Leadership Q&A: Want to Make the Move Into CU Leadership? Try Emerging Leaders

Anthem talked to Susan Geear, SC, VP of Innovative Leadership and Education with DDJ Myers about the program, which is open for registration now. There is also a contest sponsored by Strategic Link. Find out how to enter and win a full scholarship and advance your career!

Anthem: What’s the elevator pitch for Emerging Leaders? What is the program?

DDJ Myers VP of Innovative Leadership and Education Susan Geear

DDJ: The Emerging Leader Program (ELP) is an award-winning transformational leadership course, equipping aspiring leaders with the tools, skills, and resources to become strategic players in their organizations. This six-month intensive leadership program, which includes nine days of face to face training, executive coaching, and a learning community, is centered on framing, articulating, and executing a project that will forward their respective organization’s strategic plan.

The level of training and coaching they receive is modeled after the C-level leadership development programs that DDJ Myers delivers in-house to credit unions nationwide. It is a requirement at the executive level to hold oneself accountable to the highest standards, clearly communicate ideas and direction, while having a leadership presence that galvanizes others to take effective action.

Another way to put it, the primary purpose of this program, and why we are entering our fifth year, is to ready the next generation of leaders within the Pacific Northwest credit union community.

Anthem: What kind of credit union employee should consider it? Is there a target career level?

DDJ: Whether they are an individual contributor or a leader of leaders, this program is designed for those that are interested in raising the bar of their individual, team, or organizational efforts. We have had part-time employees, department managers, Vice Presidents, and a CEO attend this program. The content is designed to be individual, not title or level, specific, which allows for a broad audience to participate.

Anthem: Can you talk about why class size is limited to 20?

Students from the 2016 Emerging Leaders Program

Students from the 2016 Emerging Leaders Program

DDJ: This is an interactive course where teachers and students are constantly engaged. To ensure that each participant is provided personal attention throughout the program, we have found that a class size of around 20 is best. Additionally, the learning community (cohort) is a significant component to the program and with more than 20 participants, that community can become diluted. Many have forged significant professional relationships with their cohort as a result of the learning that occurs inside and outside of the classroom.

Anthem: This doesn’t seem like a standard ‘fill in the bubble’ test. There’s a presentation at the end. What will attendees present?

DDJ: One of the required skills of leaders in high-performing organizations is the ability to lead projects that further the delivery of the strategic plan. However, leading and executing on a project is a different skill set than presenting the project’s roadmap and its intended impact to a cast of characters that need to endorse, coordinate, and potentially fund this idea. The course teaches both sets of skills.

The participants present their project multiple times to their peers during the last week of the course. While many are understandably nervous in the beginning of the program about the culminating event, through the six-months they learn how to dig deep and navigate high-pressure situations. The students also learn the ever-important skills of giving AND receiving feedback. That is a part of the process during the final week as well and the majority of the participants cite that process as one of their major takeaways from the course.

As part of NWCUA’s commitment to demonstrating the outcomes of the Emerging Leaders Program to the broader community, participants have the potential opportunity to showcase their project and their executive potential at a breakout session at MAXX. Those that present make a name for themselves.

Anthem: There are a few key skills attendees can develop, like Executive Presence. Without giving too much away, what is Executive Presence?

DDJ: Executive presence is the ability to consistently and clearly articulate your vision and value while successfully influencing and connecting with others. It is about our mood, attitude and comport. Effective Executive Presence is the qualities of a leader that engage, inspire, align, and move people into action.

In other words, your Executive Presence is really what sells you as an individual.

Want to find your executive presence? Click here to learn more about the 2017 Emerging Leaders program and how you can sign up, and enter the 2017 Emerging Leaders contest for a tuition-free opportunity!

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222, ehorvath@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events, Leadership, NWCUA.