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ELP: A transformational experience

New partner Chris shares impact of development program


Development is a key component of the RSM experience for our professionals at all levels. Recently, 39 Experienced Leadership Program (ELP) participants graduated from the 20-month program. ELP is dedicated to helping shape future RSM leaders with a focus on building character, competence and commitment. Recent ELP graduate Chris Boettger, who made partner while in the program, shared his experience. Read what he had to say:

Before starting ELP, all of us participants wrote down what we hoped we would gain in terms of leadership. At our final session, we looked back and were all amazed at the difference. Our original thoughts on leadership were surface level, but what we ended up getting out of the course went much deeper.

I think the whole idea of the program truly shows the leadership team’s commitment to its people. All of us were nominated to participate, and we committed to a 20-month program tactfully designed by our national learning and professional development team, with the constant presence of our top firm leaders. Through individual coaching sessions, team-building activities (including dragon-boat racing), peer groups and personal development based on 360-degree feedback assessments, we each grew as leaders at RSM and in our lives in general.

The most impactful aspect for me was our peer groups. Each person has a unique story or characteristic. From coming to a new country and culture and learning to thrive, to moving a family to seize an opportunity in another location, everyone has experiences that shape them. And I know all of them will be successful because of these unique traits. In addition, having a network of peers outside of my office to grow and collaborate with is extremely rewarding.

Relationship building was a major theme throughout. Leadership and relationships go hand in hand. We were given the chance to grow and develop new relationships as well as foster our existing ones. Additionally, we had the chance to connect with the participants of another internal leadership program, Champions for Growth (CFG). The 35 CFG participants held one of their sessions at the same time and place as our final session, giving us all the chance to interact and network.

During that last session, we graduated, received diplomas and celebrated the growth of our leadership abilities. Throughout the course, we worked on strategic group projects addressing opportunities in the firm and presented them during this final session. Some of these opportunity topics included the retention and advancement of women at RSM, industry communities and global initiatives.

The Experienced Leadership Program was a transformational experience for me. This program has provided me the opportunity to truly reflect on myself as a leader and areas that I can grow. In addition, it pushed me to understand the utmost importance of continually striving to evolve.