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Putting the Focus on Leadership

 

It’s called the CliftonStrengths Assessment.

And that name pretty much says what it is. Created by Gallup, it’s a 177-question assessment designed to identify an individual’s strengths when it comes to leadership.

There are 34 such strengths, as identified after years of research by Don Clifton, and they include everything from communication and consistency to focus and positivity, said Colleen DelVecchio, founder of Colleen DelVecchio Consulting.

But identifying strengths is merely the first important step in the process toward becoming a better, more effective leader, said DelVecchio, who will lead an experiential workshop called “Activating Your Leadership Strengths” at the upcoming sheLEADS women’s conference being staged by the Chamber of Greater Easthampton.

Indeed, one’s strengths need to be … well, activated, she said, adding that her program, which she delivers several times a week on average to a wide range of audiences, is designed to help individuals put strengths identified by the assessment to full and effective use.

“Our focus is on providing attendees tools and connections that they didn’t have when they walked in.”

“We’ll look at these strengths and talk about how to aim them at your job; how do you aim your strengths at the things you need to do to become a leader?” she said, adding that attendees should leave the room with a clearer understanding of their five greatest strengths when it comes to leadership and, more importantly, how to apply them.

DelVecchio’s program is one of several components scheduled for sheLEADS, the rebranded professional-development conference launched by the Easthampton Chamber and then sidelined, as so many similar initiatives have been, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The half-day conference, with the theme “Bold, Brave, and Beyond,” will also include a panel discussion, titled “The Language of Leadership,” featuring Pia Kumar, chief strategy officer for Universal Plastics in Holyoke; Lynnette Watkins, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton; and Waleska Lugo-DeJesus, CEO of Inclusive Strategies.

It will also include a keynote address, called “Be Great Where Your Feet Are,” from Robyn Glaser, senior vice president of Business Affairs for the Kraft Group (owner of the New England Patriots), made possible by the event’s speaker sponsor, bankESB.

The sheLEADS conference is slated for Friday, May 20 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Bolyston Room in the Keystone Building, 122 Pleasant St., Easthampton. For tickets and details, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org/events.

Moe Belliveau, executive director of the Easthampton Chamber, said the women’s professional-development conference has become an important annual event, attended by women in virtually every sector of the economy. Over the past few years, it has been a virtual event, but the chamber decided that, with COVID subsiding and the number of cases declining, it was time to return to an in-person format.

The chamber is, in many ways, easing its way back in with the conference, opting for a half-day format, rather than full day, followed by networking at Abandoned Building Brewery. Roughly 100 attendees are expected, and they are being spaced out in a nod toward safety during the pandemic. There is also a virtual component to the conference, featuring the keynote address and panel discussion.

Like DelVecchio, Belliveau said the conference is designed for women looking to find their voice when it comes to leadership and learn from others how to be a more effective leader — in the workplace, but also in the community.

“This is a high-energy day filled with professional development, relationship- and leadership-building opportunities,” Belliveau said. “Our focus is on providing attendees tools and connections that they didn’t have when they walked in.”

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