How to Build an Executive Leadership Development Plan

Running a company involves far more than just availing a specific good or service to the public. Indeed, it also requires more than simply convincing customers of your suitability and branding.

To make your business sustainable in a highly volatile marketplace and ensure profits and longevity, your company – like all businesses – requires strategic leadership.

And the impact here can hardly be overstated. Leadership development is a multi-billion-dollar industry with countless schools, experts, and programs, and discourse awash with theories and models meant to suit businesses of all scales.

Why?

Well, it’s quite simple. Focused leadership demands long-term thinking about market needs, consumer needs, employee productivity, and of course, profits. Which, in turn, demands an important conceptual tool: a leadership plan.

What Is a Leadership Development Plan?

Understanding Executive Development Plans

Simply put, leadership development involves the adoption of certain activities in your company to improve the quality of its leadership and labor competency.

It’s the process of equipping supervisory and managerial staff with the skills and conceptual tools needed to see themselves towards sustainable profitability and success. Generating this kind of positive change within a company’s inner workings requires a well-defined plan. A leadership growth plan.

There are plenty of elements involved in such a plan, as we’re about to see, but first — some stats.

A recent survey report by PriceWaterHouseCoopers established that:

The same survey also established that while those at the helm displayed an abundance of critical thought when it came to the more analytical aspects of company management — they lacked severely in the emotional quotient department.

That is to say, they personally lacked the necessary tools to “get through” to their teams by painting as clear a picture as possible of their company vision

Most companies, even those with a solid profit record, experience substantial setbacks — particularly during periods of change (internal or external) — if not steered by well-equipped leaders.

If you’re interested in placing yourself at a competitive vantage, a leadership plan is a vital flag you need to plant to meet both human and strategic company needs. 

And, there are many potential payoffs of adopting a strategic plan within your company.

Why Is a Leadership Growth Plan So Important?

It Leads to Better Fiscal Performance

A growth plan adopted by business departments with able leaders is bound to result in better fiscal performance — the spoils of which can then be reinvested into the company.

Likewise, a well-structured leadership, innovation, and decision-making strategy is a necessary tool for senior executive management to drive up the likelihood of a company’s success. 

While it’s important to map out the right business strategy or program, both these strategies will work for any organizational structure. And they work even better when adopted simultaneously. 

In taking the time to understand what your organization needs from its leaders, you will better understand the business strategy that works best for you. These two strategies go hand-in-hand: developing one will help in achieving the other. 

Regardless of your field of business, all companies are bound to reap heavily from cultivating leadership skills within their organization and prioritizing leadership in their company culture. Senior executive leaders who have the right innovation and strategy skills inspire the same in their workforce.

It Leads to More Hands-on, Agile Corporate Management

A company with effective executive/senior management can wade through the commercial environment, complex and dynamic as it is, and come up with quick and effective solutions to problems as they arise. 

Executive leadership development equips leaders to think on their feet and adapt to an ever-changing corporate environment. 

It Helps Attract, Retain and Motivate Your Workforce

A well-structured executive leadership plan inspires active engagement from your staff. 

Well-trained senior executives are more likely to attract, keep, and appropriately remunerate a talented workforce — resulting in consistent satisfaction among staff. 

Further, an innovation and vision plan executed with the employee in mind will inspire loyalty among staff. This is particularly true of programs that provide growth opportunities for the more academically-inclined members of staff. 

An executive leadership plan that fosters appropriate communication channels within teams is bound to scale up profits within a company. 

Which is why it’s so important to foster a team of executives that can attract and retain a worthwhile workforce. 

It Facilitates Internal & External Company Communication

A company’s communication channels determine how quickly deadlines can be met, problems solved, and plans made good on. 

When your executive management team makes active steps to foster a marketplace of ideas — your company will benefit from faster task execution, a spike in production, and a more satisfied workforce. 

Moreover, the positive engagement and morale within your workforce are more likely to flow through to your customers. 

What Are the Goals of an Effective Executive Leadership Plan?

Heighten a Manager’s Sense of Responsibility

The mark of a worthy leader lies in their ability to account for their deeds (and the subsequent consequences). In short: their responsibility

This means that they can examine the outcomes of their decisions and appreciate the lessons gleaned from both success and failure. 

A leadership plan will also foster the ability to stand back and objectively assess and learn from the effects of their decisions — whether positive or negative. 

Instill Self-discipline Within Trainees 

A well-trained leader knows that tough decisions directly affecting the bottom line should ultimately benefit the company or organization rather than the individual. 

Yet another mark of sustainable executive leadership is the ability to reflectively assess all available options. And, using the right metrics and criteria, to objectively choose what’s really best for the company. 

Foster Active Communication Within the Organization

Pro-tip: Incredible ideas and hands-on mentorship won’t do you much good if your leadership’s communication is sub-par.

But the thing is, gaining the right communication skills is an endeavour that needs effort and time. 

But when adequately honed, your skills should equip you to understand how and when to use persuasion, build a rapport with your staff, understanding when and how to exercise persuasion, as well as improve conflict resolution skills.

Also, it’s vital to cultivate listening culture at the topmost rungs of company leadership. Each team member can offer the management important input that can bear directly on everyday company decisions. 

Active listening coupled with a well-cultivated space for discussion in a company will do you more good than you’d think. 

Add More Conceptual Knowledge on Executive Leadership

Leaders must be generally well-rounded; they ought to have a diverse set of skills across many competences. 

A leader who is willing to take the time to learn new fields, especially those that might not necessarily directly relate to their mandate, will certainly have an edge over most other companies and will be able to solve problems in an agile and creative way.

Improve the Trainee’s Inner Clock

The most ineffective leader is hands down the sort that can’t keep to a schedule; that’s are constantly running late on deadlines. 

A leader who is able, on the other hand, to make and stick to strict time frames is automatically a good template on which the rest of the team can model a work ethic. 

Promote a Work Environment That Fosters Mentorship

Yet another important attribute of a good leader is to foster leadership in others. 

A well-trained leader should be able to hone these skills in staff members and foster a culture of leadership development culture within the company. 

Possible ways to achieve this could be: soliciting for feedback, coaching, and imparting staff with precise skills for challenging workloads. 

Instill a Sense of Long-term Strategizing 

Two words. Analytical thinking. Good teamwork and effective problem-solving require a leader who is able to factor in the entire team in the long-term — not only immediately, but at the end as well. 

Together with the preceding points, these goals will help you determine the precise training and plans that ought to be most effective for your company. 

Examples of Leadership Development Programs/Executive Education Programs

Here are some methods of executing your leadership development plan:

Interpersonal Skills: Conferences for Executives

To cultivate a team of workers with vision in your company, you’ll need to invest in your leaders. One way of doing this is providing them with access to events and conferences that provide skills training on delegation and strategic decision-making. 

