Hopebridge Team Builds Leadership Skills and Opportunities Through LEAD Program and Next Step Academy
March 21, 2023
March 21, 2023
At Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers, supporting each other – our patients, families and team members – is embedded in everything we do. We adore supporting our children on their learning journey to achieve new skills, but we’re equally excited to lift our fellow Hopebridge Heroes to new heights.
With this in mind, we are committed to investing in our people. Doing so not only helps them achieve their own career goals, but it enhances our overall clinical quality and outcomes for our families. We shine when our kids shine, and we know our kids shine when we shine.
As part of this commitment, we offer unique development programs exclusively for our employees to enhance their leadership skills. Two examples are the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program and Next Step Academy (NSA), which both aim to instill new skills and growth opportunities so emerging leaders can blossom within Hopebridge.
“There is more than one career track for the dedicated heroes who work in autism therapy, so we are reinvesting in our people to provide a range of ongoing professional opportunities for our team members to develop their own skills and career trajectories while shaping the future of Hopebridge for our children and families,” said Hopebridge Chief of Human Resources Kimberly Topps.
Wonder what it’s like to learn and advance your career as part of these programs, or which one could be the right fit for you? Keep reading for a breakdown of LEAD and NSA, as well as their benefits.
If you work in autism therapy and ever asked, “What can I do for myself and future growth?” there is a good chance this program is for you.
LEAD is an independent personal and professional leadership development and growth opportunity offered to all Hopebridge team members. From behavior analysis and speech therapy to credentialing and human resources, employees across all departments have the chance to explore various leadership philosophies, approaches and techniques. This cross-representation of roles and disciplines gives everyone from new Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) to regional managers the chance to learn from and share their own perspectives with each other.
At Hopebridge, we believe there is no cap on the number of leaders so the opportunity to join LEAD is open to everyone with at least a six-month tenure with Hopebridge, but we ask team members to “raise their hand” once they’re interested and ready to participate, as it is an added time and education commitment. To do so, employees can apply for one of the six-month cohorts during two windows throughout the year.
The self-paced program includes self-reflection, group discussions with industry experts, small breakout sessions with each other and other leaders. Utilizing Hopebridge’s cultural cornerstones, participants are encouraged to assess and analyze the needs around them to develop creative solutions while seeking opportunities to make an impact and evolve the culture. Other program perks include mentorship, deep dives and programming around Dr. Brené Brown’s best-selling Dare to Lead, and free access to the entire LinkedIn Learning library (which is a major benefit in and of itself!).
Upon completion, LEAD participants get to immediately put some of their leadership skills in action. They are given the opportunity to lead a small breakout session for a new cohort within the six months following their own participation. Getting to coach and motivate others right off the bat is another exciting impact of the program.
Are you interested in taking your career path along the center management route? Next Step Academy is for you.
Though some of our NSA participants have also taken advantage of LEAD, the programs differ in that NSA is specifically for those who wish to move into clinic management at Hopebridge. Participants are nominated by their regional manager in collaboration with a regional board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). These standout employees may be RBTs, occupational therapists, assistant center managers or team members from our home office, but they all showcase high potential for running their own center.
The purpose of this program is not only to find these future center managers from within, but to cultivate them. NSA serves as a crash course on many of the skills they will need in management, ultimately leading to a smoother and more successful transition once they take on the new role.
The condensed 12-week program meets weekly and includes live presentations with current Hopebridge leaders teaching about various soft skills, as well as developing those that are more concrete. In between the live presentations, NSA participants engage in video training and some homework. Much like LEAD, LinkedIn Learnings is another perk of the program. The intent is to build these leadership foundation blocks as quickly as possible.
Want to join but don’t know how to begin? A new cohort begins each quarter, so interested employees should share their interest with their supervisors so they can be considered for the next round of candidates.
“The things I enjoyed most about Hopebridge’s LEAD program was learning that it’s okay to remove the armor and be vulnerable to having conversations that may or may not go the way I want them to go. Since being in the LEAD program, I feel more comfortable being in a leadership position where I’m having tough conversations, giving feedback, and growing others into becoming the leaders I believe they can be.
Next Step Academy was critical to my success during my transition from a trainer to a center manager. It was fast paced with a lot of information, but that information directly correlates to the information learned while I was onboarding and training to become a center manager. The topics of LinkedIn Learnings were amazing and were enhanced by the presentation that occurred during that week. I had two topics that were extremely beneficial to me; the crucial conversation and employee engagement topics. I was just blown away by the amount of information I learned throughout my time in NSA.”
Hopebridge Center Manager D’metric Brown of Rockledge, FL, who simultaneously participated in LEAD and NSA!
“My favorite part of the LEAD Program was the ability to connect with other leaders in our company. Some of them work hours and states away and being able to learn and grow with them virtually was really fun and allowed me to create relationships with them. Since joining, one of the largest areas of change I’ve noticed is my confidence in my ability. I don’t second guess my ideas or knowledge. The LEAD program gave me the tools I needed to feel like a leader in my space.
I love the opportunities Hopebridge has given me. When I started at Hopebridge, I was a young woman trying to sort out what she wanted her career to look like. Hopebridge put me in situations to sort that out with a support system with people who believed in me. I’ve constantly felt both challenged and motivated because of our mission. Through all these things I’ve been able to find the career path I’d like to be on and I don’t know if I would have found it without Hopebridge.”
Hopebridge Onboarding Specialist Dani Lopez-Roque, current LEAD participant in our home office who has had roles in credentialing, onboarding and as an HR Generalist
“The best part about being invited to participate in the Next Step Academy was the fact that I got to be part of the first NSA ever. It made me feel good that Hopebridge truly recognized my passions and intention to be where I am today within the corporation. It was a great place to work on weekly assignments and really focus on the tools we were given, as opposed to trying to cram so much vital information into a few days or a week of intensive training.
The biggest benefit of the program was getting to know our supporting individuals. While I had already had interactions with most of our guest speakers, this platform is much more relaxed. Hearing each guest speaker talk of their roles within the company gives one a bigger picture of the behind the scenes and the ‘why’ to many things that will be asked of you as a center manager.”
Hopebridge Center Manager Kary Payne, former NSA participant who transferred from Terre Haute, IN to run our autism therapy center in Gallatin, TN
“My favorite thing about being a part of NSA has been getting to know all of these other wonderful leaders! Something else that I have been enjoying about the program has been gaining helpful knowledge about what our current leaders do behind the scenes. My center manager in Donelson, Kelly, has always been a rockstar and she has been so helpful with answering my questions about what it means to be a center manager and what all goes into it.
It has also been helpful to gain additional tools and skillsets to further develop my leadership skills. I have already been putting them to use as a leader in my current clinic as an RBT 4 and it has been very helpful to develop these skills!”
Hopebridge RBT 4 Savannah Westfall, current NSA participant in Donelson, TN
“I was so excited when I was asked to join NSA! NSA has given me the opportunity to learn practical management skills from professionals both inside and outside of the company. As a new center manager, I find myself using these skills every day and I am so thankful that I have been able to be part of the program.”
Hopebridge Center Manager Brittany McCormick, current NSA participant in Fishers, IN
These are just two of the many job growth opportunities at Hopebridge. You may also choose to level up as an RBT, become a BCBA with support from the Fellowship Program at Hopebridge, or aspire to get promoted to clinical director. For these experiences and more, check out the available jobs in autism therapy at Hopebridge and apply to join our team with one of our open positions.
*Informed consent was obtained from the participants in this article. This information should not be captured and reused without express permission from Hopebridge, LLC.