Lab Matters Summer 2018 - Page 28

training & workforce development A Decade of Excellence: Celebrating 10 Years of APHL’s Emerging Leader Program by Laura Siegel, senior specialist, Training & Workforce Development On a gray and misty morning in Seattle, a group of 12 individuals who were strangers just 24 hours ago work together to lift a 60-foot Olympic rowing shell into the waters of Lake Washington. Keeping in mind the instructions they’ve received from a rowing coach just a few hours before, they work in unison to balance their boat as they race through the water. Rowing may look easy; in reality it is anything but. Rowing takes focus, coordination and the ability to act for the good of the team. Not everyone in the boat has the same role, but every role is important to the success of the crew. Many of the qualities needed to succeed in rowing are not so different from the qualities needed to succeed in running complex organizations. This is one of the reasons why rowing is incorporated into every orientation workshop of APHL’s Emerging Leader Program (ELP). The ELP is a 12-month leadership development program for public health laboratory professionals. Each year a dozen individuals are selected to form a cohort, and together they attend three in-person workshops and collaborate on a distance-based project. During each in-person meeting they participate in training sessions to enhance their leadership and management skills. To-date, over 110 laboratorians have graduated from the ELP, and this summer APHL celebrated the completion of its 10th cohort class. To honor this milestone, I spoke with Pandora Ray, APHL’s Leadership Development Advisor, who has As a member of the ELP, I have not only seen changes in myself during the program, but I have seen changes in my peers. While we learn together, we help each other grow. The ELP provides a comfortable environment for professional development and growth to occur.” Kathleen Street, laboratory resource group manager, Texas Department of State Health Services. been part of the ELP since its inception and has seen the program evolve over time. Of all the team building activities you could choose, why did you choose rowing to kick-off the ELP? Rowing is a great team building activity because it takes people out of their comfort zones. Also, in many ways rowing is a great metaphor for work situations. For instance, in the workplace you can’t always see the future and often someone else is leading the way. All you can do is follow the person in front of you and maintain synchronicity. Rowing is a physical exercise that demonstrates the importance of being able to both lead and follow, and work as a cohesive unit. What are some of the biggest accomplishments of the ELP over the past decade? What comes to mind first is the sheer number of ELP graduates across the country who are serving on APHL committees, assuming progressively higher leadership positions and volunteering for special projects. Also, our graduates are gaining visibility and taking the tools they’ve learned from the ELP and applying them on a broader scale. It’s really fulfilling to see them facilitate better meetings, tell more stories, give better presentations and become stronger advocates for the public health laboratory system after completing the program. Looking ahead, how would you like to see the program evolve in the next 10 years? In the future I’d love to benefit even more people by running more than one cohort per year. Or, I’d like to establish more regional ELP programs so participants can delve deeper into workforce issues in their own networks. 26 LAB MATTERS Summer 2018 PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org