During a recent relationship review with a client, the conversation turned to what quickly appeared to be a fascinating opportunity. The client made a perceptive observation: the market is saturated with professional development and networking opportunities for C-Suite executives, but not much is available for our next-generation leaders. As our conversation continued, the true value of this type of event was revealed as an advantage to companies and organizations looking for ways to continue to invest in top talent and as a valuable retention tool.

About 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day

As more and more business leaders from the 77-million-strong Baby Boomer generation continue to retire, it’s a priority to identify and prepare our future executives. Leadership research published in the Harvard Business Review also bears this out: 77% of Americans born during the Generation Y (Millennial) cohort say that gaining a leadership position is important to them. Businesses that capitalize on this desire by cultivating and educating their high-performing young professionals will position themselves advantageously in coming years.

More than one-in-three Americans in the labor force are Millennials

Thanks to this great insight from a client, First Business Bank has launched its Emerging Leaders Breakfast sessions this spring and continue throughout the year. The concept is this: We are asking companies and organizations to recommend an individual who demonstrates strong talent within their organization to attend as many of the sessions as they would like. The 90-minute sessions provide professional development content, and, more importantly, a forum where participants can network with one another, bringing any topic to the table for group discussion and input.

Groups are strategically limited to about 15 participants with the hope that smaller groups will facilitate better dialogue and more open discussion. Participants are from for-profit businesses of all sizes as well as nonprofit organizations. This diversity ensures a good representation of our market and awareness of both economic and social issues facing our communities.

As an example, we’re coming into the first session with an insightful look at personal management style. Our first session focuses on self-awareness and adjusting personal tendencies for more impactful results. Participants will complete a Predictive Index assessment prior to attending to determine their natural tendencies. During the session, our Director of Talent Development will discuss the assessment results and ways that each participant can use their understanding of those personal results to positively impact communication and relationships in their professional and personal lives. To ensure future session topics are meaningful, we will survey participants and ask them to identify topics they most want to discuss.

While this is somewhat of an experiment, we’re confident that this innovative approach will truly be a valuable experience for the next generation of leadership. If you would like more information about this opportunity, please contact me directly.