3 Leadership Lessons I Learned at Professional Development Week

By Kathie Zipp

I was happy to attend Engage! Cleveland’s 2nd Annual Professional Development Week today to develop my leadership. The three-day-long event consists of a series of sessions and workshops meant to help young professionals grow personally and professionally to prepare them for success. Day 1 of PD Week was all about discovering your leadership style, figuring out the balance between power and influence and learning how to manage people from different generations. Here are three lessons I learned about leadership during Day 1 to help me become a more collaborative, influential and understanding leader.


1. It’s ok to have different leadership styles.

During the Leadership Style Assessment session led by Jennifer Cohen, senior vice president of leadership development at Ratliff & Taylor, I had the opportunity to take The DiSC Model assessment. This was really enlightening because it helped me better understand my personality and how I like to work and do things. More importantly, it helped me understand how other people work and how I can work well with them. It’s not about labeling people, or that one style is right or wrong; it’s about understanding the strengths and weaknesses of myself and others to effectively adapt, collaborate and get the job done. 


2. You can and should use your sources of power to further your career.

In the Power & Influence session led by Dr. Scott J. Allen, associate professor at the Boler College of Business at John Carroll University, I learned that power in my profession can come from various sources such as my personal charisma, the effort and time I put in and the results I can achieve as well as my expertise and network, among other aspects. Keeping in mind the context of various situations and what’s important to a certain organization or group, I can use my power to establish value in my organization and career. 


3. A mix of generations can make for a great (and successful) workplace.

While I’m a Millennial, I learned in the Effective People Management session led by Tameka Taylor, president and co-founder of Compass Consulting Services, that it’s important to identify differences and similarities between those of other generations (traditionalists, generation X, etc). Each generation has different values and skills and if we take the time to understand those and create trust, we can create a successful work environment. Learning about different generations can even be fun!


This 3-day event includes workshops with practical advice on leadership, effective communication, career planning and more to help young professionals grow. Day 2 and Day 3 will focus on communication and career planning. Learn more about Professional Development Week here. 



Kathie Zipp is a writer and producer for Flex Media, a video marketing company based in Cleveland. She has also served on Engage! Cleveland's leadership council for several years. Kathie is a lifelong Clevelander and loves the opportunity to continue learning about the city and its businesses and organizations, while making connections and helping companies grow along the way.

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