Hi there!

My name is Briana Finelli, and I am a senior at Pace University's Pleasantville campus, majoring in Personality and Social Psychology with a minor in Marketing. 

I have approximately three years of professional marketing experience, including advanced digital marketing, web and graphic design, and social media analytics. I also enjoy running, dogs, reading, making lists, and taste-testing chocolate.

Take a look around and enjoy!


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Christopher Curanaj
29 December 2012, 0:33

Your ePortfolio looks fantastic! Good job!
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Recent journal entries

First Year Reflection

in Journal

And just like that, my first year of college is over.

I don't think I could have asked for a better first year. I was given so many opportunities that I'll be forever grateful for. Pace University taught me the importance of taking my future into my own hands, of never leaving my success up to anyone else.

I have huge plans for myself at Pace University. I want to be known, and I want my name to be synonymous with dedication and hard work. Just this year, I had my hand in ten different organizations and committees.

  1. Setters Leadership Program
  2. Dyson Society of Fellows
  3. Pace 4 Kids Dance Marathon
  4. SOAR 2017: Orientation Leader*
  5. Pace Decides Mock Election
  6. Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society
  7. Peer Leader*
  8. Pace University Cheerleading
  9. Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority
  10. Lambda Sigma National Honor Society

Items marked with an asterisk are positions that have not commenced as of yet, but I'll surely be reflecting on my experiences as soon as they do!

I'll admit, this past semester was difficult. It took a lot to keep myself on track and to manage my time and activities well, but I did it. I took my freshman year by the reigns and rode it out to what would be a relaxing summer if I had not gotten the position of Orientation Leader, but that will be a fantastic experience in and of itself, so there are no complaints here.

I have so many people to thank for my success in my first year, starting with Rachel Carpenter for being my first connection with Pace University and for standing with me every step of the way as far as my college career has gone so far. Dr. Susan Maxam has been an incredible influence on my success as well, always serving as my confidant and mentor in any situation. Caity Kirschbaum has succeeded in making me open my mind to all the possibilities my future holds, and for that, I can't thank her enough. She has been an inspiration for me as someone who has accomplished so much and is so driven by her interests and passions. Finally, Allyson King has guided me so much through this year, especially considering I began as an "exploring" major at the university. She assured me that there was nothing wrong with not knowing my major, but she helped me decide on one and helped me through every tedious moment of planning my schedules and managing my time to ensure I always stayed on track.

I plan to do so much more with my career at Pace University, and I'm excited to see what my future has in store for me. This year flew by, and I know that the next three will pass me by just as quickly, and it's up to me to make them worth it.

Communication in Leadership

in Setters Leadership Program Journal

Communication is one of the most crucial elements in leadership, as well as anywhere else. To me, effectively communicating means being able to actively listen to others and hold healthy conversation and debate in order to comprehend, understand, and implement or discard ideas or thoughts only after you have collected all necessary information. It also means being able to effectively vocalize one’s emotions, ideas, thoughts, or concerns without provoking controversy or being aggressive, but while maintaining confidence and the willingness to engage in conversation afterwards. It is important to recognize the importance of communication when it comes to groups because the only way others will understand how others feel, or what ideas they may have, is if that individual vocalizes this. Additionally, respect can only be gained in a group through listening and showing regard for the opinions of the group.

Empowerment, listening, persuasion, inspiration, and honesty are all terms that I would relate to communication in regard to leadership. It is imperative that all leaders empower members of the group to speak up, but it is also conversely important to empower the other members—the ones that always actively participate—to listen. Though all opinions are equally important, it is crucial that each member learns what it means to communicate respectfully, especially when in a group setting. Those who do not actively participate should always be empowered within the group in order to promote a community of effective communication, and those who do not practice active listening should be persuaded to respond to others’ comments and ideas rather than always asserting him or herself. Persuasion comes into play as a leader because some ideas may work better than others. Sometimes, even after healthy debate and conversation, some ideas may still not appeal to the entire group, which is when this element of leadership comes into play. Knowing how to persuade a group respectfully with simple facts (e.g., “This idea would work better because a, b, and c.”) rather than with attacks on another’s ideas is a key characteristic of a leader. It is about learning how to assess a situation and recognize the best decision for the group as a whole, even if a personal bias exists. A leader must always maintain an unbiased opinion and keep the advantage of the group in mind. Having the ability to inspire others is not a skill that all individuals possess, but effective communication can be a leading point to inspiration, and it is something that all leaders should aspire to possess. Being honest in a group setting is also especially important, especially when it comes to having too much to handle as far as responsibilities are concerned. Always being respectful of the group is crucial because the group is a unit of which you are a member. Every action causes a reaction in a group setting, and understanding this is the first step to effective communication within the group.

Effective communication is a skill that can always be strengthened. I, for one, was not a very active listener before the start of the Setters Leadership Program, thus making me an ineffective communicator. Once I understood that listening and speaking go hand-in-hand when it comes to communication, I instantly began working on my listening skills. This meant thinking before I responded to someone’s thoughts by remembering that it does not always have to be about my thoughts, but perhaps my reaction to someone else’s. It was difficult for me to take myself out of the center of these conversations, but I have become a more effective communicator, and therefore a greater leader, through sharpening these skills. It takes willingness to compromise and the knowledge of communication skills, and almost anyone can work to possess this skill.

