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Reflections on the Origin Story of EO International Management Academy (GLA) — —

by Erick Slabaugh, a long-standing EO member in Seattle and former director on the EO International Board

“In case your actions encourage others to dream extra, study extra, do extra and change into extra, you’re a chief.” — John Quincy Adams

As a member of EO for 25 years, I’ve had the immense privilege of partaking in numerous initiatives that reworked my very own expertise alongside the best way. One of many highest-impact highlights of my EO journey has been collaborating within the creation of the EO International Management Academy (GLA).

Whereas the function I performed in launching GLA was merely performing as one brick within the wall of a lovely cathedral of management, I couldn’t assist however spend a while not too long ago trying again fondly on the fantastic tales born out of the expertise.

Whether or not you’ve got attended EO’s Management Academies or nonetheless sit up for the chance, the muse upon which this exceptional programme was constructed is notable. The programmes have since advanced—however the authentic spirit of management, character and shared development stays totally intact. It’s a spirit that has contributed to the private improvement of a few of the world’s most interesting entrepreneurs making a real impression on firms, communities, and households throughout the globe.

The Origins

David Galbenski and I served on the EO International Board collectively in 2007. David—a very exceptional world-class chief—referred to as me with an thought for a “challenge” he had: a condensed, high-impact management coaching programme for present and future EO International Board members. The idea was to create an academic occasion that would supply expertise and improvement for what it took to be a greater chief of a worldwide group.

I beloved the thought and his imaginative and prescient. Nonetheless, I advised David that when it got here to my coming aboard to assist construct the programme, I had one situation: I needed authorization to recruit the Dean of the college from exterior the group.

I stated that to him with somebody particular in thoughts.

A yr earlier, as EO started fostering stronger collaborative bonds with WPO/YPO, I had attended the Public Coverage Discussion board, a YPO occasion in Washington, DC. There, I grew to become acquainted with Warren Rustand, who was main it. I vividly bear in mind sitting within the viewers and pondering:

“This man is probably the most inspiring thinker and speaker on management that I’ve ever seen.”

Our objective grew to become clear: to recruit Warren to function the Dean of our studying programme school.

I flew to Washington, DC, and sat down with Warren, then-EO Director Bob Strade, and Ben Richter (who additionally had a programme to pitch to Warren). Warren beloved our concepts however had a situation of his personal: He needed to incorporate Dr. Gerald Bell of the College of North Carolina’s Bell Management Institute within the programme.

Dr. Bell additionally agreed to come back on board, and all collectively, we collectively constructed the programme’s technique, construction, and content material. That’s how EO’s International Management Academy (GLA) was born.

For the primary 4 years, we had Warren Rustand for all the programme and Dr. Bell current for a full day of management coaching. It was some of the exceptional rooms, not to mention lecture rooms, I had ever discovered myself facilitating.

Within the first yr (2008), we had a meager funds, restricted workers help, and solely seven months to drag all the things collectively. Keith Williams, EVP of Studying; Chelsea Dennison, EO Workers lead; and I had US$50,000, which was one-tenth the funds American Categorical was spending on the same occasion. We needed to develop a minimal viable product that may “wow” the group’s high management and show the preliminary funding worthwhile.   

We went to Andrew Sherman, EO’s authorized counsel, and requested if he would donate Jones Day’s Washington, DC, government convention heart for 4 days. I requested three tenured EO International Board members—David Galbenski, Greg Crabtree and Jesus De La Garza—to affix me at their very own expense as facilitators of the breakouts we deliberate. They, too, have been completely happy to help the trigger. 

Keith bought the imaginative and prescient of what could possibly be and requested our audio system to cut back or waive charges. All of them did. Even a few of the venues and caterers labored with us to provide tasteful but reasonably priced experiences that elevated the inaugural class’s expertise. 

The primary yr was a hit.

Someplace across the second yr of the Academy, we had a sense that this programme, impactful and transformational because it was, might need the potential to serve a much bigger goal. We thought: What if we made the programme obtainable to different members? What if we made it obtainable to all EO members as a real international member profit? 

Michael Caito took over in yr 5, after which George Gan took the reins from there, enjoying a pivotal function in creating the programme on the regional degree. Just a few iterations later, it grew to become the EO Regional Management Academy (RLA), accessible to each area throughout 60+ international locations beneath EO’s international umbrella.

A Want for Management

I’ve recognized and deeply revered Warren Rustand for 15+ years now. Warren acknowledged early in his life that the world had a exceptional thirst and deep want for higher leaders. In what he calls the continual act of “people changing into,” Warren noticed the potential for extra people to change into the leaders the world wanted them to be.

A lot of Warren’s methodology for impressed management comes right down to data and selection. Warren believes that greatness is a alternative fairly than an endowment. It signifies that all people, ought to they make the selection for private greatness, might change into exceptional leaders. Warren’s most up-to-date e-book, The Chief Inside Us, echoes that perception: “We should select greatness. Folks don’t hand us greatness. We determine to be nice after which self-discipline ourselves to be nice. It’s about alternative and self-discipline.”

