Piedmont Community College (PCC) is being represented in an upcoming seminar from the North Carolina ACE (American Council on Education) Women’s Network focusing on the topic, “Re-Imagining Community: Leaning In Together for Shared Wellbeing.”

The seminar, held on March 17, is concentrating on exploring the relationship between wellbeing and community among women with careers in higher education. The three speakers on the panel are all women leaders who will address the importance of community for personal and career satisfaction and success.

To further coach the ‘community’ aspect, the speakers will suggest practical ways to build connections and utilize and enjoy them. Then, toward the end of the seminar, the speakers and guests will all take part in a community-building session to network and instantly apply what they learned from the seminar.

“We offer practical solutions and strategies that worked for us in our careers and produced results that focus on work-life balance, overall wellness, and being actively connected,” said Melissa Robbins, Dean of Technical and Manufacturing Programs at PCC. “We will talk about how to tackle challenges, overcome obstacles, and persevere through difficult times, but most of all, it will be a time for networking with other women on similar career paths to promote positive and healthy relationships and community bonding.”

She continued, “I would like our guests to leave with the ability to implement these at work and advocate for other women who may be experiencing or facing career barriers to access and success.

Robbins is one of the three panelists leading the discussion, joining Lisa LaBarbera-Mascote, Senior Director of Campus Community Centers at NC State University and Donna Parsons, Dean of the Division of Professional Programs and Social Sciences at Mars Hill University.

Before she transitioned into her current position as the Dean of Technical and Manufacturing Programs Robbins was most recently PCC’s Director of CETL (Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) where she planned, organized, and facilitated professional development opportunities for employees to improve student engagement and retention in the classroom and on campus. She will utilize these experiences in this seminar by discussing how she builds relationships and trust with her fellow coworkers.

“In my 22 years as an educator the most crucial step for people to learn, is to first build a relationship,” Robbins said. “Developing and fostering relationships with our colleagues is essential to both personal and professional success. Trusting those we spend 40-plus hours per week encourages collaboration, inspires innovation, and makes us strive to be leaders in our community, productive members of society, better parents to our children, and better educators to the students we serve.”

For those who do not work in higher education and may not be able to attend this seminar, Robbins offered another nugget of information that one could use in their everyday life at home and at work.

“Instead of focusing on what skills we lack, why don’t we focus on adding tools and invest in our strengths?” Robbins asked. “We need comradery. We need support. We need to achieve. For teams to work together effectively, infuse creativity into projects, and feel motivated by a job well-done, we must be able to find common ground by embedding depth and dimension to those teams.

She continued, “This strengths-based model can be used to drive teamwork, critical thinking, and originality; which then, improves productivity, strengthens relationships within the organization, and could lead to a fulfilled employee and a satisfied employer.

Women working for a North Carolina community college or university can register to join the seminar at www.tinyurl.com/ncace3-17. For any questions or details, contact Melissa Robbins at melissa.robbins@piedmontcc.edu

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