Throughout our time at Wabash for the Business Innovation Program (BIP), my peers and I were challenged in many aspects of the financial and business fields. While this information was informative and practical, perhaps even more applicable to everyday life was the information instructed and shared by former CIBE Fellow Alejandro Reyna ‘17. Throughout this seven-week program, Alejandro Reyna ’17 met with us weekly to discuss emotional intelligence (EQ).

Alejandro Reyna ’17 talks to the BIP about the importance of emotional intelligence and empathy in the workplace.

While the idea of emotional intelligence (EQ) may not seem very practical in anything business-related, Alejandro Reyna ’17 presented topics such as empathy and inclusion in the workplace, demonstrating the true importance of emotional intelligence in business operations and our everyday lives. We learned how empathetic and understanding those we work with are. For example, in the workplace, two sales representatives for two insurance firms didn’t meet their sales quota for the third consecutive month. The boss of one insurance firm speaks with his employee and gives him an ultimatum: if they don’t meet the sales quota, he will have no choice but to fire his employee. As a result, the sales representative had fear and grief from the threat of being fired. The sales representative of this firm then becomes hopeless. Then, the sales representative leaves the company to avoid further embarrassment.

However, the sales representative’s boss treats their employees like a human. The boss asks the employee not about work and numbers but rather about how his employee is doing. Having seen a drastically reduced sales production from his employees, his boss knows something personal must be going on. His boss treats him with compassion and empathy, showing how much he genuinely cares. Nevertheless, the sales representative of this firm becomes inspired and driven to make sales and deliver higher-quality results for the company.

Through understanding human emotions, Alejandro gave us tools to succeed not only in the business world but how to manage and maintain meaningful relationships with others. Lastly, I thank Cassie Hagan and Anthony Mendez ’20 for leading the BIP this summer!