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How UofGH's CliftonStrengths program can help you unleash your strengths

Liana Acri

Since launching in 2017, the CliftonStrengths program has helped University of Guelph-Humber students understand their natural talents and how to develop those positive qualities into strengths.

Designed to support first-year students, the CliftonStrengths program has already been an inspiring experience for UofGH students who have taken part.

When third-year Kinesiology student Erika Caldwell participated in the CliftonStrengths program, she was surprised by how much she learned about herself.

“I decided to take part in the CliftonStrengths program because I believed that it would help me improve on my leadership skills,” she recalled. “After completing the program, I felt as though I better understood my strengths and how to apply them to my everyday life, whether that is a group project at school, a volunteer position, or in the workplace.”

All first-year students receive a code to complete the CliftonStrenths for Students online assessment. Upon completion, students receive a report that identifies their top five talents out of 34 talent themes.

Each workshop qualifies for an experience on students’ Co-Curricular Record (CCR). CliftonStrengths workshops are running from now until April 5. Register now for workshops.

“Reading my strengths insight report allowed me to understand my strengths as well as many of my personality characteristics and motivations that I did not understand before,” Caldwell said.

Unleash your strengths

Liana Acri, Student Life Coordinator and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, designed customized workshops to help students unleash their strengths.

“After reviewing their individualized report, students participate in one of four workshops designed to help them discover their strengths and maximize their potential for success,” Acri said. 

For students, identifying strengths offers benefits even beyond helping to meet their educational goals and improve their sense of self. The CliftonStrengths program can also pay dividends from a career perspective.

“As a Career Coordinator, it is important to assist students in understanding their transferable skills,” said Sandra Fazio, UofGH’s Career Services Coordinator for the Family & Community Social Services and Early Childhood Studies programs.

“When students complete their CliftonStrengths training through Student Services, most are inspired to learn more about how to use their natural talents. My job is to guide students in using their CliftonStrengths to make good career choices and to develop the ability to promote their strengths in their self-marketing including resumes, cover letters and during interviews.

“I have worked with many students to frame answers in an interview using their top 5 natural talents and they are always amazed at how conversation flows. They are able to reflect on accomplishments by doing what comes naturally, with a clear focus on the positive. Students who can clearly articulate their strengths have a definite advantage in the recruitment process.”

Valuable lessons

In the fall, the CliftonStrengths program was integrated into a first-year Early Childhood Studies course in which students explore their profession and begin developing a professional philosophy.

“It is common for early childhood professionals to overlook their abilities and competence because it is an undervalued profession. We are slowly working on increasing awareness and appreciation for the important work early childhood professionals do, and an important step in this process is helping students to understand the powerful influence they have on children, families and society,” explained Elena Merenda, Assistant Program Head of Early Childhood Studies at UofGH.

“This program allows students to discover their strengths and build on their professionalism with a foundation of strength-based learning. This is important for them in building skills and confidence.”

Jhanvi Jamindar, a fourth-year Business student, was surprised by the accuracy of her CliftonStrengths report. “It opened my eyes and made me realize why I do what I do, basically explaining the various factors that drive me,” she said.

Another benefit Jamindar drew from the program was a greater sense of empathy for others.

“It helps to witness the various factors that drive others and understand why they act the way that they do,” she reflected. “It opens my mind and frees me from judging other individuals.”