen recognizes it won’t be easy, she also knows that, by working together and helping each other find confidence in their strengths, anything is possible.

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