September 16, 2022

Discovering the Leader Within: Learning at Appcast

Alicia Little head shot
Alicia Little
Director, Brand & Content Marketing
September 16, 2022

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Ah, September. A time to welcome back cool, crisp air, muted autumnal hues, and of course leadership development.

That’s right – leadership development. September brings about another cohort of a biannual opportunity that Appcast provides to emerging leaders to drive deeper people management skills and leadership effectiveness. Among the many opportunities for professional development and skill building at Appcast, the Step Up and Lead program is our most unique.

What is Step Up and Lead?

Step Up and Lead (SUL) is a leadership development program developed and driven by our parent company, StepStone. The goal of the program is to build a solid foundation for leadership among participants. While it has taken on a variety of formats within the StepStone Group, for Appcast it has been a week-long intensive program where participants attend in-person learning sessions at StepStone HQ in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The experience is incredibly multi-faceted because:

  • You get to share in it with other Appcastians, many of whom you may not work with on a regular basis, which allows you to strengthen bonds, gain perspective from other teams and functions, and establish a network of leadership peers.
  • The sessions are extremely varied – you do everything from role playing, to classic instructor-led sessions, to gamified simulations, to friendly debates, and perhaps even teaching the class yourself. There’s group work, solo work, pair work, or full group activities.
  • You engage with StepStone colleagues and take-in the organizational “big picture” by being in the head office. Plus, you get to soak in many facets of German culture by seeing the sites and tasting German delicacies (beer and schnitzel anyone?).

I have many positive things to say about the program but don’t just take my word for it. I asked some of my peers and participants from other cohorts about their experiences:

One of the things I learned from my SUL experience is that an instructor who is truly passionate about the topic takes the learning experience to a whole new level.
 
The other piece about my experience was how quickly I was able to apply knowledge from the sessions. It was relevant, practical and gave me the confidence to enter into one-on-one conversations knowing I have a structure for how these conversations should go.

SUL experience was fantastic. It made me a stronger leader. 
 
Spending a week in Dusseldorf collaborating with other StSt leaders was invaluable. We all support different parts of the business but shared common issues as new leaders. 
 
The SUL team provided structure to processes I thought I already understood. Many I continue to use regularly with my team.

This program allowed me to learn new concepts based on our core values that I could easily and immediately implement every day. It also gave me a chance to spend time working with, and build relationships with, other participants across many teams that I wouldn’t work with on a day-to-day basis. Having that greater insight into who we are as a company, and feeling like I have support from other graduates of the program, has given me a renewed sense of drive and confidence to become a better leader.

I had such a great time on the Step Up and Lead program. Not only was it an amazing opportunity to meet some of my colleagues in person, but our trainer, Steven, and the material covered was super! I have already taken some of the concepts and tools from the training and applied them to my daily work.

I’m no poet with words, but the SUL program was such a great experience, not only professionally but also personally. Going through the training with other colleagues in similar places in their leadership journey helped me step out of my shell and gain confidence in my abilities. I have even stronger connections with coworkers and a network of friends to lean on.

“Step Up and Lead gave me the opportunity to learn about crucial leadership principals and put them to practice with a group of my peers. Not only did I walk away with a wealth of practical knowledge, I also walked away with strengthened peer relationships that I rely on to this day.”

StepStone’s Step Up and Lead program provided me with specific models and frameworks that I can use every day to better communicate with and assess the needs of my team. I appreciated that the training program provided a space for us to practice how to implement the specific frameworks with a group of trusted colleagues. I’m very grateful to have participated and had the opportunity to learn and grow.

My SUL experience was fantastic! Steven is an amazing instructor and a wealth of knowledge and advice. I left the training with not only more tools under my belt but also more confidence as a manager. The best part of the week was getting to know 6 other members of the Appcast team more closely and feeling better connected to peers who I don’t necessarily work with on a daily basis.

Learning & Development at Appcast

As you can see, Step Up and Lead has benefitted several emerging leaders in many ways and the good news is: SUL isn’t the only opportunity for you to learn, develop, and pursue career growth at Appcast.

One of Appcast’s shared values is Learn Every Day and we truly live that. There is  always something new to learn about recruiting or job advertising, or on how to be a better communicator or project manager. Opportunities are endless! Here are a few examples of how growth is supported at Appcast:

  • Employees have access to an annual stipend to pursue learning opportunities that will help them improve or expand their role.
  • All employees have access to online learning portals and resources that cover a broad range of topics from management essentials to mastering pivot tables in Microsoft Excel to learning basic coding languages.
  • Many teams have participated in workshops or learning sessions that will impact their function or area of expertise (i.e. coding workshop, creativity workshop, etc).
  • Our tuition reimbursement program supports employees who are continuing education in a post-secondary institution or industry certification.
  • Many employees have received internal promotions or take on broader projects or challenges after having a chance to shadow other roles and by having continued conversations with managers about their career aspirations.

It is because of opportunities like these (and so many others!) that our employees feel happy and supported (our NPS score is 78). If you’re curious to dig deeper into life at Appcast, learn more on our website or visit our career page.

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