Indeed, this is the sort of thing that demands resources, both monetary and temporal, but any company that wishes to reap the benefits of a motivated and well-equipped labor force would be well advised to invest in this kind of  immersive vision and learning experience.

Other examples of suchlike leadership training events include general presentations, conference intensives, and breakout forums. These will give your company staff a chance to hone their communication, relationship and interpersonal skills. 

Strategic Exposure: Meetings, University Classes & Workshops

A well-governed company needs to be managed by a visible and involved leadership team. What this means is, leaders ought to seek out ways of applying their supervisory skills. They can do this by seeking out forums that can earn them exposure, both outside and inside the organisation. 

Your leaders must be publicly visible, but that’s often a big responsibility when they have so much on their plates already. Strategically seek out opportunities for your leaders to gain exposure. Help your leaders get used to the exposure required when spearheading company projects, both inside and outside the organization. 

What this kind of leadership exposure does is, it provides senior managers with the skills needed to address staff members publicly and give them valuable feedback when need arises. Eligible staff include corporate heads, board members, and other rank employees alike. 

Micro-Mentoring & Coaching Programs

If you specifically want to nurture a mentorship culture within your organisation, here’s an executive leadership development plan that you should definitely consider adopting: micro-mentoring. 

The objective is simple: to balance out the gradient in skills and empirical experience inherent in any workforce, only this time it works in an objective-specific and time-specific way. 

Key areas of focus depend, of course, on specialty, expertise, and the specific aspects of leadership that your company is most in need of, and are inculcated through workshops, volunteer projects, leading events, and micro-mentorship initiatives. 

Implemented with consistency, these grow into your organisation’s ethos and promote individual growth and vision.

Adoption of Interactive eLearning 

With online business tools being what they are today, peak efficient and diverse, leadership training has never been easier. 

The technical ease with which even remote-based companies can conduct interactive leadership training sessions makes this an excellent place to start for any reasonable team of corporates looking for options. 

eLearning not only enhances cohesion in an organisation, it equips workers with the necessary skills needed to monitor, motivate, get feedback from and incentive staff teams. 

Whether interactive questionnaires or scheduled video classes, eLearning tools have the ability to elaborate on a company’s objectives in all departments, with ease. 

Interactive eLearning is also an excellent way to instill in your leaders a lasting sense of feedback analysis, allowing them to carefully analyse problems and decisions when the need arises.

Community-Involved Training 

An executive leadership plan should also make a point of affording your leaders an opportunity to make a positive contribution in their nearby community. 

A well-run organisation knows that leadership doesn’t cease when everyone checks out after a good day’s work. On the contrary, community projects are essential for your organisation’s local reputation and it will help reinforce a positive moral ethos in your leaders. 

Allowing your leaders to do pro-bono work; allowing them to take up projects that involve local charitable communities; all these things go a long way towards giving your leaders actionable hands-on experience. 

Creating Your Leadership Development Plan from Scratch

Drafting the Executive Leadership Plan

The first thing to keep in mind when building an executive leadership plan is that it ought to bear relevance to leaders at every level of your company. This ensures your leaders are always performing optimally. 

The Ariel Group, which has co-drafted executive education plans across many industries for over twenty-five years, lists six important steps for drafting an executive education action plan and measuring its success.

Here’s where you should start:

  • Outline the most important leadership qualities

You will do this by writing a list of the leadership skills, abilities and competencies that ought to be embodied by a great leader. Afterwards, you should solicit senior leadership management for feedback about the drafted list in order to find out which skills are most needed for your organisation.

  • Focus on core objectives

Here, you need to outline the primary business goals you are focused on achieving in an easy but thorough manner. For instance, an objective could be: To achieve a 25% increase in total sales after two quarters.

  • Assess the requisite leadership skills 

Here, you need to identify the precise skills and talents that need to be cultivated at your organisation, so that it can meet key business objectives. The way to do this is to conduct a leadership skills assessment. 

You will achieve this by speaking with leaders to find out what they feel they need to be more successful, as well as gathering insights from staff teams regarding their leaders. 

The requisite feedback can then be gathered through a range of different mediums: face-to-face feedback, administering questionnaires, email, and anonymous feedback. 

  • Develop a list of executive education objectives

Here, you will use the format adopted in the skills assessment as well as the feedback gained about the most needed skills in your company. 

And from this you will draft a list of outcomes that you envision for your development plan. 

  • Identify the best methods to achieve your leadership action plan objectives

Some things you should consider when deciding upon your preferred method of execution of your leadership development plan objectives include: selecting the right content as well as the right training criteria. Be it group coaching, one-on-one coaching, in-person teaching, self-paced asynchronous training, or virtual classrooms. 

You might perhaps find it more efficient to invite a third-party consultant that specifically deals in  leadership development programs of your sort. They’re usually better equipped to quickly find the right content and formats for the training programme. 

  • Measure the effectiveness of your leadership development plan

It is vital that you have a precise criteria in place for measuring the eventual effectiveness of your leadership development plan. 

Likewise, your employees are a vital asset in feedback analysis. Their sentiment will help you determine the overall progress of the departments in which the executive plan has been adopted. 

Your Leadership Development Plan: a Useful Template

For a quick peek at how you should plan out your program, check out this template. 

Get Your Head Start at Quantic

Quantic is an excellent avenue for leadership programs tailored for all business owners, both aspiring and established.

Our courses are well-regarded among some of the most reputable hirers — and that is exactly why they’re included in most tuition reimbursement programs. 

Some companies that have leveraged Quantic’s tuition reimbursement program include: 

  • American Express
  • WeWork
  • S&P Global
  • Grant Thornton
  • Farmers Insurance

Why, you ask? Well, the reasons are quite simple.

  • Quantic’s programs enhance company talent

Our MBA is bound to elevate your top current and potential leaders, upgrading their performance to more senior roles to support your company growth.

  • We are fast and flexible and our courses lead to higher retention

Invest in your top employees to signal your confidence in their potential and your commitment to their success; you’ll cultivate loyalty and retain them longer.

  • We offer a high ROI and affordable tuition

Primarily delivered online, our best-in-class MBA programs are designed to provide incredible learning at a fraction of the cost of traditional top business school programs.

  • And, of course, we offer an up-to-date accredited degree

Quantic Trailblazer: Chief Academic Officer and Pedago Co-Founder Alexie Harper

Chief Academic Officer and Pedago (Quantic’s parent company) Co-Founder, Alexie Harper, is a trailblazer in the digital education space. Before Quantic, she was previously the director of R&D and a senior researcher at Rosetta Stone. She was also a travel writer and editor for Let’s Go Inc. after earning an M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies from NYU and an A.B. in English Literature and Language from Harvard University. 

