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Leadership Development Program graduates UCOP’s newest crop of leaders

In what school do EVP for Business Operations Nathan Brostrom, AVP for Communications Lynn Tierney, CFO Peter Taylor and UC President Mark Yudof teach?

Right here at UCOP, for the past nine months, they and a dozen other UC executives have been conducting a powerhouse of a course called the Leadership Development Program, which graduated its inaugural class of 14 emerging UC managers on Dec. 15.

The program was launched early this year to provide specialized leadership training and cultivate a diverse pool of future leaders within OP. Participants, who were nominated by their managers, had to be strong performers in managing people or projects and have the potential for taking on additional responsibility.

President Yudof and VP for Human Resources Dwaine Duckett presided at the graduation ceremony, where each graduate came forward to receive a plaque and a handshake from the president.

“The better you do your job,” Yudof said in his remarks, “the better the university does.” The program, he said, emphasized cognitive skills, the problem-solving ability beyond an individual’s professional training that enables leaders to think about what they’re doing and where they’re headed.

The Leadership Development Program, which was financed through senior leadership, is part of a leadership training series in the works by Human Resources on behalf of the president to support professional development and succession planning. The goal is to develop leaders within UCOP to assume larger roles throughout the UC system.

The 14 graduates include:

  • David Alcocer, associate director of University Programs, Student Affairs
  • Debra Almason, external relations manager, Central Travel Management
  • Esther Cheung Hill, director, Benefits Information Systems
  • Dana Santa Cruz, assistant director, Budget and Capital Resources
  • Melina Duarte, program manager, COSMOS, Education Partnerships
  • Robert Franks, PPS programming supervisor, ITS Payroll/Personnel Services
  • Nancy Hamill, senior counsel, Office of General Counsel
  • David Robinson, associate campus counsel, UC Berkeley (Robinson started the program while senior counsel in the Office of General Counsel at UCOP, but elected to continue after moving to the Berkeley campus.)
  • Gary Schlimgen, director, HR Pensions and Retirement Programs
  • Clare Sheridan, senior policy analyst, Academic Senate
  • Michael Thompson, director, Healthcare Operations and Tech Services
  • Do-quyen Tran-Taylor, planning analyst, Academic Planning, Programs and Coordination
  • Erich van Rijn, assistant press director, UC Press
  • Donna Yamasaki, manager, HR Online Systems

Earlier in the day the graduates had given hour-long presentations on their team assignments, real problem-solving projects sponsored by OP executives. The projects put the course participants to work developing executable recommendations complete with budgets, resource plans and marketing and communications plans.

“Working on the team was hands-down the highlight of the program,” said Clare Sheridan, whose team worked on creating a marketing plan for the University of California Online Education (UCOE) initiative. “It was exciting to work on a UC project that’s just launching, and I hope in some small way we were able to contribute.”

The two other projects included developing a framework for UC global engagement opportunities, and developing a plan for integrating multi-year financial forecasting and strategic alignment into the Budget Management Tool, UCOP’s new system for developing departmental budgets. Each team had a set of expected deliverables as well as an executive sponsor.

Regular course sessions were held monthly, with themes like Leading at UC, Working in a Public Institution, Navigating OP and University Culture, and Collaboration with Campuses. All sessions were conducted by leaders from the highest levels of UC, which was considered key to the success of the program. Participants also completed 360-degree assessments and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

“I can speak for everyone in saying that we came away different people,” Franks said. “Thanks to our managers, who allowed us to participate.”

The group gave a wine basket and enthusiastic round of applause to Linda Klink, manager of UCOP Learning and Development, who orchestrated the program. She will be conducting ongoing assessments to evaluate its effectiveness in stimulating advancement in the organization and to make refinements for next year’s program.

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  1. Todd Colburn December 20, 2011 Reply

    What a great program – congrats to all the graduates.

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