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Idea Fair

ELITE (Existing & Emerging Leaders Interactive Training Experience)


With the growth of the Detroit Athletic Club in recent years, our team has grown tremendously. This created a need to develop our current and next-level leaders at the Club. We wanted to create a more intensive leadership program than what had been done in the past. So we created a yearlong experience aimed at educating individuals who will lead the Club in the future as well as create a stronger team within the program.

The main goal was a well-rounded program, teaching both hard and soft skills revolving around what participants would need to know to succeed at the DAC and what would make them better leaders.

The purpose of ELITE (Existing & Emerging Leaders Interactive Training Experience) is the development of existing and emerging DAC Leaders. The program provides participants tools and resources to improve their self-awareness; build confidence; improve communication skills and financial stewardship; and learn to effectively motivate, coach and inspire others. We also wanted to develop the participants’ relationships with one another and become a stronger team.

Participant objectives:

  • Develop a better understanding of yourself and others around you.
  • Understand the importance of trust in leadership.
  • Learn how to better motivate and inspire others.
  • Improve your interpersonal communication skills and methods.
  • Increase your productivity and manage your time using the resources around you.
  • Improve your knowledge of financial statements and impact.
  • Learn how to become an effective coach.
  • Develop relationships with your teammates and build a network.


The human resources and executive teams spent time identifying development opportunities and key objectives. HR then met with a consultant from Northwood University to help refine our topics and round out our curriculum. To deliver our sessions, we selected a mix of internal and external facilitators. Once the program was finalized, information and marketing was sent to senior leaders, and participants were nominated by their supervisors and selected by a committee. Our inaugural group was made up of team members from all over the Club with varied levels of skill and experience.

In December 2019, 16 participants graduated from the ELITE program, finishing with a final capstone project that was presented to their leaders and representatives from Northwood University. Graduates were awarded a certificate and recognized by Northwood with credits towards furthering their education.

Participants have remarked on the strengthened relationships and camaraderie among participants as well as on their level of commitment to the club and one another. Senior leaders have noticed a higher level of confidence and engagement from graduates.

About the author

Charles Johnson

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