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October 15, 2015

Equipping Young Leaders


Meg Foreman - YPW Program & Marketing Manager

Each year we accept 25 talented and dynamic young professionals into our Leadership Academy class. The participants engage in six weekly sessions with interactive exercises, issue exploration, self-assessment and in-depth conversations with Wichita’s top community and business leaders. YPW Leadership Academy educates YPs on their personal styles, values and strengths so they can grow as leaders, motivate others and impact change in their organizations and communities.

We encourage you to nominate a YP in your organization or community to be a part of the 2016 Leadership Academy class by October 30. Please submit your nominations by clicking here.

What’s Leadership Academy like? Check out the experiences from a few past participants below:

“I was proud to start my journey with the 2015 Young Professionals of Wichita Leadership Academy program. I was excited to be given the opportunity to hone and gain new leadership skills as well as network with my peers from many different business industries. The leadership academy exposed me to industry experts and seasoned business leaders.  Each week there was a workshop that unlocked different approaches to leadership. I walked away from each workshop with a pearl of wisdom that I currently utilize in both my personal and professional life. The workshop I most enjoyed was Leadership Basics. Brian Black, Senior Manager of Corporate Public Affairs & Global Diversity at Spirit AeroSystems, shared a concept called P.I.E. (Performance, Image, and Exposure). Understanding the importance of one’s image and how to obtain exposure in your organization or business was really helpful to hear. This is a concept I share all the time with the students I mentor, friends, and family members. Throughout the academy I was exposed to facilitators who were candid in sharing their experiences and gave real and quality advice. I felt as though each facilitator cared about the message they were giving. This leadership program is truly tailored for the young professional and I look forward to nominating other YPs for the program.”

-Danielle Johnson, Program Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion
Wichita State University

“It was great to be able to attend the academy with people from different backgrounds, places, and career fields. Attending the Leadership Academy afforded me the opportunity to meet people in our city that I would have probably not met outside of this occasion. Wichita, maybe contrary to popular belief, is full of diversity in people from various backgrounds, places, careers, and walks of life. The YPW Leadership Academy brought all of these together in one place.

Likewise, I was able to sit under TED talk-like teachings from speakers, experts, business-owners and entrepreneurs and glean from an array wisdom and insight. I eat this stuff up. I took copious amounts of notes in every session and left wanting to hear more and learn more when the experience came to a close. I was encouraged, built up, educated, and inspired to action.

Since the academy, I have joined the YPW as a young professional. In addition, I signed up the church I pastor – The Source Church Wichita – into the Chamber of Commerce. The YPW Leadership Academy was a springboard into the life and culture of Wichita’s leadership and professional environment. Through the academy, I’ve gained not only knowledge and an onramp into participation, but also rewarding connections and friendships.

I highly recommend the YPW Leadership Academy to any young professional who has even an inkling of desire for involvement in our city. If I could attend again, I would!”

-Jason Villanueva
Pastor, The Source Church Wichita

“When I moved to Wichita in July 2014, after having lived in five states over the past ten years, I knew the key to my relocation success would be to dive in. The Young Professionals of Wichita allowed me to not only dive in but to make a splash while doing so. When a coworker approached me about her desire to nominate me for the Young Professionals of Wichita Leadership Academy, I was intrigued. I immediately began researching the program and was excited to learn more as I had only attended a few YPW events since arriving in Wichita. After learning more about the YPW Leadership Academy, I knew it was something that would benefit my career aspirations. Was excited by the possible opportunity to connect with other YPs while continuing to build upon my leadership skills. Applying to the program was a straight forward process that only further heightened my excitement about the possibility of being selected. When the email of acceptance arrived, I was overjoyed and honored that I had been chosen to the 2015 Young Professionals of Wichita Leadership Academy.

During the six-week program we learned how to improve upon our leadership skills in the workplace, in volunteer activities, and among friends.  The program emphasized my desire to be a servant leader who exemplifies their brand in all they do. We learned how to work better collectively as a team, and how to bring together the various personalities. Through our time together, we grew our professional network and intertwined through the program sessions was the challenge to be leader in the community beyond our workplace. I was genuinely impacted by the various offerings we have here in Wichita to make a positive difference in all we do through community activism and board placement. Overall, the leadership skills further developed through the YPW Leadership Academy have been beneficial in many areas of my life. However, the greatest blessing of the program was the friendships made with my classmates. Since graduating in February, our class has had several reunions and we continue to keep in touch as we celebrate in the journey of life. The YPW Leadership Academy is a program that offers attendees the opportunity to invest in themselves and make a few friends along the way. I am honored to be a YPW Leadership Academy graduate and hope other YPs will embrace the opportunity to take part in this impactful program for their careers, involvement in the community, and the many lives one interacts with every day.”

-Amanda Sue Brown
Senior Food Scientist, Cargill Value Added Meats

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