Brian Aalbers, Vice President, Human Resources at Libro Credit Union, shares how the Ivey Executive Program's action learning and executive coaching helped him assess his strengths, gaps, and formulate the steps needed to realize his potential as an executive.
What led you to attend the Ivey Executive Program (IEP)?
As broad as we may feel our perspectives are, they need to be broader. Alongside expanding my own knowledge, the opportunity to learn how other businesses, industries, and countries approach opportunities and challenges was incredibly alluring. Walking into an environment where you can challenge, be challenged – and all grow together as a result – that’s powerful. IEP provides that environment.
How did the format of the program facilitate your learning?
It doesn’t take long to realize that everything about IEP is designed with intent. IEP does a tremendous job blending classroom lectures, group discussions, business cases, real world exercises, guest speakers, and business trips/field studies together. It appeals to an incredible range of learning styles and challenges you to be open to learning in new ways.
What particular IEP moment stands out for you?
Hands down, I would say the overall coaching environment provided within the IEP experience. In particular, all participants partner with an executive coach – an experienced professional who reviews your leadership profile, assesses your 360-degree survey results, and observes you within IEP experiences. The feedback received is personalized, direct, and incredibly valuable. The coaches truly have your “best future self” in mind and really challenge you to see yourself in a different light. They definitely hold up a mirror, and it is up to you to embrace your own reflection – strengths, gaps, and next steps.
Which aspects of the curriculum were most relevant to you?
Embedded within the IEP curriculum is a LEAP project – a real world business opportunity that all participants bring with them to the program. Over the course of the program, you work closely with the faculty to deepen your understanding of the opportunity, and present your plans to a group of your peers. The perspectives and feedback you receive throughout the process is invaluable. I have changed my approach to my LEAP project, for the better, based on the feedback received from my peers. It is also incredible to experience how passionate you become about the success of your group members. I will be reaching out to my group to see how their LEAP projects unfolded.
How has the program changed you?
The word “executive” is definitely part of the program title for a reason. From developing strategy to leadership skills and professional presence, the program does an excellent job of cultivating what it means to be an executive. And it doesn’t stop there. IEP challenges you to work hard as an executive – harder than you ever thought possible – so that you can help others accomplish the same.
Have you found peers that you can continue to use as sounding boards, referrals and lifelong friends?
Absolutely. To be honest, it’s harder not to develop strong peer relationships. The design of IEP is centred on group learning, sharing, and growth. You get to know people really well – their passions, areas of expertise, and talents. I have already connected with a fellow IEP participant to discuss a business opportunity – and of course, reminisce.
About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment.
Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network.