SPARTANBURG — The University of South Carolina Upstate has become one of a growing number of schools to partner with The BB&T Leadership Institute to help students realize their leadership potential.
USC Upstate’s George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics is one of several schools working with The BB&T Leadership Institute to offer qualified students entry into the six-hour Emerging Leadership Certification Program, which helps participants not only identify different leadership styles, but also to understand and develop their own leadership qualities.
“Understanding yourself as a leader correlates with your ability to lead others,” said Jasmine Frinks, a student leadership fellow with The BB&T Leadership Institute. “So, we really hit on (the importance of) self-awareness as a leader.”
BB&T has invested in leadership development programs for its own associates since 1971. BB&T first connected with Farr Associates as a client in the early eighties and acquired the world-class organization in 1994. The BB&T Leadership Institute was established to give organizations a leadership development partner to help create dynamic and effective leaders, increase employee retention and improve the bottom line. During this time, the vast majority of BB&T’s senior leaders have benefited greatly from their psychological approach to leadership development. The institute currently operates out of High Point, N.C. In 2016, 819 higher-education students were certified through the Emerging Leadership Program.
“Leadership is intangible — a lot of people think you either have it or you don’t,” said Brittany Brown, The BB&T Leadership Institute student leadership program manager. “We believe everyone can be a leader. It’s actually a part of you that can be nurtured and grown.”
The two-day certification includes assessments that help students articulate their strengths, as well as a leadership preferences inventory that reveals to students their leadership styles, both under stress and in low-stress situations.
Frinks said the sessions are structured to minimize the amount of lecture time, instead involving students in a number of collaborative group activities designed to help participants understand different leadership styles.
“They leave with those leadership preferences and communication strategies (for) working with other people, and we actually get them to identify their leadership purpose,” Frinks said. “It’s based on everything they’ve learned throughout the session: their leadership strengths and what they learned about their leadership preferences. We also talk about having a growth mindset and how to change a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, and positive psychology. Based on everything they’ve learned through the course, (the question is) what do they want their leadership legacy to be?”
Kashari Cromer, a senior majoring in business management at USC Upstate, successfully completed the Emerging Leadership Certification Program, and said she enjoyed the energetic presentations and related classwork.
“It was very valuable,” Cromer said. “My favorite thing about the program is that you’re basically just learning about yourself and the beliefs and characteristics that you need in order to become a successful leader.”
The university plans to offer the certification program each spring; thus far, 28 USC Upstate students have participated in the program. It is currently open only to business administration majors and minors.
About USC Upstate
USC Upstate offers more than 40 bachelor’s degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and teacher education, and master’s degrees in education, informatics, and nursing. Among the fastest-growing universities in South Carolina, USC Upstate is a diverse and dynamic community of 6,000 students from across the Upstate, 36 states, and 15 countries. As a leading metropolitan universities in the Southeast, USC Upstate has its main campus in Spartanburg, two locations in Greenville, and a growing number of programs online. The USC Upstate Spartans, which fields 17 varsity sports, compete on the NCAA Division I level as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Nearly 26,000 alumni have earned degrees from USC Upstate and approximately 85 percent choose to remain in the Upstate region to build their lives and careers, making a significant impact of the region’s economy and quality of life. Learn more at www.uscupstate.edu.
About BB&T Leadership Institute
During the past half-century, The BB&T Leadership Institute, and its legacy firm Farr Associates, has developed and refined approaches to business leadership through collaborative work with clients in top companies throughout the United States. The BB&T Leadership Institute provides organizations with a leadership development partner that helps create dynamic and effective leaders, increase employee retention and improve the bottom line. Beginning with each client’s specific goals and challenges, the institute’s consultants identify the best approaches to address a company’s needs and tailor offerings to individual executives, teams or both. Its offerings also include research, educational programs and consulting to help develop leaders in the education and nonprofit sectors. More information about The BB&T Leadership Institute can be found at BBTLeadershipInstitute.com.