John Heiser began his career as an attorney, but found he enjoyed the diverse responsibilities of organizational leadership to be a more appealing career path. After working in law, government affairs, sales, and marketing, Heiser moved into a senior leadership role as Chief Operating Officer for global manufacturer Magnetrol International, and in 2015 was promoted to President. Recently, Heiser has found a new interest, values-driven leadership, which he’s exploring as a doctoral student with Benedictine University.
What attracted you to the doctoral program?
I’m a lifelong learner; I love to learn. And I have a true passion for leadership and leadership development. When you put those things together, it’s no wonder that the Ph.D. program sparked my interest. Eventually I took the idea to my CEO. We discussed the needs we had at our company from a leadership perspective, and the program really fit what we needed.
How does what you’re learning in class relate to what you experience at work?
What we learn in class is directly applicable back at the office. It’s been fun to take what we’ve learned and start to experiment at work. For example, one of our visiting scholars said the reason many companies don’t reach peak performance is they shy away from conflict. We spent the class talking about how we could intervene in group settings at work in order to lean into the conflict so we can actually get to the right result. It’s opened my eyes to how we, as leaders, can help facilitate that kind of d irect discussion.
The class helped me envision ways to do that, and I’ve brought those ideas back into the organization.
How has the program helped you personally?
One of the things we talk about a lot in the program is the idea of positivity. It’s helped me to develop that mindfulness. I’ve never
been as fulfilled in my career as I am right now, and the program is a big part of it.
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