The Higher Ed Podcast Series: Inspiring Greatness

You have 5 /5 articles left.

Sign up for free account or login

nn nn n n n n nn n n n n

n n n n n n n n n nn n

n

n n n nn n n

n nn

n nnn nnnnn

n

This week’s episode of The Higher Ed Podcast brought in the lovely Karling Cosca, Director of Operations at the Inspire Greatness Aveda Institute. While inspire greatness is the name of her workplace, it also drives her work philosophy and it was definitely present in her conversation with George and Kamaar. Karling’s passion is palpable, and her enthusiasm is contagious. Luckily, she shared with us a few of her strategies on work philosophy and what makes her so happy and successful in her role.  

Throughout the episode, Karling spoke of her love for all aspects of her job, from organizing and leading to the aesthetician elements that Aveda provides. It’s easy to see how these passions have driven her success: “it’s so common to hear this from an aesthetician, it started with finding solutions for my own skin, and that turned into, you know, a deep passion for the structure of the skin and treatment of the skin and eventually into education and leadership. I mean, it’s been a long and beautiful career that kind of continued to unfold over the last 15 years. One step in front of the other has been a really great philosophy for me, like things just keep unfolding within this industry. Which I don’t know that everyone understands that coming in. I know I didn’t, you know, I only saw the immediate outcome is likely that I would work in a spa. I didn’t see the whole breadth of opportunities that there is industry. But now I see it. Pretty incredible.”  

Karling also referenced four pillars of leadership that have driven her success.   

1. Environment

The first pillar is creating a good environment. Karling described it as “creating a great environment, whether it’s cleanliness, safety, emotional safety, just having high expectations of what kind of environment and experience we are delivering.” Karling is certainly on to something, since studies have proven that a positive work environment leads to happier employees, better company culture, and even higher productivity.  Not only does this benefit the personal lives and mental health of employees both at work and beyond, but it does have financial benefits for companies, as workers are more engaged, perform better, and become less likely to leave. This same Harvard Business Review article reveals that “Research shows that workplace stress leads to an increase of almost 50% in voluntary turnover. People go on the job market, decline promotions, or resign. And the turnover costs associated with recruiting, training, lowered productivity, lost expertise, and so forth, are significant. The Center for American Progress estimates that replacing a single employee costs approximately 20% of that employee’s salary.” With both money and mental health in mind, creating a positive environment establishes a better, stronger organization. 

2. World Class Education

“I feel like that bar is super high because that’s what we’re known for. And when a student comes to Aveda Institute, they have that high bar and we want to exceed their expectation.” While creating a positive workplace is crucial, it doesn’t mean that expectations have to suffer. On the contrary, setting high expectations can create many positive results for students and staff. An Education Partnerships study reported that “When teachers have high expectations for students and provide tasks that are engaging and of high interest, students build self-esteem, increase confidence and improve academic performance (Brophy, 2008; 2010). Student confidence is critical because it is linked to students’ willingness to tackle challenging learning activities.” This kind of quality expectation and education leaves students with higher self-esteem, more thorough learning, and a higher capacity to handle expectations and stress outside of a learning environment. Furthermore, it reflects positively on institutions that breed highly accomplished students, and overall creates a stronger, more capable workforce. Setting this example through school operations is one of the best ways to set this high bar.

3. Service Excellence 

Karling revealed that “Service excellence is another key business driver. And we want our guests to be happy, our service desk to be happy. We want our students to be able to leave the institute as graduates with the ability to deliver world-class service.” It should go without saying that quality instruction and education is one of the most crucial forms of success for any business or institution. From creating an overall positive experience to equipping students to leave and provide that kind of service for others, having high expectations of excellence and setting an example through action demands the best out of students and staff. This is the kind of authentic instruction and interaction is less common than it should be, but all the more appreciated when it is demonstrated.  

4. Care

“And finally care. I mean, I feel like if anything really sets us apart, it’s the level of care and how high that bar is. That comes from our president and owner Dale. That is his prime. Like he always says ‘our mission at Aveda is to care’. And I mean, you could stop the mission statement right there because it covers it. If you care, people know. We’re human. We make mistakes. But our team, our students, our service guests in our community is prime, then we can all move on knowing that everybody cares.” An organizational philosophy that staff and executives truly stand behind is the key to driving quality operations. Having a shared collective mission and goal that is championed by organizational leaders (in this case Dale LeMonds) creates a positive company culture that becomes easy for others to champion themselves.  

n

nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nn n n nn nn n n n n nn n n n n

n n n n n n n n n nn n

n

n n n nn n n

n nn

n nnn nnnnn

n

Leadership in COVID-19

Kamaar asked Karling an important question: “how did all of that prepare you to maintain and continue to lead through this COVID-19 pandemic?” 

Karling was able to share a special perspective that considered the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity rather than a setback: “We will look back at COVID-19 as a really special time, I think for our organization, because there was a different level of communication with our director team. So we had one to two calls per week for all campus directors and global leadership teams, which allowed us to identify challenges that were happening or circumstances that we needed to overcome to develop systems around those challenges and move forward. We were able to move really fast, because our teamwork improved significantly during those times. I mean, it was two days after we closed our clinic floors, that we opened our temporary distance education schedule and students returned to school. Not on campus, but we were able to keep their goal of graduating on time, which not all schools were able to do that. And I’m really proud of our team for coming together and making it happen. It was a group effort of roughly 30 people, pretty cool.”  

In this answer, you can see Karling’s work ethics at play, which were fortified by the similar attitudes of her coworkers.  By carrying out the 4 pillars of leadership that Karling mentioned, Aveda was able to successfully navigate the insecurity of the early days of the pandemic and continue to serve their students. From this, the organization found its stride and continued to thrive and, in the spirit of its name, inspire greatness. This is the kind of leadership that is worthy of the many awards that Aveda has won and can be an example to all institutions.  

Subscribe to our Higher Ed Podcast to continue receiving weekly advice, stories, and insights about the higher education industry.   

 

n

Recent Insights

Reading Progress

Related

Insights

You have 5 /5 articles left.

Sign up for a free account or log in.