Nolan Nichols standing in front of class.
Nolan Nichols standing in front of class.

Longwood University’s College of Business and Economics seniors take MANG 497 Business Strategy as their capstone experience in CBE undergraduate education programs.  Business Strategy integrates the various functional areas of business in terms of policy level critical thinking.  The case-study approach in this course affords students the opportunity to synthesize knowledge and concepts learned throughout the degree program into a systematic decision-making process.  As such, students are expected to integrate concepts from previous business courses with the frameworks and tools offered in this capstone course.  Students bolster their confidence and consequent workforce readiness and Citizen Leadership potential through this integrated approach to solving business cases.

Currently, this course is being taught by Dr. Vincent Magnini, Professor of Management and Chair of the Department of Management and Marketing.  He recently asked guest speaker Nolan Nichols, founder of A Million Dreams, to lead a motivational, goal-setting workshop for his Business Strategy classes.  Nichols is actually a former student of Magnini’s from Virginia Tech.  Magnini invited him to Longwood to share his knowledge and insight, “Nolan does a great job illustrating to students the need to carefully prioritize both their personal and professional goals as they embark on their career paths.”

Nichols specializes in inspirational content and engaging activities through captivating storytelling, reflection, and meditation.  He began the workshop with a strong message, “This is your opportunity to lead at the intersection of personal and professional wellbeing.”  He invited students to self-reflect on their guiding principles, reconnect with dreams and values, realign priorities, and shift perspective to overcome challenges proactively.  He challenged them to, “zoom out and see the bigger picture.”  Nichols reminded students as they move into their careers that it is important to find ways to create more joy in their everyday lives and build moments of elevation into their day.  He encouraged, “Highlight the peaks instead of judging your everyday life on a minute by minute score.”

James Nelson, business administration major with a concentration in management, found the workshop to be very enjoyable.  His main takeaway from Nichols was, “related to embracing the journey and not just being focused on the destination.  It was my favorite portion of his speech.  He shared his journey, and the jobs he has worked that led him to where he is now.  A lot of my peers put a lot of pressure on themselves trying to find the perfect job right out of college.  Nolan helped remind us all that there is something to be said for embracing our unique journeys, and that it is okay to not know exactly what we want to do right now.  Our dreams and goals may change, but as long as we still have them that is what matters.”

During the workshop, Nichols asked students to take a two-minute break to practice mindfulness.  Nelson observed, “Everyone went silent and practiced taking deep breaths.  He wanted us to remember to breathe and practice good habits.  As a college athlete, I know what it's like to deal with a lot of stress.  Practicing to take a step back and breathe is a habit I have continued to try to develop.  For the rest of my life, no matter what job I am working, being able to be mindful and relax will always be useful.”

More information about A Million Dreams can be found here: or listen to A Million Dreams Podcast here: