Students Explore Strengths and Weaknesses in Career Workshop


Strengths Based Leadership Workshop

Through a series of unique exercises and inspiring stories, students worked on showcasing their talents at a workshop hosted by Mihaylo Career Services on Sept. 27. Specifically for business students of Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach, the workshop was presented by Gallup and focused on strengths-based leadership.

Gallup is a consulting firm that uses research and analytics to advise leaders around the world on their most difficult problems. The workshop, led by Susan Shald, director of talent sourcing, focused on identifying an individual’s talents and learning to leverage them productively.

Sixty-five undergrad and graduate students attended the workshop and participated in exercises and even won prizes.

The “I know my strengths” exercise asked students to write those four words five times using their non-dominant hand while being timed. After two minutes of struggling, Shald asked the students to stop and explain their feelings. “Weird,” “frustrating” and “demoralizing” were some of the feelings students shouted out. When asked to repeat the exercise using their dominant writing hand, their time was cut in half and their attitude about the task was improved.

Susan Shald, director of talent sourcing, Gallup

Shald explained: “When you do an activity that is [one of your] talent[s], you feel energy and satisfaction, but when you do something that is a weakness, you are often unhappy and feel inadequate.”

In the last exercise of the workshop, five students were also asked to come to the front of the room and share their strengths with the audience. After giving examples of how they use their talents, Shald presented the participants with a leadership book about how to leverage those talents.

“I really related when she talked about how our society focuses on the bad about ourselves. We need to focus more on how to make our talents shine,” said Josh Dellacruz, an entertainment and tourism business undergrad.

Josh Dellacruz (right) Entertainment and Tourism Business student

“The workshop helped me get better insight on my own talents and how to utilize them productively,” said Michelle Barry, also an entertainment and tourism business undergrad.

As students approached Shald to thank her for her time, she spoke about why she enjoys giving these workshops: “For me, it is a natural high. I enjoy inspiring students and getting them to realize their potential. I have also learned that when I share my own talents with others, it makes those talents stronger.”

For more information on company information sessions and leadership training workshops, visit the Mihaylo Career Services office in person [SGMH 1409], or online at

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