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Empowering Growth: Cambridge's Experience in the AME Emerging Leaders Program


Navigating the dynamic landscape of professional development can be a daunting task, with the search for programs that genuinely transform individuals and organizations presenting a formidable challenge. Amid this, Cambridge's participation in the Association for Manufacturing Excellence's (AME) Emerging Leaders program has shined as a beacon of success. 

This year-long commitment immerses participants in a comprehensive experience centered around professional development, networking, and leadership opportunities. During a recent interview, Becca Jenkins, Technical Training Project Manager and key player at Cambridge, shed light on the nuances of the program. "The program opens your eyes to opportunities beyond learning; it's about applying knowledge to solve real-world problems." 

So, what sets this program apart? It's not just a series of meetings and training sessions; it's a transformative journey. Each participating group is tasked with addressing a problem and contributing tangible solutions to enhance AME. The culmination involves implementing these solutions, marking the participants' transition into volunteer and leadership roles within the organization. Becca’s group designed and implemented a program called STARTING PEOPLE OFF RIGHT WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO UNITE TALENT (S.P.R.O.U.T.), an initiative aimed at giving new AME members avenues and opportunities to explore and grow within the organization. 

Cambridge's entry into the program was facilitated by AME CEO, Kim Humphrey, whose recommendation, coupled with an inspirational conference experience in Dallas, ignited our interest. The cost-effectiveness of the program, along with the compelling narratives shared in previous conferences, led the Cambridge team to enroll more members. Meg, Cambridge Air Solutions VP of Human Resources, notes, "Our engagement with the Emerging Leaders program has been transformative. Thanks to Sheryl Jekiel's recommendation, we found a program that not only complements our lean journey but breathes new life into it." 

Participating companies not only enroll promising employees as Emerging Leaders but also have the opportunity for someone to Sponsor them. Sponsors commit financially, but it's not just about money. Meg Brown emphasizes that being a sponsor involves more than financial support; it's about checking in on the emerging leaders, celebrating their potential, and providing the necessary day-to-day support. 

Becca, now an emerging leader graduate, shares the day-to-day aspects of the program, emphasizing meetings, training opportunities, and collaboration as the backbone of her experience. The diversity among emerging leaders, spanning geographical location, race, ethnicity, position levels, and gender, adds depth to their projects. “It was so cool to watch everyone evolve and find their home within AME. I am truly in my element and I feel like nothing can stop me now,” Becca emphasized. 

The impact on personal growth is evident in Becca's narrative. For her, the program wasn't just another professional development opportunity; it was a tipping point. Exposure to inspirational speakers and leaders during private sessions at conferences was transformative, and Becca's personal growth was palpable as she passionately shared how her light is shining brighter than ever. 

Meg and Becca offer valuable advice for companies considering involvement. Meg sees the program as a can't-miss opportunity, particularly for those on a lean journey, while Becca urges companies not to hesitate about investing in their people. 

At the end of the interview, Becca expressed gratitude for her fellow cohorts, highlighting the friendships formed, “If my fellow cohorts read the blog – Hey! Also, I’m super grateful for you!” The journey through AME's Emerging Leaders program is not just a professional development endeavor; it's a transformative experience that extends beyond the workplace, creating lasting connections and personal growth. "The Emerging Leaders program has not only enriched our lean journey but has also been instrumental in the personal and professional development of our team members," says Meg Brown. 

As we embark on our 60th year in business, we've been doing a lot of reflecting on the past, but also strategizing for the future. We will continue to invest in our employees and build a leadership legacy of excellence that extends well past six decades of operation and we encourage you to do the same! If you’re curious about getting involved with the AME Emerging Leaders program, take a second to explore their website.