Cohort 2 Participant Reflections

Shah 140x140Shilpa Shah

I work in the School of Dentistry’s Dean’s Office as a senior contracts and grants specialist. I participated in the second cohort of the UMBrella Coaching Program, and when I applied to this program, I wasn’t sure how it would benefit me personally and professionally.

But right from the first breakfast introduction meeting, I felt like this group of vibrant women would be a great support system in my professional role. The coach and the participants on my team were very welcoming and instantly felt like long-lost friends. Every month we met during the lunch hour to discuss a topic related to personal development in your career. We got a chance to discuss our views and problems, and at the end of the meeting we would get positive solutions on how to handle the situation. Everything we discussed was confidential so that all the participants could talk freely without any concerns.

One of my favorite topics was communication with your manager in the workplace. There were ideas that we discussed that I never thought I could use for effective communications. After this discussion, I used these tactics and the outcome was great. Every month, the topic selected and assignments helped shape us professionally. Even after our cohort ended, we still meet for lunches and email one another.

I strongly encourage all women at UMB to join this wonderful group to make new friendships and gain professional development. I would highly suggest attending all meetings and actively participating in group discussions, enjoying the new friendship that you make.

Christiane Pollack

Christiane Pollack

The UMBrella Coaching Program at UMB helped me to feel more connected to our University community and assisted with developing my next steps for my career at UMB. The monthly meetings with my group connected me with other women on campus, from a variety of positions and departments. I better understood roles of women at the University and heard inspirational success stories. Each month, our group focused on specific topics for discussion, which encouraged us to come up with strategies and solutions within our work environment. Through discovering our strengths, we developed goals and the best methods to achieve these goals. The small, open table discussions provided me with an opportunity to hear other women’s stories and give them feedback. I also told my story and received advice and encouragement. Since completing the program in October 2019, I have received my first promotion, and I feel that I will continue to make growth.

I built a connection with the women in my group. I looked forward to seeing them every month, and I try to keep in touch with each of them now, especially through this pandemic. Although I completed the program, I still feel the support and connection to these women. I would encourage other women on campus to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Mary Anne MeloMary Anne Melo, DDS, MSc, PhD, FADM

The UMBrella Coaching Program provided an excellent learning and practice setting to gain awareness about skills that we need to develop or to improve in our professional pathways. The content was excellent, very well laid out, and the workshop trainers were superb. My fellow participants were a small, diverse group of high caliber female employees from different parts of campus. We had rich opportunities for guided discussion and feedback.

I also enjoyed the networking opportunities with colleagues and very much appreciated their deep knowledge and sincere integrity. Lots of great tools and resources! Looking forward to continued learning and growing here. I highly recommend this program for women at UMB.

Dina R. Billian, JDDina R. Billian, JD

Deputy Director of Career Development
Francis King Carey School of Law

The Women of University of Maryland, Baltimore, are so incredibly fortunate to have the UMBrella Coaching Program as a professional development offering.  It's been exactly two years since I first met my coaching group: Adrianne, Mary Beth, Lin, Karen, Zalika, and Meredith, led by the amazing coach Patty Alvarez, Assistant VP, Student Affairs. We keep in touch to this day through occasional lunches or calls for support. The ground rules themselves - respect, engagement, positivity, and using one's voice - are rules I try to implement every day - not just in my work life, but in my personal life, as well. The program promotes leadership, growth, and the commitment to develop oneself. In these unusual times, the need for this program is greater than ever. We all benefit from the support, kindness, and encouragement the program provides.

Karen Gordes 140x140Karen L. Gordes, PhD, DSc, PT

Associate Professor and Chief Learning Officer

It was an honor to be a participant in the UMBrella coaching program. The ability to connect with a community of empowered women willing to share their personal and professional resources for success was unlike any other development experience. The coaching program provided a comprehensive set of learning experiences with space to authentically explore where you are and where you would like to go in your career. The ability to engage with a network of peers to support you during and after the program has been of tremendous value. I can attribute this experience for fostering a sense of clarity in my own personal career goals. I am truly grateful for the amazing leaders, speakers, coaches, and fellow cohort members that make this program happen.