Four years ago, when our Senior Management began planning the CFS Certified Program, they had no idea how much our employees would love it. Modeled very loosely off of the VBA’s Executive Leadership Institute, our version was tweaked to fit our organization and takes selected employees through a twelve-month course.
One day every six weeks, students come together to discuss and learn about various topics. The first half of the day highlights an area of our organization, showcasing all of our lines of business, including Cash Flow, Chesapeake Payment Systems, Chesapeake Wealth Management and the retail bank, while the second half of the day covers professional skills including communication, presentations, accountability and teamwork.
The group meets at different offices within each region, and each member takes charge of moderating and coordinating the day’s events. Over the course duration, students are paired up to plan and propose a Capstone Project that is presented as part of their final class and graduation ceremony. Proposals are to describe the implementation of a new practice that will further enhance our “Great Place To Work” culture through a focus on one of our eight core values.
After completion of the course, Senior Management thoroughly reviews each of the proposals measuring them against our strategic initiatives, the project’s efficiency, and feasibility. Typically one project is selected each year, but the one that is chosen is fully supported by Management for the upcoming year, giving the project owners full oversight and implementation.
“As facilitator of the program, this is one of the most gratifying things that I do for Chesapeake,” said Pat Lewis, senior vice president and director of human resources. “I love everything about the program — from watching the great employees develop because of it, to implementing the excellent proposals that come out of it! It has become the highlight of our training programs.”
One project has been selected each of the three previous years and this year’s proposals are currently under review. The program is also evaluated annually and improved upon for future participants. More than 30 employees have completed CFS Certified, and each year deep bonds come out of the time spent together in class.
Planning for the 2018 session is already underway. If you see someone from this picture, please take a moment to congratulate them as part of the CFS Certified Class of 2017!