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Thought Leadership

Dr. Maria Manautou Learns the Power of Professional Presence

Dr. Maria Manautou is a dentist in Detroit with almost 25 years of experience. She previously taught University of Michigan dental students as an adjunct professor. While in Florida, a billboard for a leadership program reading “leaders can be made” caught her eye and made her curious to explore her own leadership abilities. She began to research programs and chose UNC Executive Development’s The Power of Professional Presence after reading about the expertise of our faculty, particularly Dr. Heidi Schultz.

“I left very uplifted, energetic, enthusiastic, and mentored up for life,” she says of her experience in the program. “I was encouraged to look at the best in people, connect and engage in meaningful ways, and that was fantastic. That was a point Heidi emphasized. I just can’t stop talking about my experience in the program. I just never imagined how well orchestrated it would be. Truly, a well-executed world class program.”

One of the highlights of the program for Manautou was the mix of expertise in the room and the value their outside views brought to the table. “We had a range of professionals, from engineers to surgeons to researches in pharmacology to accountants to fundraisers. We received feedback from them, and that was very valuable to me because I usually only hear feedback from within my field. There was an assignment to create a work-related PowerPoint presentation. I thought mine was pretty good, but then I learned that there were things I needed to incorporate to make it better. Having feedback from my peers helped me polish and strengthen the presentation.”

Manautou fully invested herself in the three-day program, and recommends anyone considering enrolling in The Power of Professional Presence do the same. Since returning to her dental practice, she has implemented her learnings and continues to recognize how her personal presence influences her patients, colleagues and greater community.

“The program is packed with relevant and invigorating information,” she says. “You have to dive into it. That is critical so you can take away the most value. The quality of the teaching I received made the program one of the best investments for me in terms of my personal development. I left with a true understanding of the power of my professional presence. It is powerful and transformative to identify what’s holding you back from meeting your goals.”