Finding creative solutions to difficult problems has always inspired Alexie to become the industry leader that she is today. “I’ve always enjoyed creating something new,” says Alexie. “From my school days in Odyssey of the Mind, through my time creating educational software at Rosetta Stone, to now, I’m at my happiest when I can tackle a difficult problem by brainstorming creative solutions, and then do the hard work of testing and implementing those solutions. I don’t mind when those experiments don’t work out; I find it invigorating to keep trying to improve whatever it is I’m working on, and there’s ample opportunity to do that!” 

Creating solutions to unsolved problems, like making the digital learning experience even better than traditional classroom learning, is at the heart of Quantic and Pedago’s strategy. “Rather than virtualize the typical classroom experience, I’m more interested in what is required to reinvent the core mechanisms that drive student learning, particularly for the adult student, and to do so in a way that’s more effective and more engaging than what you would encounter in person,” explains Alexie. “I feel like Pedago has made great strides in this arena, and there is so much more that we would like to try to create a flexible learning environment that accommodates learners around the globe.” 

But in order to find great solutions and success, one must go through some hiccups and growing pains. Even failure itself is a constant motivation for the Co-Founder. Throughout her career, Alexie realized the power of resilience and courage. “I haven’t always succeeded,” notes Alexie. “Along the way, I’ve had a lot of failures and setbacks, as most entrepreneurs have, and it can be crushing in the moment. I’ve tried to respond with resilience and have refused to give up, and I think that’s why I’m still doing this!” 

Courage and resilience are often qualities that are associated with a trailblazer or maverick in an entrepreneurial field. However, a big key to success that Alexie stands by is support. “It’s extremely difficult to succeed without the help and support of others,” says Alexie. “I’m very grateful for the mentors and colleagues of all genders who have provided advice and support throughout my career, particularly when I was first starting out. I believe it’s important to cultivate connections with others, share advice, and support one another in whatever field or endeavor you choose.” 

Alexie’s advice for the next generation of trailblazers? Have conviction in your own ideas and don’t be afraid to take a few risks along the way. “Try lots of things and find what you love,” says Alexie. “You’ll always be more motivated to work at something that you find interesting, meaningful, and important. Don’t be overly influenced by career advice that others might give you, as only you can decide what field, industry, or discipline is right for you. And take risks; life is more interesting when you jump in feet first.”

Quantic Trailblazers: Iditarod Musher Paige Drobny

Executive MBA Student, Paige Drobny, was born with a love of animals. Her parents couldn’t keep the frogs and crickets and small animals out of the house. She got her first pet, a cat, at the age of three and there were a slew of house pets and barn animals that came after that. Fast forward to 2021, and she is now competing in her seventh Iditarod with a team of incredible sled dogs. 

“I never heard of the Iditarod when I was a kid,” says Paige. “I never dreamt about going up north. It never occurred to me that I wanted to race and I never thought I would be doing this, but I was always drawn to the outdoors.”

Paige’s love and respect for the outdoors has only grown stronger since she moved to Alaska in 2001. She loves the wilderness and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Since the state has eight to nine months of winter each year, residents need to find ways to keep active in the snowy season. That’s when Paige first discovered dog sledding. 

“Fairbanks is unique because many people have small recreational kennels,” says Paige. “Most people I know have dog sleds. It’s a way for people to get around and get out.” The first time Paige contemplated getting on a sled is when her husband and business partner, Cody Straith, made her one for Christmas.

“I gave it to her for Christmas and said ‘maybe we can get some more dogs,’” says Cody. “I went to visit my family a week before the holiday and when I came back she had already gotten three more dogs. Then we could officially use the sled.” 

“We actually talked about dog sledding in retirement,” laughs Paige. “We thought it would be a way to stay active when we were older. I always wanted a ton of dogs. We attached them to the sled and off we went. I was hooked from the get go.”

Since that first moment of jumping on a sled, Paige has become an extremely accomplished musher. Besides this being her seventh Iditarod competition, she is also a five time Yukon Quest and Copper Basin Musher.

“I knew Paige was a driven athlete back in 2010,” explains Cody. “She had just finished her first 300-mile race. She got to the finish line and just wanted to keep going. She was just having a great time and wanted to continue.” 

Paige’s ambition is apparent both on and off the sled. She is the owner and operator of Spearfish Research, where she is a biological consultant, and her and Cody run a successful kennel, dubbed Squid Acres, an homage to Paige’s work consulting for fisheries. The couple purchased a lodge off the Denali Highway (one of the most remote and scenic highways in the world), and are expanding their business into a high-end tourism retreat where people can learn about sled dogs and the Alaskan environment. “We’re on thousands of acres of wilderness. We can show people the real Alaska,” says Paige. 

To get her new venture off the ground, she needed to equip herself with a strong foundation of business development and operations. She needed an MBA education, but needed a program that would be flexible enough to accommodate her chaotic schedule. That’s when Quantic came into the picture: “I wouldn’t be doing an MBA if it wasn’t for Quantic. I love Alaska and I have 50 sled dogs that I can’t leave. Being able to stay home and take care of my dogs, and run my other businesses, wouldn’t be possible without the mobile platform.”

Both Cody and Paige have a background in science. Since joining Quantic in October 2020, the courses have already helped Paige with the accounting side of her new business, and she’s looking forward to learning more about marketing. Always eager for a new challenge, Paige admits, “I’m really excited for the marketing course. It’s not my skill set at all. Business Law, too, I’m excited to learn about the proper way to expand in this new industry.” 

Being a newcomer to the tourism industry doesn’t faze Paige, in fact, she says it excites her. And if mushing has taught her anything, it’s that no challenge or obstacle is insurmountable. “Running dogs can be chaotic. There are new obstacles all the time. You need to be calm, cool, and collected. You can’t dwell on the missed corners and wrong turns, you have to learn your lessons and apply them the next day. The business world is the same. You learn from your mistakes and succeed.” 

It’s safe to say the dogs instill a sense of positivity in Paige’s racing and, in general, influence her optimistic outlook on life. “Living with dogs is just one giant lesson. I learn something from them every day. They’re happy, they live in the moment, and every day is exciting, and offers new opportunities. When you hang out with a bunch of dogs, you can’t have a bad day.”

The 2021 Iditarod kicks off tomorrow morning, Sunday, March 7. This year’s multi-day sled dog race across Alaska has some major changes planned, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as always, Paige is ready to roll with the punches. Participants in this year’s 860-mile course will instead race in a loop that begins outside of Anchorage and eliminates many of the stops traditionally required in previous Iditarod races. The teams will travel from Deshka Landing to Flat and then loop back around and return the same way they came, rather than continuing northwest toward Nome.


