Jessica Johnson Reports a Strong Start to Her Emerging Leaders Journey

Editor’s Note: The Virtual Emerging Leaders Program helps credit union professionals build the skills they need to coordinate and execute strategies and tactics for their organizations. Participants engage and learn at their own pace through one-on-one coaching, group work, assessments, real-time interactive sessions, and pre-recorded presentations of core modules. 

Jessica Johnson, AVP Legal & Compliance at Numerica Credit Union, is the 2021 Emerging Leaders Strategic Link Scholarship winner. Below, Johnson shares what she’s learned from the program so far.

In my life, I can look back and identify moments where an opportunity was facing me, and I knew the choice I made would have a major impact on my trajectory. The opportunity to apply for the Virtual Emerging Leaders Program (VELP) was one of those moments. I can say with confidence that the work I’m doing in this comprehensive program is changing me in the best way as a leader.

This program isn’t for the faint of heart. As you enter the Dojo (a term VELP uses to reference a scalable framework for learning and development) you catch on quickly that this is deep and meaningful work if you commit to it. The old saying “You get out of it what you put into it” is very true, and I’m all in. The facilitators, Peter Myers and Tim Tolliver, have put together a multi-faceted platform of learning that is guiding me through modules to help me learn more about who I am, where I am now, and where I want to be.

Through my Leadership 360 assessment, I’ve solicited some feedback on how I’m doing now and have asked for comments on where I should be focusing next, areas where I’m doing well, or areas where I’m lacking. I am so thankful to have people at all levels from Numerica that are willing to invest their time to provide feedback and help me grow. It is empowering to read my survey comments and reflect on how much they want me to succeed in my journey. Through this feedback, I’m homing in on what my leadership commitment is and what it’s going to take to achieve that goal. As I continue to develop self-clarity, I know that I’ll be challenging myself in new ways, and I’m excited about the potential impact this will have on my growth.

It has also been wonderful to have a cohort of fellow learners going through a similar process. I’m listening to them on our group calls and during our smaller breakout sessions and have gained valuable insights from their experiences. We have so much we can learn from one another if we simply take a moment to listen and share our stories. Leveraging this concept, I’ve been more intentional about making connections to people that have a different perspective than mine. It can be tempting and more comfortable for me to wait for others to strike up a discussion, but I’m learning how to cross a room and initiate those conversations and relationships. In the short amount of time I’ve been practicing this, I’ve already seen amazing results. I’m learning what is important to them, what keeps them up at night, and how I might be able to partner with them to maximize results.

Speaking of practices, I’ve developed a daily gratitude and reflection habit. Starting a day or a meeting with gratitude can change the outcome entirely. Reflecting on the interactions and experiences I’m having is helping me to learn how I can improve, and to recognize what works and what doesn’t work. My coach Peter has helped me to see that developing the skill of a reflective practice will be critical for me to learn the strategic approach.

I’m learning how to become a centered leader. So often throughout my day I feel bogged down in the “busyness” and it can be distracting from my intention to be more focused and attentive. As I learn how to center myself, I can think more clearly and respond in a more meaningful way to things that I encounter. A simple thing such as focusing on a few breaths before a meeting can impact how I show up in that interaction. My presence is ultimately what my team experiences day to day, and I have a much deeper store of energy to tap into if I’m centered and focused. This enables me to stay curious and ask questions that help them get to the best solution and feel more confident with their decision-making.

As I continue to explore these ideas and concepts, I feel like I’m tapping into my potential, and really stepping into my power. I’m so thankful for this guided program and am excited for my future.

Learn more about Jessica Johnson here, and look for the next part of this series, coming to Anthem this winter.

More Information About the Virtual Emerging Leaders Program

The previously in-person Emerging Leaders Program has sold out the last few years (prior to the pandemic). NWCUA and DDJ Myers, the program’s founders, wanted to find a way to continue helping the next generation of leaders grow and learn through a remote delivery model. Hence, the Virtual Emerging Leaders Program (VELP) was born. The goal of the VELP is to provide the learning, community, and tools necessary to cultivate, nurture and act on their potential over an extended period of time, exclusively in an interactive and engaging virtual channel.

The virtual model affords the participants more time to deepen their learning and work at their own pace. DDJ Myers believes that learning is evident when there is a relatively permanent shift in behavior, which is unlikely to occur overnight without a major catalyst. The VELP provides the structure and opportunity for the learning to sustainably take root.

Both last year’s program and this year’s are proving to be a success. The participants are eager to engage with each other and the curriculum, taking the learning and putting it into practice in their lives.

To learn more about the Virtual Emerging Leaders Program, visit it online.

Posted in Emerging Leaders.