Leading Forward Class of 2019

By Ann Titovets

Whether in a client meeting, serving on the board for a local organization or just in everyday campaign work, leadership is at the core of what we do at Ideas Collide. One of the many ways that leadership skills are cultivated is in our annual participation in the Leading Forward program, which is a 4-month, intensive course designed to empower team members in every discipline and at every level of experience within our organization. The participants are selected from a group of applicants every year. This year’s class included:

Andy Schneider – Marketing Producer
Bobby Boland – Associate Director of Content
Leslie Cole – Digital Media Strategist
Lisa Sitton – Lead Project Manager
Kit Kwong – Associate Director, Project Management
Meagan Shoots – Design Lead

Often leadership is confused with management but there are clear differences between leadership and management. Management comes from managing, managing “things” such as projects, schedules, budgets, and resources. People can fall into the category of resources. But to consider people a resource means devaluing their creativity and potential.

In fact, leadership keeps the common goal of a group in mind and motivates members of the group, putting each in a position where they can grow and succeed. The most effective way to lead will always include these three ingredients: empathy, generosity and leading by example.

Leadership is not innate. It must be honed as any skill would be and learned over time and experience. However, leadership can be developed quickly by those who are willing to put in the effort and approach opportunities with the right attitude.

“It isn’t connected to a title; anyone can find opportunities to lead.” – Andy S., Marketing Producer

Leading Forward graduates learned simple strategies that could be used in complex situations. Each team and project is different and presents new challenges and opportunities. Leading Forward offers exercises and principles than can be applied in every situation to optimize output and resolve conflict.

Our graduates have already seen how this has changed the way they approach client work and internal processes. From recognizing that people have different goals and styles of communicating; to taking extra care to accurately identify the problem and the root cause before moving into the solutions space.

“…aligning people’s natural behavioral styles with business goals, values, and project expectations means everyone can be set up for success.” – Leslie C., Digital Media Strategist

The program is already impacting work and creating new workflows that take advantage of team dynamics. At the onset of every campaign and project, leaders are asking important questions to help predict the future and solve for potential road blocks.

“The most overlooked step is accurately stating the problem. It’s crucial to identify” – Meagan S., Lead Designer

Although the six-person group represents a small percentage of the agency, the Leading Forward program empowers the entire organization. Strong leaders understand that sharing knowledge with others is the best way to retain and grow the impact of new skills.

“Leading Forward has strengthened my belief that leaders should be compassionate and service-oriented. There is no better way to lead than to lift up those around you.” – Bobby B., Associate Director of Content

Investing in our team has always paid off. Ideas Collide’s growth and award-winning culture is due in large part to the focus we put on people. We congratulate 2019’s graduating class of Leading Forward and look forward to the impact that they make in the agency and in the communities that they serve.