Professor June West recently joined Darden Admissions for the latest installment of “Office Hours,” Presented by Darden Ideas to Action. She is a member of the Communication area faculty, a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, and has taught Darden students for over 25 years.
West shared insights on several more of her upcoming and current projects, which include serving as the co-faculty lead for the MBA/ME.d dual degree program, co-hosting the podcast CEO Voices: Leading With Communication, leading business programming for the U.S. Department of Defense, developing new content for her Executive MBA, Full-Time MBA and Part-Time MBA classes and much more. West is also steadfast in her commitment to civil discourse and developing a greater understanding of all sides and perspectives.
Part of West’s current work as the Marjorie R. Sands Associate Professor of Business Administration is to continue the work on women’s case studies, a subject she is passionate about. West shared: “Many of the women faculty at Darden are writing case studies with women protagonists as senior executive women and women in senior leadership so that we have good cases in the classroom that also reflect the diversity of the students in the classroom. This includes developing cases featuring global examples and international leadership.”
Watch the “Office Hours” recording for a wide-ranging conversation with West.
Or, choose to listen to the conversation on the Experience Darden podcast below!
When asked how communication will continue to evolve in virtual and hybrid work environments, West highlighted a few components of her communications experience and the practical advice she shares with her students.
“If there’s anything in this communications realm that’s the most important, it’s knowing your audience. Who are you talking to? Who is your audience? Who are the employees you are trying to reach? How do you adjust messages for each of these audience types? And then, you need to have a healthy sense of yourself. We spend a lot of time in the ‘Leadership Communications’ and ‘Leading Organizations’ classrooms understanding who you are. What is your leadership style? What are your communication styles? What do you do well and what do you need to work on? And then, it’s a matter of message-structure-strategy. How do you organize information for the audience so they receive it in the way you want it to come across and you receive the feedback that you want?”
West shared three discussion areas that she brings forward in her classroom when it comes to developing message, structure and strategy:
- Why are you communicating? What is your purpose? Why is this information being shared and why now? Why are you talking to us about this?
- What is your credibility? You have high initial credibility because you are earning a Darden MBA. There is high credibility in the beginning because although people may not personally know us, they’ve heard of us. And then you want to make sure that your acquired credibility maintains that initial credibility so when they meet you they say “oh yes, that’s a Darden MBA and we expect a high level from these folks.”
- What is your frame of reference? A former colleague and I used to call this VABES: Values, attitudes, beliefs, and expectations. This is a DNA of sorts, and in many ways it’s not something you can change because it’s where you come from. You need to understand this frame of reference because when you are working with someone different than you, you need to be able to understand where they are coming from and what their frame of reference is so you can find those synergies.
Upcoming Conversations With Darden Faculty
‘Office Hours’ With Professor Manel Baucells on Friday, 17 June, at 10 a.m. ET | Register
Women@Darden ‘Office Hours’ With Professor Vivian Riefberg and Senior Assistant Dean Dawna Clarke on Friday, 8 July, at 10 a.m. ET | Register
‘Office Hours’ With Professor Andy Wicks on Friday, 22 July, at 10 a.m. ET | Register
‘Office Hours’ With Professor Robert Carraway on Friday, 5 August, at 10 a.m. ET | Register
Women@Darden ‘Office Hours’ With Senior Associate Dean Yael Grushka-Cockayne and Senior Assistant Dean Dawna Clarke on Tuesday, 9 August, at 10 a.m. ET | Register
Women@Darden ‘Office Hours’ With Professor of Practice Carolyn Miles and Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions Dawna Clarke on Tuesday, 27 September, at 1 p.m. ET | Register