Written by Brianne Alvis
Leadership development opportunities are not reserved just for the military. The Office of Leadership offers many courses for civilians looking to grow their leadership knowledge base.
The ELP provides leadership and managerial training and development opportunities for employees who have a high potential to be a future federal manager. The program is designed to strengthen the employee’s leadership competencies and to teach them how to apply the skills they learn in real-world situations. Participants gain knowledge and practice the skills that will help them develop into effective managers and leaders.
“In May 2016, five civilian members became ‘TEAM CG’ during our time in the ELP,” said graduate Nick Mynuk from the Coast Guard Academy. “Initially the members from the Coast Guard were dispersed in groups with other members from federal agencies. By design, the class roster was intentional and deliberate to give each of us a unique experience and provide perspective on the world of work of fellow civilians throughout our government.”
After three months working in separate groups the Coast Guard civilians were brought together to work on a community of practice project.
“Our project was to explore the communication of leadership training and development opportunities that further the effectiveness of leadership attitudes, skills, and performance in the Coast Guard,” Mynuk said.
On November 4, the group had the opportunity to sit down with Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support (DCMS).
“Our discussion focused on the current state of leadership, her leadership philosophy, and our experience as ELP participants,” said Mynuk. “Taking from our experience over the last nine months, we synergized our perspectives from our time with DCMS and delivered a presentation the final week to fellow classmates and staff. The presentation was our opportunity to put into practice and utilize the skills learned at the ELP. Because we were supported by our own leaders, we were successful in our project.”
“The ELP has opened doors for me and created opportunities to learn in ways that I would not normally have had,” said Darin Mathis from the Coast Guard Vessel Tracking Service in San Francisco. “The network of professional contacts and new friends that I made during this nine-month course are invaluable.”
Guy Cranfill from Information Systems Security at the Coast Guard Research and Development Center in New London, Connecticut, recommends getting out of your comfort zone.
“I haven’t seen [my comfort zone] in nine months and I’m not sure where I left it,” Cranfill said. “This program is about stretching your wings and learning to go wherever you want to be.”
Joanna Skaredoff, the engineering change leader for the 210/270 Medium Endurance Cutter Product Line at Coast Guard Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center in Norfolk, Virginia, says pushing yourself is key.
“It’s only daunting or impossible until you’ve done it,” Skaredoff said. “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is the willingness to do what you don’t want to do.”
Alexandre Brink, a certified government financial manager at the Coast Guard Yard, said the training offered her growth opportunity that opened a lot of doors.
“If you want to become even better at modeling the way in supporting our active duty members and service missions, the ELP provides irreversible momentum for you to challenge the process,” said Mynuk. “By sponsoring this program the Coast Guard is enabling you to act. I propose that you inspire a shared vision of leading the environment in which we work every day. The Coast Guard needs us to be the best leaders possible.”
The ELP is just one of the many leadership development opportunities available to GS11-13 civilian employees. For more information on the Coast Guard ELP, visit the Office of Leadership website.