Rise: Empowering Bohler’s Future Leaders

01 July, 2022

“It’s an honor to be part of a program and a company that cares about our continued success,” said Sean McPeak, Assistant Project Manager in Bohler’s Miami office. “Rise provided us with the resources and tools to not only become a better version of ourselves, but to help us grow as leaders and develop others.”

Sean is a 2022 graduate of Rise, Bohler’s 10-month leadership development program for design engineers, senior design engineers, and role equivalents. The program sets the broad foundation for critical leadership concepts and project management competencies so participants are better positioned to take on and succeed in leadership roles within the organization. Now in its fourth year, Rise is empowering participants to accomplish more in their careers. Riser graduates like Sean are leaving the program with useful tools that will serve them well throughout their careers.

About the Program

The Rise curriculum was developed by Bohler’s Organization and Talent Development department and is led by Learning and Organization Manager Jenn O’Connor. It begins with a focus on self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Risers learn to identify and understand their unique leadership and communication styles. With that foundation in place, Risers learn project management best practices and how to keep clients and their land development projects moving forward.

Towards the end of the program, Risers are split into small groups to manage a mock land development project. Each group is matched with a Bohler leader who acts as their project advisor. The advisor meets with the team on a biweekly basis to coach, roleplay, and provide feedback as Risers interacted with their mock clients, also senior Bohler leaders.

Rise concludes with a capstone event, where participants present about their experience and advisors provide feedback, followed by a graduation celebration.

2022 graduates from Rise present

Risers giving their closing presentations.

Making an Impact

During this year’s graduation event, it was clear how much this program means to everyone involved – not only the participants, but also the advisors, Bohler’s leadership, Jenn O’Connor, and the entire Organization and Talent Development team.

Several of this year’s participants entered the program with hesitancy – unsure what to expect and nervous about the time commitment and expectations. But throughout the 10 months, they each grew in profound appreciation for the challenges of the program and what they learned.

“Rise was a lot of work, but it soon became the highlight of my week. It was a time to plug into something completely different and see the higher-level purpose of my work,” Oliver Kaija of Raleigh said.

Morgan O’Donnell, a Riser in Towson, MD, shared, “Rise gave me so much more confidence in myself as a leader. I learned the importance of asking questions and being intentional when working with your team and clients.”

“Rise has been instrumental in my growth as a leader and a person. It has given my tools I will use for the rest of my life and changed the way I approach work and my team, as well as life,” Sean also shared about his experience.

The leaders who participated also had a deep appreciation for Rise and having a role in developing Bohler’s future leaders. “It’s really rewarding to see the impact that Rise has had on the participants and their careers; that’s what really sparks joy and enthusiasm for me,” said Megan Baird, Associate and project advisor. “It’s an incredible learning environment where they can ask questions and fail without risk. I’m honored to be part of their development at this pivotal point in their careers.”

Bohler's 2022 class of Risers celebrate graduation

Risers celebrating graduation.

Aligning With Our Purpose

Everything at Bohler, including Rise, derives from alignment with the firm’s purpose to empower the ambitious to become the accomplished. Rise is about empowering Bohler’s next generation of leaders to accomplish more in their careers, while also helping them build the skills and confidence to empower others.

Emily Anderson, a Riser from Boston, said, “Through my experience with Rise, I could really see that Bohler is all-in on creating an environment where we are given tools to empower the ambitious to become the accomplished – it’s not just a catchy phrase!”

Oliver put it like this, “The investment of time, money, and effort into the Rise learning experience by so many leaders across Bohler is the true evidence of how much Bohler values people. It’s clear to me that this is an organization that champions teamwork and truly values people.”

Looking Ahead

Rise isn’t just about the now. It’s about preparing our rising leaders to continue growing and developing so that they continue in their career success at Bohler and make even more of an impact.

For some participants like Oliver, being part of Rise became a challenge to keep learning and share what he’s learned with others. He said, “Through Rise, Bohler is investing in the next generation of leaders, so there’s a responsibility on us to champion change, drive innovation, tackle new challenges, and empower teammates to do the same.”

From Jenn’s perspective, “For many, Rise is the first time these individuals envision themselves as influential leaders and you can see their mindset shift. Watching the Risers grow over the 10 months, particularly in their self-awareness and confidence, is the most rewarding part of leading this program.”

Meanwhile, Bohler’s senior leaders are proud to see the development of our future leaders, who will follow in their footsteps.

“I’m so encouraged about the future of Bohler, knowing it will be in the hands of these amazing rising leaders,” Adam Benosky, Managing Partner of Bohler’s Central Division, said of this year’s Rise graduates. “Seeing what this group has accomplished is truly inspiring and assures me of Bohler’s continued success.”

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