Leila Verheyen, Director, Corporate & Foundation Partnerships at CNIB, explains how the Ivey Leadership Program (2016) allowed her to explore her leadership potential in an environment outside the not-for-profit realm.
What led you to the Ivey Leadership Program (ILP)?
Personally, I was looking for a quality growth opportunity that would take my skills to a whole new level. When I learned about the program, it was clearly something I felt would be in alignment with where I wanted to explore my leadership potential.
What aspects of ILP were most valuable to you?
The collaborative learning and the different methodologies of learning were the most valuable to me. It wasn’t the kind of learning where you sit down and are lectured to. Each of the professors were remarkable – I thoroughly enjoyed each of them and how they were able to portray their message. On the first day when we were introduced to David, I was excited to have him as our instructor for the duration of the program. Then, as the other instructors came in, I was amazed at how great they were as well – and it continued to amaze me the depth of knowledge each professor had.
How did the faculty shape the learning experience?
Each of the faculty involved in the program took my understanding of each topic so much further.
How did the ILP experience compare to your expectations?
ILP absolutely exceeded my expectations and I would happily pursue additional leadership development opportunities at Ivey as a result of my experience in the program.
How has the program impacted your career?
At ILP, we weren’t bombarded with information. We were provided with some, and then we were made to put it into context. I’ve been able to apply so much of what I learned in the program in my day-to-day role. I truly feel like I developed my understanding on each of the topics we focused on. The learning feels innate now.
Did the program contribute to your personal growth?
Absolutely, it would be fair to say the program contributed to my personal growth. I’m a Mom with two young children and I interact with people in my personal life in a very different way than I do in my professional life. There's indeed a common leadership thread that has furthered how I represent myself in my community.
How has your leadership style transformed as a result of ILP?
I’m focused more now on engaging others and truly trying to find the potential in others – understanding them and what they need to be successful. I’m trying to be a leader who truly encourages others to thrive.
What was the most challenging aspect of the program?
Realizing I don’t have all of the answers. By engaging different perspectives in the class through group discussion, it was really eye-opening for me to know I don’t always have the answer – and a powerful learning moment.
How did the diversity of the participants in the program aid your learning?
The diversity is something I’m not used to. The limited professional development opportunities I have participated in have been fundraising-oriented for not-for-profits. Stepping out of that orientation brought so much learning value to me because leadership is transferable. I’ve been in fundraising for more than 17 years, so my knowledge is pretty good in the fundraising world. But it’s the leadership skills I was looking to grow, and not in a fundraising-exclusive environment.
How would you summarize the program’s value?
The program is worth its weight in gold. Expect to see the value come back to you immensely.
The Ivey Academy is ranked as one of the top Executive Education providers globally by Financial Times. The Open-Enrolment portfolio comprises 19 programs focused on core leadership, business acumen, and industry-specific skills. Open programs are typically three days to three weeks in length, and are held at both our Toronto and London campuses. Our Custom Academy business unit works with corporations, governments, and other NGOs and non-profits to design and execute development and training programs tailored to the client’s specific needs. Custom Academy programs are typically multi-cohort, multi-year endeavours, supporting executive, HR and L&D objectives, and run either at our Toronto and London campuses or globally based on client preference. All Ivey Academy programs are deeply experiential in nature, concentrating as much on behaviour change as knowledge transfer.