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Leaders leverage strengths at NEW Executive Institute

Group of women

Emerging women executives from NEW partner companies grew their leadership capacity at the NEW Executive Institute 2018 international learning session, June 3-8, at Duin & Kruidberg Country Estate, outside Amsterdam. The NEW Executive Institute’s global onsite session was sponsored by Ahold Delhaize.

In its third year, NEW Executive Institute builds women’s leadership skills around cultural competency, talent development, organizational effectiveness and efficiency, collaboration and productivity. Graduates continue their engagement and community-building, serving as panelists for NEW signature learning programs, including NEW conferences, NEW Rising Stars for mid-level leaders and learning webinars.

The on-site learning program included a tour of a state-of-the-art Albert Heijn store.

“I left Amsterdam with tremendous learnings to apply back in my everyday responsibilities as a leader,” said Melissa Close, director, U.S. customer marketing at SC Johnson. “To take time out of the ‘tornado’ of life to focus on improving myself as a leader was invaluable and an experience I am grateful for.

“Especially moving was learning to harness what makes me different to avoid mediocracy. So many of us react to feedback by putting too much pressure on ourselves to significantly improve our opportunity areas, while our strengths — where we perform best — end up diminishing over time.”

Recharged, refocused

By combining traditional 360 feedback with self-assessments, the NEW Executive Institute creates strong self-awareness, said Patricia Davenport-Arruda, director, marketing sales for Stop and Shop, Ahold Delhaize USA. “We don't often take the time to be introspective, outside of chastising ourselves for an error in our work.

“The atmosphere was relaxed, honest and open. We gained as much knowledge from each other as from the formal presentations."

Davenport-Arruda said she came away with “a true understanding of my strengths, invisible barriers and knowledge that it is okay not to be perfect at everything.

“I learned the importance of knowing your strengths and playing on them, knowing your opportunities and pulling in partners to fill in the gaps. I feel recharged and focused on the leader I am at my best and will strive to bring that out more frequently.”

NEW Executive Institute trains a select group of emerging senior executive women in the retail, consumer goods, financial services and tech sectors. It combines 360 assessments, executive coaching, online learning and two in-person sessions, one of them abroad. The leadership program continues with virtual learning webinars in July, August and September and a second onsite learning session September 30-October 5 in Evanston, Ill.