CEHD Strengths Spotlight | Sara Georgeson, Academic Advisor

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At the University of Minnesota and in CEHD we feel every student has what they need to be successful. We believe in taking a strengths based approach and work with students to learn to use their talents so they can be developed into strengths.
What are your top 5 talent themes?
Relator, Connectedness, Learner, Achiever, Responsibility
In what ways do you use your talents each day?
As an academic advisor, I strive to get to know my students in an in-depth genuine way over time. This is my Relator at work. I often find that my best work with students occurs after we have gotten to know each other. That’s one reason I love working in CEHD and getting to know my students better each year as they move from orientation to graduation.
Connectedness has an impact on how I work with students and colleagues. In meetings and on committees, I often see the themes and connections that can bring together different viewpoints. With students, my connectedness helps uncover connections between past, present and potential future experiences. It also helps me effectively support students through difficult times because I deeply believe that things will work out. This intertwines with my Learner which is always looking for life lessons in everything. When my team or a student is facing a challenge, I am compelled to search for the meaning in what is happening and try to turn it into a learning experience. I never feel like I’ve learned all I need to and have a drive to constantly improve.
In my day-to-day work Achiever and Responsibility help me focus and use time productively. I make lists, prioritize, and am always looking ahead to what I can do next. Another advantage of these strengths is that others see me as dependable and able to follow through and meet deadlines.
Which of your talent themes fit you best and why?
Relator and Connectedness are the talent themes that describe me best and influence me on a regular basis. My work centers around getting to know people and helping them discover and work toward their goals and dreams. I also love getting to know so many different people and helping them over time. I learn so much from my students and feel lucky to watch them change and grow.
Connectedness is something I feel is always giving me a fresh perspective on life. Working with people, I get to constantly see how we experience life differently and what I can learn from others. At the same time, I have a strong belief that our lives are all connected on some level. The better we can relate to each other and be good stewards of our world and our communities, the better life will be for all of us.
Anything else you would like to share?
It took me a long time to feel comfortable talking about and embracing my talent themes, but it is really paying off. At first I was resistant to being limited by the themes and feared being misunderstood. What I have come to see is that the talent themes are expressed differently for different people and it’s important to put them in your own words. I also noticed that I feel most comfortable sharing my themes with those who I know well (Relator) and am more confident talking about them after doing some research and reflection (Learner). In the end, I can see how working on developing my talent themes is helping me to better understand the unique strengths I have to offer.
If you are a CEHD student, staff or faculty interested in being featured in the CEHD Strengths Spotlight e-mail Jeannie Stumne at stumn001@umn.edu.
Visit Strengths at the U to learn more!