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FDU President Michael Avaltroni Offers Leadership Advice to Drew Students

Kicking-off a special guest series in Management courses

April 2024 – Drew University welcomed neighboring Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) President Michael Avaltroni as he kicked-off a special expert guest speaker series featured during Management courses.

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From right to left, FDU President Michael Avaltroni, Drew President Hilary L. Link, Professor Leyuan Xie, Niko Milberger C’24.

The Management course, led by Associate Professor Leyuan Xie, presents major topics in management and provides tools for understanding, analyzing, and critiquing the management structures and practices of organizations. 

“The talk exposed the class to an array of different management styles,” said Niko Milberger C’24, student assistant to the Business and Sociology departments, who helped organize the visit.

Drew President Hilary L. Link, PhD, sat in on the class presentation.

Avaltroni is the first president in FDU history who is an FDU alum. He shared tips on his own leadership style that has helped him garner his successes. “Ultimately, you want to be a leader rather than a follower,” he said. “You want to lead people from behind and not from in front.”

He shared his thought process on leadership and offered tips and strategies to become effective leaders. Good leaders show sound judgment, command trust, and empower their people, requiring a vision that is worth believing in. “A good leader must show judgment, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence,” said Avaltroni. “Be cognizant that everything you do is on display.”

“Higher education is undergoing a tremendous amount of change. The most effective leaders are good storytellers. Good leaders build, engage, and excite their teams.”

Avaltroni had the class complete an Enneagram to define the students’ inherent personal leadership style by identifying the ten principles of servant leadership. 

“Every person can lead,” he said. “Find a leadership philosopher and a great mentor—always watch, always learn.” 

Avaltroni stressed the importance of building a strong team. “Look for people who compliment your weaknesses, but remember that compatibility is key.”  

The presentation closed with a Q&A session and a final career tip from Avaltroni, who advised the students to keep opportunities open and pursue a career in something they’re passionate about. “Don’t be afraid to take chances to step into a role and learn as you go.”

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