ASK Experience Series: Emotional Intelligence

The ASK Experience series is a new HireDePaul Blog series featuring unique insights and career advice from interviews with DePaul alumni. In the next installment, we spoke with Marie Wohler (‘91) about her career, emotional intelligence in the workplace, and the value of mentorship in professional development. 

Emotional Intelligence

After a career in talent management and leadership development, it is clear that Marie Wohler is passionate about helping people improve their professional skills, the most salient of which being emotional intelligence. So what is emotional intelligence? As Marie explains, “emotional intelligence — or EI — is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you.”

Marie’s Characteristics of Professional Emotional Intelligence:

  • “Changers”
    • Professionals displaying emotional intelligence are open to change and are adaptable. Being willing to change and take risks as needed supports an organization’s ability to improve itself. 
  • Self-Awareness
    • Acknowledging professional or personal weaknesses helps emotionally intelligent professionals to work with teams that complement their skills.  
  • Empathy & Relation
    • By relating to coworkers and putting their behavior in the context of any situation that may arise, professionals can more effectively resolve conflicts, overcome obstacles, and form connections with colleagues. 
  • Self-Care
    • Self-care looks different for everyone, but practicing it can make or break a professional’s ability to interact with colleagues. 

“Getting great people and retaining them takes emotional intelligence, and leaders who don’t have it risk losing talent that could be a competitive advantage for an organization.”

Feedback

As a convenient follow-up to our previous article (ASK Experience Series: Communication), one aspect of professional emotional intelligence is the ability to take and receive feedback constructively. To expand on the previous discussion, Marie shared some insights on how to ask for good feedback:

  • Ask what you should stop, start, and continue doing. This opens up the floor for the other person to provide you with specific feedback that you can take with you and follow up on after an agreed upon period of time. 
  • Consider branching out to other colleagues for feedback instead of relying exclusively on your direct supervisor. This can help avoid interpersonal conflict in the workplace before it begins! 
  • Follow up with the person you asked. Set a period of time after which you will report back. 

Mentorship

Mentors are always a valuable resource in anyone’s career development. Marie cited two mentors throughout her career who had a significant impact on her growth as a professional. Mentors can share experience and advice, give feedback, and support any person regardless of their experience level. Here at DePaul, all students have access to resources designed to help connect them with potential mentors! 

On the DePaul ASK Network, there is a vast database of alumni volunteers prepared to coach students in their careers. For more information on the ASK Network, check out our website or email us at ask@depaul.edu!  

How I got this job: Valentina Djordjevic Physician Assistant

During Spring Quarter 2021, the Health Care & Science Career Community team sat down with DePaul students to learn about the educational and career journey of DePaul alum, Valentina Djordjevic (Health Sciences, ‘16). After completing the Physician Assistant (PA) program at Rosalind Franklin University, she is now a PA-C at Able Psychiatry. Valentina shared her story of gaining research, work, volunteer, and clinical experiences while at DePaul, deciding to pursue a career as a PA, her current job responsibilities, and her future career goals. In this event, Valentina highlighted what being a PA means to her and the importance of pursuing your passions.

Words of wisdom from Valentina Djordjevic

Valentina on deciding to become a PA:

“For me it was pretty easy to be a PA because it was quick. Two years seemed pretty doable for me. It offered me the opportunity to work in multiple specialties which I liked at that time because I wasn’t exactly sure that I wanted to be in psychiatry. The GRE also seemed more doable than the MCAT for me. I also liked that there wasn’t a residency requirement for PA school. I really liked that I could get this degree and then start working right away. I wanted to stay in the sciences. I wanted to help people. I wanted to be financially independent and be able to have a good income. I think it was a pretty easy decision for me to go into the PA track.” 

Valentina on the importance of mentoring for a PA:

“A piece of advice about post-PA school is that you really want to find a job where you will be taught. There are a ton of opportunities for PAs out there, and they seem really appealing. They’re going to throw a lot of money at you, and just be careful that they don’t throw you out to the wolves because PA school is really fast. You’re getting this degree with the hope that you’ll be trained really well at your first job, but if you aren’t, you’re gonna have a huge stunt in your growth. It’s really important to have a mentor: someone that you can ask questions to, someone that is expecting you to not know what you’re doing. If it’s a good growth opportunity, that might be better than a more appealing pay stub at the end of the day because if you get good training, you can go anywhere.”