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Master Class Series Named Innovation of the Year at Forest Park

March 01, 2013

Genuine student interest in a speaker series that extracts life lessons from local business leaders has been pivotal to the success of the Master Class Series at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park.

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The brainchild of Angelic Cole, assistant business administration professor and sponsor of the Forest Park Business Club, the Master Class Series has been selected as Forest Park’s Innovation of the Year.

The project will now advance to district competition, and will be considered for the district-wide Innovation of the Year by a joint committee of the College Institutional Affairs and the College Academic Affairs Councils, and they will advise the district’s League for Innovation representative of the winner.

The Master Class Series is a collaborative and creative effort spearheaded by the Forest Park Business Club in partnership with the St. Louis Business Journal and numerous campus departments. Speakers are scheduled two to three times per semester, with two speakers per session. Student hosts guide each presentation and a core committee oversees the event, with Cole as chair.

The series is based on the premise that behind every successful business leader is a great story, which would inspire Forest Park students. These timely stories are not only of personal triumphs, but also of loss and disappointment. What sets the leader apart from the ordinary business person, however, is how he or she reacts to life’s challenges. Are the challenges obstacles to be tackled and cleared, or roadblocks without an exit sign?

Each Master Class session has four main ingredients: 

  • An opening statement, having speakers share their personal stories.
  • The 3Rs: in a living room setting, a host asks each speaker three questions – What is the one thing you did Right? What is your biggest Regret? How do you want to be Remembered?
  • A student Q&A, with students asking questions from two microphones placed in the audience.
  • The presentation of a Master Class medallion to each speaker, followed by photos. Students are allowed to join the stage afterward for personal interaction with the speakers.

Several of the speakers are continuing their relationship with Forest Park by establishing internships and mentoring opportunities for students.

The speakers, so far, include Maxine Clark, chief executive officer of Build-a-Bear Workshop; Robbie Montgomery and Tim Norman, proprietors of Sweetie Pie’s restaurants and subject of a reality TV series on the OWN Network; Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge,  director of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport; Bill Menke, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Wehrenberg Theatres; JoAnn Shaw, vice president and chief learning officer of BJC; Adrian Bracy, director of YWCA Metro St. Louis and former CFO of Arizona Cardinals; Teri Murray, dean of School of Nursing at Saint Louis University; and a Community Town Hall Meeting featuring two of three mayoral candidates for city of St. Louis.

On April 10, John Mozeliak, general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Jennifer Joyce, circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis, will be on the program.

The Master Class Series committee, which began organizing the events Spring Semester 2012, involves the Business Administration and Communication departments, Public Information and Marketing, Vice President of Academic Affairs office, Campus Life, Honors Program, Office of the President, and Enrollment Management, as well as other campus personnel.