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Merit Network to offer Leadership Boot Camp and Performance Coaching

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announced today the launch of Leadership Boot Camp and Performance Coaching through its Merit Professional Learning Program. Offered in partnership with Academy Leadership, the first boot camp will be held on October 22-24, 2012, in Ann Arbor.
Academy Leadership
The 3-day Boot Camp experience creates successful leaders through personal discovery that will help current and future leaders improve business results and accelerate their careers. Participants will develop a personal leadership philosophy and learn to articulate who they are as leaders.

The course also includes work on important individual skills such as time management, meeting management and goal setting, as well as interactive skills like motivating others, conflict management and coaching. Such skills are fundamental to being a successful leader, though it is common for individuals to be placed in leadership roles without ever receiving formal training in these areas.

The boot camp will be led by Dr. Donald J. Welch, president and CEO of Merit Network. Welch is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served in the U.S. Army for 25 years in a number command and leadership functions before joining the faculty at West Point as Professor of Computer Science and then serving as CIO.

“As I transitioned from my Army career to civilian life, I noticed a weakness in leadership development. While the military devotes a lot of resources to leadership development–with special focus on the transition to becoming a leader–in the civilian sector we tend to put people in leadership roles and let them develop through coaching and on-the-job experience. I believe this informal approach often yields inadequate results. But at the same time, I have found it very difficult to find good leadership development programs. I’ve never been impressed until discovering Academy Leadership,” Welch said.

Welch believes so strongly in the Academy Leadership approach that he became a Boot Camp facilitator. Merit’s entire leadership team will attend Leadership Boot Camp and Performance Coaching in the coming months.

The Leadership Boot Camp and Performance Coaching curriculum was developed and tested by an elite group of West Point and U.S. Naval Academy graduates who went on to become successful entrepreneurs and CEOs after their military careers.

“What I like about the Academy Leadership approach is that it dismisses the idea that leaders must be certain type of person or act in one specific way. Rather, it embraces the fact that leaders are all different kinds of people, and that in order to be a successful leader, one must understand who they are and lead from that knowledge,” Welch said.

Leadership Boot Camp and Performance Coaching class size is limited to 15 in order to ensure a high degree of attention for each participant. Though the course meets as a group on 3 consecutive days, it includes an additional 90 days of personalized leadership coaching from the instructor. Each participant receives follow-up support to implement new leadership skills and help in executing their Action Plan developed in the boot camp.

The course announced today, to be offered October 22-24, is the first in what is an ongoing series offered through the Merit Professional Learning program. A foundational course, Leadership Boot Camp will be held multiple times throughout the year at Merit’s offices in Ann Arbor. As leaders from Merit Network and its Member organizations complete the course, Merit will provide them with a community of practice around leadership.

“We will support the program with a Community of Practice so that leaders at Merit Member organizations and leaders at Merit remain engaged and active in their personal and professional development throughout their career. It’s what Merit does best: building community. And this is something that Merit Network and our Community will benefit a great deal from,” Welch added.

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained at the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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About Academy Leadership

Academy Leadership was formed by a group of Service Academy graduates who became successful business leaders following their military careers. We bring to the table those principles we learned at Annapolis and West Point-self-discipline, commitment to goals larger than us personally, persistence and a will to win, integrity, how to treat others with respect and dignity, and a passion to lead others such that people can identify with the mission and see a clear relationship between their daily duties and accomplishment of the overall goals. Our experience in the business world has taught us that these same principles are valuable in leading any organization. We know, and have demonstrated, that leadership is a set of skills that can be taught and further developed through training and practice.

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