A focus strategy of leadership here at Cabrini College is what makes up the Nerney Leadership Institute according to the Institute’s new director Maria Vizcarrondo.
After gaining 25 years of directing leadership development programs, Vizcarrondo joined the Cabrini community as the Director of the Nerney Leadership Institute this past fall.
Vizcarrondo’s new role as director is a fairly new position to come about. Last spring Tom Nerney provided a grant that was meant to hire someone to “harness the initiatives of the leadership” program and therefore brought Vizcarrondo to do the job.
The Nerney Leadership Institute is a program that has been the culmination of a lot of work that has been done at Cabrini over the last few years. The college’s faculty and staff have been observing how the different leadership initiatives have been undertaken and consolidated into what makes up this focus strategy that Vizcarrondo previously stated.
A large part of her position as director is to evaluate our current leadership opportunities and see how they can be expanded. As stated in an over the phone interview, Vizcarrondo says that the goal of the Leadership Institute is that “every student that graduates from Cabrini leaves with some piece of leadership training” regardless of majors or minors.
In creating these leadership programs, the college has brought on a Leaderships studies minor, the LEADStrong program, as well as a leadership certificate.
When observing Vizcarrondo’s long list of experience, it is no surprise that she was picked for this position. Aside from being the first Latina to ever be elected in Essex County, New Jersey, Vizcarrondo also has a wide range of specialties that have helped pave the way for her success with the Nerney Leadership Institute.
Each and every one of her past careers has helped the greater good in some way. In some instances, she ran organizations that promoted leadership amongst children and women. On top of doing such astounding work, she has also helped to establish the Kinship program which gave legal rights to grandparents to make decisions for their grandchildren who were placed in their care.
Her work in these types of organizations as well as organizations such as ASPIRA – a non profit association whose mission is to empower the Puerto Rican and Latino community through youth leadership development, advocacy and education – have properly and efficiently prepared Vizcarrondo for the role as the director for the leadership institute.