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Building the Leadership Skills That Matter


For Philadelphia native Corey Stephens, a deep desire to motivate people and inspire them towards excellence was the driving force behind his decision to enroll in Villanova’s College of Professional Studies.

Having spent three years running a local nonprofit youth organization that empowered new and emerging artists and writers to perform their own plays, Corey’s natural abilities as a communicator and go-getter served him well. As his career shifted more towards business with an operations position at the Inn at Villanova University, Corey felt an urge to strengthen his skills and knowledge by pursuing a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) with a major in Leadership.

But nobody said it would be easy. The 37-year-old father of three, who at one point was working two jobs while navigating his online courses, felt stretched pretty thin at times. “It definitely involved sacrifice, time, energy, and a lot of coffee,” says Corey. “The late nights, weekend work, and skipping out on fun activities were justified though.” In addition to making the dean’s list and becoming a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, Corey says, “Being a part of the Villanova community has been a transformative experience for me and I can honestly say that I’m a better person for it.”

The Leadership program, which is available on campus, online, and in a hybrid format, is designed to help students develop and cultivate a comprehensive set of practical skills to apply to their professional endeavors. Furthermore, the curriculum is designed to investigate and analyze moral and ethical challenges to leadership. Students have the opportunity to enhance their personal, professional, and intellectual skills to act with integrity when faced with ethical dilemmas.

“People need positive leadership now more than ever,” says Corey. “In addition to mastering the practical tools I need to succeed, Villanova provided me with a deeper understanding of what it means to lead impactfully with people in mind.”

Because of the Leadership program at Villanova, Corey feels primed and is, in fact, eager to take on new challenges in this ever-changing world. His Villanova education and recent life experiences, including a summer internship with a prominent Philadelphia congressman, have inspired Corey to pursue a career in supply chain management with a focus on community involvement. “This quarantine has shown us there are certain resources that we are lacking. I want to do my part to make sure communities and organizations have the necessary resources in the future.”

Now, though, he’s looking forward to graduation in the fall after completing one final capstone course. “We don’t know what the world is going to look like when we come out on the other side of this coronavirus, but I can say that this Leadership program has prepared me—I’ve experienced friendship and mentorship, I’ve been encouraged and been held accountable, I’ve had my mind and soul challenged, and now I’m ready to help transform others around me.”