Tag: leadership development


Emerging Utility Leaders Unite to Move the Wastewater Industry Forward

Emerging leaders from six wastewater utilities in the Midwest gathered on February 8 in Chicago to kick off a five-month program designed to grow utility leaders of the future.

The Core Growth leadership program will take the participants through four learning modules including self-discovery, crafting a vision, building alignment and championing execution, while also building regional cohorts and collaborative partnerships. This shared learning experience will enable participants to move forward leadership skills and ideas that improve the utility industry.

“As a professional who spent over seven years in the wastewater and stormwater industry, I noticed a lack of learning opportunities targeted at emerging utility leaders,” said Maggie Frye, Founder and Principal Consultant of Core. “Core Growth was designed to help enhance the potential of utility leaders whose span of influence and impact is growing in a meaningful way.”

Since learning happens from real experiences, the class will build upon the four learning modules by completing an industry-specific capstone project. The project is based on exploring real challenges that leaders are facing in the wastewater utility industry. They will use their collective expertise to develop real solutions to a selected challenge and present the results at graduation in July.

The National Association for Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), known as the nation’s leader in legislative, regulatory and legal clean water advocacy, has taken an interest in the utility leadership program and has formed a soft partnership with Core Consulting. NACWA has opened up this initial pilot to utilities who expressed interest in this one region as a starting point. If the pilot proves to be valuable on a broader scale to its members, additional regions will have access moving forward.

“I believe utilities can shape the course of environmental protection into the next century by working together,” said Adam Krantz, Chief Executive Officer of NACWA. “Core Growth offers utilities a unique learning opportunity while also inspiring collaboration that betters the industry. I hope to see utilities in other regions take advantage of this program.”

The class is comprised of a diverse group, ranging in areas of expertise, years of service and utility size. Participants come from Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, Metro Water Reclamation District of Chicago, Racine Wastewater Utility and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

About NACWA:

For more than four decades, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), based in Washington D.C., has been the nation’s recognized leader in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues, as well as a top technical resource for water management, sustainability and ecosystem protection interests. Helping to build a strong and sustainable clean water future, NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. Learn more by visiting Www.Nacwa.Org.

Check out our Chicago Highlights and click Here to learn about the local Core Growth program.

New Year, New Leaders

Core Consulting spent the large majority of 2016 helping organizations build strong leaders. We do this through client-specific partnerships and an open enrollment leadership program. And 2017 will be no different! With a regional utility leadership program kicking off in Chicago, continued client-specific curriculum underway, and another installment of our open-enrollment emerging leader class, we continue to help build the people potential of our valued clients. Thus leading to greater business success.

Hats off to our most recent graduates!











We ended 2016 with the graduation of our most recent Core Growth Emerging Leaders class. Core Growth is a 9-month public/open-enrollment leadership program for Greater Cincinnati high potentials whose span of influence and impact are growing in a meaningful way. Using Wiley’s Work of Leaders model as a framework, the program boasts:

  • Small class size
  • Hands-on, engaging and blended learning environment
  • Outdoor learning opportunities
  • Individualized development plans
  • Community service
  • Ongoing touch points with senior-level sponsors at participants’ organizations
  • Professional development at just the right point in an emerging leader’s career where they are proactively building positive leadership behaviors.

Culminating last November at the Art of Entertaining in O’Bryonville, Core Growth graduates enjoyed a recognition lunch with their Company Sponsors. We are grateful for the commitment of these individuals and are excited about the positive impact they will continue to make at their workplaces. Please join us in congratulating our most recent Core Growth graduates!

  • Angela Cook, Sanitation District No. 1
  • Angela Ozar, Bad Girl Ventures
  • Erin Grone, Harlow-HRK Sales & Marketing
  • John Lipps, Ohio National Financial Services
  • Margo Hess, Centennial Inc.

What’s next for Core Growth?

The current Core Growth emerging leader class is in the fifth month of their program and will be graduating in May 2017. This will be the third graduating class since its inception in 2015.

Registration for the 2017 class is now open! Program kick-off is scheduled for September. For more information, visit our website at http://bit.ly/CoreGrowth or contact Amy Clark at amy.clark@contact-core.com.