The Quantic community is excited to cheer on Paige and with her positive attitude and determination, we know she is going to be the leader of the pack. Be sure to follow Paige’s race journey on our social channels. We’ll be tracking her progress and hearing from her throughout the course!

Inspiring the Next Generation of Future Business Leaders

Since 1996, ​Virtual Enterprises International​ (VE) has transformed the lives of more than 165,000 teens through a robust in-school program empowering students to test drive potential careers and develop professional, leadership, functional, and technical skills and competencies. VE’s mission is to ensure all young people have the opportunity to learn and succeed, regardless of their zip code. This vision is put into practice by equipping students with real life business skills that help them lead financially secure, successful lives. ​When Executive MBA Student, Anthony DeBellis, introduced us to VE, we immediately knew that we needed to get involved to help inspire future leaders. ​Now, more than ​20 ​Quantic ​students and alumni will be judges for VE’s national student business competitions.

VE programs guide youth to be adaptable, collaborative and self-directed. The company partners with schools, districts, and businesses across the United States to create educational pathways that align career education and work-based learning, with academic standards-based education. Guided by an industry-driven, educational framework, students launch and manage the growth of a company in a digital, international economy of more than 7,000 student-run businesses in 40+ countries. Through this, students learn how strong skills and a positive mindset can launch them into a successful future.

​Anthony DeBellis, a product management professional at Mastercard, has been involved with Virtual Enterprises for five years and believes its mentorship for young students is invaluable. “Looking back, my favorite memory was working with the students at Manhattan’s Business of Sports School. I was part of a volunteer team that visited the school a few times a month to work with students on their VE business. We would advise them, help them solve problems and share our experiences. When you start working with VE students at any level there are two things I always come back to: first, the students are inspiring, creative and have boundless potential. Second, the experience is rewarding and energizing.”

Anthony believes every high school student in the U.S. should have the opportunity to be part of an immersive VE classroom experience. He is continuing to help them grow by joining their NYC Advisory Board. “When I originally became involved with VE, I was working in banking and managing partnerships focused on bringing financial literacy to students through my organization. We were introduced to VE’s founder, Iris Blanc, at a Nasdaq Bell Ringing ceremony and immediately became enthralled with their vision. All these years later, I’m thrilled to still be engaged with the VE team.”

Students participating in the program are offered summits which are fully-interactive experiences that integrate a trade show atmosphere, workshops, special presentations, and networking opportunities. They offer many ways for students to develop and apply a full range of key career competencies, as well as interact with other VE students, educational leaders, community representatives, and real-world professionals.

Virtual Enterprises’ digital classrooms and Quantic’s pedagogy style both cater to a nontraditional entrepreneurial spirit. Anthony knows this is the perfect union, with the concept of modern education in mind. “I had long wanted to earn an MBA, however there is so much friction around traditional programs, in terms of logistics and costs. A former colleague of mine posted his Quantic degree on LinkedIn. I reached out to him to ask about his experience, and his feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Needless to say, I applied a week later and haven’t looked back.”

VE is a fantastic opportunity for Quantic students to give back to their community and impart valuable lessons to budding business leaders. We are thrilled to see so many of our students volunteer with Virtual Enterprises — we know they will be wonderful mentors to help inspire the next generation of trailblazers! If you or someone you know might be interested in volunteering, send an email to apena@veinternational.org.

Corporate Training & Development: Why It’s Important in 2021

No matter your industry, role, or career objectives, knowledge is power. You need it if you want to advance and maintain the same level of performance that won you that promotion. 

How do you go about getting the skills and knowledge you need? That’s where corporate training and development come into play. In the 2020s, it’s going to play a huge role in the way organizations think about and invest in their employees.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide. We’ll uncover:

  • What corporate training is and why it’s so important
  • Tips to maximize the benefits of corporate training and corporate eLearning
  • How to identify the right corporate training courses that work best for you

By the time you’re through, you’ll know exactly what a solid corporate training program looks like and how to make the most of what’s out there to accelerate your career.

What Is Corporate Training?

Corporate training refers to organized professional development activities created by companies to help their employees be more effective on the job. If you’ve ever taken a set of courses created and hosted by your employer, you’ve had a taste of what it entails.

These days, you’ll often see it called Corporate Education or Workplace Learning, but it’s a little different from the concept of on-the-job training. Corporate training is:

  • A form of continued education. You may encounter online courses, seminars, or series of lectures much like a traditional college class. This is especially true if your company uses outside resources or institutions that offer corporate training.
  • Geared toward your holistic professional development. It will help you attain the skills you need to be an effective corporate professional.
  • Not always company-specific. Corporate training is designed to help you excel in your current role and become more valuable to the company over time. However, you’ll usually also develop skills that you can take with you to other companies.

How You’ll Benefit From Corporate Training

A good corporate training program is one of the most critical things to look for when you consider taking a position in a company. The presence of one signals that the company recognizes its employees as a valuable resource and is interested in nurturing you as an asset. This has a host of benefits for both the company and you. Research suggests that you’ll enjoy:

  • Increased efficiency and competence at your job
  • Greater motivation and morale
  • A stronger and more cohesive company culture
  • Stabler teams and relationships due to fewer turnovers

Corporate Training Processes That Support Your Success

Imagine one Friday that you walk into your yearly review with your boss, who’s so enthused about your performance that you get a promotion. Congratulations! In the corporate world, that’s what everyone wants to hear.

Come Monday, get dressed up in your most confidence-inspiring outfit and head into the office. Your first task? A meeting with a key partner in an hour about an initiative spearheaded by your department. All right, you say. New position, new experience! Then, your boss hands you spreadsheets you’ve never seen before to help you prepare. By the way, after that, you’re having lunch with two of your department’s team leaders to discuss the findings in that meeting. No pressure.

It’s a good thing you had time for that online corporate training module over the weekend to help you get up to speed, right? Thanks to those processes your company has developed to help support your career, you’ve totally got this.

What a Strategic Model for Training & Development Looks Like

A strategic corporate training model typically has four phases. As you move through the ranks of your company, you’ll encounter them. They are:

  1. Onboarding. Onboarding gets employees up to speed on processes, procedures, and policies. In a good program, you’ll find yourself onboarded when you’re first hired, when you’re promoted, and when you’re brought onto a new team.
  2. Training. The company may have unique processes or procedures. You’ll need to develop the skills to perform them. This may also include mandatory training such as those established in compliance regulations for your industry.
  3. Development. Once you’ve gained competency in your position, you can begin with career or personal development training. Developmental training often focuses on soft skills like communication, problem-solving, or negotiation. Attaining these skills help you function much more effectively.
  4. Education. A good corporate training program also includes opportunities to attain an education that’s not related to your current job or role, but which help you attain career objectives down the line. You may pursue these opportunities to help tip you toward that promotion.

