Emerging Leaders Develops Next Wave of Transformational Leaders

The Emerging Leaders Training Program is not what people expect it to be when they first step through the door, said Susan Geear, vice president of innovative leadership and education at DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute. “Participants come in with expectations of what ‘professional development’ looks like,” said Geear. “Yet this is a transformational leadership program.”

Emerging Leaders was conceived about two and a half years ago when the team at DDJ Myers saw a trend in the credit union marketplace. “We provide a lot of succession planning to our clients,” said Geear. “We saw a lot of senior leadership approaching and stepping into retirement, and we realized that there was an opportunity to accelerate the next wave of leadership.” They teamed up with the NWCUA to create a program that combined transformational leadership practices with deep knowledge of the credit union world.

The 2015 Emerging Leaders Training Program takes place throughout the Spring and Summer of this year, including nine days of face-to-face training (split into three three-day segments) and consistent coaching and mentoring throughout. Skills that participants enhance include:

  • Transformative Change: Learn the theory of transformative change and its practical application within an organization.
  • Strategic Leadership Development: Discover the importance of taking effective action in planned and unplanned change.
  • Executive Presence: Develop practices to be more open and connected by cultivating the right attitude, language, and mood.
  • Applied Executive Communication: Unlock the potential of language and listening, with a unique appreciation of the complexities of communication and diverse perspectives.
  • Social Responsibility: Explore the social responsibility of “People Helping People.”

Building Leadership Through Practice

At its core, said Geear, the program is about increasing awareness, starting with awareness of self. “Participants become more aware of who they are as individuals and as leaders,” she said. “They identify within themselves a commitment or declaration of what kind of leaders they want to be in the world.” Building on this understanding, they also learn to be more aware of the people around them, of how they operate, so that they can be more effective working together with them and driving change.

The program is both intensive and experiential, said Geear. “When we teach the same models and tools within organizations, this work usually happens over a couple of years. With Emerging Leaders we do it in six months.”

She said that Emerging Leaders participants are required to come into the program with a project to benefit their credit unions. “We know that real and sustainable change takes time and support,” said Geear, “and it takes a practice. We provide as many opportunities as we can for participants to practice what they’re learning — in the classroom, through coaching and by working on their project. We call this approach ‘theory into action.’”

Strategic Link, the NWCUA subsidiary that matches credit unions with trusted vendors, is sponsoring an Emerging Leaders Scholarship Contest that will award one candidate with full tuition for the program. Nominations are open through February 4, and nominees produce a short video showing why they should be selected for the scholarship.

The Emerging Impact of Emerging Leaders

Geear said that she is excited for the 2015 program to begin. “Every year I look forward to being witness to the transformation that occurs within the participants. It’s a privilege and an honor,” she said. With this being the third Emerging Leaders class, Geear also said that she is excited about the network effects. Alumni are recommending and encouraging their friends and colleagues to attend. Participants and alumni have greater opportunity to support each other. And with so many participants at different credit unions, said Geear, “it’s exciting to know that we’re having an impact on the industry in the Northwest.”

To credit union managers and decision makers, Geear reminds them that DDJ Myers has long, deep history working in the credit union industry. “We understand the needs for leadership development in the industry,” she said, “this program was designed around those needs. If they’re committed to developing the future leaders of their organization, this is the program for their team.”

To individuals interested in participating, Geear says that if they have desire and aspiration to contribute in a different, more powerful way, they should seriously consider this program. “If they are ready to develop themselves,” she said, “themselves being the key word, and if they are up for a real challenge, then they will get as much out of Emerging Leaders as they put in.”

Learn more and register at the Emerging Leaders Training Program website, and if you have questions, contact Brandi Gleason at 206.340.4811 or bgleason@nwcua.org.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events.