Cultivating Tomorrow's Leaders: An Exclusive Look into the Limitless Executive Accelerator Program (LEAP)
The Genesis of LEAP
At Volaris Group, fostering leadership excellence is more than a commitment; it's our driving force and the fuel for growth in our portfolio of companies.
From its inception, Volaris Group has consistently recognized the significance of talent development and succession planning as a cornerstone for organizational growth. This commitment to growing future leaders and facilitating their seamless progression into leadership positions prompted the creation of LEAP, an exclusive curriculum tailored for leaders within Volaris Group’s DeSilvester Portfolio.
Several subject matter experts collaborated to shape this program, enhancing existing talent management efforts while bridging the path for up-and-coming leaders. LEAP topics, specially curated by experienced leaders including Tony DeSilvester, Jeff Luchetti, Trey Drake, and Rob Turner, draw from decades of invaluable insights into the operational intricacies essential for leading a thriving software business. The program content was expertly crafted by Lisa Read, VP of HR at Volaris Group, who boasts 25+ years of experience in Human Resources, and Lynne Kennedy, an esteemed external consultant with more than two decades of experience in leadership development and coaching, and almost a decade's worth supporting Volaris businesses.
"As a passionate advocate for leadership excellence, LEAP holds a special place in my heart. It affords participants a safe space to experiment and explore leadership in all its forms. We continually refine the program, emphasizing active participation as the primary source of valuable learning experiences."
-- Lisa Read, VP of Human Resources, Volaris Group
LEAP addresses talent management and succession gaps and laser focuses on leadership development; preparing up-and-coming leaders to step into Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Volaris Business Unit (VBU) Leader Roles. Graduates of the program acquire essential everyday leadership skills that are indispensable for success in these pivotal positions.
What Participants Can Expect
This program emphasizes quality over quantity. With a deliberate focus on personalized development, LEAP limits the number of participants to ensure maximum interaction and a personalized approach. As an ongoing endeavour in talent management, this annual program is a testament to cultivating leaders, year-after-year.
Each LEAP cohort comprises a maximum of 12 carefully selected individuals. The selection process evaluates readiness, career trajectory, and alignment with program goals to ensure every participant can make the most of this unique learning journey. While some of the 2023 participants were skeptical of what outcomes the program would bring, every graduate expressed positive sentiments, underscoring the transformative impact of the experience.
“Over the course of a year, as the program progressed and as my tenure in my position progressed, it turned out LEAP taught me exactly what I needed to be learning”
-- Randall Walsh, General Manager, AssetWorks
Consisting of three intensive in-person sessions, each spanning multiple days, LEAP is complimented by executive mentorship delegations and a robust network that extends throughout the year. With the 2023 participants gathering from different corners of the globe, sessions took place in Grapevine, Texas, Windsor, UK, and most recently, Lisbon, Portugal.
"LEAP has been the single most impactful leadership development program I have attended in a very long career to date. The program taught me many valuable skills and gave us countless takeaways."
-- Dean Coleman, CEO, Sunrise
Inside the Program
The LEAP curriculum covers a wide range of topics and is designed to provide a comprehensive exploration of leadership excellence, encouraging graduates to think at a higher level. The philosophy of the program is broken into 3 different perspectives:
1) Leading me
2) Leading others
3) Leading the business
Lynne likens LEAP to traversing a dual path, "On one track, it's all about personal development: fostering exploration, experimentation, and growth. Simultaneously, we examine the technical aspects of effectively leading a software business. It's a privilege to be able to support everyone involved. It's immense." – Lynne Kennedy, Co-Founder, Sales: Untangled
LEAP is structured to delve deep into a range of critical leadership topics, including:
- Intentional everyday leadership skills
- Leadership styles
- Coaching opportunities for enhancing executive presence
- Development and analysis of initiatives
- Decision-making strategies
- Building an employees value proposition (EVP)
- Promoting our peers
- Women in leadership
- The M&A process to drive out-sized growth
- Hiring for character, training for skills
- Nurturing high-performing teams
- Strategy planning & sales forecasting
Internal subject matter experts are brought in from across the portfolio of companies to discuss their triumphs and challenges with a particular topic. Attendees additionally partake in Emergenetics Psychometric Profiling, which is then leveraged for additional coaching.
Furthermore, each LEAP participant is thoughtfully matched with a dedicated mentor, ensuring a close-knit support system throughout the program and beyond. These mentor-mentee relationships involve monthly discussions at a minimum, offering diverse perspectives on workplace challenges, access to additional resources, and invaluable insights.
“I graduated feeling equipped for the next step in my career with a toolkit of valuable frameworks and concepts, empowering me to refine my leadership approach. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this journey was the bonds I formed with my mentor and 11 colleagues.”
