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Walker Methodist team members complete LeadingAge's Leadership Academy

Amy Weiss | Feb 23, 2021

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“I’ve learned new ways of thinking and how to give myself grace,” said Shay Grant, director of life enrichment at Walker Methodist Levande. “I was able to grow in leadership, and now I can use these skills at work—and in my personal life as well.”

Shay, along with two other Walker Methodist team members, Jen Foehse and Sherry Spurlock, recently graduated from LeadingAge MN’s Leadership Academy. Though leadership has looked different this year, team members continue to go above and beyond to further Walker Methodist’s mission of Life. And all the living that goes with it.

“We believe in continuous learning and growth at Walker Methodist, in all levels of our organization. Despite the challenges they faces, we are so proud of team members who have stayed focused on growing in 2020,” said Anneliese Peterson, chief operating officer. “We made a decision early on in the pandemic that growing our leaders was still a priority. Encouraging team members to set aside time and providing educational opportunities for them to grow personally and professionally is essential to building and maintaining a strong, dedicated team.”

LeadingAge MN describes the Leadership Academy as more than a class: “It's an immersion experience that blends leadership theory, applied learning, and personalized coaching. Fellows participate in a rigorous journey of interactive experience, self-reflection, critical skill development, and action learning.”

This was especially true this year. Sherry, housing manager for Walker Methodist Pioneer Manor, said the distance learning model allowed participants to connect with other leaders across Minnesota. “During a time when it’s easy to feel disconnected, this was important to me,” she shared. “I feel so fortunate.” Shay added that the coaches were excellent, keeping the class engaged and interactive on Zoom.

Jen, director of sales and marketing at Walker Methodist Plaza, said the group was also a highlight of her experience in the Leadership Academy. “I’m honored to be part of such an amazing group of people,” she explained. “I’m thankful for this great experience and everything I’ve learned.”

After completing the Academy, LeadingAge hopes their alumni will be dynamic leaders, not only responding to changing times but also creating uplifting change for the people and places they serve. And at Walker Methodist, our servant leaders—like Sherry, Jen, and Shay—do just that. “As servant leaders, we are always learning new ways to do things. We can’t achieve our vision of being the best place to live and work if we’re not humble enough to engage in new learning,” said Anneliese.