Introducing Perfectly Polished
By Emily Gayle
On a warm February evening, as ambassadors of the University of Georgia, College of Agriculture, students from all backgrounds gathered outside of Connor Hall to learn about proper business etiquette and professional development from Perfectly Polished. The program instructors, Debra Lassiter and April McLean, exposed the students to proper methods of introduction. The two women have been teaching the student ambassadors for eight sessions, but have also taught throughout the University of Georgia system and various primary and secondary schools in the state of Georgia for many years.
Over the last several sessions, the student ambassadors have universally agreed that the “livelihood and energy” of Debra and April are what make them love the program so much and keep returning. As Pam Cummins – the program director of the College of Agriculture Ambassadors – recounted, “I have worked with and used the services of several other etiquette and professional development programs, but none of them have provided the engagement and leadership that Debra and April have brought to the table.”
Many of the student ambassadors share that sentiment as they reflected on their past experiences with similar programs. One student said that he enjoyed coming to ambassador events that Perfectly Polished hosts because it reminds him of all the manners, customs, and proper training that he learned when he was younger. Other students concurred as they found that the lessons were a nice reminder of how to act in mature settings.
As representatives of their college, these students interact with alumni and sponsors on a consistent basis, so they need to learn or be reminded of the proper behaviors and attitudes of professional composure. Due to the way in which Debra and April present, students have said that they are more likely to remember what they have learned because their instructors are “interactive and lively,” which is “especially important after a long day of class.” Their “ecstatic smiles” and positive attitudes help the students stay focused and engaged in the material.
Even the seemingly hardest things to do, such as remembering someone’s name and being mindful of one’s posture when speaking to others, have come so easily to the students after just one class. The two women are “organized” and provide their classes with examples of when the information could be applied. Students have realized these interactions in real time.
During instruction the students are asked to reflect on when they would have used the lessons in their recent lives, and what interactions could look like in the future. “I have been complimented on my handshake and proper introductions because of what I learned from Perfectly Polished,” recalls a student who interacted with a state legislator. Many other students shared similar stories and were excited to realize the application of their lessons.
Debra and April have worked tirelessly to provide unforgettable learning experiences for all of their students. From elementary to collegiate levels of education, the two women have provided 35 years of energetic and animated learning. As exemplified by the remarks of the student ambassadors, the spirit and readiness of the two instructors are only two aspects of the renowned qualifications of Perfectly Polished. The experiences the students have had and the life-skills they have learned along the way are what make the program the best in the business.