Although these are arranged linearly, you might find yourself moving through all four stages multiple times. They’re designed to complement one another and holistically improve your career. 

For example, in the story above, you may have gone through these steps when you were first hired. However, you went through at least the first two steps again when you were promoted. As you settle into your new role, you may also consider additional courses that help you develop professionally, or which provide you with the education you need to move forward again.

Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Corporate Training

Corporate training accelerates your career growth by giving you the skills and knowledge you need to achieve your goals. However, like with any continuing education, you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. We recommend that you:

  • Make corporate training programs a priority when you job search. Research whether the company you’re interested in working for has a corporate training program. If the job listing doesn’t mention it then someone on Glassdoor, Reddit, or Quora might have the scoop.
  • Identify your time and learning needs. Determine whether you need flexibility, certain time allowances, or for the material to be presented in a certain way. That will help you identify a program that works for you.  
  • Create a plan and a schedule. Make training and development a priority by putting it into your schedule. That will help you commit.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out third-party corporate training on your own. If your company doesn’t offer corporate training, look into organizations or institutions that provide it. Likewise, check with your company to see if they’ll offer tuition reimbursement.

4 Types of Corporate Training Programs

Many types of corporate training programs exist, and the company you work for might have many. They generally fall into four distinct categories:

1. Mandatory Learning

Mandatory learning involves legally required training that employees must receive. Sometimes, this happens regularly. Other times, it only has to happen once. Some examples of required training include:

  • Safety-related training, such as under OSHA or the FAA
  • Affirmative defense training
  • Ethics training, such as under the Federal Acquisitions Regulations
  • Privacy and security training under HIPAA

2. Leadership and Management

If you’re advancing to a management role, prepare to hit the books! According to LinkedIn, managers spend 30 percent more time learning new soft skills than the average person. Corporate training for leadership and management is often offered to individuals preparing to move into management positions for the first time, or into higher-level leadership positions. You’ll gain expertise in things like:

3. Department or Role-Specific Training

A company that’s committed to helping you develop professionally will offer corporate training directly related to your department or specific. That’s crucial when you transition to a new role or team, as it will help you get off on the right foot immediately. Department or role-specific training will include:

  • An overview of necessary processes, policies, and procedures
  • Resources for developing a deeper understanding of your role

4. Executive Readiness

Companies seeking to build, train, and grow their executive team often invest in executive readiness training programs. If attaining an executive position is among your career objectives, it’s well worth your time to consider these. Executive readiness training often takes the form of an EMBA program. These programs are like an MBA but focus more on the exact skills you’ll need as an executive in a corporation. A good EMBA:

  • Is accredited
  • Offers focuses and specialties
  • Has enough electives that you can broaden your skillset
  • Still teaches you the core business skills you need

What Is Corporate eLearning?

Corporate eLearning is the use of eLearning tools and solutions for corporate training. In other words, it’s digital and online learning for your professional development … much like online classes in college.

It’s also what you’re most likely to encounter when you sign up for your company’s corporate training program. Over the past 16 years, corporate eLearning has grown by an astounding 900 percent. From 2017 alone, the number of companies using eLearning jumped from 77 to 98 percent.

This tremendous growth is largely because there are many benefits of eLearning for corporate training for both companies and employees. With corporate eLearning, you’ll enjoy:

  • Greater schedule flexibility. You’ll access training and materials on your own time, in the comfort of your own home.
  • A differentiated learning experience. It’s easier to receive a customized learning experience that helps you close the specific skills gaps you have.
  • Self-paced learning. You’ll maximize knowledge retention by studying at your own pace.
  • The ability to learn on your own device. Rather than learning a new system or device, you’ll stay focused on learning the material you need to advance on familiar grounds.

These benefits can make or break your success, especially if you undertake a challenging endeavor like executive readiness training. (Checking out an EMBA program? Consider the full advantages of an online course over a traditional course.)

How to Get the Most Out of Corporate eLearning Solutions

Whether you’re enrolled in a company-provided program or pursuing corporate training independently, there are a few things that you can do to help you get the most out of your program. DO:

  • Look into customization options. Whether that includes signing up for electives or configuring a course interface to facilitate your learning style, make the eLearning experience one that works for you.
  • Set yourself up for success with the right hardware. Make sure your experience is a profitable one by having the right technology to support your learning.
  • Treat your eLearning and training as part of your job. Online learning can sometimes fall “out of sight and out of mind.” Keep it visible by putting it on your calendar and carving out a specified time for it.

Companies With Excellent Training & Development Programs

According to the American Society for Training and Development, companies with comprehensive corporate training and development programs generate 218 percent higher revenue and 24 percent higher profit margins.

And companies have taken notice. Here are three excellent examples of corporate training and development programs (plus what’s unique about them) to help you get a sense of what these programs include.

  • Etsy School. Etsy’s Learning and Development team helps employees develop professionally using evidence-based approaches and innovative formats. It’s unique in that development pathways for each employee stem directly from performance reviews.
  • Data University. Created by AirBnB, Data University strives to make the workforce more data literate. This unique approach allows employees to take courses, gain the “credentials” they need to move forward, and even includes Intensive units on specific skills.
  • Yelp’s Learning Culture. Rather than creating a separate university or training hub, Yelp adopts the attitude that “every day can be a school day” and has many initiatives for integrated learning. Both hard skills and soft skills are emphasized, as well as overall employee satisfaction to keep everyone engaged.

Key Takeaways to Build the Best Corporate Training for Your Executive Team

With the majority of companies offering some sort of corporate training, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to grow the hard and soft skills that can accelerate your career. We’ve covered how corporate training can help you develop professionally, as well as provided plenty of tips to help you make the most of whatever corporate training program you choose. You’re now ready to go forth, expand your skills, and seize the new opportunities corporate training creates. 

Happy advancing!

Student Spotlight: Dr. Michael Lao Gives the Gift of Sight

Dr. Michael Lao has made it his mission to help the blind see. On an average day, he and his team perform more than 1,000 cataract surgeries in churches and schools. Not only does he travel around the Philippines to serve patients, but he doesn’t charge them a single cent. 

His passion to become a missionary developed when the devastating 2011 Japan tsunami flooded more than 200 miles of coastal land. “I was there during the tsunami, so I saw what it did,” says Michael. “I had a fellowship in Japan and saw how many people suffered. By experiencing this, I knew that a materialistic lifestyle was not for me. Life has to be about something bigger. Anything can be taken away from you at any given time. After that, I decided to become a missionary.” 

