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Originally published in Gustavson’s 2018 Year In Review.

In May 2018, the most recent cohort of the BC Ferries Advanced Leadership Program completed customized training provided by Gustavson Executive Programs. The program brings together BC Ferries leaders from Victoria and beyond to engage in leadership courses and projects. Since 2008, three cohorts of selected participants have taken the program.

“The BC Ferries Advanced Leadership Program has been a successful partnership for many years now, blending Gustavson’s strength in applied, integrative management education with the willingness of BC Ferries’ leadership to openly explore issues and opportunities facing the organization in real time,” says Dr. Vivien Corwin, program director of the 2018 course.“Above all else, the BC Ferries Advanced Leadership Program highlights the power of cohort-based learning. Bringing a diverse group of leaders together in the classroom not only creates a vibrant interdisciplinary learning environment, but also adds significantly to the BC Ferries culture by creating a cadre of leaders with a shared leadership philosophy and strong bonds which cross geographic and functional boundaries.”

The format includes a series of two-day modules held over nine months and is delivered by Gustavson faculty members. Topics focus on aspects of leadership including leading organizations, innovation and change, people, service excellence, and most importantly, leadership within the BC Ferries context.

“Effective leadership and managerial skills are instrumental to the success of today’s organizations, where new leadership challenges and dilemmas are frequently being faced,” says John D’Agnolo, director, corporate human resources at BC Ferries. “Executives and managers who can understand global trends and developments, embrace change and innovation, design and structure operations efficiently, set challenging goals and motivate employees to perform above the call of duty will be able to achieve success in this environment. The UVic Advanced Leadership Program accomplishes all this and more. It is a testament to the participants, faculty and members.”

The pinnacle of the program is a team project and presentation that applies ideas generated throughout the modules to real issues facing BC Ferries. These projects sometimes result in a workable business case or a practical proposal that is adopted by BC Ferries.

Stephen Jones, who participated in the BC Ferries Advanced Leadership Program, says the course played a large role in his choice to pursue an MBA at UVic. “I found the course material relevant and engaging and with practical takeaways that could be immediately applied in the workplace,” says Jones. “I was very impressed with the content of the material delivered and the quality of the lecturers who participated.”