Adriana Fazzano Ficano

M.P.A. '15

Adriana Fazzano Ficano cap and gown photo

When speaking with Adriana Fazzano Ficano, M.P.A. '15, it's impossible to ignore the understated confidence with which she carries herself. An energetic go-getter who was named by the South Florida Business Journal as a 2017 "40 Under 40", Adriana has clearly mapped out a successful career path for herself.

While working as Assistant to the President at Broward College, Adriana understood she would need a master's degree if she wanted to continue to advance her career.

"Broward College is a public institution of higher education, so an M.P.A. made perfect sense," she explains. "I knew I needed to have a better understanding of how government worked."

Because of her demanding job, Adriana wanted an accelerated program that would help her navigate the intricate and complicated system of government policies and procedures. She chose Nova Southeastern University.

"After shopping around looking at different institutions, I decided upon NSU because it provided the fastest and most efficient path to a master's degree. Also, since Broward College offers an outstanding tuition reimbursement program for employees, it was cost effective enough for me to make it work," she says. "What I really liked about NSU's M.P.A. program was that it was tailored for the needs of a working professional. I felt that the schedule helped me not only thrive as a student, but excel as a professional."

Adriana reaped the benefits of her new degree immediately after completing the program. "My wonderful boss President Armstrong surprised me with a promotion to Chief of Staff the day that I graduated," she says with pride. "As chief of Staff, I'm directly responsible for the administrative function of the Office to the President. I also oversee community and corporate relations, and accordingly, I have the distinct honor of representing the College in the business community. I serve as a board member of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Ambassador's Cabinet of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance."

As her position involves working closely with senior executive administration, Adriana appreciated one course in particular – Leadership in the Public Sector – which she realized would provide life-long benefits.

"The leadership course co-taught by Dr. Hanbury and Dr. Jennifer O'Flannery Anderson inspired me. It helped me understand how important it is to understand the leaders that you work with on a daily basis and their leadership styles," she says. "It was so helpful because you can't successfully collaborate with anyone unless you understand their style and their approach to management."

Although juggling a full time job and enrolling in a graduate program is challenging and may seem overwhelming, Adriana offered encouraging words to those who work in the public sector and want to grow professionally.

"If you are a public servant in a leadership capacity at any type of government entity, this is the program for you. Pursuing an M.P.A. is a great way to broaden your understanding of the public sector," she says. "I had a fantastic experience being a student at NSU, and I would love to pursue my doctorate one day. I can't say enough about the professors, they were very outstanding, accessible, and inspirational. The program will definitely expand your horizons."