We also work one-on-one with organizations to build emerging and executive leadership programs to meet their unique needs. From leadership strategy, to competency modeling, to program facilitation, Core Consulting’s team of senior consultants will work with you to design a meaningful and impactful leadership development program that will advance your business strategy forward. Reach out today to get started!

6 New Leaders Emerge in Greater Cincinnati Region

Six emerging leaders from companies in the Greater Cincinnati/NKY region have graduated from the 9-month Core Growth leadership development program. A graduation luncheon was held last week at The Art of Entertaining in O’Bryonville, where both class participants and their company sponsors came together to celebrate the commencement.

The first six emerging leaders to graduate from this inaugural Core Growth class include:

  • Dan Battistone, Harlow-HRK Sales & Marketing
  • Jason Duggan, Hobsons
  • April Gillespie-Hurst, LegalShield
  • Laurie Link, FTJ FundChoice
  • Ryan Rieckhoff, Ohio National Financial Services
  • Rachel Wells, Sanitation District No. 1 (SD1)

Core Growth Graduating Class (Front row L to R): Ryan Rieckhoff, Dan Battistone, Laurie Link (Back row L to R): Rachel Wells, April Gillespie-Hurst, Jason Duggan

Developed and run by Core Consulting Group, Core Growth is a 9-month leadership development program targeted specifically at emerging leaders. Using Wiley’s Work of Leaders model as a framework for the curriculum, participants form a close learning community who explore the following four modules together through a variety of interactions, speakers and experiences:

  • Self: Planting the Seed
  • Vision: Calling the Sun
  • Alignment: Involving the Ecosystem
  • Execution: Bringing to Life

An intentionally small class size and blended learning approach over an extended period of time is at the heart of what makes this unique program so impactful. Graduate Rachel Wells (SD1) shares a reflection about her experience in the program:

Core Growth was a transformative experience for me. I learned about the different ways others approach their work and the world, and it taught me how to navigate different personalities and problems to accomplish important goals. Most importantly, Core Growth taught me about myself – how to focus my goals for greater success and how to turn my talents into true strengths. Through Core Growth, I’ve learned to take the long view, to align my actions with my goals and to recognize opportunity in the challenges before me.

Another unique aspect of this program is the Company Sponsor competent. Class participants are paired with senior-level sponsors at their companies. They meet with the sponsor each month to review class learnings and work through a company-applied project that gives them hands-on application of the Vision-Alignment-Execution curriculum.


Core Growth Graduating Class & Company Sponsors (Front row L to R): Maggie Frye, Trisha Weiner, Ryan Rieckhoff, Dan Battistone, Rob James, Kathy Ovens, Laurie Link, Cathy Koop (Back row L to R): Jamie Holtzapfel, Rachel Wells, April Gillespie-Hurst, Jason Duggan, Julie Doyle

Trisha Weiner, VP of Internal Marketing at Ohio National Financial Services and Core Growth Sponsor, saw tremendous value in her learner’s participation:

Our participant is extremely enthusiastic when he returns from a Core Growth session and is anxious to review with me what took place. He is a big proponent of the program and is recommending others take it. I believe that the program has helped him understand his challenges, and thus gives him the opportunity to work on them, which he is doing.

This is the inaugural class, which kicked-off in September 2015. Since then, another class began in March 2016 and is slated to graduate in November. Additionally, registration just opened for a third class kicking off this Fall. The program offers a new class in the Fall and Spring each year.

Maggie Frye, Founder & Principal Consultant of Core Consulting Group, is passionate about building strong leadership at all levels at local companies, one leader at a time

We define emerging leaders as those whose span of influence and impact is growing in a meaningful way. This is not limited to a specific age or manager vs. non-manager role. It could span both early and mid-career employees. An emerging leader is beginning to take on heightened responsibilities and accountability for customers, products and services, and/or team members – resulting in a greater direct impact on your organization’s success.

Core Growth catches emerging leaders at just the right point in their career that it proactively builds behavior versus reacts to and/or fixes behaviors later down the road.

I’m excited to see what this is doing for our great city. We are making workplaces better, stronger – one leader at a time. I believe very deeply in this mission and could not be more thrilled watching it come to fruition. I am so proud of the commitment and dedication these six class members have demonstrated and am excited for them to continue to effectively lead and positively impact those around them. Maggie Frye, Core Consulting founder and primary facilitator of the Core Growth program.

