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300 take a "stretch" at Leadership Academy

Monday, March 09, 2015  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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More than 300 NEW members and supporters took a career-enhancing stretch during the NEW Leadership Academy webinar "Stretch Assignments," March 6, 2015.

Michelle Y. Long, unit manager, research division for Chevron Energy Technology Company, joined facilitator Jo Miller of Women's Leadership Coaching Inc. to share how stretch assignments and high-profile projects increase expertise, sharpen leadership skills and boost workplace visibility. The presentation also included insights from Teresa Turley, district manager for The Kroger Co., who was waylaid by weather conditions during the live event.

Long, who was invited to serve on the Texaco/Shell join venture transition team, said the stretch assignment took her away from her operations and business background into a highly visible strategic role. By spearheading a team to examine alternative energy legislation, she became a subject matter expert for "all things biomass," and a critical asset to her company.

Miller shared how an early-career stretch assignment helped her find new passion and build on her expertise. "Anyone can become an expert if you dedicate yourself to something needed," she said. "The first step to taking a stretch is, of course, raising your hand."

Stretching for success

Women can create their own opportunities by making their intentions known, Long added. "Make sure people know you're open to stretch assignments," she said, stressing the value of one-on-one conversations and nurturing a support network.

"Don't be afraid to put a proposal to leadership that defines a need, and how you can fill it," Miller added.

Turley urged women to ask themselves three questions when considering a stretch assignment. "Is it right for you? Is it right for the company? Is it a win-win?"

Long cautioned against losing credibility by biting off more than you can chew. "Set yourself up to succeed and excel. Understand the goals and objectives of your organization and understand what deliverables are expected from that opportunity."

Turley advised emerging leaders to clearly understand their role in a career-stretching move. "Make sure the assignment is right for you. Does it truly stretch you? Stretch assignments can be within your area or outside your area."

NEW members may register online for the next NEW Leadership Academy webinar, "Strategic Planning" on May 1 at 1 p.m. ET for free. Non-members may view webinars for $99 per session. Members may view previous NEW Leadership Academy webinars in the NEW Study Hall.

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