Five graduate Senior Cohort program

Dr. Matthew Floros, U.S. Army Research Laboratory - Vehicle Technology Directorate, gives remarks during the Aberdeen Proving Ground Senior Leadership Cohort graduation ceremony at Top of the Bay Feb. 16. | U.S. Army Photo by David McNally, ARL

Five employees with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, were among an elite group of 34 up-and-coming leaders who recently completed the year-long APG Senior Leadership Cohort program.

The graduates included Stephanie Snead, Survivability/Lethality Directorate; Dr. Sikhanda Satapathy, Weapons and Materials Research Directorate; Dr. Matt Floros, Vehicle Technology Directorate; Dr. Grace Metcalfe, Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate; and Dr. Troy Alexander, Office of the Director.

The Senior Leadership Cohort expands “leadership competencies and builds sustainable learning communities that continuously work to develop collaboration, knowledge and skills across the APG workforce,” according to Gary Martin, program executive officer Command, Control and Communications-Tactical and senior champion for the program.

Floros gave remarks during the graduation ceremony at Top of the Bay.

“One of the most important things I learned was that leadership occurs at all levels, with supervisors and non-supervisors,” he said. “Only about half of the most influential leaders in my own career have been supervisors.”

The participants experienced hands-on instruction and preparation with efforts focused on day-to-day challenges in three categories: personal, organizational, and community.

“The APG Cohort program helped me gain new clarity and confidence as a leader through thought- provoking lessons and open, honest feedback from a diverse network of trusted classmates” Metcalfe said. “I highly recommend this program to any colleague who wishes to grow as a leader and positively contribute to a wider community.”

Martin said he hopes the graduates will serve as a catalyst for change at APG and concurrently deliver “individual, team, organizational and community wide results during the process.”

On an organizational level, participants took on a team project to address a challenge to improve something at APG or in the local community. For these projects, participants garnered the support of their leadership and received one-on-one coaching from the cohort faculty.

“I really enjoyed the action-learning approach adopted in the Cohort program and working closely with leaders from different organizations and backgrounds,” Satapathy said. The well-designed leadership lessons helped me grow both professionally and as a person, better prepared to lead in a changing and challenging environment.”

“The program made me take a hard look at myself from the perspective of others through instruments such as the DiSC ® Work of Leaders ® and the OPM Leadership 360 ™ survey,” Snead said. “It helped me to focus on my purpose as a leader to set vision and strategy, and to influence and empower others to accomplish great things.”

Floros said several people in the group remarked that they learn more about themselves.

“I think I might include myself in that,” he said. “I learned a lot about what good leadership should look like as well.”

After the ceremony, Alexander learned that he has been appointed as acting director for Basic Research at ARL for the next two years.

“I am confident that without my experience through the APG Senior Leader Cohort Program, or similar program, these realizations and transformations would not have happened,” he said. “The experiences that I have had and the friendships that I have forged through this program are amazing. This experience has had such a profound impact on me that I have recommended it to several of my colleagues at my organization.”

Army Research Laboratory