Amanda Lively tags herself as “constantly contemplating leadership” and “perpetually passionate.” She jumped the ocean after graduating from the University of Dallas with an M.B.A. in organizational development and a bachelor’s in psychology to challenge herself in a multicultural environment in a corporate setting. She since has taken on several roles across finance and business, ultimately landing herself in business strategy and people development as a team leader. She enjoys “connecting the dots” of various businesses and enabling her team to become trusted business advisors. You can also find her leading trainings and discussion groups in her free time on various topics such as world events, politics, cultural, business trends and leadership.
Q: You’ve worked in Bratislava, Slovakia for several years now. What drew you to global business in an international setting? Did the UD Rome semester inspire you at all?
I was serving as UD’s admissions event planner while finishing an M.B.A. in organization development and I knew that event planning was never going to be my life’s passion … I began my job quest around the states, and again, nothing really ignited my passion. Anyone who knows me knows that that is a big deal. I can find excitement in a misplaced leaf.
Then one day, I was enjoying a coffee at the Cap Bar and had the chance to engage in a small conversation with professor Lyle Novinski. Something he said had stood out to me, he said: “Why limit yourself?” And he was right. One of the times I felt most present and fully immersed in society was during our Rome program. When you are surrounded by different cultures, values, beliefs, history, etc., it is impossible not to be fully present and I believe that only by being fully present can you really see and serve others. So why was I limiting my search to the states?
Q: How has your UD education, specifically your studies in psychology, informed the work you’ve done in emotional intelligence and leadership development?
It is a direct cause and effect. UD’s psychology program grounded in phenomenology exposes us not just to the quantitative research of the human experience, but, more importantly, the qualitative side. We are each uniquely formed individuals with our own set of experiences and behavior models that ultimately shape our worldview and communication strategy, for example, you and I can both look at the same sunset and experience completely different emotions and behavioral responses. If those differences are not honored, then we are missing our ability to fully communicate in an emotionally driven world.
Additionally, I’d like to add that it is UD, and its professors threading together all the subjects into a multidimension[al] world that has really contributed to my pursuit of [emotional intelligence] and leadership development. The professors’ care and appetite to expose the subjects not in singularity but instead as many, meaningful facets that make up the world are a great example of truth to live by. Nothing is ever so simple, and it is all connected.
Q: What advice do you have for current students seeking international careers?
I have two pieces of advice here. First, as Novinski said: “Why limit yourself?” You are young enough to jump into areas you may need to work on or try an industry you would not have considered before. Do it. Try something new; the worst that can happen is that it refines your life purpose.
Second, be humble. Your education does not stop with UD but hopefully is a lifelong process. If you are looking to go international especially, you already have the American image you will need to push beyond. Go into a new environment knowing you will be different, expecting others to be different than you.
Instead of holding fast to what you think you know, allow yourself to be challenged and humbled. Constantly ask for feedback from everyone and ask on the hard stuff like: “When I presented the discussion in this way, how did it make you feel? Do you have any advice? What would you do differently?” And ask this from everyone: your director, your peers, your team everyone. You will be surprised at how little we actually know and how far caring enough to ask will help in building meaningful relationships.