Effective communication will always have the utmost importance in a group setting, specifically when it comes to the Tier 2 project. The group has designated forms of communication for the group, both formally and casually. For formal updates and relaying information, the group utilizes email; to communicate to the group informally, we have created a Facebook page. There is also a clause in our group project guidelines that has made it mandatory for all members to participate in group conversations and decisions to be sure that all members have equal say, and that the project truly is the product of the entire group and not just a select few. We have already established the importance of conflict, and although some communication may cause controversy to arise, we have all agreed that some conflict is better than none, thus motivating individuals to participate regardless of what they believe the outcome may be. Communication is also crucial when it comes to responsibilities and attendance. If a group member is unable to complete a task or attend a meeting, he or she must communicate this to the group so that a solution can be provided or so it may reschedule or improvise without this group member.

Building effective communication requires being an effective communicator. Serving as a model of effective communication in regard to leadership will promote healthy communication within the group. Establishing guidelines as I have done as far as the group project has thus far proved to be an effective, yet simple strategy that I can most likely implement in almost any situation. It just requires respectfully setting sensible ground rules for the group to follow that will promote continued communication efforts and will also support the fullest success of the group.

Team Science

in Setters Leadership Program Journal

In a leadership sense of the term, team science simply means working well with others. It is about learning the dynamic of your group and how you fit, then breaking responsibilities and positions down, almost to a science. People are going to have different personalities, thus reacting to others in varying ways, just like different elements in chemistry. Discovering how each “element” of the group “bonds” is important to understanding the group dynamic. This is the only way to be sure that the group is working to its fullest potential and will reach the highest level of success.

Empowerment, teaching, honesty, communication, appreciation of others, and inspiration are all terms I would relate to team science. A sense of empowerment is important in any group setting, especially when it comes to empowering individuals for what they bring to the table on the singular level, and how it is beneficial on the group level. Teams will only be successful if there is mutual strength empowerment. This goes hand-in-hand with the appreciation of others: motivating the group to use its diverse strengths proactively requires a great deal of appreciation and empowerment. Rejecting a member of the group means rejecting the group as a unit. It is important to recognize each individual’s strengths and work to be sure that they are utilized. Some strengths may be more difficult to recognize because they may not coincide with other strengths present in the group, which is where teaching comes into play. When one person has an idea, he or she should not be afraid to vocalize it simply because the others may not understand. A little education can go a long way, and it is important to realize that an individual’s original rejection of an idea or thought could simply be due to ignorance. This is where honesty and communication also come into play. Maintaining a high level of active participation and communication is important in any group setting, but especially when it comes to establishing a team dynamic. Being honest about strengths and weaknesses, as well as the amount of information one has on a certain issue or topic is crucial in a group setting because if each member does not have the same amount of information on said issue or topic, a real conclusion can never be reached—assumptions will be made, incorrect judgments will be asserted, and conflict will most likely arise. Inspiring others to embrace their differences and learn to see just how they fit in with the group is one of the first steps to having a successful group.

Team science is a typically easy concept to grasp, but understanding how to establish and comprehend a group dynamic and actually working well within the group are two different things. It takes a certain level of patience to be able to assess others’ strengths and weaknesses and adapt to this specific group setting in order to “bond” with the group and help it to be successful.

This Tier 2 project requires a great deal of team science, especially since we plan to work with each member’s strengths, as well as his or her weaknesses. We are at an advantage, however, because our group dynamic is apparent from our previous dealings with each other. We are already comfortable and aware of each other’s strengths, but actually coming together to put together this large-scale project will require communication and patience, and since some strengths coincide, it might also require some sacrifice on some member’s ends. Leadership, however, is about compromise just as much as it is about delegation. Leadership is a balancing act, and it is through experiences like these that we will grow and progress individually, and how our entire cohort will excel.

Building team science can start with a simple conversation about strengths and weaknesses. When given a project or assignment, it is important to voice where your strengths in this particular arena lie. For example, when I work in groups, I tend to assert that I have polished researching skills, that I am organized, goal-oriented, and efficient. I also assert that I am not artistic or creative, nor do I enjoy bringing up the end of a public speaking piece, if this applies, but that I am willing to do any work that others are not. This puts me in a position where the group understands where I would best fall in terms of the project, and it also starts a conversation among the group where some will agree with my own description and others will provide their own. Within the first meeting, my groups usually come to a consensus on responsibility, and I always ensure that each member is happy with his or her position because I feel that this promotes the healthiest working environment and will motivate the individual to work to his or her fullest potential, especially because he or she is doing what he or she enjoys.

Conflict Management

in Setters Leadership Program Journal

Conflict management means possessing the ability to view conflict constructively, and to keep it maintained to promote conversation. It also means being able to recognize when a conflict has gone too far, and knowing how to assess and diffuse the situation by providing solutions and taking an active leadership role in the group. Conflict will always arise, and it is up to real leaders to turn it into something that can benefit the group.

