Staff members graduate from Leadership Growth Program and present Capstone Projects

Eight FAS staff members received their certificates and graduated July 11 from Learning and Development’s Leadership Growth Program (LGP). This year’s graduating class included

  • Larrimie Gordon, Facilities Services
  • Mary Kemp, FAS Business Services
  • Jed Krieger, Technology Resources
  • Emmanuel Nshimirimana, Facilities Services (learn more about Emmanuel in this recent UT L&D Manager Spotlight)
  • Sara Somabhatta, Technology Resources
  • Elista Street, Records and Information Management Services
  • Eric Wilson, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Adrian Young, Information Technology Services

"We're always striving to keep the curriculum relevant and fresh, and each year we try to add something a little different to the program," said Emil Kresl, director of Learning and Development. "This year we hosted the graduation and Capstone Presentation event in a beautiful new venue. The Leadership Growth Program is our portfolio’s premier development program, and the Mulva Auditorium helped raise the graduation event to the prestigious level it deserves."

The Leadership Growth Program is an annual professional development opportunity offered by Learning and Development for FAS staff to cultivate leadership skills through a curriculum of leadership principles, theory, and concepts. The program, which started about 14 years ago, is held once per year and lasts approximately six months, with between five and ten people selected to participate through a formal application process.

As part of the program, LGP participants attend weekly classes with guest speakers who typically cover topics on talent management, communication, public speaking, emotional intelligence, and authentic listening, among other core leadership skills and abilities. Assigned reading on leadership topics is also part of the curriculum.

In addition to classes and reading, participants must complete four deliverables. The first deliverable requires everyone to create a personal development plan for a single leadership competency. The second deliverable involves researching a leadership style and presenting the findings to the class. The third deliverable consists of learning about a particular leadership topic (e.g., Strategic Planning) and then presenting about the topic. The final deliverable is the Capstone Project, which requires participants to identify a problem or opportunity at the university, develop an implementation plan, write a report, and deliver a formal presentation. The Capstone Project provides an excellent opportunity for on-the-job learning experiences.

"The Capstone Project proposals presented by this year's participants were outstanding, and every one of them has the potential to help the university improve how it does business and provides services to our community at large, but as a whole, there is something even more incredible happening through this program," Kresl said. "The program is the embodiment of our FAS shared values, and the Capstone Projects are an exercise in those values that ultimately will enable us to meet the greatest challenges, do more, do better, and help make The University of Texas at Austin the highest impact research university in the world."

This year’s class presented the following Capstone Project plans at the graduation ceremony

  • Demolishing Barriers to Staff Career Fulfillment: An integrated approach to supporting and retaining UT staff through career development and coaching, Larrimie Gordon, Facilities Services
  • Transforming Paperwork and Red Tape into a Finish Line: Efficient and simple approvals through smarter forms and clear guidance, Mary Kemp, FAS Business Services
  • Championing Staff Creativity: Leveraging staff intellectual property for innovation and commercialization, Jed Krieger, Technology Resources
  • Embracing and Mitigating Employee Turnover: A 3-prong approach to transforming turnover into an asset, Emmanuel Nshimirimana, Facilities Services
  • Process Management Vault: Enhanced process documentation for sustainable operational excellence, Sara Somabhatta, Technology Resources
  • Collaborative Information Management: Cultivating a holistic information governance community, Elista Street, Records and Information Management Services
  • Tracking Chemical Risk: Automating chemical inventory management to save time, resources, and lives, Eric Wilson, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Slashing the Timeline of Enhanced Financial Data Access: Utilizing the critical path method for a new solution to an old problem, Adrian Young, Information Technology Services

The LPG program runs from January to July, with individuals meeting weekly for 2-hour sessions, and culminates with the graduation ceremony and Capstone Project presentations. The program is intended for FAS employees who have demonstrated the aptitude for leadership, but may not necessarily be in a traditional or formal leadership position.

Applicants to the program are evaluated for high levels of leadership potential, commitment to leadership, and enthusiasm for realizing their potential. The evaluation is based on recommendations from supervisors, applicants’ letters of interest, performance evaluations, and interviews.

For those interested in participating in the program, applications are accepted starting in September. Watch for future announcements about info sessions or view this past info session online for some additional background. 

Class of 22 LPG members on stage during graduation
July 25, 2022