Michael began going from town to town, helping anyone with medical issues. He soon realized he would have to make this a sustainable effort. “Once I reached the age of 40, I told myself that I would completely stop charging patients. I started doing a lot of surgeries for free and needed to know how to make this a sustainable process. No one would ever have to pay and I could still cover all the expenses of surgery.” 

Everything fell into place when Michael’s patient, an 80-year-old farmer, insisted on giving him raw coffee as payment. “I like serving farmers and teachers because they’re the ones that are very underserved. They started giving me things like chickens, fruit, and vegetables. This one woman was going to go blind and had been turned away by three hospitals because she couldn’t afford it. I ended up saving her vision and she gave me raw coffee from her incredible farm in the mountains.”

At first, Michael wasn’t sure what to do with the raw coffee. “The funny thing is, I was a tea drinker and didn’t know anything about blends,” jokes Lao. He ended up bringing it to one of the best roasters in Japan and asked if he could please roast it for him. The roaster tried it and said it was the best coffee he had ever tasted. “I went back to that patient and she said she had more coffee. She had been picking it by herself in the mountains for years. She said she had neighbors that also harvested coffee and needed help with their sight. I started taking care of them and realized they were getting paid very low for their coffee. I said I would pay them double and they would be my patients for free. That’s how the coffee business became my thing.” 

Michael began selling the coffee in Tokyo and the funds drastically increased the amount of surgeries he could perform. “We ended up going to another area in the Philippines to serve those people. My patients took me to a cacao farm and my wife said, ‘Why don’t we try this, too.’ So, I started trading cacao in the same model. I had to study coffee like I was studying chemistry. I had to study chocolate fermentation of cacao like I was studying pharmacology. Of course it’s scary because you have to learn everything from scratch. The thing about being a missionary is that you’re not so scared to make mistakes. That’s life. You have to have the same mentality for business. You have to have the resilience and the grit to move on.” 

The resilience of Michael’s medical efforts to help patients has now turned into a work of art. Within two to three hours, he and his team clean and set up makeshift clinics in churches and schools. They can see more than 1,000 patients per day. “One cataract surgery would probably cost them 1,000 dollars. We do it for free. These people can’t afford these surgeries in our healthcare system. That’s unacceptable to me. So, we go to the people.” 

Michael is changing thousands of lives every day and has seen the miracle of receiving sight. “You do what you have to do to help people and every time you do, it’s a miracle. I couldn’t believe that people would crawl just to get to me. They cannot see. They have to crawl. So, I wash people’s feet and their hands. After the surgery, you start to see the miracle take over. They can be independent now and they start to cry. I always joke, ‘Please don’t cry because you still have sutures on.’” 

In order to impact the greatest number of people, he knew he would need as much business knowledge as possible. “I have to split my personality in two. I have a schedule when I am the CEO of a company and for the rest of the week, I am a missionary. You really have to have a strong mind to separate both aspects because one is about making money to sustain your efforts. These are hundreds of thousands of people that need our help. My company has 20 people, but it’s not about that. It’s about the people you impact; The farmers, the teachers, the fisherman. If I can’t fight for them, who will?” 

Michael realized that Quantic would be the perfect option to gain this business knowledge and pursue his Executive MBA. “Quantic gave me my shot and taught me a lot of things on the business side. Quantic is a multiplier. Whatever I learned from Quantic, I can multiply and serve more people and encourage other people to do the same.” 

Now, in his free time, Michael continues to expand his missionary work. He is helping to bring doctors together and develop solar power and fresh water innovations for communities. “We’re harvesting clean water, producing vegetables, and using the same free surgery method. I keep telling them that they will find the courage to move forward because they are directly seeing the stakeholders, which are the patients. Once you see them, you get enough courage to do anything to help.”

Student Spotlight: Innovation to Bridge the Gap for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

MBA Student, Eva Michalkova, has obtained an Ivy League diploma, worked for a former US President, has been a contestant in multiple beauty pageants, and has been a world traveler since the age of six. But what is her life’s mission? Eva’s goal is to empower, lead and support the independence and integration of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals into the hearing-dominant world. 

When Eva was two years old, she was taken to an audiologist for examination because she did not respond to sounds. The results confirmed her hearing impairment – 99% hearing loss in both ears. Her mom became her rock and inspiration for Eva’s innovative career path. “My mom has been a huge inspiration of mine since I was a small kid,” says Eva. “When my hearing impairment was discovered, she did not give in, and she devoted all her time and effort to my personal development and spoken language acquisition. My mom is a truly capable woman who worked hard in silence to bring out the best in me. She was a leader who has shown incredible resilience during the most challenging times, and her determination over so many years has inspired me to be a resilient, responsible, reliable, and hard-working person.”

A few years ago, a visit to her audiologist led her on a path that would inspire her next career move: “I was handed a pair of the most advanced hearing aids, wired to a computer. They were so small — if they fell out you could accidentally swallow them  and not even notice. Increasing music volume, turning on ‘zen mode,’ setting up a restaurant mode, or pairing them with my iPhone —  I became a superwoman. I left the office so excited; I was blessed to have had my ears upgraded. But I also realized that not all people with hearing impairment are fortunate to communicate with their physicians so seamlessly and have the same advantages as I did. Therefore, my fiance and I signed up for two hackathons to address this obstacle and create a solution. That’s when the No F-ears mobile app prototype was founded.” 

The app was instantly popular and cleverly named to convey the idea, “No ears, no fears.” Its main goal was to dramatically improve the most important aspects of the deaf-hearing community experience, including booking appointments and doctor visits. A live chat tool facilitates a real-time conversation between a hearing doctor and deaf patient, simultaneously translating text into spoken words and vice versa. Since its launch, it has won multiple awards, including two international startup prizes: the 2018 Social Innovation Weekend Hackathon Award and the 2019 Social Impact Award in the Czech Republic.

The hackathon weekends proved to be a pivotal time in Eva’s career. “Both events provided us with a unique opportunity to meet new people and broaden our horizons. Executing an idea requires dedication, persistence, money, and time — not just a marketing budget. To solve the problem you have to know it from top to bottom. Innovators usually rise to the top as a result of substantial life-long expertise in their field, not from problem-solving in a vacuum.” Eva realized the problem was much more significant than just the communication barrier. Her vision could go far beyond a single app, so she created MIRAIO

MIRAIO is the world’s first go-to platform for all people with any hearing loss, at any stage of their lives. Unlike traditional organizations in this industry that communicate with their customers mainly through newsletters and blogs, MIRAIO connects with its audience through social media support with closed captions. The platform guides the viewer through real-life scenarios to ensure a successful integration into a hearing world. 

