Maximizing Strategic Performance through Cultural Competency

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This interactive 4-week workshop series for professionals, led by two certified instructors, aims to provide tools for greater self-awareness and practical knowledge to increase intercultural sensitivity and effective communication in the workplace. The small group workshops will be conducted online, involving a combination of live presentations, discussions, and interactive activities. All participants will be provided with an online, personal assessment — the Cultural Orientations Indicator® (COI) — and will have access to an array of professional development materials.
At the end of the workshop series, participants will be able to:

  • define the concept of culture and understand its levels and dimensions
  • understand and apply learnings from the Cultural Orientations Indicator® (COI) and the Cultural Navigator® to work situations
  • reflect more structurally and critically on past and current intercultural workplace experiences
  • use tools and strategies provided to reduce intercultural conflict and misunderstanding

All participants will gain access to the Cultural Navigator® site, including assessment results, country reports, and additional learning activities, for one year.
In order to complete the workshop and obtain the certificate, participants will be required to participate in live discussions and complete homework as assigned. Attendance is mandatory for all sessions.

Program Features

  • Qualification Certification of Completion
  • Recognition Global
  • Provider Chicago Institute of Business
  • Prerequisites None
  • Study Mode Live, interactive sessions with two instructors (synchronous)
  • Location Online
  • Program Dates Saturdays from 9:30-11:30 am CST, January 15- February 5
  • Upcoming Program Dates Tuesdays from 6:00-7:00 pm CST, February 24 - March 17
  • Course Time Commitment 8 synchronous hours + approximately 30 min. per week for assignments

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The trainers also offer customized workshops for individuals, teams and other groups, depending on their interest and need. Fill out this brief form to contact the trainers.

4-week workshop:

Session 1: Introduction to Culture, Cultural Orientations Approach, and Strategic Performance Framework: Cultural Perspective, Cultural Skills, Strategic Results

Session 2: Interaction Style: Cultural orientations that impact how we communicate and engage — the way we connect and approach relationships

Session 3: Thinking Style: Cultural orientations that impact how we process information — the way we think, perceive, remember, and relate to information

Session 4: Sense of Self: Cultural orientations that impact how we see and experience our “self” — our identity and core motivation

Jennifer Gerrard Instructor



Jennifer Gerrard is a leader in the area of international education. She has held a variety of roles at different universities, including Northwestern University, New York University Abu Dhabi, University of California, Santa Cruz, and DePaul University. Additionally, she has served the non-profit organizations Public Allies and AMIDEAST. Her career has led to two expatriate roles, in Cairo, Egypt and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Jennifer has a proven track record in international collaboration, running the international network for the Kellogg School of Management’s Executive MBA program, with locations in Canada, Israel, Germany, Hong Kong, and China. In her current role at Northwestern University, Jennifer oversees the formalization of international partnerships across the university and facilitates professional development for staff in the area of intercultural competence. Jennifer completed her BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies at DePaul University and her MA at the University of Chicago in Social Sciences.

Janka Pieper Instructor



Janka Pieper was born and raised in Germany and came to the United States as a student in college. During her time as an undergraduate at Illinois State University, she worked as an international assistant helping international students navigate the university system and adjust to living in a new culture and society. She is an expert in intercultural communication, international public relations and global marketing, and has traveled extensively around the world. In her current role, Janka tells Northwestern's international story and develops communication plans for global initiatives and internationalization efforts. She has written extensively about projects and partnerships with universities in Germany, France, Serbia, China, South Africa, Cuba and Mexico. Janka is also a Board Member of the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center in Chicago.

Janka received her BA in Mass Communication and her MA in Communication with a focus on international public relations and intercultural communication from Illinois State University.

Jennifer Gerrard and Janka Pieper are certified in the following programs:

Cultural OrientationsApproach Academic Certified Practitioner

Certification Authority: TMC | A Berlitz Company

Global Competence and GCAA Certified Practitioner

Certification Authority: GCA: Global Competence & GCAA Certification