Today I met with Denyse Antunes, FVI President, at her office in the Miami campus. We sat down to talk about life at FVI, the student life, and the new Miramar campus. Her office is vibrant and colorful, her door is always open and she is always smiling while spreading words of wisdom. Meeting with someone with such an outstanding career and a devotion towards first-class education is always a real pleasure.
Please tell us about what you do here at Florida Vocational Institute
I have been with FVI for almost three years. I run school operations and ensure that academic excellence occurs and that we fulfill our mission – helping students achieve success.
For future students who are wondering, please tell us what is like to be a student at Florida Vocational Institute?
I think we’re blessed to have really caring and dedicated faculty that take on the responsibility of mentoring our students and preparing them for a career in Allied Health or in Technology. They create a warm and welcoming environment that helps to mentor them, teach them and develop them into the professionals they want to be.
So, will it be fair to say that the students at FVI are happy?
If you look at our website and social media channels you’ll see events that we have on campus like student appreciation day events, “Pharmacy White Coat Day” or any opportunity they have to share their new skills with their classmates. I always see joy and I see them building their confidence and their readiness to go out and start their career.
If you were to give a new or current student, or even a graduate your best career advice, what would that be?
I always tell students that come to orientation day that there are four key elements to success, and they can be applied to a career or their own personal success. Those four things I always share are:
Communication. If you can enhance and improve your communication (both written and body language) and how we share and express ourselves in a constructive manner it would lead to success. I think communication is extremely important. Being bilingual a strength but an ability to communicate effectively is what will lead to success.
The next thing is Attitude. I usually ask students if there’s anybody who has an attitude where everything coming out of their mouths is negative. How does that make you feel? So making sure that on our journey to becoming the professionals we want to be or changing to the new career they are always checking themselves and asking do I have the right attitude? Am I looking at this in a positive way or a negative way? Positive energy attracts positive energy and negative energy attracts negative energy. How do you feel when you’re around somebody positive and has a can-do attitude versus when you are around someone who is only looking at the negative aspects of things? Attitude is really important!
Skills. There are soft skills and technical skills, and here we focus on teaching students and how can we improve and enhance those skills. They should be constantly working on improving their skills. It’s not the grade on their transcript, it’s whether they can perform that particular task in a confident manner. Working on our skills leads to success.
The last thing is Habits. We must be willing to look at the habits that might prevent us from being successful and the habits are going to help accelerate our success. We come in as adults and we have habits that we’ve learned along the way. Some of them are good habits and I want to foster those. The habits that might have prevented me in the past to be successful I want to work on getting rid of. We usually talk about what habits lead to success.
I think that if someone is always looking at communication, attitude, skills, and habits will have success in life both personally and professionally.
Tell me about the Miramar Campus
We are really excited that we’ve expanded to the Broward market by opening up a 29000 square foot facility in Miramar. We will take the programs that have been so successful in Miami and be able to serve the Northern Miami Dade area as well as Broward County. We’re also going to add new programs in that facility as we have plenty of space to grow. I am excited about taking what we have here in providing support and success to students and replicating that in the Miramar Campus.