With 20 years of experience in sales—the past 12 with BIA Cordon Bleu as VP of sales—Nathaniel Allen doesn't require new skills or knowledge to advance his career. Rather, he's looking for a new challenge, something he can bring back to work and advance his employees' careers. In the Certificate Program in Leadership and Management, Allen is discovering new ideas about what makes a motivating supervisor.
You're two courses away from completing the certificate. How has your experience been so far?
It's been transformative. When I started the courses, I had finished 10 years with BIA Cordon Bleu. After doing the same thing for a decade, I wasn't getting challenged in the same way as I was early on in my career. I needed to do something about that. I took a course and had an amazing experience. There were really refreshing ideas coming from 30 like-minded individuals. I still keep in touch with many of my classmates.
How are these new skills affecting your employees?
I have 50 families that are directly affected by the performance of the company. If I do my job well, they all benefit. I can put them in a position to do their jobs better. I have books that we used in class that I bought for my entire team and asked them to read and review, because I really wanted them to see an idea or concept.
You're learning new skills to help your employees. Surely you must be expanding your own skill set.
Yes. In fall 2014, I took Corporate Financial Management. The topic was way outside my wheelhouse but not a stretch intellectually. My entire professional life, I've had income statements and balance sheets explained to me. Now, I can look at them and understand them. I feel that there are other courses that I would like to take.