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My IPSLEI Story - A journey of discovery

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Carol Williams

IPSLEI Board of Directors

There are decisions that add absolute value to our lives, and participating in the IPSLEI program is one of those, for me…….

I worked in the department of social services, and specialized in juvenile corrections for a local government in Virginia. As a program manager, I was responsible for leading a team of five full-time and part-time employees. We were responsible for monitoring juvenile delinquents who had allegedly committed a crime in the community and were awaiting adjudication by the court. I was always looking for ways to do my job better; more effectively and efficiently. I had taken a couple of leadership courses, and even received a certificate of Leadership & Development, which was a one-year program, from a local university.

My organization implemented the IPSLEI program, and my supervisor, direct report and I enrolled in it together. We had no idea how the newly implemented program would completely change our lives, and empower us to think bigger about our roles as leaders. From the first day to the last, the program was exciting, riveting, action-oriented, practical, and non-stop learning. We began to feel confident and empowered, and were able to dialogue as a team, using the same language. We knew we were experiencing something very different and was always excited to share what we had learned with others in our organization; including employees at every level.

There are four courses in the flagship program; 1. Developing A Personal Philosophy of Leadership & Ethics, 2. Leading Others Ethically, 3. Ethical Leadership in the Organization and, 4. Ethics & the Challenges of Leadership. The program started with us first learning to understand ourselves; our personality types, our values, beliefs, how we make choices, and our attitude towards others. At the onset, we began to develop a personal philosophy of leadership and ethics, and continued to refine it over the course of the program. After assessing and learning about “us” as individuals, we moved to learning about others, how we relate to them and ways to lead ethically. In the third course, it was a combination of blending what we learned in the first two and bringing it into the organizational setting. Then, in the last course, we continued to build on the previous three. We learned about the ethics and the challenges leaders face, and by this time, we had already developed enough confidence to feel we could handle any leadership challenges we faced, in a calm and ethical manner. We also completed our own personal philosophy of leadership and ethics which we started from day one of the program.

Still, to this day, that document serves as a guide for me, to ensure that whenever I am faced with making an ethical decision, it will not be one that I would have to struggle with; in the workplace, my home or my community. IPSLEI empowered my co-workers and me to become our “best selves”, and from the start, we were able to communicate more effectively by engaging in dialogues where we were using common terminology, and we began to be more productive in ways that we were not prior to participating in the IPSLEI program. We were thinking bigger about our roles and responsibilities as leaders in our organization, and were eager to share and help others learn ways of being more effective and efficiently in their roles as leaders. A sense of excitement began to spread within the organization, and our department leaders began to select individuals who they thought would also benefit from the program. Employees from every level of the organization enrolled and completed the program. One of them received a huge promotion and currently serves at the County’s Executive.

Because IPSLEI has had such an empowering influence in my life, I became a facilitator within my organization and continued to ensure others participated and benefitted from the program. Today, I serve on the Board of Directors because I, wholeheartedly, believe it is a program, like no others I have ever seen or experienced. It helps individuals gain the confidence they need in order to become their “best selves”, and it had a profound impact on my life; at home, work, and the community. I want to continue to help share this powerful, leadership knowledge to others, and it is my personal goal to continue to empower as many organizations as possible to implement this effective leadership program.

Carol Williams is a seasoned public servant with over 25 years of experience successfully leading teams of professionals within local juvenile justice and social service systems and organizations.

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