Co-Ops Learn to Lead Through Summer Seminar

HPM’s Emerging Leaders program provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to explore a career in program management while gaining real world experience. As they work alongside industry experts, these students discover the business fundamentals needed to accelerate their careers. Last week, our co-ops gathered at our Birmingham office for the Emerging Leaders Summer Seminar, a two-day learning-to-lead workshop.

Assistant Project Manager Medora Gaddes oversees HPM’s talent recruiting process and the Emerging Leaders program. As a former co-op herself, Gaddes recognized that student employees are not only interested in their role or assignment, but in the company’s leadership and goals, as well.

Medora Gaddes

“When you go to work anywhere, there is always a learning curve of figuring out what a company does, who runs the company and how they run it, and figuring out how that aligns with you as an individual,” she said. “I want our Emerging Leaders to get ahead of this while they are still in school and completing their internship or co-op rotation with us. This is important as they navigate the big questions of what do I want to do and what type of company do I want to work for when I graduate.”

During the Summer Seminar, attendees gained invaluable insight from members of our leadership team and sharpened their own leadership skills through team activities and goal planning.

“I had a lot of takeaways from the Summer Seminar, but my biggest take away was the art of leadership,” said Ben Smith, an HPM co-op from the University of Alabama. “We were not only taught what it means to be a leader, but how we can be leaders in the workplace and in our everyday lives. This seminar taught us a lot about ourselves and how we can utilize our skills and personalities to lead in a way that puts our team and others ahead of ourselves.”

HPM has offices and projects across the country, so the seminar also provides the co-ops with an opportunity to network with students who might not be assigned to a project in their area.

“I would encourage all co-op students to attend the summer seminar as it is a professional development opportunity that is relevant to our co-op and our academic success,” said UA student Iriana Molusky. “Spending time with other co-ops was a one-time opportunity to meet and learn from each other.”

Gaddes hopes seminar attendees will continue to build on what they learned and use their new leadership skills no matter what career path they choose.

“I think we all can look back on our early leadership growth and identify both people that invested in us and skills that we wish we had developed earlier,” Gaddes said. “I hope that through the seminar, the Emerging Leaders start connecting with like-minded individuals, build relationships with leaders in the industry, and sharpen leadership skills that will kickstart their personal growth.”


Interested in HPM’s co-op and internship program? Learn more on our Emerging Leaders page.