Selective Course Grooms, Guides Civilian Impact on DOD Mission
When Eva Rosvold finally figured it out –the lesson, the point, the big takeaway– she was miles away from the classroom. Instead, she was standing outside in the Massachusetts sun, donating items for a service project with her classmates.
"Some of the work was hard," she says now, sitting in her office at Fort Detrick, "but you get to be a really close-knit group as a result."
And that, for all intents-and-purposes, is the point. Following a lengthy four-month immersion program, Rosvold is now a graduate of the Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program; a professional development course designed to groom select Civilian employees to both grow and support the DOD mission.
"The course really gave me a chance to find myself," says Rosvold, currently an Acquisition Workforce Development Manager for AMEDD. "And you learn that when it comes to being a leader, what's going on with you doesn't just affect you, personally, it also affects your whole team."
Held annually at the DOD Executive Management Training Center in Southbridge, Massachusetts, DCELP bills itself as the premier DOD leadership development program for GS-07 through GS-12 employees. Consisting of four individual one-week training sessions, DCELP combines participant writing and briefing projects with both knowledge transfer activities and individual coaching to create a foundation for leadership development.
For senior staff across the DOD, graduation from the course is seen as both confirmation of a selectee's accumulated capabilities and a tacit request for greater responsibility.
"Overall, it is important for all our team members to grow and improve upon their leadership skills," says Dawn Rosarius, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's Principal Assistant for Acquisition. "In Eva's case, she now has new tools to inspire and support AMEDD civilians and officers to obtain and maintain their acquisition certifications."
Adds Rosarius, "Eva also leads as a peer and a subordinate daily, and has already shown the desire to use her new skills to help her colleagues."
For Rosvold's part, she attributes the manifestation of those skills to DCELP's focus on concepts geared towards understanding oneself as well as the organization in which they operate. Leading from a place of vulnerability is, likewise, also spotlighted as a key skill.
"I think about daily communications," she says. "Small, simple things. Like maybe email isn't always the best way to talk to someone, and sometimes a personal conversation is best."
It's that personal touch that can sometimes speak louder than keystrokes or random notes taped to cubicle walls. For Rosvold, that personal touch –and the ensuing need to create like-minded partnerships– led to extracurricular efforts with her DCELP classmates; like community teambuilding projects helping local charities.
In her eyes, the difference between simply managing staff and acting as a true leader is palpable … and powerful, too.
"I think the course has given me a little more confidence," she says. "Leadership is not just a title, it is being authentic."
Additional information on the Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program (DCELP) can be found at https://www.dcpas.osd.mil/CTD/Training.