ESA Rising Leaders Forum Puts Mentees Through Rigorous Paces

Each year the Forum aims to prepare young industry professionals to better manage and navigate an increasingly complex industry landscape.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Electronic Security Association is celebrating a newly minted crop of young industry professionals who graduated from the ESA Mentorship Program at the association’s Rising Leaders Forum, held along the shores here Oct. 2-4.

ESA describes the annual forum as taking attendees through a strategically designed program of training, brainstorming, storytelling and experiential activities to open minds, challenge, take leaders out of their comfort zone and foster growth.

Among the event’s activities, attendees participated in physical drills, challenges, strategic puzzles and  interactive group idea development exercises, led by Terry Peters, a former Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan Sr. Enlisted Leader.

“We used an array of proven leaderless events, designed to spark initiative, teamwork and collective problem solving,” says Peters, CEO of Leader Solutions and Decision Support and ESA’s partner on the event’s programming. “All of a sudden, these leaders are in an environment where they aren’t in control — it helps prepare them for unseen challenges and it opens their minds to avenues for growth, allowing them to better manage their teams back in the office.”

Peters and his team helped drive the Forum’s roughly two-day program, collectively with ESA and its Rising Leaders Council, led by Robert Few, founder of My Luci Life.

Throughout the event, attendees woke up each morning just before sunrise, participating in a diverse circuit-training program, featuring defense drills, push-ups, leg scissors and cardio. The group engaged in sessions on leadership, streamlining operations, project planning and reverse time management, mentorship best practice, tools for performance feedback and more.

They absorbed information and inspiration that would better prepare them to manage and navigate an increasingly complex technology/product landscape, build teams and make hard decisions. Many of the outdoor activities, aside from morning fitness, required participants to plan, communicate, trust and engage with creativity and enthusiasm to succeed.

Participants learned from, and about, one another, according to ESA. They grew respect for each other in a non-threatening and comfortable environment — and as a result nearly 90% reported they planned to stay in touch after returning to their offices.

“In today’s business environment, it’s not about who you know. It’s about what you know. It’s about your passion and your willingness to put yourself out there,” says Few.

A staple of the event was the celebration of ESA’s Mentorship Class of 2017. Twelve pairs participated in the program this year, committing to in-person meet ups and monthly check-ins.

As the capstone of the Mentorship Program, mentees were broken into groups and presented on topics, including evolving customer expectations, maximizing operations and adopting new technologies.

“It was so great hearing from mentors and mentees on how enriching, re-energizing and valuable this experience was for them,” says Few.

“My mentor made me feel like someone had my back,” said mentee, Mistina Franklin. “When I had that phone call at the end of the day, he helped guide me through some of the issues I was facing.”

For more information on ESA’s Mentorship Program, now accepting applications for the class of 2018, go here.

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