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WAPA’s L2I inspires new leaders - part one

Closed Circuit set out to learn more about the WAPA Leadership Development Program’s Leadership Learning Intensive and hear from three incoming students. We’ll feature highlights from the program and Q&A with the folks we spoke with to see what they expect from this unique program and how it will impact them. Here’s the first in our three-part series. 

“The skills honed in this program reinforce the skills needed to be a successful leader in today’s world,” said Troy Steadman.

What it’s all about

The L2I program nurtures motivated self-starters with proven communication and leadership skills. It encourages high-potential employees capable of assuming higher-level leadership positions within WAPA to participate in the program. By fostering a continuous learning and growth culture, L2I serves as a conduit for building a robust pipeline of future senior leaders at WAPA, offering participants a clear path for career growth. 

“This program makes WAPA employees better leaders and, in turn, better human beings,” said Leadership Development Program Manager Troy Steadman. “Connecting with people on a higher level requires immense internal work done in the background. The skills honed in this program reinforce the skills needed to be a successful leader in today’s world.” 

Photo: Erica Armani - Portrait of a woman.
Portrait of WAPA Management Analyst Erika Armani

Our first participant, WAPA Management Analyst Erika Armani from WAPA’s Headquarters office in Lakewood, Colorado, agreed to share her perspectives on why the course is valuable to her. 

What motivated you to enroll in the Leadership Learning Intensive program, and how do you envision it benefiting your career path? 

After transitioning from a long career in federal agencies to joining WAPA in 2022, I quickly noticed employees’ passion for their jobs and that they live WAPA’s core values. WAPA’s leadership is genuinely committed to improving the organization and fostering collaboration. Despite initially knowing little about the electric industry, I’ve had numerous learning opportunities, including site visits and courses, which have energized my enthusiasm to contribute to WAPA’s mission. I am confident that participating in the L2I program will further enable me to contribute significantly to WAPA’s culture and goals. 

What leadership skills or competencies are you eager to learn, develop or enhance? 

I am an introvert, so building relationships, networking and collaborating can sometimes be challenging. I plan to enhance my skills in those areas. I’m also eager to learn more about WAPA by becoming a more thorough “student of the business” while developing my technical credibility. L2I provides opportunities to learn about one’s strengths and weaknesses and how to improve and leverage them. 

What aspect of the program curriculum are you most looking forward to, or what excites you most about the program, and why? 

I’m excited about the developmental detail, which is entirely different from my current work. I love trying new things and can’t wait to explore other ways I may be able to contribute my skills and expertise to other WAPA programs. I also look forward to spending two weeks in D.C. shadowing folks in the Washington Liaison Office. I lived and worked for the federal government in D.C. for about 11 years before moving to Denver. However, I have never worked on Capitol Hill, so I’m excited to see the government and WAPA’s work from a different perspective. 

How do you believe the Leadership Learning Intensive aligns with WAPA’s mission and values as well as your own? 

WAPA’s mission to “safely provide reliable, cost-based hydropower and transmission to our customers and the communities we serve” is incredible. L2I aligns with this mission by actively developing WAPA’s current and future leaders in its program areas. This makes WAPA a better place for all of us to work and makes it easier to meet our mission. 

In what ways do you anticipate the program will challenge you, and how do you plan to overcome these challenges? 

Self-awareness is crucial to being a good leader. However, learning about yourself and being introspective can be exhausting. This is the most challenging for me, especially when combined with traveling. I plan to schedule downtime either during the travel weeks or afterward to help recover from some of the training that may be overwhelming. Self-care is also an important part of being a good leader. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t have additional bandwidth left to give to the people and programs around you. 

Do you have specific goals within WAPA or for yourself that this course will help you achieve? 

This course will help me continue to grow my leadership skills and learn effective communication tactics that I can use in my day-to-day role at WAPA. I intend to have a long career here, and I plan to take advantage of opportunities like this course to gain new skills and experience that will enrich my time in this organization. 

Stay tuned for the next part of the series, where we’ll discuss the program further and learn more about the participants and what they hope to gain from the course. 

For more information, please visit the L2I website (Internal Website). 

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Last modified on May 10th, 2024