When personal strengths and work converge. | Center for Leadership | Florida International University | FIU
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When personal strengths and work converge.

Leadership program helps finance executive understand how to better use her strengths at work.

As Vice President of Finance at FedEx Services, Jane Amaba works with many departments across the company, often asking detailed questions central to her role in financial planning and analysis.

Amaba once felt the conversations may be seen as “confrontational.” But, she acknowledges, that’s not her style.


When she enrolled in an executive leadership development program at the Center for Leadership at Florida International University, Amaba was given an assignment. Amaba was to ask 10 to 20 people – family, peers, and co-workers – in what ways she added value or makes important contributions to their relationship. She cast a wide net, and wondered about the feedback she’d receive.

The responses left Amaba rather surprised.

“The things people remembered about me focused on my ability to add structure and organization, my attention to detail and rational decision making,” recalls Amaba, who learned through the process that one of her natural strengths was analytical-problem solving.

“The exercise married up the comments with the results of the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment we took as part of the program pre-work which showed me there’s a clear correlation between using my strengths and what people appreciate most about me. What I thought may not be well received was actually something they viewed as valuable,” she says. “You don’t always ask people for that kind of feedback, and it was one of the most insightful and rewarding parts of the program.”

The Center for Leadership’s programs explore the latest academic findings and real-world workplace examination to ask questions, facilitate discussions, and share new ideas and possibilities, says Dr. Nathan J. Hiller, academic director for the Center for Leadership

“We walk leaders and executives through a process to help them become more effective by discovering their hidden worth,” he says. “Many participants find themselves asking questions they might never have otherwise asked, and being more effective for having done so.”

Amaba, previously a participant in other leadership development programs, credits Dr. Joyce J. Elam for a unique and “inspirational” program.

“The course taught me to build upon my strengths.”

Something she had rarely leveraged or focused on in the past.

The Center’s faculty and staff are dedicated to exploring leadership thought and practice through continuous research, providing opportunities for leaders to develop keen self-insight, and teaching leadership competencies. Together, these equip participants to meaningfully transform their organizations and their societies. In February of 2018, The Center was, for the 5th consecutive year, top-ranked for their executive leadership programs by HR.com and Leadership Excellence magazine.

To learn more about the Center's executive leadership development programs, visit lead.fiu.edu/programs.