Great Preparation for Becoming a Top Leader

class photo of Summer 2021 CEO Institute III participants
By Angela Hanson, CCE, SHRM-CP

6 minutes

CEO Institute honed this executive’s knowledge of strategic planning, organizational effectiveness and holistic leadership.

Leaning against my office windowsill, coffee in hand, my CEO said, “I would like to send you to the CEO Institute!” As a lifelong learner, eager for more information, responsibility and knowledge, I was ecstatic that she saw in me the potential to pursue my career path toward becoming CEO. 

My first year, CEO Institute I: Strategic Planning at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, did not disappoint. It was, by far, the best educational experience I have had since attending college more than 20 years ago. Having spent most of my career in human resources, I found the strategic planning focus of CEO Institute I a comfortable shoe. Yet the life experiences shared by the Wharton academics brought new thinking, ideas and considerations to light that upped my game and generated a more holistic approach.

CEO Institute II: Organizational Effectiveness was conducted virtually because of COVID-19. The staff from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University helped my classmates and me have collaborative, thought-provoking discussions about real-life situations involving change management and leading a diverse and inclusive organization. The Cornell faculty’s efforts created a greater capacity for us to network in the digital environment. 

CEO Institute III: Strategic Leadership Development, conducted by faculty from Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, provided an opportunity to bring strategy, organizational change and application together. By considering a real-life situation and offering revenue-generating recommendations, our class was able to gain insight into big-picture, collective ideation and persuasive communication.

A week after completion of the CEO Institute, I was thrilled to receive a promotion to president of our credit union! Currently, we are going through an acquisition, a merger, a core database conversion and a change in executive management with three retirements. This means that having the foundations in strategy, communication and change management that were taught during CEO Institute has been instrumental to adopting a new environment while maintaining a highly engaged corporate culture.

I have my CEO, CUES member Sally Dischler, CCE, as well as our board of directors to thank for investing in my professional development and supporting my attendance at CEO Institute. Having participated in both an in-person and digital format, I can say that the program offered an Ivy League education that is both relevant and applicable to leaders in a rapidly changing industry.  cues icon

CUES member Angela Hanson, CCE, SHRM-CP, is president of $386 million Heartland Credit Union, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.

2021 CEO Institute III participants (pictured above), listed in alphabetical order:
Mandi Albert, CCE; Brian Albrecht, CCE; Terry Bishop; James Bolin; Cathy Boucher; Jessica Brown; Geoffrey Bullock; Ryan Cannady, CIE; Jay Carstens, CCE; George Chacon; Kelli Cullen; Pete DuPre, CCE; David J. Eckhardt; Joe Grech, CCE; Jeremy Hodges, CCE; Clint Hooppaw; Heidi Hunt, CIE, CCE; Michelle Hunter, CCE; Cania Infante, CSME; Jesse Jacobs, CCE; Sean Kelly, CCE; Suzie Kisslan, CCE; Rich Klefsky; Scott Kline; Tom Kraus; Sarah McCandless, CCE; Peter McMahon; Helen Mickel, CCE; Kevin W. Morris, CIE; Taylor Murray; Daniela Neacsu, CCE; Dan Newberry; Shannon Pahula, CCE; Michael Panesi; Elesa Parsons; Jon Paukovich, CCE; Kim Pearman-Gillman; Linda J. Rossi; Carmen I. Sanchez; Steven Schmidle, CCE; Annie Song; Christine Suarez-Jenkins; Tricia Szurgot, CCE; Tracy Taylor, CCE; Jason S. Tedford; Paolo Teotino; William Thomas, CCE; Ed Tierney; Kevin M. Todd; Tina Tracy, CCE; Mike Tufegdzich; Nubia Valenzuela, CCE; Matt Vignale; Melissa Walsh, CCE; Audra Weber, CCE; Brett J. Wheeler; Michael R. Wilson

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