By Lucie Dickenson
My wonderful friend and business partner, Danielle Heuer, has given me incredible opportunities to observe, help, and even faclitate in some amazing classes that she teaches. I was especially overjoyed to accompany her last month, to Rutgers University, where she was teaching a class in the afternoon, as well as a class later in the evening.
Danielle gave me the background on both of the classes, so that I would be familiar with where they were as a group to date. As we drove up together to the University, I noticed her excitement as she spoke to me about the students and their accomplishments. When we entered the classroom, Danielle took her place at the front of the room, and I respectively took my seat in the back desk to observe. This was such an interesting class to see, as it was a group of students who were here from China, to take classes at Rutgers for one year.
These kids were fascinating to watch, and Danielle was both motivating and inspirational in her interaction with the students. I happened to be there for the class where they were required to give an oral presentation, that they had been preparing for in the previous meetings. Each student came to the front of the room, and in their own unique way, were able to convey their story of what was important to them, and why the subject holds value in their life. Danielle was quick to give very encouraging feedback, and you could tell each one was grateful for her input and care. She connected to all of students in a very respectful, yet uplifting way, and it was clear that the students enjoyed learning from her.
As I watched, and took in the whole of what was happening, it made me smile to know that students from China were just like students from the United States; as we all have dreams, aspirations and fears. In addition, they spoke about Harry Potter, education, fashion designers and NBA basketball. We are all so much more alike than we are different, and Danielle is such a great person to take those similarities, and build upon them. She is a master at letting someone’s story unfold, finding the strengths, and making sure she boosts those strengths, by making them known to the speaker.
When the class was over, I noticed how they all looked to their teacher, Danielle, for even more encouragement. Many of the students stayed after class to glean pieces of feedback, above what was already given. They wanted this, because it was clear that Danielle was a shining example of someone who lets the students be exactly who they are, and gave them thanks, for sharing who they are with others. And, because she gave them the space to be their authentic selves, beautiful stories came forth, in very unique and individual ways.
As we left that classroom together, and walked to coach engineering students, I carried with me some of the energy from the previous class. As I helped coach the Rutger’s engineering students, by giving them feedback, I made sure to utilize Danielle’s soft, yet genuine and honest approach, towards interacting with the students. Danielle’s great teaching style left an impression with me, and made me understand, her story is much more than enjoying teaching classes, but a true love for bringing out the greatness in others.
Danielle Heuer is a leadership and communications coach who helps Fortune 500 companies close performance gaps and inspire employees to own their development. She is also a Rutgers adjunct professor for the School of Communications and Information.
We all have a story to tell… let’s listen .
Lucie Dickenson is the co-founder of Every Voice Educates (EVE) and owner of The Inspirational Life, where she is a coach and creator of the Inspire Method. Lucie has over 25 years experience in training and business, however, her passion is helping others to truly understand that their life stories hold the key to connecting with others.