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New Leadership Center at SNC

St. Norbert’s new Center for Exceptional Leadership (CEL) welcomed its inaugural class in January. The center is aimed at improving the quality of the character associated with leadership, assisting both senior and emerging leaders.

Tom Wiltzius, head of Appleton’s enVision Performance Solutions and CEL’s executive director, proposed the concept after listening to regional businesspeople bemoan the lack of training options for their employees. Some 60 local executives then volunteered to help identify and develop the processes, curriculum, metrics and assessment tools to be used in the program. The result is a rich, multi-step curriculum that offers participants and their corporate sponsors as much or as little assistance as they’d like.

Kevin Quinn (Schneider School), says: “We take the Norbertine idea of contribution to the community – communio and localitas – very seriously. Everything we do needs to be aimed at improving the quality of the business community here to make people‘s lives better. We wanted to make sure that whatever we were doing was going to be consonant with the values of the college in general and with the orgs that would be sending us people in particular.”

All participants who sign on undergo a leadership development assessment. CEL staff and the participant uses the results to create an initial plan of action. For those who would like more tutelage – which is recommended – additional options are available. First is an intense, four-day immersion program. During the four days, participants create developmental objectives and personal mission and vision statements, and form professional accountability groups. One key activity is presenting their leadership development plans to the other participants. Doing so demonstrates that leadership is about being transparent and authentic, says Angela Marshalek, CEL director of services.

From there, participants may sign on for the CEL’s year-long development program, which can be undertaken individually, with a cohort of up to 12 peers, or a little of both. The program’s first group of participants arrived on campus in January. Several are employees of local companies that have invested their time, money and talent in the program since its inception. They include Great Northern Corp., Schreiber Foods, Thrivent Financial and TotalMed Staff Inc.

“The cohort is a great opportunity for leaders to network and grow within a safe community,” says Marshalek. “They can bounce ideas back and forth in a way they wouldn’t normally do, challenge each other and then take what they’ve learned back to their organizations.”

March 17, 2017