“I used to think that nothing important in life would come with a manual, but AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program has proved me wrong. I entered the ELP with a decade of listless wandering as a civic technologist under my belt. I knew there were steps I should be taking in my career but didn’t feel like I had the experience needed to approach them with intent so I held back. In less than a week my teachers and peers at ELP have filled my head with enough tools, personal processes, and perspectives to give me a passion and focus that I haven’t felt since college.
As a group, we practiced several “soft skills” such as negotiation, networking, and public speaking, and had a chance to apply these traditionally uncomfortable concepts safely as a group on even footing.
Our discussions about networking gave me a newfound appreciation for my mentors, advocates, allies, and peers — a healthy network has give and take, and people love good reasons to help one another. Just as importantly, I learned ways keep my network healthy without feeling fake, by staying in touch through the power of genuine interest and regular follow-up.
A significant portion of the program was dedicated to various tools to enable reflection. Many of us experienced our first case studies, where we explored well-documented careers, examples of crisis management, and catastrophic failures in order to reflect on our own paths and organizations with a framework of common “experiences.”
I was also challenged to think through my leadership style, implicit biases, and reputation (and the biases and leadership of those around me). This has kicked off a regular cycle of analysis around my professional footprint, which in turn has already allowed me to feel more confident in the day-to-day decisions I make and the way I approach interactions with colleagues.
My time at the Executive Leadership Program was catalyzing. It has given me insight where I only had intuition, but more tangibly it has given me tools, frameworks, and a community of peers that will empower me to navigate my career for many years to come.
It has given me insight where I only had intuition.”
Questions about Executive Leadership Program or ELP Bootcamp? Contact Daniel Garcia at DanielG@oldsite.aaja.org.