We all define leadership in our unique way. Some of us focus on empowering teams to achieve lofty goals, while others view leadership more synonymously with mentorship.
Terri Daniels, executive dean, Winter Park Campus, defines leadership as the opportunity to serve her colleagues by “helping to facilitate the journey — both individually and collectively — toward a common goal.”
Her rationale is simple.
“I am driven by the opportunity to have a positive and lasting impact on a person’s direction or a group’s direction,” she said. “I really enjoy the point where I am interacting with people as they move beyond that stage of being a little frustrated because they are being challenged by a concept or idea to that sweet spot of learning and revelation about who they are and the direction in which they wish to move. So, leadership is stewardship for me. Being able to help others on their individual journey is what drives me as a leader.”
As a new leader at the Winter Park Campus, Terri is still learning the ropes, building relationships and figuring out what the campus needs in a leader. What she does know is the campus has done exceptionally well which, according to Terri, makes her leadership style ideal.
“My leadership style is a good fit because this campus is ready to further enhance its services,” she explained. “There is a big difference between fixing something that is broken and in dire need of help, and taking something that’s already going well to a higher plane. And that’s where the Winter Park Campus is right now: ready to move to a higher plane.”
To accomplish this, Terri says she’ll focus on facilitative leadership by empowering and enabling Winter Park faculty and staff to build upon existing strategies and programs to better serve the Winter Park Campus students and community.
“Some of the ways we are executing on this is to expand our course offerings, maximize our scheduling and providing more opportunities for the students to be more engaged with the campus and the community,” she said. “I’d say that this is one of the goals which we are pursuing at the moment. We are also working on increasing our partnerships with local businesses and organizations as well as connecting with city government leaders both in Winter Park and Eatonville. This aligns really well with Valencia’s overall strategy of ensuring that all of the campuses in the Metro Orlando area are serving the community and are community-based. This, in turn, aligns really well with my stewardship style as a leader. We are trying to see how we can better serve our community — both on a macro and micro level.”
Terri is also focused on discovering the best ways to celebrate and recognize employees’ successes, which she also knows to be an integral part of quality leadership. To accomplish this, she plans on continuing to build relationships so that recognition manifests as a thoughtful, genuine token of appreciation.
“I recognize that people want to be motivated and recognized in different ways and it’s all about making them feel authentically and meaningfully appreciated,” she said. “No matter what your preference for how you would like to be appreciated or how you are motivated to grow, it all comes back to relationship building. So when you have those day-to-day interactions, recognition of someone’s commitment when you are interacting with them is going to go a long way, no matter how that person likes to be appreciated. It’s in these daily interactions that someone gets to know that you appreciate who they are and what they bring. When you take the time to build relationships with your team, you don’t always need grand affairs of recognition. Sometimes it is more what is exchanged in a meaningful and genuine conversation that’s important.”
If Terri’s story inspires you to find new ways to recognize your colleagues, consider sending a colleague or team member a Valencia Badge, which is a great and easy way to show appreciation and promote recognition. Click here to learn more.