In my life, I have been blessed with inspiring teachers. The first were my parents, who gave me a value system based on respect for others, the power of education and humbleness. One of my elementary school teachers also left a significant impact on me, and she is still my idol. She taught the material required by the curriculum but was always looking for new ways to inspire us to learn more, read more and become better people. I can still feel her energy, and it inspires me to be the professor that I am today.
As Business Program Chair at Herzing University’s Orlando campus, I strive to help my students not only develop the knowledge and skills that they’ll need to be successful in their careers, but also a love of learning, a curiosity about the world around us and a passion for understanding and engaging with our global community.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel and teach in many different parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and South America. In each place that I visited, I learned about the history, culture and the realities of daily life. I realized every community has two things in common: people want to provide a better life for their children and to live in peace.
I also learned that each of us, no matter where we live, is constantly searching for the answers to two questions: “Who am I, and why am I here?” This influenced my teaching philosophy because life is a journey where you learn and change, discover and grow, and most importantly, reflect and develop! In my work, I try to follow examples of all my greatest teachers.
One model—which has motivated and inspired me throughout my life—is R.I.S.E., which stands for Respect, Inspire, Share, Empower. I believe that this philosophy is especially relevant for business students who are preparing to enter an increasingly global business community.
In life and in teaching, I cherish the basic principle of respect for others and our diverse backgrounds. Our business curriculum is designed to help students develop a global perspective when it comes to business. That’s why I make it a priority to stimulate discussions in all my classes, and together we work on creating a safe place for sharing our different perspectives. It is amazing to see discoveries we made in those sessions, about each other, ourselves and how to make our world a better place.
I am also passionate about sharing knowledge that I acquire with my students. Knowledge is a rare cake that you can eat and share, and by doing so you make it bigger with each shared slice! Through collaboration and the exchange of ideas and knowledge, students are able to learn from each other and become better prepared to solve problems in the workplace, taking others’ perspectives into consideration. There is nothing more rewarding than the glow in my students’ eyes when they feel inspired with new knowledge.
Finally, the ultimate purpose of teaching for me is empowering students with a new understanding of the world, feeling of self-confidence and the readiness to make a difference in our global community. As future business leaders, it’s important for students to consider both the global impact of a business and how different cultural values may influence business goals and initiatives.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences with my students, and to help them become the next generation of great business leaders. Each time that I see my students walk across the stage at commencement, I cry out of happiness for them and their achievements—not only for obtaining their degree but for all the wonderful things that they are going to do in their lives with this new knowledge.
Gordana Pesakovic, Ph.D.
Graduate and Undergraduate Business Program Chair,
Herzing University, Orlando campus