Message from the Chair: Making People Development a Top Priority

Message from the Chair: Making People Development a Top Priority

Dear UNICON members,

We are just a couple of weeks away from our Team Development Conference, which will take place this year at Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. The conference will provide valuable insights about how having a constant learning approach to leadership – no matter our function or level – can help us drive our organizations forward.

While thinking of the renowned speakers, workshops facilitated by thought leaders from across our member schools, UNICON committee meetings and networking opportunities considered in its agenda, it is worth to reflect on the importance of setting people development as a top priority and how it involves more than just encouragement and motivation. It requires exposing them to new ways of operating and thinking, which takes place precisely at events like our Team Development Conference.

Among many others, these are three reasons I have found out valuable over the years to engage team members on this event:

  1. To enrich and expand our knowledge and expertise. We will hear about new things in our field associated to trends, novel strategies or processes, unpublished data and information, or ideas from thought-leaders within our industry that we may not have previously heard of.
  2. To share our ideas and work to others. It is good practice to talk about what we do with a variety of people from similar, related and/or completely different areas of expertise within our industry. Sharing makes us more confident about the work that we do and gives us new perspectives about our work as people may ask questions that make us think about our role, functions or goals differently.
  3. To network. A big reason for going to our Team Development Conference is to meet with likeminded people and industry peers. Team Development Conferences bring together people from institutions in different geographical areas and countries, and they are people from a wide range of backgrounds whom you may not encounter at your home workplace or institution. As you build your professional network, Team Development Conferences can become a good place for meeting with people in your field that you have not connected in a while.

When we develop people, we are helping them acquire personal qualities that will benefit them in many areas of life, not just their jobs. Lots of wonderful people in the UNICON community have added value to me through the years. They have provided me with valuable feedback to complement my weaknesses and encourage my strengths. Their presence with me on the journey has actually expanded my vision.

This conference is precisely designed to inspire and encourage each one of us, no matter our role in our organization. It will allow us to engage with our peers in an applied learning environment built specifically for executive education professionals, so I look forward to learning and seeing you in Santa Clara later this month!

Marco Serrato, Ph.D.
UNICON 2019-2020 Board Chair
Associate Provost, The University of Chicago


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