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The Community Leadership Program, traditionally known as Leadership Gilroy, is an extensive nine-month program.
Skills training includes: teambuilding, communications, ethics, diversity, change management,negotiation,media training, conflict resolution, and the practical implementation of a servant leadership style to drive results. The program is delivered in the context of community awareness and promotes opportunities to meet key leaders, expand networks, and learn about vital areas such as education, safety, health and human services, government (local, regional, state), local agriculture and environmental issues, and explore avenues to create a robust economic climate.
The Project – the lab for the program – sets the stage for practice and integration of new skills. The project experience further hones skills in the areas of project management, change management, negotiation, public communications, and provides an immediate and tangible way to make a difference for the community in the process. All of Sigma Chi's leadership programs are overseen by the Education and Leadership Board (ELB), a volunteer committee dedicated to developing and conducting workshops, seminars, clinics and other programs that will improve the quality of leadership in the Fraternity's members. Brothers who seek leadership development have many opportunities to do so with Sigma Chi and are encouraged to participate in the following programs.
The Balfour Leadership Training Workshop (LTW), established in 1947, is a program designed to improve the quality of leadership in the Fraternity.
The Horizons Huntsman Leadership Summit is a challenging and proven leadership development program specifically created for Sigma Chi underclassmen who are eager and willing to improve themselves and their world.
Mission 365 is Sigma Chi's innovative recruitment training program that intends to enhance the Fraternity membership's quality and quantity. Chapters that participate in the Mission 365 program can expect to learn how to increase both the quality and quantity of their new members by employing a 365-day recruitment process based upon Sigma Chi values and ideals. Journey is a set of local chapter programs that engages and supports undergraduate brothers in a wide range of areas. The Sigma Chi Foundation is respected for the manner in which it establishes expectations and builds and administers an endowment that supports leadership and scholarship programs that reach beyond Sigma Chi’s borders in perpetuity.
The Sigma Chi Foundation is a charitable and educational tax-exempt organization, separate and independent from the Fraternity, whose express purpose is to serve as an educational funding resource for the undergraduate and graduate student members of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Given the number of baby boomers expected to retire between now and 2030 (the last group of baby boomers reach of the age of 65 in 2030, and, of course, some may choose to work past age 65) organizations need to prepare others to take over leadership roles. High potentials are often identified as those individuals who have the potential to grow into leadership roles within the organization. There are many examples of companies that have successful leadership training programs in place, such as Bank of America, General Electric, Microsoft, Philip Morris, Novartis International, and Marriott International to name just a few. Successful organizations know what skills are required for a leader to be effective for the organization to meet its long term strategic goals and grow and prosper.
Any skills that are not needed or used now by the senior leadership team, but may be used at a later time, should be considered when developing the leadership training program. Let’s look at a case study of a manufacturing company that saw the need for a leadership development program for their high potential employees. XYZ Widget Manufacturing Corporation has been in business since the early 1980′s manufacturing widgets for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales.
To that end, the Board of Directors has asked the company to start thinking about succession planning.
The learning and development group at XYZ Widget interviewed each of the current members of the leadership time (across all functions) to determine what skills they believed were required to be effective in their roles. The group also met with the Board of Directors to understand their vision for the company and their expectations of the next group of leaders. Additionally, they surveyed, on-line and anonymously, other individuals in management roles to get their perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the current leadership team and what they believed were needed for future leaders given the direction the company was heading. The learning and development group also interviewed in depth each of the individuals initially identified as high potentials in the company. Let me step back a moment, these individuals who had been identified as high potentials had worked for the organization for a minimum of 8 years and some as long as 15 years. XYZ Widget, based on their research and the data they gathered, determined that there would be courses that every high potential individual would attend together as a group and then they would branch off to attend training specific to a particular function area.



