Thank you for the opportunity to share my story! I am happy to offer what I have been doing to promote civility in the workplace since graduating from The Protocol School of Washington nearly one year ago.
Given my role at USC Upstate, the training I received from Pamela, Robert, Sue, Heather, and Leah has taken me to the next level both personally and especially professionally in working with college students. I would certainly say that I am more self-aware and knowledgeable, confident in my teaching, and polished overall.
Professionally, I am a trusted resource not just at my university, but I have provided workshops and tutorial meals for business students at a top-tier research institution as well as for other student groups comprised of individuals from all over the world. In the coming weeks, I will be providing training and tutorial meals at two top corporate offices in upstate South Carolina for interns who come from many colleges and universities across the country. I suppose you could say that I am impacting toxicity in the workplace by working primarily with undergraduate business students and other para-professionals by teaching them early on the importance of civility in the workplace and being an active contributor to a culture of professionalism that, over time, impacts the bottom lines of productivity, employee retention, and overall satisfaction and fulfillment.
I have used the knowledge gained from The Protocol School of Washington to lead four five-course etiquette dinners so far. I have provided several workshops at the request of tenured faculty on the topics of business etiquette and presentation skills. I have used my training to prepare a large number of our students for dining events with several key employers in my area as well as for another dining occasion with our new Chancellor, Dr. Brendan Kelly, who recognizes fully the impact of my training on our students and recent graduates. Additionally, I organized my sixth career and internship fair for the Johnson College this past February, which included several global companies, including BMW, Draexlmaier, and Adidas Group. Leading up to this event, I worked diligently to prepare our students for meaningful interactions with these employers who, as a result, were wonderfully impressed with the level of preparation and polish among attendees, commenting that they don’t often see such prepared students at recruitment events not just in the immediate area, but in the southeast! From this event alone, several attendees have been hired since graduating just one month ago. Coincidentally, our new business dean who starts officially on July 1 (originally from Algeria, having lived all over the world, and fluent in five languages) happened to be interviewing in our building on this day, and he, too, was blown away by the quality of businesses visiting our relatively small business program, and he discovered the draw quickly: our students who have a full scale professionalism series offered to them three times per year with endless opportunities to meet with me for any additional needs they have to feel more prepared to face this competitive job market and very much global economy. (There are more than 500 internationally-owned companies upstate in the Spartanburg-Greenville area.)
That being said, toxicity in the workplace is best impacted, I believe, when either addressed directly or, best case scenario, prevented in the first place. Employers are excited to hire our graduates for their demonstrated preparedness and immediate contribution to the success of their organizations. It is this type of response of which I am proudest, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt that my training and how I am continuing to hone my skills is being celebrated in publications at my university, in a publication at Clemson University, and actually on WSPA and Fox Carolina.
Hannah Terpack, MA
Freshmen Advisor and Student Services Coordinator
The Johnson College of Business and Economics
University of South Carolina Upstate
2016 PSOW Graduate of Train to be a Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant