Last month, Eileen O'Hare-Anderson, Partner, presented to managers and administrators at the Manager & Supervisor Summit at Merced College Business Resource Center.
Nearly 200 local residents gathered September 9th at the Merced College Business Resource Center located at 630 West 19th Street in Merced to begin their day at the first ever Manager & Supervisor Summit. Held by the Merced College Workplace Learning Resource Center (WpLRC), the goal of the local organization is to provide local employers and citizens of the Central Valley and greater Merced area an opportunity to gain skills from the WpLRC's various customized training, leadership, and development programs. The Manager & Supervisor Summit is aimed at providing managers and supervisors with enhanced leadership skills, as well as strategies and techniques for challenging business environments, and providing ideas and solutions to ensure management success in the workplace.
According to the President of Merced Community College, Dr. Benjamin Duran, the Manager and Supervisor Summit program is a culmination of the planning that took place several months ago that involved gathering information from local business that included what the owners of each business would like to see available for them at the Merced College Business Resource Center if the WpLRC were to hold a Manager & Supervisor Summit program. Director of the Workplace Learning Resource Center, Becky Barabé, extended upon Dr. Duran's statement, saying that "This event came out of the discussions we had last year in Fall 2011. We did a survey of 15 businesses, and of them, 60 percent said there number one training need was supervisor and manager training." said Barabé, "From that point we had an advisory for the Workplace Learning Resource Center, and we put together a survey of the skill sets that we thought they might need for managers and supervisors, and then had everyone at that advisory. There were 70 participants, each one filled out their surveys on the four new trainings we we're designing and give us their input on exactly what they wanted for a new supervisor, meaning someone that has never supervised before and was just stepping up from peer or co-worker, to ‘now I'm the boss' sort of thing. Just some do's and don'ts of ‘I'm in charge now, what do I do.'"
In addition to training programs directed at those new to the management and supervisory positions, Barabé says the WpLRC had also created a separate set of workshops that would prove beneficial to those who have held these types of positions for a longer amount of time, and thus have moved up to higher positions within the corporate hierarchy of their business. "We also have designed four middle management and upper-management workshops, such as ‘I'm A Supervisor Now What', ‘Emotional Intelligence and Competency', ‘Employee Engagement', and ‘Your Management Style'. Out of those surveys, those are the four courses that were designed. Over the summer we developed the curriculum so we were ready to kick off the supervisor pilot for these new programs. It was us basically saying to the business ‘we hear what you're saying, and we're making it happen.'"
Those attending the various workshops that were available on the day of the Manager & Supervisor Summit, got an inside look at what Barabé says is "an introduction to the new trainings we have available", meaning that while the workshops themselves all lasted nearly an hour and a half and allowed for a plethora of information to be presented, and a large amount of material to be gone over, a far more extensive and in-depth workshop is made available by the WpLRC. The speakers presenting each workshop covered categories such as "Supervisor Fundamentals", "Great Management and Teams", "The Nuances of Management", "Keeping Up with Technology", and "Leading Diverse Teams In the Workplace". Each category held three workshops for a total of 15 workshops, and helped to present the many new training options that WpLRC now has available.
Pamela Parrott and Robbie Brncick, both women in high leadership roles and program coordinators within the Merced County Office of Education Department of Special Education programs, were two of the local residents who were in attendance at the Manager & Supervisor Summit. After having taken part in the first set of workshops, both agree that the program has started on a high note, and will only continue to better itself as time goes on.
"Jonae Pistoresi had some great strategies for getting employees engaged, and Eileen O'Hare-Anderson gave ‘The Nuts and Bolts of Employment Law', and as administrators it's important for us to hear that over and over again just to be reminded." Parrott and Brncick noted, "Jim Kessler's ‘Performance Management' had great tools for managing the performance of your team, sometimes when you hear these things, even if you've heard them in the past, it's good to hear them again, and I got a lot new ideas too." The pair addressed the difficulties in retaining employees within Special Education programs, as "it is a stressful job, and it is difficult for people, and challenging, but it can be very rewarding." As administrators they see the necessity to know how to effectively work with both teachers and staff members they come into contact with as coordinators as a way that they can work to retain those that are hired and allow more staff members to experience this rewarding career.
Pistoresi, a fellow coordinator of the Manager & Supervisor Summit that worked alongside of Barabé during the development of the program, had heard responses similar to that of Parrott and Brncick from a multitude of people that were in attendance as she made her way through the attendees after the program came to an end. "The thing that were most excited about is how well supported it was by the business community and that people stayed until the end, which I think does show how much they enjoyed it" said Barabé. Pistoresi responded with "I heard a lot of people say that the presenters were awesome and they'd love to see more from them." As they both realized the favorable reaction they had received from both the local businesses and the participants, they agreed that this gave them the confidence to plan on the Manager & Supervisor Summit to be a reoccurring event; and they would like to continue to grow the program in size if the additional space could be granted to them, something they would talk discuss and decide on at a debriefing that was to take place after the day long event.
Those interested in additional information related to the Manager & Supervisor Summit program, as well as the WpLRC, may contact Becky Barabé by calling (209)386-6734. Further information is also available by logging onto WWW.MercedWorkplaceCenter.org or by calling the main office at (209)386-6733 or stopping in at the Merced College Business Resource Center.
Reproduced with permission from Merced County Times (2011).