Feedback: February 2019

by Mike Brown, Beth Gross, Leonardo Loo

Question: What programs and training does your company offer to move employees into, or advance them in, leadership and management roles?

Mike Brown 

Arizona Regional President
Washington Federal
Sector: Banking

Washington Federal has an internal motto: Love what you do; make a difference. This motto informs our approach to learning and development. We start with a thorough onboarding for our new hires where they attend a series of virtual classes. Their training is supported with a trained peer mentor. 

Going forward, we are developing evolved training for personal bankers that includes financial literacy and a host of other skills. Within six months, we will offer a program for career pathing in which a colleague can be paired with someone in another line of business to learn more about the opportunities that exist at Washington Federal.

Management training is also evolving. Currently, we train managers on strength-based leadership so that our leaders learn how to leverage all the strengths on their team. We have plans to continue to expand our management training to further develop the skills of our team.

Lastly, we’ve created a mentoring program exclusive to Arizona aptly named “Mike’s Young Turks Club,” whereby I identify potential “stars” and closely monitor their actions and results with the intent of promoting them into new roles.   

Mike Brown is Arizona Regional President of Washington Federal, a full-service national banking institution that focuses on business-to-business banking, commercial and equipment lending, as well as home loan and corporate real estate financing. In his role, Brown oversees 31 branches across Arizona. Brown has worked to significantly expand Washington Federal’s reach in Arizona, notably opening its first-ever Arizona Regional headquarters in 2017 and launching a franchise finance division in 2018. 

Beth Gross 

Talent Acquisition Manager
Spear Education
Sector: Education

Here at Spear Education, we strive to transform all our employees into a team of talented, engaged individuals who balance care for the people with care for the business. We have developed a Leadership Pathway that leads from the individual contributor level to leadership at the highest levels of the organization. To build out our program, we’ve defined the qualities we believe the best leaders possess and we train and coach to those — such as leading by example; embracing strategy, metrics and objectives; setting clear expectations and goals; empowering others to make decisions and drive their own development; and really engaging and fostering a positive culture for all team members. The Spear Pathway consists of attendance at Leadership Development Workshops, individual learning through Leadership and Coaching Concepts on LinkedIn Learning and twice-monthly coaching sessions with Human Resources and Executive Leadership to continue to develop active practice and engagement of competencies. 

We believe that a structured, rigorous program creates a strong foundation to build on and ensures the success of the individual, the team and of Spear itself.   

Beth Gross is the talent acquisition manager at Spear Education. With a recruitment career that spans almost 20 years, she is as well-rounded a recruitment professional as you can find. She has worked in temporary staffing, in-house corporate recruitment and executive search in both Fortune 500 organizations and small entrepreneurial companies, in a variety of industries. She also owned her own boutique search firm for nearly a decade. 

Leonardo Loo 

Phoenix-Office Managing Partner
Quarles & Brady LLP
Sector: Law

Growing great people is a pillar of Quarles & Brady’s Strategic Plan. The firm’s commitment to the success of its people is evidenced by the breadth of ongoing training, mentoring and educational opportunities offered. Our attorneys work collaboratively across our 11 offices and within their practice groups, which creates a culture that values professional growth and development.

Every two years, the firm sends 40 partners and staff to an Executive Education program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Firm leaders are selected annually to attend Harvard Law School’s Leadership in Law training. Partners and senior associates participate in ongoing core and advanced business development training courses. Junior, mid and senior associates participate in Q&B University, which is a training program with curriculum that progresses as associates move through their careers. Additionally, new associates are paired with partners in their focus areas for one-on-one mentoring to help them develop professionally. 

The continuum of training offered to our team at all levels of their careers helps make our organization stronger.  

Leonardo Loo is Phoenix-office managing partner of Quarles & Brady LLP and a member of the firm’s Business Law, Finance, and International Services Law practice groups. He practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, commercial financing, international transactions, securities and general corporate law. Loo currently serves on the board of directors for Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. and serves as general counsel for both the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Black Chamber of Arizona. 

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