In an unprecedented time, a coaching experience through the Cincinnati Chamber is offering compassion and grace while teaching high-energy, engaged leaders.
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber offers a three-month executive coaching experience called Power Squad.
“Power Squad focuses on a group of diverse women, particularly women of color, within the same company who are high achievers,” explains Power Squad Executive Coach Patrice Borders, who also serves as the Principal of Prevention Strategies LLC.
The women who participate in Power Squad are women who the organization they work for wants to retain and prepare for broader responsibilities and advancement. “They represent the leadership pipeline,” says Borders.
The Chamber was inspired to launch an experience such as Power Squad in order to help companies invest in diverse female talent while simultaneously creating a leadership pipeline for an organization and the region.
“It is a bold collaboration demonstrating what inclusion in action looks like,” says Borders. “The curriculum unpacks the general issues all emerging leaders face while specifically leaning into the lived experiences of women and women of color.”
The establishment of Power Squad was through a collaboration between 84.51° and the Chamber to help develop female leaders within the region. The founders of the experience include Paaras Parker, now head of Human Resources Kroger Technology and Digital at Kroger alongside Borders.
“The Power Squad is a natural extension of the Chamber’s widely recognized Women Excel Succeed leadership development suite of offerings,” adds Borders.
There have been three cohorts graduate from Power Squad, including two from 84.51° and one from Kroger Digital. The current cohort includes six women from 84.51°.
While the program has its roots established, they’re dealing with the same unprecedented situation the rest of us are – COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, Power Squad has had to adjust its offerings with online learning while leaders have had to adapt.
“Being virtual is different from being virtual with COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions,” says Borders. “The latter requires greater empathy. Participants aren’t just working from home, they are working at home. At home with their full lives – children, pets, and maybe tables and chairs not intended to serve as offices. We are all offering and accepting more compassion and grace.”
Today, the group connects via Zoom. Although the learning environment is different, their experience of learning in community hasn’t. “Even virtually, we felt the high energy and engagement – they didn’t want it to end – and that’s always a great sign that everyone is all in,” says Borders.
Those who are interested in learning more about the Power Squad for their company or personal can contact Andrea Mersman at amersmann@cincinnatichamber.