Throughout the program, and in between sessions, participants were assigned projects to lead and had to complete required readings. In addition to the already-identified high potential employees, the learning and development group held a nomination to include others in the training program with long-term potential. A total of 30 individuals went through the initial pilot program – 20 considered high potentials and 10 others who were selected from nominations (of 35 total nominated).
The program ended up taking almost 3 years to complete due to scheduling issues (trying to get everyone together was more difficult than expected!). 25 of the 30 participants completed the program in its entirety, some of those were assigned mentors during the program (rather than at the end as planned) to provide them additional support in getting through the program. Gina presents frequently at conferences, industry events, and corporate events on a variety of leadership, project and process-focused topics. It provides experiential learning and opportunities to grow in the areas of transferable skills, personal development, and community awareness. Program participants join with their classmates to select, create, and implement a project benefiting the community.
The funding for a majority of these programs comes directly through grants from the Sigma Chi Foundation, a charitable and educational tax-exempt organization, seperate and independent from the Fraternity.
Each August, leaders from Sigma Chi's undergraduate chapters spend four days on a college campus immersed in presentations, discussions and problem-solving sessions that focus on chapter operations and other issues that affect a chapter's viability. At Horizons, undergraduates experience a six-day immersion in whole-brain learning that engages both mind and body. Developed in 2001, Mission 365 was created to address the recruitment issues that existed in many of Sigma Chi's undergraduate chapters. The Mission 365 retreat is not a lecture; rather, it is an experiential learning process that engages chapter members in the retreat.
A slightly adapted program focused on increasing member quality while holding membership numbers constant was successfully debuted in 2011. In order that Sigma Chi's mission, vision and values remain relevant, it is critical for members to be prepared to face changing climates. The first set of journeys are focused on strategic planning, managing positive change in chapter culture, strengthening brotherhood and values-based recruitment. Through the leadership initiatives listed above, the Sigma Chi Foundation prepares our young men to be value-centered leaders who will guide us in the 21st century. NASPA has a couple of resources on Facebook for people interested in the student leadership program focus. Some organizations will likely source externally to fulfill leadership roles within the organization; however, many other organizations realize that it may be better to move individuals into these roles who already understand the business and have already been working in the organization.
They are hard working individuals who have the potential to be leaders based on their knowledge, skills, and the behaviors and attitudes they display. These organizations have seen the value of ensuring that their high potential employees are groomed for future leadership roles. An assessment should be done of the high potential employees to determine their current strengths and development needs.
We’ll look at how they determined what competencies were needed for future leaders and what comprised the program that was developed. The data gathered was used to determine what competencies (skills and behaviors) were required for future leaders.
They also interviewed the co-workers of the high potentials (anonymously via an online survey), their direct managers, and members of the senior leadership team to get their perspective of the strengths and weaknesses of these individuals. There were individuals who had developed an understanding of the workings of the company as a whole.
This included what the individual expected to achieve from the program (their goals and objectives), how they intended to use their new skills and knowledge and some required reading. Additionally, they were required to put together strategic plans as to how the specific functional area they were assigned to might develop and grow in the future.


These mentors were executives in those areas and had agreed to participate in a formal mentoring program to groom junior high potential employees to take on executives roles in the future. The company determined that some of the individuals who were not considered part of the high potential group but rather were nominated and selected might actually be a better fit for an executive leadership role over the previously identified high potential employee. She provides clients of all sizes strategic direction and implementation of programs and strategies around projects, process, people and technology. She served on the Simmons Graduate School of Management Alumnae Association Board from 2007 – 2009. In this lab, participants are encouraged to stretch and try on new skills – all within the safety net of the program.
Future chapter journeys have the potential to focus on risk management, substance use and abuse, suicide and other topics submitted by members for consideration.
The Student Leadership Program Knowledge Community Facebook Page from NASPA has over 300 likes and includes many postings about jobs and upcoming conferences and events.
And, certainly, a combination may occur where organizations promote from within and look to fill some roles from external. They are high achievers within the organization – willing to do what is necessary to get the job done.
Your upcoming leaders will need to understand how to do business internationally – international laws and regulations for doing business in various countries, cultural differences, the ability to gauge the market overseas including identifying market for product or services and the competition, developing overseas offices, leading virtually, etc. Of those 8 functional areas, 5 of them are led by senior executives who are in their 60s and expected to retire within the next 3 – 5 years. They gathered data from performance reviews, past projects they worked on, and looked at the roles and responsibilities they had within the organization.
They were those individuals you would find pitching in to help out regardless of the project in order to ensure the company reached its goals. Assessments were done throughout the two year program to gauge increases in skills and knowledge. Mentoring was a required component of the executive’s role and formal mentoring plans were submitted to learning and development and monitored regularly for progress. Of the 5 who did not complete the program, 1 of them quit for other jobs, and 2 of them dropped out of their own volition as they decided that the workload was more than they wanted to commit to at this point. As a leader, how you communicate determines whether or not others perceive you as credible, knowledgeable and trustworthy. The Journey program aligns with Sigma Chi’s mission to prepare values-based leaders committed to the betterment of their character, campus and community. They are eager to learn new skills and take on additional responsibilities and bigger challenges.
These additional needed skills and abilities should be part of any effective training program for the high potentials and should be part of any assessment to determine if an individual has the potential to be a senior leader within the organization given these future needs. The other 2 were released from the program because they did not complete required assignments and had very limited participation.
Without doing this effectively you inhibit your maximum potential to influence, build long term relationships and increase profits. Journey also embodies Sigma Chi’s core values of friendship, justice and learning by weaving accountability and feedback across the curriculum. There is no planned retirement date for them, but the Board of Directors for XYZ Widget wants to be prepared.
Darin gives keynote speeches, offers innovative workshops and online programs, and can help your institution facilitate, create, and develop innovation & leadership development experiences.



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