Professional offerings cultivate leaders at Emory

Office of the Provost | June 5, 2015

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Illustration by David Hollenbach.

Leaders are born, not made, as the adage goes. But organization and management professor Rick Gilkey has a twist on that thought. "You may not be able to teach leadership, but you can learn it," he told participants in the opening session of the Excellence Through Leadership (ETL) program last fall.

In the nine months since, the ETL participants have experienced that learning first-hand. They've gone through their paces on making financial analyses, understanding the university endowment, managing change, understanding talent management, and developing and implementing strategic plans. This spring they presented capstone group projects that will help shape the future of Emory -- from how we develop enterprise data management to how the university can incentivize innovation to how we approach big construction and renovation projects guided by an Emory-specific framework.

The ETL program for Emory staff is one of a trio of professional offerings that cultivate leaders at Emory, along with the Academic Leadership Program (ALP) for faculty and the Woodruff Leadership Academy (WLA) for health sciences faculty and staff. These programs take a select group of nominated participants through a rigorous curriculum from five months up to a year that explores leadership and Emory-specific topics and builds skill sets around developing budgets, building teams, setting strategies, and driving change. The programs also include self- and external assessments, executive coaching sessions, and a group project.

"We decided years ago that our strength would be getting things done through teams and not just individual efforts," says Gary Teal, chief administrative officer of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center who oversees WLA. "This can be a challenge in academia and in a health center, where people are recognized and promoted for individual accomplishments. Yes, we need outstanding individual performers, but none who think they're bigger than the team."

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