Congratulations to the Leadership Development Program Class of 2023!
July 3, 2023
At RHD, we’re dedicated to personal and professional growth, creating environments that enrich the lives of our community members. Our Leadership Development Program (LDP) embodies this commitment. Designed by RHD employees for RHD employees, the LDP is a dynamic seven-month leadership journey. Since 2001, it has empowered emerging leaders to thrive within our organization and take on greater responsibilities.
On June 1st, the LDP Class of 2023 celebrated the culmination of their leadership journey by presenting on their experiences via Zoom to over 100 people. Sixteen LDP scholars—Amanda Perham, Alysa Gaulden, Anita Lockhart-Howard, Brianna Kichline, DiAndra Thompson, Debbie Moore, Elizabeth Donaghue, Gebah Kamara, J.G. Hays, Katherine McPhail, Lincoln Taylor, Melody Rodriguez, Mustafa Algasas, Jacqueline Baker, Sakinah Forchion, and Tracie Thompson—marked their achievement. The graduates hail from a variety of RHD locations, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Norristown, and East Stroudsburg in PA, as well as Harvey, LA, Wallingford, CT, Seaford, DE, and Kansas City and Bridgeton in MO. The virtual graduation ceremony included family, friends, LDP alumni, and the RHD community.
During the ceremony, Stacey Bunch-Harrison, RHD Director of Learning and Development, shared her thoughts on the philosophy behind the LDP. “This is not a series of training classes where you sit passively and hand in some assignments for a grade. It’s a dynamic program that engages, invests, and supports RHD’s leaders to grow and help them navigate the changing landscape of the work we do.” This year, the LDP was open to all RHD employees across our 13 states for the first time. Despite the pandemic challenges, this virtual experience, with in-person elements, fostered a safe and reflective space for growth.
The LDP curriculum involves self-evaluation, goal setting, virtual group sessions, coaching, writing assignments, and action learning. Scholars learn new skills, reflect, and apply their knowledge in real-time, while juggling personal and professional responsibilities. RHD employees serve as mentors, and writing coaches provide valuable guidance throughout.
During the graduation ceremony, mentors introduced their scholars, who shared their LDP projects and experiences. Projects focused on improving communities, such as increasing access to healthy food and creating safe spaces for RHD employees to relax and prioritize wellness. Each scholar spoke honestly about the joys, challenges, and personal growth. Many of them struggled with balancing assignments and workloads. They also emphasized the value of pushing beyond their perceived capabilities and accepting peer guidance. LDP graduate Melody Rodriguez of RHD Crossroads captured the essence of the group orientation experience, echoing the sentiments of many. “There was an instant connection between everyone. We shared common goals in becoming more effective and productive leaders. We laughed, we shared personal stories, and some of us even got teary-eyed together. I knew at that point that these were my people.” The ceremony concluded with a vibrant virtual dance party, celebrating the hard work and passionate presentations from all graduates.
A donation to RHD empowers emerging leaders, expands the reach of the Leadership Development Program, and creates positive change. Join us in investing in the future by donating to RHD today at https://www.rhd.org/support-our-work/.