The global company has become even more popular during the recent pandemic. “COVID-19 and its stay-at-home measures have sparked a massive change in how deaf and hard-of-hearing people access information and healthcare,” says Eva. “The existing institutions’ traditional processes don’t focus on younger customers’ needs, use twenty-first technology, social media, or other modern tools and technology. We are the leaders, the advocates who speak up, and help both the hearing and deaf world move forward. We challenge the deeply-rooted status quo of the deaf society and its identity, and change the narrative of how people with hearing impairment are perceived in the hearing world” 

With the creation of MIRAIO, Eva was inspired to pursue her MBA with Quantic to continue to expand her platform and inspire others to become advocates for her cause. She knew she would need a flexible program to optimally fit into her busy schedule. “To succeed in the fast-paced business world, I aspired to obtain the business skills I needed to accelerate my career. I was looking for a solution that would be flexible with my schedule so I didn’t have to choose between my job and education — with Quantic, I could do both!” 

Eva’s goal is to have the global community eventually reach a point where deaf individuals can seamlessly interact with the hearing world and be independent, with no need for sign-interpreters. “The first and most essential step is to acknowledge the importance of inclusion and awareness of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Equity, inclusion, diversity —  when “hearing peers” use these terms, there is often a lack of understanding in regards to what it means to be truly inclusive of the deaf community. There needs to be profound and consistent efforts to make our voices heard, so that we can enact real change in this world.”

Student Spotlight: Sneakerhead, Kenneth Anand

Founder of 3 8 0 Group, Author, and former Yeezy General Counsel, Kenneth Anand, always ran full speed towards his goals. Besides his great love for hip hop and pop culture, that’s probably why he has an affection for sneakers and is even a self-proclaimed “Sneakerhead.” His drive and passion have always led him throughout his life and so far, he has been victorious in every race. 

After fifteen years of a successful law career, Kenneth realized that he wanted to leave his private practice and pursue his passion. “It was a wake up call for me,” says Anand. “I realized if there was any time to pivot, it was now. I could stay a partner and have a fine life, or I could try to find something that really ignited me.”  

He started pursuing his excitement for sneakers and focused on clients that were in the fashion and entertainment industries. It wasn’t long before an opportunity presented itself with one of his well-known clients, Yeezy Apparel. Kanye West’s sneaker and clothing brand wanted to hire Kenneth’s firm, but he had a better offer. “I used the opportunity to say, ‘Instead of hiring my law firm, why don’t you just hire me and I’ll come work for you guys full time.’”

Kenneth then became head of business development and general counsel to Yeezy, the leader in the multibillion-dollar global footwear industry. “When I left private practice to go to Yeezy, I didnt even think about the business world and I wasn’t anticipating making that transition. I was just trying to be the best lawyer for Kanye and Yeezy. I soon realized that every facet of my life, whether it was sneakers, fashion, hip hop, pop culture… everything that was interesting to me was rolled up into this one job. It’s so unique to find that sweet spot in your career and I felt like my life was coming full-circle.”

This inspired Kenneth to focus on the business side of the sneaker industry and pursue his MBA with Quantic. “I already knew everything there was to know about sneakers, so it was just very natural for me. What inspired me to go to Quantic was that there were terms being thrown around in business meetings by my CFO and it was like any foreign language that I needed to learn. I looked at many schools and at this phase in my life, it was less about where it was than the information itself and the quality of the learning. It was the perfect style of this learning for me. I could fly and do it on the plane, or do it in the morning before my kids got up, or after they went to bed.” 

He put these business tools to use in his daily life and knew the sneaker industry was his calling. “I knew that when Yeezy was over I needed to continue this. I didn’t want to go back to the practice of law, so I set myself up with the perfect segway.” 

In walks Sneaker Law, a bible for the sneaker industry. Kenneth and his partner, Jared Goldstein, decided to write a book that combines the legal and business side to the footwear world. “The topic of Sneaker Law came about even before I went to Yeezy,” says Anand. “The sneaker business is a 90-billion dollar industry, but most people think you can just buy a pair of sneakers and sell them for money. The goal was to introduce them to all these topics that would otherwise be daunting and standoffish, like business and law, and offer it in a way that was digestible and exciting.” 

Now, Sneaker Law goes far beyond the pages of a book. Anand and Goldstein recently lectured on the topic at Harvard Law School in January. “This is more than a book. We can go teach this, have an online course, there could be a podcast. Having that experience of making a business plan from start to finish at Quantic was extremely useful and now I have the needed confidence. All the things that I learned at Quantic were put to the test and used practically.” 

What is the latest goal that Kenneth is confidently chasing? He and former Yeezy CEO, Cristiano Minchio, have founded 3 8 0 Group, a fashion licensing company that helps celebrities, creatives, and rising brands grow and develop. “We have this bleeding heart for creatives and we just want to see creative people thrive. We set out to create a holding company that would help brands grow and develop in all ways. We take brands and we provide the infrastructure to grow. We’ve aligned with brands like Will Smith’s brand, Bel-Air Athletics, and will be debuting the first collection at our showroom in Milan.” 


Sneaker Law will hit shelves this December. Hardcover pre-orders are available now on sneakerlaw.com and e-book versions will be available on Amazon by mid-October. “As soon as you start doing what you love on a regular basis, you’re just compelled to do more to solidify your position. That’s what drives me,” Says Anand. “It’s a testament to where life can take you if you just go after what you’re most passionate about and give it your all.”

Student Spotlight: Dr. Noble Adapts to Create Solutions During the Pandemic

“I saw a patient who walked in with a little difficulty and complained of extreme fatigue. I remember speaking to him, having a normal conversation, while conducting my examination. I was shocked and horrified to see this man having a full conversation with me had a blood oxygen saturation reading of 34%. His chest x-ray was remarkable and I immediately phoned an internist for his admission to the intensive care unit. His only positive COVID-19 criterion was fatigue. He did not even complain of shortness of breath, fever, or have any of the other typical symptoms. That evening, as I did my admission follow-up calls, I was told that he had been placed on a ventilator within two hours of arriving in ICU. I had never seen such a quick deterioration. Luckily, this patient improved quite miraculously and he is one of my favorite recovery stories.” 

This type of rapid patient deterioration became a common occurrence at the beginning of the pandemic in the Johannesburg, South Africa hospitals where Executive MBA Student, Dr. Teneel Noble, works as an ER physician. “A patient would come in speaking and by the end of your hospital shift, they would be requiring some sort of ventilatory support. By the time you came in for your next shift, they had passed away. It was scary to witness,” says Noble. 

During the beginning of the pandemic, many of the hospitals had to rapidly convert their resuscitation rooms and non-emergency consultation rooms into COVID-19 red zones. This is where positive patients were cared for, as well as anyone exposed to the disease. “While hospitals, clinics and medical practices all have certain baselines and infectious control standards that need to be adhered to at all times, COVID-19 caused many complications to arise during implementation of these. This is mainly because massive infrastructure reallocation and subdivisions had to be achieved because the disease is so easily transmitted from person to person.”

