Bringing coursework to life: How this brand ambassador became a leader

May 13, 2020 · 3 min read · By Andrew McDowell
ASU Online brand ambassador Drew is using his sociology studies to strengthen his leadership skills to better assist his team.

Andrew's story

However, that is not always possible, and when not, we should allow our studies to speak through us. For me, sociology is no different – the philosophies and theories I have learned are used each day in my current position as a people leader in healthcare.

I have taken a direct leadership philosophy of ensuring that I take care of those who continue to work for me and call me their leader. Sociology has enhanced that philosophy by teaching me to understand that there is a reason for a group of people to behave the way they do, and the problems that I may walk into did not sprout up overnight. The biggest lesson that I have learned, in many different ways during my studies, is to abandon the one size fits all mentality when helping people grow. Look to use their strengths and already great skill sets, and work with them to help show them what they are capable of.

It was recently that I was able to do just that! I came into a situation where there was almost no leadership when I was hired on. One of my first tasks was to assess the team and find out what would work best for them. I took time to listen, only to find out that managers were traded in and out every couple of months, providing zero foundation for the wonderful team I have. I needed help, and my studies told me exactly where to look. Instead of pulling in new leadership from the outside, I looked within my existing team and found capable individuals who had been passed over. They were already leading without formal titles of recognition – and the team knew that.

Using the knowledge that the best support for a group comes from within, I promoted two individuals to not only help me lead, but to help make me part of their team. As a leader, one must focus on socialization, not for their own sake, but the sake of the team. I believe my studies have enabled me to lead from the front, with my team at the center of decisions, and including the team in those decisions whenever possible. My studies are more than a degree, they are a true set of philosophies and tools to help guide me as I look to grow. It is something that will help bring me to many empty offices in the future and leave them full of other leaders.

Andrew McDowell smiles for a camera while wearing an "Arizona State Graduate" sweatshirt.
A selfie of Andrew McDowell in an office wearing ASU gear.


About the Author

Andrew is a brand ambassador and an ASU Online student in the master of sociology program.

We're so excited to share Drew’s story! Drew is a part of our #learnASUlive team, an ASU Online brand ambassador program highlighting students who are earning their degrees while living their lives to the fullest. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check back for new articles from Drew so that you can follow along with his journey.

Want to hear from our other ambassadors, too? Use the #learnASUlive hashtag across your favorite social channels to browse through them!

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