To register your emerging leaders for the Fall class, click here: http://bit.ly/1rF2ndI (Early Bird pricing ends July 29th!)

About Core Consulting Group

Core Consulting is an organizational development/HR consulting practice based in Cincinnati, OH helping organizations achieve their strategic business goals through the alignment, development and engagement of their workforce. Core partners with its clients to build effective people practices through the following key services: leadership development, talent management, strategic planning, team effectiveness and employee engagement.  To learn more, visit Core’s website at www.core-consultinggroup.com

Need to grow future leaders? Mentor AND Advocate!


There’s a lot of talk these days about mentoring, and for good reason. Ask yourself this question, “How have I developed my leadership skills and/or gotten to the point I’m at in my career?” I venture to bet at least one primary factor has been either a formal or informal mentor in your life. Someone who has believed in you; recognized your potential; provided you with constructive feedback; opened doors to new opportunities.

When I reflect on this for myself, many great mentors in my life and a few defining moments come to mind. As you read over these, I want you to think about how you can play a similar role in someone’s career at your company.

As a graduate student living in Los Angeles, one of my professors connected me to someone who ended up being my very first client as an independent consultant. She believed in my abilities (enough to attach her name to it), provided the introduction, and spent time and energy checking in and coaching me throughout the project.
I was very young (about 26 or 27), yet involved in senior management team meetings. I would often head into our Executive Director’s office after the meeting and share a few thoughts. I clearly remember him saying to me one morning, “Your input and ideas are fantastic, Maggie. I just need to you to start saying them in the meetings. Don’t come to me afterward. Start speaking up.” It was then I learned two critical lessons – 1.) You don’t always have the luxury of time to think about things thoroughly before formulating a response, and 2.) Having confidence in your thoughts and ideas is sometimes more important than the ideas themselves.
Again, still at a young age, I found myself involved in very high-level meetings to discuss organizational design. I was one of only 5 people in the meetings, and the others were the four men who ran the company. Someone had to invite me to those meetings. And I was grateful he did. I learned a great deal.
A few years later in my career, I had a valued and respected manager tell me during a performance evaluation that I could stand to show a bit more emotion; get jazzed up every now and then. I’m very patient and even-tempered, which are great strengths, but every now and then people need to see what makes me tick – both good and bad. That statement has stuck with me ever since, and in a good way.
Same situation – another performance evaluation. I was told that sometimes we need to “roll with it.” We have to remain flexible in our approach and not get too nailed down to a pre-meditated and potentially overly structured outline or project map. Leave room for agility. You have no idea how much this changed how I approach my work, and most definitely for the better.
I am blessed to have several people in my life who believe in me and let that be known. In fact, I just read a note from someone last week that said, “You will be successful.” When people believe in us like this, it’s amazing what we can accomplish.


It is so important to have strong mentors in our lives. Thinking back to the very first question I asked, my answer is most definitely through mentors. I would add, however, that it’s been a mix of both mentoring and advocacy. We need both if we want our careers to progress. Hopefully you saw examples of Mentors and Advocates in the above scenarios.

Sometimes these roles are filled by the same people, and sometimes they’re not. Either way doesn’t really matter, it’s just important that both are present. If you are truly committed to building your next generation of leaders, you must ensure that both mentoring and advocacy are happening inside your organization. Below is a brief description about the roles of each.

The role of a Mentor (To educate and grow)

  • Share your experiences and lessons learned
  • Build desired skill sets through ongoing coaching
  • Raise awareness of both strengths and limitations your mentee might not be privy to (tell them what is often left unsaid – you might be the only one willing to say it)
  • Help the mentee discover her or his passion and strengths

The role of an Advocate (To champion)

  • Provide access to opportunities, experiences, relationships, and resources that the other person might not otherwise have access to
  • Speak out for the continued advancement of the individual
  • Let the individual know you believe in her/his skills and abilities and the impact they can have on the organization’s success
  • Influence the decisions of others in ways that will positively support the individual’s continued growth and visibility

Who can you mentor and/or advocate for inside your organization? Your future success depends on it.