Executive Master of Leadership Blog

My Executive Master of Leadership Experience: Capt. Nicholas Pattitsas

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 10, 2019 9:28:33 AM / by Susan Gautsch

I reported to USC in the summer of 2018 for my job with the Navy ROTC program and immediately started looking at programs that I could take to continue to develop myself and my professional career. Nothing, stuck out until I realized that I needed something that was broad enough and relevant enough to my position and my current life. As a father of 2 young children, leadership stuck out so I went for the opportunity.



Personal Board of Advisors


The cohort model is something I haven't experienced before. It offers a whole new dynamic of education because you not only learn from the professor, and we have many different visiting professors, but you learn from each other, and we come from all different industries.

I get exposure to people that are city managers, software salesman, managers of nonprofits, and people that I normally don't have a relationship with in the military. These perspectives and the broad application of leadership makes this leadership development program valuable.

I hope to take it to the next level when I transition out of the military. If that's in the plan for me I'll have a nice opportunity with the exposure and experience from this program.

New Leadership Perspectives

It's been amazing to see that despite whatever unique professional environment we are in and regardless of where you're at in your career, we all share the same leadership problems. It's encouraging to see, honestly. It also speaks to the wider application of leadership. Leadership is a lifelong pursuit that is relevant in any field and sphere of life, personal and professional.

One executive leadership activity that sticks out to me was how the program started. Dr. Geffner started to build the teams and she didn't reveal that she was doing. And now in the second class of our curriculum, we're starting to realize what she was doing all along.

From the beginning, Dr. Geffner got us to was build trust and connect with each other personally through an activity called "Life Spiral." The "Life Spiral" activity starts by first identifying the key points in our life where we may have been going in one direction and then something pivotal happened. Whether it was a particular interaction, a loss in the family, or gain in the family that shaped our lives.

Then we openly shared our stories with each other to find common ground. This gave us an appreciation for everyone's neurodiversity. From there, we peeled back the layers to identify, "who am I," "what kind of leader am I," and "how do I take it to the next level?"

Download a brochure for USC's Executive Master of Leadership degree program.


Topics: Leadership Journey

Susan Gautsch

Written by Susan Gautsch

Director of Online Learning at USC Price School of Public Policy

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