Southwestern Power Administration’s (Southwestern or SWPA) Leadership Development Program began its training and mentorship phase on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at Southwestern's Tulsa Office location.
After a year-long planning phase, the program launched with a cohort of 18 Southwestern employees who will take part in workshops, intersessions, peer group meetings, and mentoring and coaching sessions over a 10-month period. The goal of the program is to develop current Southwestern employees into the future leaders of the agency.
While Southwestern employees have participated in the Department of Energy’s Leadership Development Program in previous years, Southwestern senior leadership recognized the need for a program designed specifically to grow future leaders within Southwestern.
Administrator Mike Wech stated, “It is crucial for Southwestern’s future success that we invest the time and resources necessary to develop the next generation of leaders, foster an environment that places a high value on workforce excellence, and ensure we continue to successfully meet our mission and the needs of our employees. It is our goal that the Southwestern Leadership Development Program will lay the foundation for that to occur.”
The new Leadership Development Program aligns with other initiatives within Southwestern’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan—specifically the Strategic Direction of Workforce Excellence—which outlines that the agency strives “…to be fully staffed, with a team of highly-qualified, engaged professionals who are excited to work for Southwestern.”
Southwestern staff collaborated with Power Marketing Administration Human Resources Shared Service Center (PMA HR SSC) staff to develop the program.
Southwestern Management and Program Analyst Lona Smith acted as lead for Southwestern, Southwestern Administrative Assistant Carrie Jackson provided support, and PMA HR SSC Training and Development Specialists Joseph Hose and Jesse Chervinka lent their expertise to create the program and lead the training sessions. Smith works in the Office of the Administrator supporting all of Southwestern and Jackson primarily supports Southwestern's Office of Corporate Compliance with support for special projects such as the Leadership Development Program. Recommendations were presented to Administrator Mike Wech for final decision prior to implementation.
All GS-11 through GS-13 and equivalent employees were eligible to apply to the program by answering a four-question application, obtaining supervisor approval, and selecting a mentor.
Southwestern managers, including mentors, attended a “Manager as Mentor” training workshop held in conjunction with the kick-off. Mentee participants’ first workshop was the following day covering program requirements and action learning activities.
Additional workshop topics throughout the year will include strengths assessment, empowerment for creating equity in the workplace, cognitive thinking, emotional intelligence, situational leadership, strategic thinking, and trust-building.