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AAA Cooper Director of Organizational Development discusses developing early leadership potential in a preview of Jump Start 2023 supply chain conference remarks

Jump Start 2023 will address the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing the supply chain industry. AAA Cooper Director of Organizational Development Brenda Maurice will discuss the importance of developing and nurturing future leaders. Maurice recently spoke with SMC³ about AAA Cooper’s leadership development program and what she hopes attendees take away from her breakout session.

During your breakout session at Jump Start 2023, you are speaking on developing early leadership potential. Broadly, why is it important for companies to develop and nurture internal talent?

In my experience, developing and nurturing internal talent pays off in many ways.

First, the employee has already committed to the company by being a part of it. They know our business, culture, and company; this helps reduce the learning curve and makes them more effective in leadership roles.

Additionally, it helps uncover hidden talent, reduces skill gaps, strengthens retention, and engages employees while allowing the company to build the bench strength needed for the future. And last but certainly not least, it helps our employees achieve their career goals. 

Are there any leadership development programs AAA Cooper Transportation utilizes? If so, how have these programs impacted your organization? 

We have developed an internal leadership development program. It came together from lots of learning from what we did right and what needed improvement in the past with our manager trainee program. It helped us understand what development and education were necessary for our future leaders. 

The result was our Leadership Development Program (LDP). Our LDP is a comprehensive program and exposes the participant to all aspects of our business. They interact with leaders at all levels while learning about the roles and responsibilities of each department, service offering, and each function at the service center. Our approach builds a foundation for executive leadership and is something we are delighted to offer our employees.    

We have had enormous success with the participants that have gone through the program. Many have come through the program and are now leading a shift or service center.

What advice can you give to employees interested in pursuing a leadership role within their organization?

When I recruit, I am looking for individuals who seek to continuously learn and grow and see challenges as opportunities.  Keep in mind that each company culture is unique, but in leadership, many things work no matter what company you work for. As leaders, we must remember that it is about our direct reports and helping them grow, learn, and develop. Do what you can to help them be successful in their roles and provide growth opportunities. 

What do you hope attendees take away from your session?

The transportation industry is fast-paced, and if you are curious, there is always something new to learn. It could be a small or large thing, but it ultimately contributes to you being better able to tackle a problem in the future. Be curious, learn what you can, and help find solutions for issues that arise.

I encourage attendees to have empathy – put yourself in others’ shoes. Remember that someone saw something in you and gave you an opportunity to lead others. Do the same for the natural leaders and remember to provide opportunities to “the not-so-obvious” leaders. The results may surprise you!

To hear more from Brenda Maurice and other transportation industry experts, sign up today for Jump Start 2023!

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Categories: Education, Supply Chain