-- Adam Calladine, Chief Products Officer, Kinetic
LEAP Impact Stories: Real Testimonials, Real Growth
"With LEAP being my first management training course, I went into the experience not knowing what to expect; what a journey it was!
The program constantly encouraged personal and professional growth. It encouraged us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones; to take our companies and careers to the next level.
The course allowed me to take time to reflect on the type of leader I am, how I can contribute to our businesses, and what management skills and matrix I can implement to nurture high-performing teams.
Because of this experience, we’ve built strong bonds for sharing advice and knowledge, or simply an outlet to vent. By being open and honest with each other our cohort has become not just a tight-knit group of business professionals; we’ve built lasting friendships.
This journey has been priceless, making a positive impact on my confidence in my skills and abilities. It has been a privilege to be part of the LEAP program and I would recommend it to anyone looking to move forward in their career."
"The connections I have made have been amazing. Working side by side with such talented and motivated people has been an eye-opening experience. This experience has taught me we are all in this together and striving for a common goal.
I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to be personally and professionally challenged and stretched. Tony talks a lot about developing talent within our portfolio, and I can assure you, he puts his money and time where his mouth is."
"When invited to join LEAP, my initial question was, 'Why me?! How will another course on being a manager benefit me or the business?' How wrong I was to be at all skeptical—LEAP is unlike any program I've experienced before.
LEAP proved to be a hugely beneficial course. The primary focus of the program explores leadership in three key areas: leading oneself, leading others, and leading the business. It provided a safe space for all discussions, led by amazing leaders who encouraged us to think deeper and truly unpack the topics at hand. While we had a course outline, the program allowed for flexibility; if other topics surfaced the space was made to ensure we had time to delve into them.
LEAP is not about dictating how to do your job; rather, it equips you with the tools to bring your unique leadership style to your business. It emphasizes showing up authentically—being the best version of yourself—and fostering an environment for others to grow around you.
The bonds and friendships I've forged with people from various business units, sectors, and backgrounds will endure as we all progress in our careers. This program represents a significant investment in a group of individuals identified as future leaders."
"It was a huge privilege to be enrolled in LEAP; having the opportunity to learn alongside an amazing group on the same journey was both humbling and inspiring. Our facilitators, Lynne and Lisa, did a magnificent job of curating content that challenged us, and at times, was incredibly emotional.
I graduated LEAP with many takeaways to bring back to Grosvenor, lifelong memories and relationships, and a wealth of personal growth. I definitely feel better equipped to lead myself and the business and have learned to build time into my schedule to regularly reflect and apply my learnings.
Here a just a few of the highlights from my many LEAP takeaways:
• Boss Watching
• The light and shadow we cast
• Recruiting Talent
• Our Employee Value Proposition
The portfolio leadership team has shown a real commitment to our growth, investing both time and resources into our businesses and the people within. I look forward to applying my LEAP learnings in this next chapter!"
"As with most Volaris events, my most significant takeaway from LEAP is the connections and relationships I've made. Sharing experiences with a close-knit group facing similar situations – albeit coming from a diverse range of backgrounds, expertise, and career stages - offered a valuable opportunity to connect, hear different perspectives, learn from their experiences, and engage in insightful discussions (with no shortage of laughs along the way!).
I‘m leaving LEAP with a new support network – a good reminder that one is never alone as part of Volaris. The perspectives I gained, and connections made during this program have been invaluable; so much so that fellow LEAP-ers and I have already set up recurring meetings to keep the momentum moving forward."
“LEAP has been an incredibly special programme to be part of. As a small group, we quickly developed a deep level of trust, which allowed candid conversations about our individual motivations, career paths, and leadership aspirations.
The program skilfully guided us to recognize and overcome self-imposed limitations, leading to a transformative reconstruction of our improved selves. As a result, I emerged from this experience as a more accomplished and confident leader!
For the class of 2023, this is just the beginning. We've vowed to continue supporting each other in the months and years ahead, and I eagerly anticipate witnessing our collective accomplishments as we contribute to the growth of our businesses and respective teams.
LEAP really sums up the unique spirit that embodies the Volaris philosophy. Where else can you find leaders from diverse software businesses genuinely cheering for each other's success in such a meaningful way?”
“It's challenging to find the words to describe my incredible experience with LEAP, but I will do my best. Embarking on this global journey with eleven other remarkable individuals, this experience offered dedicated time for self-discovery as well as the opportunity to learn new skills for leading a team and impacting business growth.
I came into this program with uncertainty about what I'd take away, and I graduated with a profound realization: people and purpose are what matter the most. Immensely grateful for those who share their time, experiences, and encouragement, I now understand that this is my leap to take. If you get the opportunity, take the leap and don't look back-- but do look back at your reflections and Emergenetics profile!”