Moving between the red zone and normal zone became a mission and a constant cycle of changing gowns and personal protective equipment (PPE). “Coming into the red zone requires putting on new personal protective equipment and new gowns each and every time. Coming out of the red zone requires removing all the gowns and personal protective equipment again. This cycle continues for each movement between zones. In an average shift, one could change in excess of 80 times.”

Dr. Noble in a Johannesburg Resus room, during the height of the pandemic.

Beyond facility logistics, staffing shortages, due to people contracting the disease, and lack of PPE began to become a reality. “Outside of the ER, in the community, due to the sheer amount of PPE, massive restructuring of schedules had to be undertaken to accommodate staffing of the ER. Due to the sheer amount of PPE that we were using, we needed to find a way that was cost effective and yet still efficient. I ended up having to buy a large number of refuse bags, as they were essentially what was needed. I cut out space for my hands and arms and used that. I was also able to recycle it in a sense, I would take it off, wash it in soap and water, dry it out and then dip it again in 70% alcohol.” 

Adapting to situations and finding quick solutions became a goal of Dr. Noble. Her startup, Medica Alliance International, now has an entire MDConnect wing dedicated to providing medical support for COVID-19. “My own personal practice endeavors have evolved since the start of COVID-19. What I love most about my job is the ability to make a tangible difference in the lives of others, and at the same time to learn and relearn on a daily basis. Medicine is not an exact science. It is science that draws upon the facts and also draws upon intuition when the facts do not make sense.”

Dr. Noble’s personal practice is what inspired her to pursue an MBA. Quantic’s flexible platform was the perfect fit. “After practicing clinical medicine for a few years, eventually settling in Emergency Medicine, I noticed there were many things that could change on the business side. Quantic has revolutionized how an MBA program should be run. Being in this profession, having a career with timely demands, and not being in a constant location, made it refreshing to find a program that took all of that into consideration. Quantic enables one to complete the coursework and requirements without burning out and trying to fit all spheres into a rigid schedule.”

After witnessing these pandemic hospital experiences first-hand, Dr. Noble has advice for a potential second wave. Her main takeaway is to stay vigilant and stay active. “One of the most important things to get through to the general public is that relaxation of lockdown does not mean that the pandemic is over. In fact, it means that despite greater freedoms, there should be greater awareness of preventative strategies. Mental health is also a major issue. This time may produce frustration, anger, depression, as well as anxiety. Physical exercise is very important. It will relieve stress and release those needed endorphins.”

Girl Up’s Virtual Summit Empowers Thousands of Young Leaders

Girl Up Communications & Digital Media Associate and Quantic Alum, Naomi Naik, helps girls broaden their social impact skillset, apply STEM for good, and create policy change. This leadership program, founded by the United Nations Foundation, reaches tens of thousands of girls around the world. When COVID-19 hit, she knew their mostly in-person global leadership summits would need to adapt to the “new normal.” Her team worked diligently to create a virtual platform that gained the attention of many global leaders and was viewed by thousands of attendees. Here is her story: 

When the United Nations Foundation decided to go remote in March, I knew this would be a unique time that would present professional and personal challenges that none of us had previously experienced. Shortly after the virtual workplace pivot, UNF launched the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund through a virtual press conference with Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros. This fund pools resources from companies, philanthropies, and individuals to contribute directly to WHO’s work to prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the last week of July, the Fund has raised over $225 million from more than 560,000 individuals, companies, and philanthropies. Although these efforts would not have been a priority without the virus, the ability for our organization as a whole to set this up in a matter of days after closing our physical office was inspiring enough for my own team to take some notes.

I manage digital and editorial strategy at Girl Up, a leadership development movement that engages, trains, and mobilizes girls around the world to take action to achieve global gender equality. Girl Up provides leadership training and gives girls tools to become gender equality advocates and activists. Through our programs, girls broaden their social impact skillset, benefit from a platform to tell their stories, and apply STEM for social good. Our girl leaders create real policy change at local and national levels, help raise millions of dollars to support United Nations programs that reach tens of thousands of girls around the world, and build community-based movements. Girl Up was founded by the United Nations Foundation in 2010, and continues to work across a global community of partners to achieve gender equality worldwide.

Most of Girl Up’s engagement with girls around the world occurs in-person, at our global Leadership Summits, STEM bootcamps, and professional development panels. We had to adapt this component of our organization ASAP in order to keep up with the times. By the third week of March, we had lined up panels and webinars for our community to hear from girl activists, global leaders, and professionals in the fields of gender equality, mental health, STEM, storytelling, and social justice.

These panels brought in over 2,000 attendees weekly, almost surpassing the number of girls we can usually host at an in-person event by tenfold. 

However, another challenge lay ahead: How would we host our annual Girl Up Leadership Summit virtually? The “Zoom fatigue” was beginning to set in, and not in an escapable way. We brainstormed how to create an interactive experience online that could increase our reach given the Summit was usually in Washington, D.C. and capped at 450 attendees.

Our team worked diligently for weeks, in the midst of also hosting a massive graduation celebration for the Class of 2020 and re-evaluating our curriculum with the new wave of social justice accountability. We made sure all of our programming would give girls a platform to speak on the current situation around the world when it came to the intersectionality of gender equality and socioeconomic barriers, racial justice, climate change, period poverty, and so many other important topics. 

And then the speakers began to confirm:

And so many more! We never imagined that going virtual would actually allow for our organization to catch the attention of global leaders and changemakers like these. And that lack of expectations, but overflowing aspirations brought in more than 80 speakers, 40,000 global attendees and quite a few new sponsors. 

Being a Quantic MBA student during this experience made me a valuable asset to my team as well. Using my supply & operations coursework to guide how we set up “flow” within the virtual platform, using my strategy coursework to work together with sponsors to optimize our partnerships, and using my data & decisions coursework to then analyze all the data post-Summit allowed me to put my education to true use in a high-stakes setting.

My story is not unique if you examine how many organizations have been forced to innovate. However, the impact of the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit is already tangible as girls have started 52 Clubs last week alone, signed up for five future virtual events, and been part of 3.6 billion social media impressions for Girl Up, just this month. One day, COVID-19 will be over, but the effect will be everlasting on all of us, especially our youth. It’s imperative we use these times to not only inspire and push ourselves to create something new, but also help this generation and generations to come find their passions to turn them into action.

The Quantic community can’t wait to see what’s next for Naomi, Girl Up, and the bright futures of the countless young leaders that they will continue to inspire to help make this world a better place.