- Features | March 11, 2014
IEC's Emerging Leaders Initiative
A recently launched initiative by IEC, called Emerging Leaders, is already reaping benefits. At the national level, the program is informal, consisting of a number of courses and programs being offered by IEC at conventions and other conferences. However, the program is already being formalized in at least two IEC chapters: IEC Rocky Mountain and IEC Atlanta.
“One thing IEC realizes is that we need to prepare the next generation of leaders, not only within IEC, but also within our member companies to help these people take the step to becoming the next generation of leaders,” said Thayer Long, Executive Vice President and CEO of IEC National. “We need to adapt and help prepare the next generation of leaders as they advance in their careers.”
After having offered a few Emerging Leader courses to interested participants over the last year or so, IEC hosted an Emerging Leaders Happy Hour at the 56th Annual IEC National Convention & Electric Expo in Portland, Oregon.
“It was a huge success,” said Long. “We were hoping for about 20 people, but we were pleasantly surprised that about 50 showed up.” IEC plans to continue its efforts by offering more seminars, classes, and other educational programs for emerging leaders in the future.
Rocky Mountain Leaders
One of the chapters that has already taken steps to formalize Emerging Leaders is the Denver, Colorado-based Independent Electrical Contractors – Rocky Mountain (IECRM).
“A lot of people in leadership positions in our organization around the country understand the need to prepare younger members to eventually take over the positions of leadership,” said Spenser Villwock, MNM, LEED-AP, CEO of the chapter. “However, there has been some difficulty in engaging these younger people to really be able to see the value of gaining more experience and viewing it as a conduit to moving into positions of leadership.”
The Emerging Leaders Program at IECRM helps the chapter’s member companies identify the people who are mid-career and are on a trajectory in their careers to become senior leaders within their respective companies and within the industry in general. The companies include electrical contractors, as well as manufacturers and distributors, ensuring a good cross-section of the industry.
“One reason we started the program in our chapter is that we see the need to be able to engage our younger talent and provide them with relevant resources, programs, and tools to help make our association the best it can be, as well as for our member companies to be the best they can be,” said Villwock.
Participation in the chapter’s program is limited to 25 people. They are hand- selected by current leaders who identify the people in their organizations as the ones they would like to have replace them in five, 10, or 15 years. “In terms of cost, since it is one of our member services, we operate it as a break-even proposition,” said Villwock. In most cases, the member companies cover the cost of the program for the people they send.
“We are in the middle of our second year, and, fortunately, we haven’t had to turn anyone away yet,” he said. “Our first year, we had 24 people in the program. This year, we have 22. However, as we continue to move forward, we anticipate that it will become a highly competitive program, and, at some point, we may need to begin to turn people away.”
As a way to select people, the chapter has an application process, in which applicants are asked about their backgrounds, what their motives are, and what they want to gain. &ldquo