Dina Piepoli Udomsak '04 Honored as Northeast Woman

Published on Wed, July 29, 2009

With her background in communications and the performing arts, Dina Piepoli Udomsak would, at first, seem a rather unlikely choice to be working in a university’s business school. But those skill sets are more intertwined than people think, she said. “It does seem like I’m a square peg in a round hole,” said the effervescent East Mountain resident with a chuckle. “But they complement each other.” Since 2007, Ms. Udomsak has been the coordinator of personal and professional development for Wilkes University’s Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership, a job that allows her to take her grasp of the creative arts and emotional intelligence and relate it to leadership and mentoring in the business world. Emotional intelligence is a rather new field of study that has to do with one’s ability to recognize and regulate the emotions in themselves and others. Such understanding comes in handy in both life and the workplace, Ms. Udomsak said. Emotional intelligence “It doesn’t matter if you’re a car salesman, a janitor or a doctor, everyone can use emotional intelligence,” Ms. Udomsak said. “Emotional intelligence goes across the curriculum of life.” Ms. Udomsak, 34, uses it every day in her many capacities at Wilkes, from teaching personal and professional development courses to freshman business students to coordinating all of the personal and professional development seminars for underclassmen to helping the freshmen start and run their own business ventures. “They get to experience all the triumph and stress that comes with running your own business,” said Ms. Udomsak of the latter, noting each student also has to come up with a community service angle for his or her project. She also coordinates public speaking and customer service workshops and business etiquette dinners and oversees Dramatic Success, a program that teaches students how to incorporate the tools of an actor into the business world. “Actors, like salesmen, need to sell themselves, need to use their voice, body language and their presence to deliver a message and inspire others to action,” she said. “It’s easy and fun to draw out characters from the stage and film to illustrate the application of emotional intelligence competencies that we teach in the program. “It showcases the idea of what understanding others means.” In addition, Ms. Udomsak runs the Web sites for several Wilkes clubs and programs and is a member of the university’s Mentoring Task Force and the Outstanding Leaders Forum planning committee, which has brought a variety of distinguished speakers to the area in recent years, including Madeline Albright, Rudy Guiliani and Colin Powell. She also created and runs the college’s BLOOM (Business and Leadership Open and Ongoing Mentoring) program for undergraduate female business students, who are far outnumbered by males in the Sidhu School. The program provides a forum for upperclassmen female business students to mentor the incoming freshmen about the challenges and obstacles of being a woman in the business world. Mentoring is important “Once a month, we get together and share all of our trials and triumphs, in school and just in life in general,” she said. “Mentoring is such a key component for women in any field.” Ms. Udomsak took a somewhat circuitous route to her current position. After graduating from Bishop Hannan High School, the North Scranton native got her bachelor’s degree in media communications and technology from East Stroudsburg University. She got the acting bug there, and spent the summer after graduation studying theater at Oxford University in England. From there, she worked as a graphic artist at The Times-Tribune, then got a job at a call center, where she “learned everything I wanted to know about how to treat people.” It was around that time that she became interested in emotional intelligence and, eventually, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in communication arts at Marywood University. “It was a great time for growth in my life,” she said. Away from her job, Ms. Udomsak has sat on the board of the NEPA Society of Human Resources Management, and she regularly contributes articles to Diva Toolbox, a women’s entrepreneur Web site. She continues to act, having appeared in a number of productions over the years at Actors Circle and the Electric Theatre Company, where she recently took classes with its Griffin Conservatory. “The connection with the audience is just exhilarating,” she said. “To breathe life into a character someone else created ... you’re literally walking in someone else’s shoes. It’s very cathartic.” And very emotionally gratifying.

Scranton Times writer: jmcauliffe@timesshamrock.com



At home: Resides in the East Mountain section of Scranton with her husband, Patrick. She is the daughter of Peter and Denise Piepoli, North Scranton, and has a brother, Daniel.

At work: Coordinator of personal and professional development for Wilkes University's Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership.

Inspiration: Her husband. "He's so full of grace and humor."

Aspiration: "To continue to effect positive change in others."

Diversions: Theater, cooking, baking, entertaining for friends and family Aversion:

Mediocrity Quote: "Who you become is infinitely more important than what you do, or what you have." - Matthew Kelly

Source: SC_TIMES_TRIB Sunday,June 28, 2009

Edition: PEOPLE, Section: F, Page 3