Nov 072010
Authors: Emily Johnson

The Center for Professional Development and Business Research at Colorado State University’s College of Business is aiming to be more user-friendly to businesses and non-profit organizations in Northern Colorado.

Leadership development programs, non-credit courses and certificate programs are now available to entrepreneurs, executives, directors and supervisors looking to give their leadership skills a professional boost.

The revamp of the center’s programming stemmed from an innovative marketing class offered last spring.

“We had great response,” Francis said. “It prompted us to look into offering more.”

The Professional and Executive Development Programs are designed for individuals who want to supplement their education without committing a large block of time to the pursuit of a graduate degree. Both credit and non-credit courses are offered in various formats and can be customized to meet the specific needs of a company or organization.

“We’re trying to build an image,” Francis said. “We’re not in it to make money like other outreach centers in business colleges across the country. We’re unique because our programs are innovative and reasonably priced.”

The non-credit short courses provide entrepreneurs and managers who have five or more years of leadership experience within private, public or not-for-profit organizations an opportunity for professional development through seminars and workshops. Topics range from communication to wellness.

“The wellness piece is becoming more important in the workplace,” Francis said. “Physical fitness and maintaining mental health is just as important as having organizational skills.”

A comprehensive certificate program, “The Dynamics of Leading in a Changing Global Economy,” offered in downtown Denver, will provide cutting edge leadership tools and techniques in addition to personal coaching between each session over the course of eight weeks.

An on-line certificate in Core Business Competencies is valuable for individuals who don’t have formal education in business or want to improve upon their knowledge in management, marketing, accounting, finance and ethics skills.

On Friday, Sonny Lubick addressed the CSU business community at a breakfast seminar hosted by the Center at the Hilton Hotel.

He discussed similarities between coaching athletics and business leadership. Lubick coached CSU football for 14 years and won Sports Illustrated Magazine’s coach of the year award in 1994.

Since retiring in 2007, he has explored other avenues of leadership and entrepreneurism, recently opening the Sonny Lubick Steakhouse in downtown Fort Collins.

“Now that I’m on the downhill slide, I get to come and talk about things,” Lubick said, jokingly.

Amid the laughter at his stories about picking up hitch-hikers while driving the high school bus to athletic matches, and being even more confused now that he reads leadership and management books, Lubick offered business advice.

“Humility and humbleness is the key,” he said. “In my 48 years of teaching and coaching, I had great mentors … great relationships.”

Lubick said he has learned that students are smarter than coaches most of the time and it’s no different with employees. Staying humble and open to ideas will create a positive environment for the whole team.

“You have to stay with them everyday. You have to train them. You have to give them what they need to do the job you need,” he said.

Lubick commended the center’s new approach to business development in the community. He said that learning new techniques and skills is important throughout an entire career.

“You have never made it no matter how old you are,” he said. “Things keep changing.”

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at

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