How Presidio Graduate School (PGS) Prepared me for a Lifetime of Professional Learning


We have the best chance of creating a sustainable impact when our work is personally meaningful and is an expression of our values. To reach this peak of self-actualization, work also needs to be safe, dignified and compensated with a living wage. While there is still much to be done to improve basic working conditions for people around the world, at PGS I learned to think in systems to address multiple layers of challenges simultaneously.

Presidio Graduate School focused my attention on purposeful impact.

The quest for a sustainable planet is inevitably a lifetime journey.

For decades of work to be personally sustainable, I need to know when to say YES and when to say NO. Just because I am capable, does not mean I have found work that lights me up or speaks to my unique set of talents. According to Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, exclusively doing work that we are proficient and capable of, is often what keeps us from moving into big, game-changing, and magic-making work. Because I continually ask myself “Why?” I am able to level up into work that is the fullest expression of my potential for impact.

Presidio Graduate School taught me to focus on the how.

At PGS we don’t just accumulate knowledge, we discover how to learn. In two years, I didn’t learn everything there is to know about sustainability, social justice, or reversing climate change. What I did learn, and what I consider infinitely more valuable, is a process for discovery. I learned to follow the data, fall in the love with the problem, and let go of individual solutions. With an adaptable process for discovery, I have the potential to learn anything.

An essential how is Collaboration.

Throughout my educational experience, I heard about the importance of teamwork was emphasized and thus, was assigned to numerous team projects.  Most team projects were frustrating and left me not wanting to work with a team ever again. PGS was the first time in sixteen years of education, that I was ever taught how to successfully work with other people. At PGS we focus on creating team agreements that communicate our strengths and triggers to others. We learn about leadership styles beyond “expert.” We are encouraged to test our team-building skills through student leadership, cultural practices like Circle, and in our professional lives outside of school.  Showing up as a curious team player to my Action Learning Project (ALP) internship is how I secured a full- time position post-graduation.

PGS prepared me to thrive in the real world by cultivating my commitment to learning and growing, both personally and professionally. Through Leadership and Personal Development (LPD), I learned how to change myself as a prerequisite to inspiring change in others. Because I am willing to not know and hold ambiguity, I am a powerful agent of change in any field I enter. 

To learn how I am applying these lessons in my new role as a design-thinking consultant, check out my blog post about my first month on the job with my new company, Navicet Strategic Design.