Student Spotlight

Cabori loves learning, connecting others to Brandman

Diana Cabori

Diana Cabori earned a master's and a doctorate from Brandman, both emphasizing organizational leadership.

Diana Cabori spent nearly 30 years working as a health care account executive and political fundraiser. A lifelong learner, Cabori pursued her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership at Chapman University College, now Brandman University, while working full time and raising her five children. She shifted her focus from school counseling to organizational leadership in order to expand her opportunities during the recession and graduated in 2010.  When one of her professors urged her to consider working at Brandman, she began a new career in business development at the university.

Cabori enrolled at Brandman a second time to earn her Doctor of Education which she completed in 2018. She is the senior business developer for the School of Extended Education where she connects businesses with corporate training solutions for their workforce. She says she loves her job because no two days are alike and she loves being out in the field with people. Cabori takes great pride in helping adults achieve their educational dreams.

What advice would you give someone going back to school as an adult?

It’s scary to go back to school, especially as an adult. Finishing is more about fortitude than aptitude!  It took me three sessions before I found my groove and school became part of my new normal.  You need to be willing to be uncomfortable for a while and believe that the tassel is worth the hassle.

Who inspired you while attending Brandman?

Dr. Kathleen Bates, a former associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies inspired me to become a Socratic thinker and her “challenger” mentoring style elevated my research and writing throughout my master’s degree in organizational leadership and my final doctoral dissertation.

Did anything surprise you about Brandman University?

Diana CaboriI was surprised that I made so many lifelong friends in an adult learning environment.  Our family and friends love us, but our classmates and fellow cohort members are the only ones who understand the journey (and the only ones you can call/text at midnight to get an accurate answer about an assignment!), which forges a special bond.  I was also surprised that as an adult I felt so strongly about my alma mater; so much so that I have worked at Brandman University since 2012. (Cabori has also served as an adjunct porfessor).

What would you have done differently?

There are a few things I would have done differently.  First, I would have slowed down the insane pace I maintained during my master's degree program (two and three courses per session to finish in 16 months) so I could have enjoyed the process instead of rushing through it.  I would have also earned a certificate in instructional design and a certificate in project management between my master’s and my doctorate. More and more, instructional design and project management are skills being required and I wish I had the foresight to pursue those certificates.

What motivated you to go back to school?

I was motivated by several forces.  I am a lifelong learner, and I have always wanted a doctorate.  Additionally, I would like to teach at Brandman again and I knew I would need a doctorate to be a viable candidate.  I was also motivated by serving as a role model for my five adult children and my grandchildren, who are my biggest cheerleaders!

How did going back to school help you/your career?

Although aggregately the benefits of my degrees have been many, the most important benefits of going back to school center on increasing my metacognition and self-efficacy, which influences how I approach my goals, projects and challenges. Going back to school as an adult helped me connect on a deeper level with the students I recruited and allowed me to pay-it-forward. 

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