Employers like Delta Community Credit Union are looking for collaborative, creative, and flexible employees who achieve extraordinary results. Understanding the vital role professional development plays in cultivating leaders for a changing workforce, they turn to the executive leadership programs at the College of Professional Education (CPE).
The Executive Leadership Program for Managers and Directors, developed by Executive Education at the Michael J. Coles College of Business and offered in collaboration with CPE, is at the forefront of helping employees and companies transition from management effectiveness to leadership excellence. Seeing the potential it has to develop leaders for the future, Delta Community Credit Union decided to pilot the program.
“Participating in Kennesaw State University’s Executive Leadership Program has allowed Delta Community’s leaders and high potential performers to continue to grow, develop, and successfully move the organization forward in today’s fast-paced business environment,” said Suzanne Mitchell, Senior Vice President of Human Resources. “We recognize that our employees are our greatest asset and this leadership program supports our corporate goal of developing employees and helping them grow professionally. Additionally, we believe the program supports Delta Community’s desire to attract and retain a high-performing workforce.”
Bonnie Brocker, Assistant Vice President-Controller, Malena Casey, Assistant Vice President of CRM Business Operations, and Abdul Hussain, Assistant Vice President of Information Security, were among those enrolled in the organization’s first cohort.
Built on the Competing Values Framework, the award-winning hybrid program (a combination of online learning and classroom application) uses gamified mobile learning to guide participants as they master eight leader roles and 24 leadership skills. Designed with busy professionals in mind, this approach encourages participants to learn through play.
“The format was quite unique,” explained Casey. “It helped us break down the course into manageable pieces. The modules were relevant, relatable, and kept our attention. “Since completing the course, I continue to reference the materials as I prepare for leadership meetings. I have more confidence in my presentation skills as a result of what I have learned in this program.”
Hussain agreed. “Any MBA program touches on organizational behavior, management, and writing goals,” he said. What I found most valuable was how this course made complex topics easy to understand and apply in a corporate setting. You touch on these topics in grad school, but not in as much detail as this program.”
Teaching leaders how to know and nurture people both as individuals and as part of a team are among the key components of the Executive Leadership Program for Managers and Directors. The program is instructed by Dan Stotz, M.S., CPI and Everett Darby, MBA, CPI, who have 50+ years of combined experience in executive education and building higher performance teams. Developing their full potential as leaders, innovators, and change-makers proved to be some of the most valuable aspects of the course for the Delta Community cohort.
“The biggest takeaway was the Competing Values Framework,” explained Brocker. “The program taught me to identify who on my team fit into each quadrant. This really helps to establish trust during our one-on-one meetings. At the end of the day, my people are still people. It’s important to know them and really show that I care and understand them on a personal level, even at work.”
“The program helps you understand where you are as an individual and who you are as a manager,” said Hussain. “There are always challenges when you are working with cross-functional, cross-cultural, and cross-divisional teams. Being able to manage empathetically across the team was the biggest takeaway.”
The cohort approach offered a unique opportunity for the group to grow as individual leaders, as well as explore how their respective departments can work together to benefit the organization.
“It gave us a great perspective,” said Casey. “We were part of a team of seven, and we will always be close because we experienced this program together. While we are all from different areas of the Credit Union, we realized that we have similar goals. This helped us not just in the class, but also at work while collaborating on projects.”
“We covered vision and mission statements and how to align your own statement to the enterprise statement,” says Hussain. “We continued that conversation after the course. How do we, as the leaders of our respective areas, collaboratively align ourselves to those corporate goals? Having the opportunity to hear each other’s thoughts on how we could influence the overall direction of the organization was very valuable to me.”
As Delta Community Credit Union continues to provide superior service to its members and invest in the metro Atlanta community, they do so with leaders who have the tools for success.
“It was an honor to be selected for this program,” said Brocker. “It is encouraging to those who are in a leadership role and well worth the investment. Every leader has room for growth, and this program is an instrumental way of achieving that.”