Stepping Stones to Enhanced Leadership was established in 2008 as a tool for developing Austin SHRM leaders and as a reward to our volunteers and their employers for the hours of service they dedicate to the human resource profession.

The program includes a Cohort styled program with nine, 4-hour modules, which are pre-certified through HRCI/SHRM for up to 36 hours of recertification credit. This is a creative and innovative program designed, developed, and implemented to meet the professional development needs of today’s HR professionals.

Students of the program include Austin SHRM members and non-members designed to provide opportunities for recertification credit, create a pipeline of emerging leaders for Austin SHRM’s Board of Directors, and to meet employers needs for improvement of employee engagement, retention, and professional development.

2022 Dates & Course Overview

Module 1 – March 17 – DiSC: Self-Awareness 
Participants are introduced to the DiSC learning model and the four basic styles of management then read, discuss, and reflect on their management styles. Participants also explore how they tend to manage time, decision making, and problem solving and learn how to recognize others’ DiSC styles through group activities. DiSC assessment administered.

Module 2 – April 21 – DiSC: Building Collaborative Teams 
Participants explore their perspectives on five key management activities: Directing, Delegating, Motivating, Developing, and Influencing Others. They do this by reading about and discussing their strengths and challenges in each of those areas. This course is proven to increase the effectiveness of anyone in an assigned or perceived management role--whether managing direct reports or managing relationships within cross-functional networks. DiSC assessment utilized.

Module 3 – May 19 – Navigate Team Dynamics using Emotional Intelligence
Teaches participants to read the emotional and interpersonal needs of a situation and respond accordingly. By combining the personalized insights of DiSC with active emotional intelligence development, participants discover an agile approach to workplace interactions, empowering them to meet the demands of any situation.

Module 4 – June 16 – Credible Activist
The objective of this workshop is to learn what it means to be a “Credible Activist,” as well as why it is so critical for the success of an organization.  As a credible activist, the HR professional will be more of a player instead of a spectator, thereby helping their organization perform better, which has a direct impact on the organization’s bottom line.

Module 5 – July 21 – Culture & Change Steward
This workshop gives HR professionals an understanding of the role of the “cultural steward” and how to recognize, articulate, and help influence the organization’s culture in order to facilitate change and true employee engagement through coaching, influencing and motivation others to reach their full potential.

Module 6 – August 18 – Talent Manager / Organization
This interactive and practical session will explore cutting-edge themes in attracting and retaining talent that result in new skills, tools and ideas for igniting team members to be committed contributors who care deeply about their employers’ success while unleashing their own potential at work.

Module 7 – September 15 – Strategy Architect
The objective of this workshop is to learn how to strategically think beyond HR and more broadly of the overall business, how to ensure alignment with the organization’s business strategy, how to recognize problems and trends and their impact on the organization and communicate the strategic direction into business and HR initiatives, and how to interpret and effectively communicate customer feedback so that employees see how their work is directly linked to the organization’s business strategy and the customer.

Module 8 – October 20 – Operational Executor 
The objective of this workshop is to learn how to manage the daily operational activities, such as implementing workplace policies, and how HR technology can free up time and energy so that HR can be more transformational for the organization.

Module 9 – November 17 – Business Ally
The objective of this workshop is to learn how to read and interpret financial statements, how to identify the organization’s true customers, and how to act on this information so that HR can create value by directly impacting the customer, and thereby having a measurable impact on the organization’s bottom line.

Program Completion Recognition:
December 2022

Details (time & location): 

8:00 am - 12:00pm
Virtual class

Application Fee: 

There is a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $75, which must be submitted along with the completed application. Your application will be reviewed in advance to the course start date.  Accepted participants will be notified by 03/01/2022.


Programs similar to Austin SHRM's SHRM Pinnacle Award winning leadership development course cost approximately $4,500/person.  However, Austin SHRM members are offered the course at the discounted rate of $375. Non-Austin SHRM participants may participate in the program for a fee of $450 per person.  This is payable no later than March 1, 2022.

What are participants saying about Stepping Stones to Enhanced Leadership?

  • I am thankful for every presenter and speaker who invested in our growth and development. I do feel like I am ready for my next HR opportunity and a lot of that preparedness has to do with this Stepping Stones program. - KaSondra Stephens, 2020 SS Graduate

  • The experience proved to be outstanding for several reasons including virtually connecting with some wildly talented HR professionals. Not only did I learn ALOT, I actually came away after each class with actionable things I could use in my day to day. I would highly recommend this program to anyone in HR-newbie to seasoned professionals.
    - Michelle O'Neil, 2020 SS Graduate

  • I am a recent 2019 graduate of the Stepping Stones Program with Austin SHRM. This program has definitely made an impact on me personally and professionally. I was able to connect with remarkable HR professionals who were by my side throughout the program and the speakers were phenomenal. Through this program, it has helped me grow within my current role as an HR Director to become more strategic, a thought leader, credible activist, and more based off of the material that was delivered throughout the program. I have more confidence in myself now more than ever and for that I am truly grateful for my time spent through this program. I encourage every HR professional to join. This will open your eyes and provide you with the tools needed to improve in any area you are seeking to improve. - Patricia Drake, 2019 SS Graduate

  • Starting the Stepping Stones Leadership Program through Austin SHRM was a big step out of my comfort level, I wasn’t sure what to expect and was a little nervous about the process all together. Through the different modules, I learned about myself, grew both professionally and personally in my relationships with many different people with different personalities, backgrounds, and ages. My manager has noticed my growth and even my communication and understanding with multiple generations has improved. I made great contacts and friends during my time with The Stepping Stones Leadership Program. - Heather Miller, 2019 SS Graduate

  • I got actionable information at every session, learned a ton about myself, and built a new network of amazing HR professionals.  I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone. – Erin Aubry

  • The presenters, course topics, and resources were fantastic!  It was challenging, relevant, and engaging.  But, I think my favorite takeaway from the program is the bonds formed with my classmates.  Being able to share ideas and experiences added to the overall benefits that Stepping Stones provided. – Kim Chamness

  • I would definitely recommend this program.  The one thing that made a huge impact for me was learning about communication styles.  It made an immediate improvement at my job and my relationships with coworkers. – Anonymous

  • The number one impact of the program for me was the networking and meeting new people.  Making new connections for “being in the know” for jobs, so that I would be able to share with others that I might know who are also looking.  Each class module taught me a lot/ a way to look at the professional world in a different light; which was quite beneficial to my professional world. Cory M. Mundy

  • The Stepping Stones program provided an environment to get to know other HR professionals on a deeper and more personal level then the casual one hour meeting. On the job, it gave me the courage to make the bold moves that my company needed because I had the tools to be prepared.  The professional learning was invaluable as I learned so much! – Angela Benz

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