"The LEAP program was a great adventure I was lucky enough to be selected for. It was much more than just an academic learning opportunity; it was also a way to discover ourselves and understand the type of leaders we are.
Lisa Read and Lynne Kennedy did an incredible job at bringing us all together. They created an environment of trust, allowing the LEAP’23 team to create lasting bonds, share insights, and support each other. Truly a unique experience."
"I feel extremely privileged to have been offered the opportunity to participate in LEAP over the last year. The program encouraged me to take an introspective look at the type of leader I aspire to be. I gained some great insights into my impact on others and the teams I collaborate with. Learning how to lead myself, others and a business provided a holistic approach to leadership.
I was fortunate to embark on a mini global adventure, attending sessions in Grapevine, Texas, Windsor, and Lisbon. Each of these sessions represented a new phase in the learning and a different environment in which to learn.
I graduated feeling equipped for the next step in my career with a toolkit of valuable frameworks and concepts, empowering me to refine my leadership approach. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this journey was the bonds I formed with my mentor and 11 colleagues. Our shared experiences fostered a strong connection, and I look forward to maintaining these relationships for years to come."
"I was privileged to attend LEAP. The program was organised superbly and exposed us to a wide variety of skills focused on leadership, growing the business and talent development.
LEAP has been the single most impactful leadership development program I have attended in a very long career to date. Over the years, I have attended many management and leadership courses, which all had their value but none compared to the benefit that this program has delivered.
The program taught me many valuable skills and gave us countless takeaways. I left each session with tons of notes to reflect upon and take onboard, as I continue my journey as a leader. However, I would say above all, the most valuable part of LEAP for me, was turning 11 colleagues into a group of trusted and valuable friends. This was evidenced by the ability to lean on each other outside of the sessions for coaching, mentoring and support – it’s been extremely valuable and helped me several times over the past few months.
I also need to give a shout-out to my mentor, Glenn Adams, COO of AssetWorks. We had meetings every two weeks, where we covered everything from career development, business challenges, and even the weather in the UK. I even got to play a round of golf with Glenn at the Portfolio Summit - where Europe defeated North America at the DeSilvester Portfolio Ryder Cup.
Yet again, our portfolio has invested in the development and growth of our leaders. I feel absolutely honoured to be asked to be part of LEAP and see this as a fantastic program for developing our future leaders.
"Going into LEAP, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting, but having recently been promoted to General Manager of AssetWorks Facilities, despite more than 15 years with this business in a variety of roles, I knew I had a lot to learn and a lot of questions in my new role.
I hoped to gain better insight into what I needed to do as a leader. If I am honest, I had somewhat of a preconception of what I thought I needed to be taught. However, what the program provided was not what I had preconceived.
Over the course of a year, as the program progressed and as my tenure in my position progressed, it turned out LEAP taught me exactly what I needed to be learning. Leadership is much less about numbers (don’t get me wrong, numbers are very important; they are how we measure success), but the majority of each day, as a leader, you are dealing with people. People make an organization successful, and it requires intentional thought, effective communication, and continuous investment in them to lead them successfully.
I wholeheartedly endorse the LEAP program and think it is essential to an individual who has taken over or is preparing to imminently take on the role of COO or General Manager of a Volaris business. The LEAP program is now an essential requirement that will be included in our employee development plans for those who are moving up into senior leadership roles at AssetWorks Facilities."
"LEAP was not what I anticipated. I was expecting models, decision-making frameworks, and a narrative that we must be experts in all facets of a business. Given the consistent focus on people our leaders have and continuously communicate, I should have known that we were always going to focus on people.
The program taught us to build up those we work with, reflect on how we impact them daily through the smallest interactions, and that we are continuously leading even when we think we aren’t; the answer always comes back to the people around us."
Inspiring Limitless Success Stories
The Limitless Executive Accelerator Program (LEAP) stands as a testament to our enduring commitment to cultivating leadership excellence year after year. As Portfolio Leader Tony DeSilvester aptly summarizes, "Our talented teams are the driving force behind our organizational growth, and I take great pride in their accomplishments. LEAP is one of the many examples echoing this sentiment and the bright future it holds for our organization.”
LEAP's success stories feature graduates who have ascended the corporate ranks to take on key leadership roles. Notable examples include Frank Syma, who is now leading FacilityForce as its CEO, Ruth Mills, the accomplished Managing Director of IndiCater, and Glenn Adams, who now holds the position of COO at AssetWorks, among others.
“It's incredibly rewarding to witness the tremendous strides of our LEAP alumni and to receive such positive feedback about the program. Seeing the tangible outcomes and growth that emerges is truly fulfilling.” – Lisa Read, VP of HR, Volaris Group
The inspiring success stories of our 2023 LEAP Graduates and LEAP alumni serve as beacons of motivation, illuminating the path for future leaders within our DeSilvester Portfolio.