Understanding the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP)
The goal of the
Executive Leadership Development Program is to develop executive talent and
leadership for individuals who demonstrate the interest and expertise to move
to the most senior levels of leadership in an AZA Zoos or Aquarium within the
next 5 years.
The focus of
Executive Leadership Development Program is to build strong leaders who will
successfully advance the zoo and aquarium movement in the future. The structure and processes of this program
target the Zoo and Aquarium Director Competencies, or the knowledge, skills and
behaviors needed to be most effective in this role. The competency model emphasizes three tiers
of competencies and includes:
Leadership Behaviors, which define the heart and values of an effective leader
and the leadership approach to Inspire, Model, Challenge, Enable, Encourage
others to deliver on the mission of the Institution.
Focus, which defines the skills and knowledge needed to sustain a viable
institution and advance the mission.
Oversight for Zoo/Aquarium Operations, which define the skills and knowledge
needed to provide operational oversight at the Institutional level.
participant will work closely with their leader and assigned mentor to
advance their executive competency capabilities and expand their networks
throughout the AZA executive community.
Through structured development approaches and individualized development
plans, participants will experience a variety of experience-based learning
training and job shadow experiences at the participant’s home institution,
other community organizations, etc.
- Action Learning
Teams to which participants are assigned to address urgent and critical
priorities facing AZA and its members, which are complex and not easily
with Zoo and Aquarium Executives scheduled throughout the year. These informal
sessions will enable existing executives to share leadership lessons and
transfer institutional knowledge on a variety of topics.
Leadership Coaching to focus on development priorities and the leadership
transition from manager to executive.
General Program Commitments
participants will be required to devote a significant amount of personal and
professional time to their individual development throughout their program
participants are accountable for driving their own development and will be
responsible for scheduling regular time with their Director and assigned Mentor
to develop, review and update their individual development plans to address
their top development priorities.
participants will actively reflect and keep notes to document what they are
learning, what they could be doing differently, and how to apply new learnings
to other situations.
- To make the
most out of the program each participant needs to be proactive and look for
challenging opportunities to lead or to increase their level of responsibility
something new, or moving an effort in a different direction
- Fixing a
troubled operation or process
- Taking on a
larger budget, leading more people, or managing different functions
- Seeking out
high risk/reward efforts – tight deadlines, multiple channels to work through,
- Taking on
projects or issues that require you to influence or interface with external
groups outside of the institution
- Stepping up to
lead without authority, influencing peers, senior leaders, or other people that
do not report to you.
- Throughout the
program, participants in partnership with their Director will assess their
ability to take on work with which the Director is currently involved.
will participate in a 360-Degree Leadership Behavior Assessment at the start of
the program during which their direct reports, peers, and Director will rate
their current demonstration of specific leadership behaviors.
will attend structured ELDP work sessions scheduled during the AZA conferences
planned in January, March, September and January, requiring travel to the
conference site during those weeks. Participation in the remaining conference
is encouraged, but is not mandatory.
will be assigned to an Action Learning Team and will meet via phone and
web-conferencing on a regular basis for a 6-8 month period with other assigned
participants to address a urgent and critical problem that is complex and not
will be paired with another ELDP Participant as a peer-feedback partner.
Throughout the program they will develop a relationship that will offer peer
feedback, a sounding board and the opportunity to share challenges, experience
Participant’s Director, Mentor, and Action Learning Team Coach will formally
evaluate program performance at the mid-year point and conclusion of the
Applications for the following year's program are made available each June and due in mid-July.
Click here for the ELDP Application Form and more information to help determine if the ELDP is right for you.
Still have questions?
Visit the ELDP FAQs or contact Kris Vehrs at firstname.lastname@example.org