Many people view school and going to class as a chore. For some, it’s a relief to wrap up academics and enter the working world. But when an educational program directly ties into your line of work and makes you a better individual and employee, learning becomes enjoyable. At Friendship Haven, a seven-week leadership program for employees, called Haven University, does just that. During each round of the program, several “students” meet once a week for an hour and a half. Curriculum discussions include self-awareness, dysfunctions of a team, effective listening, building trust, difficult conversations and showing appreciation. Once a month, a former “graduate” of Haven University facilitates a leadership boost session, aimed to help students practice the skills learned in the prior meetings.
This continued program, led by Friendship Haven’s CEO, Julie Thorson, receives lots of great feedback, including the following from Haven University graduates:
“To be honest, at first I wasn’t enthused to participate in Haven University, but I am ever so thankful and grateful to be able to accomplish. I have been enlightened by new knowledge and so appreciative for that opportunity. With this program, a genesis to what more I can accomplish by the wonderful tools given to me became apparent; how to be a successful leader as well as a respected leader. By leading, a lot of my job is to make those I lead successful. It’s less about trying to make myself successful, and more about making sure I have a good team. My work is to remove barriers and roadblocks so that the team can be successful in what they do. My two years of teaching I taught the same way, building them to succeed and not fail, which reflects everything about the leadership and teaching abilities, and more so about discovering who we are. Leading is about striving to become better than we are, and helping everything and everyone around us to become better too. Thank you to Julie Thorson for this opportunity. My learning as well as sharing my knowledge with all has only begun.” – Julie Cooney
“Haven University forever changed my approach to leadership in the absolute best way. Not only did it change the way I viewed leadership, but during my time in the class I developed into a leader that I never knew existed.” – Ashley Cypress
“Through Haven University, I learned so much about myself as a leader and as a member of the Friendship Haven team. Some of the best topics were difficult conversations and becoming self aware.” – Sue Blanchet
“Haven University is a unique leadership experience where I enjoyed learning and growing alongside three fellow team members and our CEO. It encourages us all to take a break from the busy daily grind and exercise our leadership skills as well as continually challenge ourselves.” – Tori Johnson
“Going through Haven University made me more self-aware, which has helped me to grow into a leader.” – Torri Werner
“Friendship Haven’s CEO, Julie Thorson, challenges Haven University participants to get to the heart of effective leadership – TRUST. Once the foundation of trust is built, participants learn how to heighten emotional intelligence, communicate more effectively, develop winning strategies, motivate others and build an extraordinary team. I use what I learned in Haven University every day!” – Denise Halverson