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MCYL group photo with Christmas tree
MCYL students learned that appropriate dress is important and varies by the type of work - and it's only one aspect of professionalism.

Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 04:40 PM

Leadership class gets a lesson in professionalism

MCYL students get pointers from a variety of business and management leaders about discipline, time management and good manners.

Professionalism means more than dressing like an executive, as Marshall County Youth Leadership students learned during a December program.

The 37 high school juniors got a mini-college course from Teresa Walker, director of Workforce Development at Snead State Community College. She told them about the importance of having people skills in the business world, which include listening and making decisions. Time management is the key to working under pressure, and good work habits include wearing clean, professional clothes, as well as arriving to work 10 minutes early.

“It’s more about who you are than what you know,” Walker said. 

She encouraged students to apply professionalism to their emails and to be cautious about what they post on social media. 

Rhonda Springfield, board member of Marshall County Leadership Alumni Association, which sponsors the high school group, walked students through the Do’s and Don’ts of job interviews. 

“Advocate for yourself,” she advised. 

Organization is key to being a professional, explained Jennifer Amos, donor coordinator for The Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers. She advised students to arm themselves with three books: a dictionary, an etiquette book and another offering the correct way to say anything. A planner is also crucial, Amos said. 

“It’s all about figuring out what works for you,” she said. 

Five principles

Logan Wilks of Wilks Tire and Battery, described the five principles of professionalism: integrity, respect, responsibility, commitment and ethics.
Professionalism also is very important when running a non-profit agency. Shirley Holland, director of CASA, told the group the agency helps the elderly and homebound. The reason CASA can raise $10,000 for its Christmas Gift & Food Bags is because donors trust the agency to do what it says it will do. 

“We want to do something that makes a difference in their lives,” Holland said. 

Students spent the afternoon practicing proper table manners.

The students from nine high schools in Marshall County - plus one home-schooler - applied and were interviewed for selection in the program. They spend one day each month throughout the school year learning out about their home county, as well as professionalism, etiquette and other qualities of a leader. MCYL is sponsored by the Marshall County Leadership Challenge Alumni, Citizen’s Bank and Marshall Medical Centers. 


Like the business leaders who took time to speak with the MCYL students, anyone can volunteer their time to better our community. For information on healthcare related volunteering opportunities you can read more here -