Developing senior staff has meaningful impact

Written on Mar 14, 2018

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Although career development training is common for entry-level employees, it’s just as important for senior leadership to learn and grow in an intentional way.

CrosbyTnameline“There is this perception that once you get to a certain level you’ve made it and don’t need any more development,” said Tiffany Crosby, CPA, OSCPA’s director of learning. “Now you’re the ‘expert’ and your responsibility is to train and develop others. Oftentimes there isn’t enough done to help equip, connect and mobilize the senior leaders.”

To support the development of senior staff, The Ohio Society of CPAs has had multiple employees participate in Leadership Columbus, a program designed to further engage experienced leaders in their community and foster their own development.

Leadership Columbus brings together about 60 individuals spanning from sectors such as nonprofit, legal, media, business and more. The 10-month long program gives participants the tools and knowledge they will need to become more influential leaders.

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“This gave me an opportunity to build a network of other leaders in Columbus that we have started leveraging at OSCPA,” said Scott Wiley, CAE, President and CEO. He attended the program from fall 2016 to spring 2017 and described the process as “fun, but intense.”

Once accepted into the program, the time commitment entails retreat in the fall and one full day a month out of the office. Those out-of-office days cover the bright spots and challenges of Columbus, which include homelessness and the education system. Attendees also form smaller groups and work on projects to benefit the community.

OSCPA CFO Kyle Bickhart, CPA, is participating in the 2017-2018 class and said he’s already found value in the connections he’s made and is learning more about himself as a leader. His small group has picked up a project from a previous class focused on the South Side.

“I have lived in Columbus since 1999 and through this program I have learned so much about what our city is trying to do,” Bickhart said. “Giving back to the community has always been very important to me, and that’s what we’re doing at OSCPA, too; we’re finding how we can have groups of people go out and make a difference.”

Crosby attended the program from 2008 to 2009 and said the most valuable insight she gained was the magnitude of tackling complex challenges. She said there is a need for every part of the city to work in unity to best solve issues, a lesson that can be applied at work.

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“I think about how we’re working with our own members and that’s the same approach we take here,” Wiley said. “We’re focused on how we are bringing our community together to look at the big issues and challenges.”

Regardless of an employee’s place on an organizational chart, a company should view career development opportunities as a worthwhile and necessary investment to its success, Wiley said.

“Prioritizing this learning is critical,” he said. “Not only to improve the organization’s bottom line, but also to ensure leaders have perspective and context for what’s on the horizon. The job of a leader is to have one foot planted in the present and one in the future.”

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