I Love It When A Team Comes Together

No matter what course I’m teaching, I always try to mix in life and career advice into my lessons.

You won’t see me highlight these on the whiteboard with a call out, but I tend to mix them in where appropriate. Caring for my students beyond their test scores is in my DNA, and thus I hope each of them works hard and achieves their goals in life.

That is how I’m approaching this summer with the WiN Team at Wheaton College.

We might only have this summer together, but I’m working hard to build a foundation in each of these students that will help them throughout their careers. They may not realize why I’m teaching them some of the topics and lessons that I am, but the hope is at some point down the road they are going to have a lightbulb moment and think, “Ahhh...So that is why Professor Chapman taught us that!”

Our week began focusing on our LinkedIn profiles.

Each student had one in various states of completion. The goal was to accurately illustrate what they were doing this summer on their profiles and to make sure they knew how to utilize the network to find jobs and network with other people. We also covered some of my best practices including my advice to act like a human and not use their automation tools.

Also, since I love taking portraits and another member of the team loves photography, we went out on campus to make sure that each student had a professional headshot. I loved that my style and the students were completely different so now each student has several options to choose from.

Plus, we knew that we needed a team photo for our marketing materials. We decided to take a “professional” one and then a more fun one. Which do you like better?

WiN Team Photo Silly WiN Team Photo

I decided to use one of my lectures from the Managerial Communications course I taught at Bentley University on writing for business and updated it for the team.

To put into practice what they had learned, I had them split up into teams of two. The goal was for each group to write ten different tweets for DropZone For Veterans and then we would mix them all and edit/critique them as a team.

The students quickly learned that while tweeting is not hard, writing multiple tweets for a company without saying the same thing over and over is harder than it sounds.

I was proud to see that they took into consideration the audience they were trying to reach, sharing things they hoped would be retweeted and pulling quotes from the company founder Courtney Wilson who also happens to be the Entrepreneur in Residence at Wheaton College. Be sure to follow @DropZoneForVets on Twitter to see their work and find out more about this needed company.

Our team has come together and gelled nicely. You never know when you bring together such a diverse group of students how it is going to go, but these seven have genuinely impressed me.

To test the team further, I decided to give them their first project without me.

The assignment was to create a two-sided, full-color flyer to advertise the team and our services to everyone at MassChallenge. They also needed to come up with 2-3 short paragraphs that could go into an email to market ourselves.

I told them that I was reachable by phone or email, but they were to figure this out and deliver to me when they felt good about it. While the final product isn’t complete yet (lots of little tweaks here and there), the first few drafts were well done and showcased to me that their writing, marketing, and communication skills are exceptional. Plus, I loved how they used the photographs we took earlier in the week and incorporated them in the flyer.

One more week on campus and then we head down to MassChallenge.

There is a wide range of emotions flowing through me right now, but in the end, it will be nothing more than another first day of work. This is such a fantastic opportunity for the students, and I’m having a great time being part of it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed following along with my posts.