Alumni Return to Babson for Leadership Training

Jamie Kittler '91 and JDJ Family Services

In the middle of March, Jamie Kittler ’91 returned to Babson.

It wasn’t for a reunion. It wasn’t for an event. Rather, he returned to his alma mater to hone his leadership skills, and apply those skills to his business.

“We are a growing firm in the family office industry and we said, ‘We need to put together some kind of management and leadership training program for the individuals at our firm,’ ” explained Kittler.

Kittler is one of several Babson alumni, among other working professionals, who came to campus in March for Leadership Series: Owning Your Leadership, a program offered through Babson Executive Education (BEE).

Kittler runs a company that manages personal, financial, and administrative matters for high-net worth clients. He attended the program on behalf of his business, JDJ Family Office Services, hoping to use the guidance to improve his team’s functionality and build skills of the staff members who are newer to management roles.

“A lot was covered, but many of the items that were discussed are very relevant to my business,” he said. “And, given the dynamics of my workforce (age of leadership compared to staff), the workshop provided a very useful and applicable perspective of effective leadership styles and tools.”

He praised Babson’s three days of offerings as a viable alternative to hiring an executive coach or pursuing a longer-term education option.

“I think it is like the shark theory—if you don’t move forward, you die,” said Kittler. “You always have to be learning to make yourself better.”

Three Topics/Three Professors

The programs were taught by highly regarded Babson faculty Scott Taylor, Wendy Murphy, and Rob Cross, each of whom has expertise on what it takes to be an effective leader. Their expertise spans organizational behavior, management, and global leadership at Babson.

Each day had a slightly different focus. Altogether, the 24 hours of content provided the working professionals with a crash course in becoming a better leader.

On the first day, participants turned inward, discussing their skills and areas for improvement, and learning techniques for increasing their individual impacts in their workplaces. The second day’s curriculum focused on techniques for building high-quality work relationships as well as the benefits of mentoring and coaching a workforce. The leadership training program closed with a session about how to build collaborative organizations.

The series was not only taught through lectures but also through small group breakout sessions. In sum, 27 companies participated across a range of industries, including construction, retail, software, and more.

“I had a great experience,” said Seth Waterman ’02, who works at Salesforce. “I learned a number of new ways to approach and reflect on how to be an effective leader.”

When asked what he got out of the program, Waterman praised the content as interesting and the professor as engaging. “The exercises were valuable and they made me look at my work from a new perspective.”

As an alumnus, Waterman liked returning to Babson and said he would be interested in taking another class in the near future. “It was encouraging to see that the quality of the education is still as I remember it—excellent!”

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