Initial Publication Date: May 16, 2013

Next Generation Leadership for a Sustainable Future, School for International Training

Information for this profile was provided by Phyllis Pouyat Thibodeau, Executive Career Coaching/ Consulting Services, Chesapeake Career Consulting, LLC. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing a masters degree.

Program Design & Assessment


Chesapeake Career Consulting, LLC is a new organization providing Executive Career Coaching/ Education Consulting for next generation leaders in-the-making across various disciplines, ages and stages in career transition. Emphasis is placed on matching motivated talent to interdisciplinary challenges in 21st century organizations influenced by global forces requiring solutions for change.

Strengths of this program

Over many years, working with both traditional and non-traditional universities, as well as community based education, I have found that students (of all ages) are frustrated with classic career services. Each student possesses a unique set of talents, and vision for what they hope to do in their career, but they need mentoring support. Starting with the basics of self-assessment and "mission-building" we work with clients to design individual development plans that INTEGRATE their academic and/or career objectives and activities, to help them develop a professional portfolio of expertise ready for the changing marketplace.

Types of students served

Over the last 10 years, I have worked with students across over 20 discipline areas, including environmental science, business, law, emergency management, humanities, technology, engineering, international development, etc. The majority represent the vital "adult learner" demographic that is driving change in educational institutions today. These are career transitioners, pursuing graduate degrees to develop interdisciplinary expertise, while also working professionally, and raising families. Many have also been military transitioning to civilian leadership.

Over the last 6 years, working with Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland, my focus has particularly been on "MBA's" from the early 20-something, through Executive CEO levels. While the MBA is a broad degree, and assumptions are often made about their goals, these students are truly "next generation leaders" who will be at the helm of business, and the employers of tomorrow! They seek to develop "triple bottom line" solutions that consider not just finance, but social and environmental balances to achieve sustainable "progress". They work in areas that merge with public policy changes in the works, provide consulting across sectors, and are innovators of new technologies moving to market.

Recently I have begun work with World Learning/ SIT Graduate Institute. These are students who similarly are cultivating leadership and management skills, but with a specifically global vision which includes peacemaking, healthcare solutions, capacity building in emerging markets, NGO leadership to maximize human development within changing international environments impacted by business, government, climate change, population rise, etc.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:

Personal/Professional Profile: Through various assessments and exploration, students perform "self-evaluation" to clarify short and long term goals that integrate personal values, areas of expertise, creative interest areas that translate to personal and professional "mission" and expertise building to achieve personally and professional success.

Research of interdisciplinary issues through a combination of classroom, independent study, workshops, mentoring relationships and experiential project learning in teams.

Beyond the classroom, students must be prepared to communicate with varied stakeholders, most especially potential employers! In today's competitive environment, candidates must be polished presenters and charismatic communicators, both in writing and in person. Challenged and supported by Career Coaches, Peer Professionals, and "Career Strategy Projects", students develop cohesive portfolios of accomplishment, including resume, cover letters, interview, team project exhibits, and strategic "network marketing" necessary to navigate today's job market.

Leadership Theory must be applied in practice within changing organizations, among varied stakeholders, grappling with competing values, and often engaging in difficult conflict "negotiations" to cultivate necessary "collaboration". As clients work on varied projects in organizations, Executive Coaches support ongoing learning through situation analysis, strategy development, and refining communications skills to support leadership of teams domestically and internationally.

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

Over many years, through a combination of studies, practice and partnering with organizations, as well as interactions with stakeholders including business, education, community, students, as well as contemporary leadership literature we see that there are "disconnects". My research and practice has focused on how humans develop across the lifespan to achieve potential, which is necessarily influenced by sociological trends in changing career trajectories, and impact of organizational systems including family, community, organizations and cultures. Maslow's Hierarchy is a basic model, easy to understand, how "education and career" inquiry may differ among those struggling at survival level vs those who are well-off, seeking "creative leadership" opportunities. Dan Pink's popular work in the book "Drive" outlines the problem of procedural, mechanistic education and work systems vs the motivational drivers of "Purpose, mastery, autonomy" inspiring creative innovation so necessary in 21st century workforce!

Organizational system forces impact individual performances in education and in the workplace; U.S. culture has over-emphasized "individualism" and "competition" at a time when partnerhips, resource sharing, and new "networked" communications require a new approach for global leadership. A recent article in HBR that discusses this is "The Changing Role of Global Leaders", M. Gotterer, 2.14.12.

Although there are many resources that potentially support students and professionals in career transition, it can be confusing at best, and often paralyzing to many without coaching support. While MBA's are often "entitled" to Executive Coaching, the same type of service is needed by students and career transitioners across all areas. Education has similarly been compartmentalized, and there is opportunity for innovation if we can build "association" partnerships to develop meaningful "hands-on" interdisciplinary projects achieving win/win/wins for students, schools, companies.

Literature on Cooperative Education, Action Learning, Project Learning, Experiential Learning as well as business literature asking for skills of "team collaboration" "problem solving", "innovation" all point to the need for well designed constructive learning models that result in professional skills required for next generation leadership performance.

How program goals are assessed

Unlike institutions that often measure success related only by institutional goals, Career Coaches measure success related to individual client objectives for success.

However, when working with variable institutions, the program success is measured by a combination of factors, including student satisfaction, student progress in ability to perform and present professionally in the workplace, (which may include employer performance reviews), and trends in job placement that may correlate with use of coaching.

Design features that allow goals to be met

While education and business organizations have traditionally set the objectives and processes for learning and performance there has often been a missing link of "motivation". It is proven that intrinsic "rewards" are stronger drivers than "external" reward/punishment systems.

The key design feature in Executive Coaching is that it flips the paradigm and begins with the individual, to draw out their individual inquiry and personal objectives, inspiring motivation for learning and performance related to identity development, and ultimately desire to create "relational" impact in the world.

Beyond the "idea" or theoretical learning must be the "action", so the other key design feature is to move beyond the individual into group learning, with theory-to-practice projects relevant to career objectives. Overall there is gradual development of "multiple mentors" which may include coaches, professionals, peers, academic advisors. This achieves the blend of "challenge and support" vital for human development overall.

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate

Previously working with Robert H. Smith School of Business as Executive Career Consultant, we graduated approximately 500 students per year across full-time, part-time and Executive MBA programs. Now working with World Learning/ SIT Graduate Institute in Washington DC, the yearly cohort is about 40 students.

Careers pursued by our alumni

As mentioned above students of varied disciplines locate roles across sectors in government, commercial, non-profit and educational arenas. Areas on the rise are alternative energy, healthcare, transportation systems, management consulting, technology/cybersecurity, public private partnerships in restructuring of financial systems, supply chain management, international emerging markets and capacity building in latin america, india, asia.

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Other key features of this program:

This "program" is adaptable to varied ages, levels, curricula, and career objectives. It is based on best practices in career development, leadership, entrepreneurship. Phyllis Pouyat Thibodeau is founder of Chesapeake Career Consulting, LLC, certified as a Master Coach with International Coach Federation, currently working with varied clients by contract in the DC Metro/ Chesapeake Bay Region.