Success as a business manager means wearing many hats. Not only is there the day-to-day practices of managing a department and a business, but it’s also important to understand the needs of the employees, clients and other associates you come in contact with during your work day.

(Photo courtesy of Shawn McKinstrie)

(Photo courtesy of Shawn McKinstrie)

Listening, communicating, empathy and responding to feedback are important aspects to becoming a good manager. Shawn McKinstrie serves as Eliassen Group‘s regional vice president of Technology Staffing & Agile. Shawn finds that the communication skills he learned at SUNY Potsdam play an important role in his position.

What is your educational background?

“I graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam (SUNY Potsdam – 1992) and earned a BA in Communications.”

What is your background in management?

“I have 15 years of leadership and management experience primarily within the staffing industry. My focus has been on hiring, training, implementing and executing growth strategy and P&L management for large sales regions (teams of up to 50 sales and recruiting executives).”

How has your education fueled your management success?

“The communications degree I earned was not just focused on preparing speeches and public speaking, it was also very focused on ‘Organizational Communication’ and how successful teams convey best practices, strategies, sales success and merit-based achievements of employees. Whether I am in front of a client or communicating with fellow employees, the principles of ‘active listening,’ empathy, consensus building and direct feedback were fundamental parts of my education that I utilize as a Regional Sales Leader every day.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance travel writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at

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