Regatta: a lesson in teamwork

Teamwork. Trust. Motivation. Leadership.

“There’s a lesson to be gained from everything,” explained Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, clinical assistant professor of business law and management, as she watches a video from the IUPUI Regatta, the annual canoe race on the downtown canal.

“The best part is seeing my students doing something fun that has a lot to do with what I teach in I-Core at Kelley – team dynamics. It’s fun to see people working together as a team,” said Westerhaus-Renfrow.

“What I like about team dynamics is: How do you work together as a team? This is a team; this is not a group. A group is made up of individuals who happen to be put together. A team works together to meet objectives,” explained Westerhaus-Renfrow. “Whether it’s Regatta or a team of professionals, they bring all of their best – and some things to work on – and support each other to get the best out of each other.”

Clinical Assistant Professor Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow explains the importance of teamwork as it relates to Regatta.

A strong team

“Communicate, communicate, communicate,” said Westerhaus-Renfrow. “You’re excited to be at Regatta, but communicate exactly what you want to accomplish.

“You also need to know what motivates you. Whatever your goal is; everyone in that small boat needs to be on board,” she said. “You also need to have a strong sense of belonging to the overall team. To have a strong team, you need open communication, a strong sense of belonging, innovation, and creativity. You need to know how to celebrate and how to share – how do you meet your objective?

“I can tell which Regatta teams are going to do well – they have a goal. They know who will be in the back of the boat, in the front of the boat. The individuals in Regatta who will do the best know what they’re strong at," explained Westerhaus-Renfrow.

Overcoming challenges

It’s also a lesson in overcoming challenges – whether that’s in the water or in life.

“You have to handle challenges collectively,” explained Westerhaus-Renfrow.

We have to do everything we can to not only teach our students how to be persistent, but also to teach them how to be resilient.

Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, clinical assistant professor of business law and management

“If you are going to fall in the water, get back in that boat, be resilient, and finish the race. There will be another race. Those are the types of students our employers want. Individuals who have known setbacks and challenges and who have the tenacity to bounce back. They’ll finish that race. They may not be first; they may not be second, but they know how to come back. Those comebacks are set-ups for success.

“Things happen – in that boat and in life. You have to focus on how to pick up each other, get back in the boat, and keep going.”