The University Relations team recruited our cohort of Corporate Management trainees based on one key attribute: leadership. This week, Leadership Week, was designed to help us identify and hone our inherent leadership qualities.
The first day, we presented our accomplishments from our first rotation. However, how well did we present our results? Were we confident and eloquent? The presentations were recorded on camera, so we were able to answer those questions later in the week. As a group, we reviewed our styles—commenting on body language, eye contact and executive presence.
But, what is executive presence? According to Leanne Meyer, professor and program director of the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women, “it is the brand or impression comes to mind when people see you, hear your name, or think about you.” Meyer came to our office to share what it means to have executive presence and guided us in identifying our own personal brand. Through group discussions, we were each able to define and share the persona we aspired to be in our upcoming roles. Meyer helped us understand how to be leaders in line with our personalities.
After our confidence and leadership identity were determined, we tested them out at a Steel City Improv. By acting silly, sharing stories and focusing on connecting with each other, we found our voices and a positive attitude.
With all the changes with the Kraft Heinz merger, we also spent time with the VP of the People function to learn how to be a leader through change. When change occurs, there is an opportunity for progress and it is important to be able to guide people forward. In light of that, the week concluded with an overview of the Kraft business and the new opportunities within our newly formed Kraft Heinz Company.
Overall, this week served both as a reunion, as our cohort was back together, and as a reminder of our leadership potential, as we all prepare to diverge and begin our journey as the future leaders of the company.