Closed Circuit

By Sarah P.

On Oct. 29, the Emerging Leaders Development Program graduated its first cohort of 30 individuals. The ELDP is an effort to develop a pipeline of future leaders, created by Leadership Development for rising stars within WAPA.

The program was developed in coordination with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. It covers topics such as communication, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, relationship management, building trust, culture cultivation, accountability, individual coaching sessions and how to drive engagement, all of which connect to important WAPA Leadership Competencies.

The ELDP is unique in that it assesses participants’ strengths, weaknesses and preferences, leading to the development of an individualized strategy for improvement. Participants learn how to “get the best” from others, establish strategic and well-defined goals, gain and maintain respect from peers and overcome difficult personnel challenges.

The program consists of three two-day sessions over a three-month period, along with one-on-one sessions with a professional coach upon completion of WAPA’s 360-Degree Leadership Assessment. 

Participants self-assess their abilities in various core leadership competencies and a feedback team of eight to 12 people rates them in those same competencies. Participants then receive the anonymized results and coaching based on those responses.

The program’s first session starts with insights on the leadership journeys of prominent leaders in today’s world, the importance of a well-rounded, effective leader and professional goal setting. During this session, participants also learn the importance of Bragging Rights, or, in other words, how to acknowledge and self-promote their skills to others.

The second session moves to more specific leadership topics, such as Managing Up, Down and Sideways; Cultivating Your Network; and Developing Your Personal Brand. In these courses, participants learn strategies for managing at different levels and how to manage office politics, as well as shifting from a person-based to needs-based approach when developing a network. 

The program wraps up with Culturally Competent Leadership; Women in Leadership; and Managing Conflict. Here, participants learn how their cultural identity informs their leadership approach, and how multicultural awareness creates environments that foster higher levels of performance. 

This class flows nicely into discussion surrounding women in leadership as they gain visibility in higher-level positions. The program closes with strategies to effectively resolve conflict in the workplace.

Upon completion of the ELDP, participants should be able to gain a broader understanding of the issues leaders face today and how to handle them, as well as address areas for improvement within themselves and on an organizational level. 

Participants will have also gleaned a larger network of peers across the organization, sharing best practices, diverse views and opinions and more.

Leadership Development congratulates the graduates on their completion of such an involved program, and appreciates that they’ve taken significant steps to further their professional development and better themselves as leaders. 

Those interested in participating in the ELDP should keep an eye on their email. The application period for future cohorts will be announced WAPA-wide, and there is limited space. If you’re interested in this program, contact

Note: The author is a leadership development specialist.

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Last modified on March 5th, 2024