With a bachelor’s degree in business administration already under his belt, Kelly enrolled in St. Ambrose’s Master of Organizational Leadership program in Cedar Rapids to further his career at Rockwell Collins. A lab manager in charge of 35 technicians, Kelly wanted to become more proficient in the “people-aspect” of his job—managing conflicts, motivating others, and being a good leader.
Since earning his MOL, Kelly has risen in the ranks to become senior engineering manager, where he mentors employees, handles performance issues, and recruits new hires. He says, “The theories and techniques I learned are needed and relevant in my daily activities. I put my new skills to practice right away.”
In his/her own words:
How have you integrated what you learned in the classroom into your career?
Coaching people is something I do on a daily basis in my resource management role. I see different models of behavior in the Rockwell Collins employees. And I teach them communication techniques so they can learn to be more vocal in team meetings, be perceived more positively by coworkers, and improve their job performances.
What were your MOL classmates like?
They came from a variety of backgrounds, which really contributed to the learning experience. A few worked for colleges, a couple were in human resources, one even owned a consulting business. It was interesting to see how we could use the same tools and theories to solve problems in our different businesses.
Which faculty member had a big impact on you?
I was originally enrolled in the MBA program, but knew I wanted to grow my career in a different direction. Dr. Randy Richards, who teaches Leadership Through People Skills, helped steer me in the right direction. He’s a real straight shooter. He gave me guidance, but he never beat around the bush. He earned my trust very quickly.
None of the professors put themselves on a pedestal. They’re like part of your group and are there to help you.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?
Five years from now, I’d like to have a leadership position in human resources—a frontline leader. In 10 years, I want to be a compensation director.