Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ASAE Young Professional Leadership Academy Reflections (Part 1)

The time has come! I graduated from the ASAE Young Professional Leadership Academy. I want to thank ASAE, my association for their gracious support of financial resources and my time, and American Express for their generous support.

I started this journey with my eyes wide open, not knowing what to expect. As I shared in my final presentation on 8/24/2010 at the Annual Meeting, I was hoping I'd find other individuals like me. Individuals that had questions, knew they could accomplish the impossible, refused to stand for the phrase, "we've always done it that way", and felt that they were missing the connection to their organization's mission, vision, and values. While I don't have answers to all the questions I had coming into the program, I have tremendous insights as I graduate and start another chapter.

So what happened in the last two years? I had the opportunity to expand my role in my association and move into a senior management position managing three staff, and two additional committees. I hate to sound like a power player, but moving into this role has given me a voice and provided me the opportunity for direct contact with other department leaders in my association. While I still encounter red tape and the occasional runaround, I've been able to better communicate the needs, praises, and frustrations of members I work with on a frequent basis to the departments and be heard and taken seriously.

Enough about the mundane, what about the program? I want to answer some questions that I have received from my association's staff and others I've "met" virtually through social media.

Would you recommend this program to other young professionals?
Without a doubt, yes!

Would I do it all over again?
In short, yes.

What if I had to pay out of pocket?
It's tough to answer that honestly. Thinking in the mindset of September 2008 where I was in my career, my wife being laid off and finding another job, our desire to plan for a family, and college debt, I'd say no. That would be my honest and truthful answer before being exposed to the program. Fast forward to today and the answer would be yes, yes, yes!

What about the leadership academy puts a spring in your step?
The opportunities for exposure, networking, access, peer support, and the ability to be mentored by two professionals. I really learned a great deal from Cynthia D'Amour. Please check out her website and read her book, "The Lazy Leader". I've found it to be awe inspiring and engaging, just like Cynthia. And continually check her page to see when she'll be speaking in your city or close by.

More to come next week continuing lessons from the leadership academy, my take on being a leader, and some data sharing from our leadership academy research project.


  1. Hey Tom!

    Glad you added name/url ability to comment. I tried to comment last week but hit a dead end.

    Thanks so much for the call out and kind words. I loved working with all of you and especially enjoyed our lunch when I was in Minnesota.

    I look forward to seeing how you apply what you learned through Leadership Academy as you move forward in the future. I expect greatness from you!


  2. Congratulations, Thomas! So proud of you & your accomplishments. love Mom