Taking advantage of a purposeful scheduling alignment, cohorts from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Executive Leaders (ELP) and Emergence Programs collaborated on a joint session in January, discussing everything from global issues with Homeland Security implications to career mentoring while gaining invaluable in-person networking opportunities.
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, the ELP 2302 and Emergence 2301 cohorts merged for a discussion led by ELP director Sara Kay and Emergence director Cynthia Renaud, which included a “cross-program walk in the woods” around the Naval Postgraduate School campus in small groups.
Renaud said the Masters, ELP, and Emergence cohorts are rarely all in-residence in Monterey at the same time, “so we really took advantage of that.”
Renaud said she and Kay facilitated “dialogue around what issues both the leaders and the emerging leaders are seeing in their fields.” Renaud also said the discussion included conversation around emerging threats resulting from global connectivity, and “how seemingly unrelated issues are actually very related to the Homeland Security enterprise right now.”
She said the campus walk in small groups helped both the Emergence and ELP participants “get to know people in different disciplines and organizations,” while discussing their careers and aspirations.
”It was a very productive discussion and provided mentoring and networking opportunities for both the leaders and the emerging leaders,” she said, “while affording them the space to discuss really good content while they walked and talked on a variety of topics.”
Renaud said the genesis of the joint session was “listening to our emerging leaders talk and identify leadership as a discussion point for them throughout the program [starting with] the first distance learning session.” She said Emergence participants were “talking about where they were in their careers, what leadership positions they knew they wanted to aspire to and then more importantly bridging the gap of how they would get there.”
“There was a lot of conversation both on Slack and in the classroom on this topic and so Sara and I thought it would be a great opportunity to have this group of emerging leaders get together with a group of current leaders and talk about exactly that in some very subtle ways,” she said, adding the “walk and talk” was successful in bringing out “personal examples because it’s individual, it’s two to three people grouped together and you can have these deeper conversations.”
“I think the Emergence students really got a lot out of having these individual and deep conversations with people from different disciplines and then some people from their own disciplines, as well,” Renaud said, noting that there were very few agencies with representatives in both the ELP and Emergence programs, ”so for the most part it was a great disconnected connectivity where it created a safe space because there were like disciplines but not from the same organization that would stifle conversation. And so conversations seemed to flow pretty freely and pretty honestly and that was important.”
Renaud said she and Kay had been discussing a potential joint session since last fall and had a joint Zoom session in December with both of the cohorts to establish a foundation for the meeting.
She said feedback from the cohorts indicated they believed it was very worthwhile and encouraged holding joint sessions like this in the future.