I agreed with Warren on the time, however I hadn’t realized the extent to which he was proper. It appeared that because the years went on, practically in every single place I turned, I used to be uncovered to poor management at each macro and micro ranges. From the rise of situational ethics to “scotoma” (blind spots) that so many leaders appeared to have, I felt our era of management wanted a transformative training.

GLA strived to arrange our membership to assist them exist because the strongest exemplars of management they may presumably be. The ripple results of GLA’s authentic imaginative and prescient for management improvement prolonged far past the boardroom: members discovered the best way to be high-caliber leaders inside their households, communities, and sociological environments at giant.

Warren Rustand’s model of management has all the time prolonged wholly into the civic realm. Whereas GLA by no means inspired political motion of any variety, Warren and I shared a elementary understanding: As individuals, we stay in a city or metropolis, inside a bigger state or province, inside a bigger nation, inside a bigger world. The selection was ours. Both we might select to be a part of the management at any of these ranges, or we might select to sit down idly by and watch these ranges worsen earlier than our very eyes. No matter “degree” of management engagement speaks to you, the objective was to serve the totality of an entrepreneur. Upon doing so, leaders are outfitted and empowered to decide on to have interaction the place we’re most impressed to take action.

Accordingly, early GLA coaching classes created alternatives for brand new data acquisition and inspired people to make the selection for private greatness past one’s conventional boundaries. Warren’s model of information, greatness and self-discipline took many types—together with one which many EO members won’t find out about: etiquette coaching.

Shelby Scarbrough and I labored collectively to recruit a key accomplice, and good good friend of Shelby’s, from the Smithsonian Museum. We organized a mock State Dinner as a part of the early-day GLA expertise. It was first held on the Daughters of the American Revolution Banquet Corridor, a completely unimaginable setting that was a mockup of the White Home Eating Corridor.

The intent was to empower leaders with conventional etiquette coaching. We discovered about utilizing the suitable forks for the suitable parts of a proper dinner; the best way to give a correct toast; the origins of the handshake and the best way to conduct an efficient one; the best way to leverage mnemonics to ship an efficient speech; and extra.  I’ll always remember George Gan’s toast to EO, which began out, “A rating and a few years in the past….” It was completely shifting and sensible.

A few of these issues have since gone away. Many people have entry to sources, teaching and coaching on etiquette components exterior of the Management Academies.

But, having the chance to interrupt down and problem our ego, construct character, be completely uncooked and uncovered, and construct again up once more just isn’t one thing we are able to do in our common contexts and environments. It was a novel management skillset and mindset that couldn’t be acquired anyplace else—and it slowly grew to become a significant focus for GLA and RLA experiences.

Adversity exposes character. It’s exceptionally straightforward to be compassionate, loving and sort when all goes nice. When all isn’t going nice, our character takes the reins on each determination, motion, and response. Character issues, and GLA continues to focus its curriculum on constructing character-driven management, which is achieved as soon as the ego will get out of our manner.

The Spirit

Whereas EO’s International Management Academy has advanced, the unique spirit is solely current–and it’s a spirit of Warren Rustand himself, whose fingerprints stay deeply embedded within the Academy because it stands at the moment.

On the time, it was the highest-rated occasion in EO historical past. International Management Academy (GLA) and Regional Management Academy (RLA) stay to today the highest-rated programmes provided by EO. The reason being easy: The programmes are really transformational.

They usually have advanced, which is an excellent factor. There are exceptional leaders throughout the globe who’ve accomplished an outstanding job rising the programme and cementing its future. The longer term is vivid—however the previous, and the unique spirit of GLA, are value recognizing, celebrating and sustaining.

Dave Galbenksi doesn’t obtain sufficient credit score for it, however it can unquestionably go down as one of many nice concepts of his lifetime. I’m grateful for Bob Strade, who empowered us to execute on it. I’m ceaselessly indebted to Warren Rustand—not just for giving me a “sure” when he agreed to come back on board, but in addition for taking GLA nicely past the place it was and for staying dedicated to constructing a legacy for EO members in every single place. He has instrumentally helped us fulfill a imaginative and prescient far exceeding what I ever thought we might do.

As we speak, I stay extremely excited to see the subsequent era of imaginative and prescient that can take GLA, RLA and EO leaders to new heights. Within the act of “people changing into,” I hope that all of us make the selection to change into higher leaders. The world wants us.

Contributed to EO by Erick Slabaugh, a long-standing member chief of EO Seattle and former director on the EO International Board, who’s a serial entrepreneur, board member and advisor. He serves because the CEO of Absco Options, a 40+ yr market veteran within the facility safety and fire-life security trade, in addition to CEO of FCP Perception, a cloud-based enterprise software program answer for electrical contracting companies. Erick not too long ago shared 5 Timeless Ideas of Entrepreneurial Success on EO’s channel.

For extra insights and inspiration from at the moment’s main entrepreneurs, take a look at EO on Inc. and extra articles from the EO weblog

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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