Building Confident Leaders

From left are Ismael Pimienta, director of Point Solutions at UMIT, Sebastian the Ibis, and Celia McFadden, manager of Point Solutions at UMIT.
By Brittney Bomnin

From left are Ismael Pimienta, director of Point Solutions at UMIT, Sebastian the Ibis, and Celia McFadden, manager of Point Solutions at UMIT.

Building Confident Leaders

By Brittney Bomnin
University leaders learn more about themselves and one another through the popular Essentials of Leadership program.

Celia McFadden is a first-time manager in the University of Miami’s Information Technology (UMIT) department. Yet despite her limited experience in leading teams in the UM community, McFadden is embracing her new role with confidence thanks in large part to the skills she acquired while participating in the Essentials of Leadership (EOL) program this spring.

“EOL isn’t specifically geared for first-time managers, but there was lot of value I could pull out,” said McFadden, noting that what she learned has helped even in her personal life with running her own household.

Before starting EOL, McFadden met with her supervisor, Ismael Pimieta, director of Point Solutions at UMIT, to set professional goals and identify areas of growth. These initial conversations helped prepare McFadden to complete the program, which kicked off with a panel discussion on “The Business of the U,” was followed by several day-long training sessions in smaller cohorts at the Gables campus, and then by four modules spaced out over five months.

“One of the reasons I encouraged Celia to participate in EOL was that I want her to know that as an organization we’re investing in her,” explained Pimienta. “I was happy to see her take advantage of the opportunity and be serious about it.”

Since its inception in 2014, more than 500 University leaders have graduated from EOL. The program, which is hosted by the Office of Talent and Organizational Development (TOD) and is open to employees who have at least one direct report, invites participants to explore their individual leadership style, understand learning styles, gain confidence in handling difficult conversations at work, and expand their professional network with colleagues across the University.

“Throughout the program our cohort of about 16 people became very close,” McFadden said. “I got to learn from the experiences of employees that I wouldn’t normally be exposed to since we work on different campuses and have different roles.”

Participants walk away from EOL having learned much about themselves, and many choose to take other trainings offered by the office. TOD’s Learning Hub will soon launch a new training titled Crucial Conversations, which focuses on teaching skills for handling high stakes, emotional, or risky topics. Pimienta has already signed up for the class and says he will likely enroll in the next round of EOL himself.

“Everyone is looking to grow in their position and their profession,” said Pimienta. “If you can do your job better, and if these programs help you do it better, it leads to a more satisfying experience. Programs such as EOL contribute to that satisfaction.”

To learn more about professional development opportunities available to UM employees, visit learn-inspire.hr.miami.edu.