Nadine Santana

Testimonial: Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership

Nadine has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Management. As she progressed through her career, she realized that she would benefit from brushing up on her existing skills and acquiring some additional skills.  As a Property and Casualty license holder, I am required to take continuing education credits regularly. But I wanted to do something outside my industry.” 

She decided to pursue the certificate program in part because of time constraints.  “I wanted something nearby and couldn’t commit to a degree program due to frequent business travel and other commitments. I really wanted something hands-on and applied as opposed to overly academic.  The programs I took at Lehigh very much fit my needs.” 

“The program that has been most valuable in my day-to-day work has been Advanced Negotiation Techniques. It helped me to strengthen skills I already had and taught me some new approaches to negotiations. We did a lot of role-playing that was very beneficial. We prepared by identifying potential obstacles based on what is important to the other party versus our own goals. Then, instead of speaking to our own agenda, we focused on the goals of the other party. It is a very effective approach.

The role-plays force you to work through challenges as you go, because you have no idea what the other party will say or how they will react. It’s not until you are in the heat of the moment, feeling the pressure, that you have to choose a path. That kind of experience really instills the lessons, such as how to communicate in face of resistance. Then, the next time you have to negotiate, you can easily identify a winning strategy. You’ve already chosen a way forward and know whether it worked or not. You don’t get that kind of retention from something you read. 

Connected Leadership emphasized the importance of developing business relationships before conducting business, and that you are in it for more than just what you are trying to accomplish. I work with several external business partners every day; this program was a reminder of how important those relationships are for mutual success. Though I see myself as someone who can easily build rapport and establish relationships, it was still a good refresher that people do business with people they like. It’s so important to understand and reflect on the other party’s needs before your own. 

The personality assessment we took was similar to one I just completed for my job. It was a good confirmation, reaffirmed what my strengths are. I have always been a big believer in playing to your strengths, using them to get ahead rather than just focusing on things you need to work on. When you do, success comes naturally and is not a struggle. 

I have been involved in corporate-wide project management initiatives and found that the Foundations of Project Management program to be very helpful. We did some live case management in an online simulation. In real time, you see the importance of how all the pieces of the project align and the importance of communication throughout the management process. Just one minor issue can cause major impacts in terms of delays and other problems.

I am using some of the layouts and spreadsheets that we used in the program. They have helped me to structure information for some of my projects before I put it out on share point sites for everyone to see. In this way the program helped to provide a structure around what we are currently doing. 

All of the programs were very interactive. There were simulations, live examples, exercises, and discussions. The perspectives you get from people from all types of industries were very helpful. There were different people in each class who could share their experiences. You can’t get that from reading a book. 

No matter your position or how seasoned you are, in this ever-changing business world it is always a good idea to learn new skills and sharpen the tools in your toolbox. It is very important for career growth. We all have hectic schedules, but it’s important to stop and reflect. The Lehigh programs are a great way to do that—plus they are flexible and convenient. You don’t have to commit to a whole semester on one topic to gain knowledge.