Trust, encouragement, appreciation of others, and communication are all terms I would relate to conflict management. Trusting that conflict can be beneficial may be difficult, but realizing its constructive and advantageous nature can assist any leader in promoting healthy conversation and debate in a group. Encouraging others to voice contradictory views is one way of promoting this sense of healthy conversation. Though conflict may arise out of these converse viewpoints, hosting a healthy debate can help both sides to see the pros and cons of each argument, thus allowing the group to come to an educated decision that benefits everyone. Appreciating that each person has a different way of thinking and therefore has a great deal to contribute to the conversation is a crucial element of conflict management. Even as a leader, you will have your own views and beliefs. Being impartial and unbiased when it comes to taking this role takes a lot of strength, but having this sense of appreciation for others makes the task less painless, and accentuates how crucial controversy with civility can be. Communication will always be key in a group setting, and when it comes to conflict management, it is important that everyone in the group practices both sides of communication—which means listening and having a voice, as well—in order to promote the greatest sense of communication among the group.

Sometimes, conflict management can be a skill that is hard to learn because it requires a great deal of patience and clarity, as well as positive thinking. Not all individuals possess strength in this arena, but each person can learn to strengthen this skill. Recognizing conflict is only the first step. Being able to start a conversation among the group and keep the conflict contained and use it beneficially is the next, and this requires being patient as well as assertive—not being afraid to take this leadership role because it is working for the benefit of the entire group.

For the Tier 2 project, all members of the group are expected to actively participate and have a voice in the decisions made. It has been stressed that no one individual can simply sit back and take orders to avoid conflict, especially since we all know the importance of conflict and seizing its benefits. To avoid conflict or providing the group with a new idea is to deprive the group of an opportunity to have a conversation, grow, and progress, and so we established that each member must have an active voice in the conversation and process as a whole.

When dealing with others in conflict, I tend to be more aware of the situation and how to better handle it. Real conflict arises when others see my contentedness as a lack of concern for the situation, so it is my responsibility to help them understand my point of view while asserting my understanding of their own. This approach does not always work with others who are not skilled with conflict management, but I know that I handle these situations in the healthiest way possible, and I try my best to turn any conflict into a constructive conversation for both parties.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

in Setters Leadership Program Journal

To me, emotional intelligence means being aware of how I think and act, as well as having the ability to deal with others based on how I perceive their own emotions, and how ours work together to create a reaction. Being aware of my own emotions and how I deal with stress and others is the first step, and then emotional intelligence becomes about the environment and those around me, and how I easily and accurately I am able to assess others’ emotions and react to them with my own based on my emotional experiences.

Listening, trust, appreciation of others, communication, influence, and shared vision are all terms that most relate t o emotional intelligence. Having the ability to hear what others are saying is quite different from actually listening to them and processing these words in order to translate them into emotions—e.g., how this person is really feeling. Trusting other is also crucial because it is simple to assume the worst of others, but it is the leader’s path to be proactive rather than to react negatively to situations. This causes tension and stress within the group, and although this can sometimes be constructive, perhaps trusting another’s instinct or thoughts and trying to understand them can be more constructive than automatically becoming argumentative. This concept goes hand-in-hand with appreciating others for what they have to offer the group. Each person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. A true leader is able to admit that he or she is not the best at every single task and sees the crucial nature of incorporating others’ ideas and thoughts in order to broaden his or her own perspective and output a more well-rounded product. Communication is key in any group setting because practicing learning how to speak—yes, there is a proper way to have a voice, too—and actively listen in a group is of the utmost importance. When there is mutual understanding among a group, there is no room for argumentation or confusion. It is also crucial for others to understand the influence they can have on other individuals, as well as the group as a whole. One comment can cause any number of effects, so it is important to assess the overall emotions of the group in order to only make appropriate comments, and to only positively influence the group to succeed. Promoting a sense of shared vision among the group can also motivate its members to have an easier time as far as emotional intelligence is concerned. Once everyone understands that each individual is working for the benefit of one cause, it is less likely that these individuals will think otherwise. Perhaps establishing this shared vision will help others to broaden their own perspectives on the matter, which can only add to the group’s progression.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that can always be strengthened simply by becoming more emotionally aware. Recognizing how I respond to certain stressors or situations contributes to my personal emotional intelligence. Learning how to change these ways in order to make myself more productive is the next step, and further learning how utilize these new skills in my various environments is the process of emotional intelligence. Every person has emotional intelligence to some degree—it is simply about wanting to become more aware and learn how to positively influence the environment.

Just as emotional intelligence can be positively influential, a lack of this intelligence can be extremely influential in the opposite direction. Those who lack communication and active listening skills can often see themselves being the primary reason for stress and argumentation in a group setting. Recognizing that perhaps someone is simply shy or nervous can make all the difference as opposed to automatically asserting that this person is lazy or disinterested simply because he or she has not given input thus far. Learning how to deal with others and their emotions is key, and not having this skill often leads to misguided judgments and can negatively influence the success of a group, serving as a severe hindrance to the group’s progression.

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