“How did you convince your leaders to invest money in leadership development?” “I didn’t have to.” said Cindy Gillespie, VP of HR at Amy’s Kitchen. This was in response to a question I received when accepting the LEAD award for the #1 Corporate University on behalf of Amy’s Leadership Academy. Andy and Rachel Berliner, the founders and leaders of our family-run company have always fostered a strong company culture and a community that takes care of each other (one of Amy’s values). Investing in growing our leaders is just one way we take care of our employees and is critical to the future of Amy’s. During Amy’s early days of crazy rapid growth, we saw the need for more leaders, so we hired talent from other big food manufacturers. Many of these external hires struggled to quickly learn and appreciate the complexities and culture of our company. We also recognized we needed to develop more of our existing employees into strong leaders that would drive continued strong growth, but also protect and role-model our equally important company culture At that time, I was personally participating in a Community-Leadership training program. I was inspired and motivated by the high level of engagement, motivation, and on-going connection with fellow participants. In partnership with Enact Leadership, we incorporated this community approach into Amy’s Leadership Academy (ALA), which is headed into its 7th year this fall. ALA combines building a leadership foundation with key business capabilities. Employees from across the organization have the opportunity to apply. We select a cross section of HiPos and current leaders to participate in the program, to create a leadership cohort with different backgrounds and experiences. This emphasis on leadership skills anchored in our strong company culture is creating value not only from external recognition, but also in our internal engagement efforts. Contact us at Enact Leadership if you want support in co-creating customized leadership development solutions of any size (in-person AND online) that incorporate your organization’s values and drive tangible business results.