Instructor Shows That Leadership Comes From Within

Joanne Leskow“In today’s fast-paced and competitive job market, it’s essential to keep our tools sharp and our tool kits full,” says Joanne Leskow, senior organizational developer and corporate culture crusader.

Joanne is a popular instructor in the Leadership Development and Organizational Change Management certificate programs. She also helped to develop the curriculum for MRU’s Professional Management Seminar Series of one-day workshops. She has been nominated for a Distinguished Teaching Award this year by one of her students.

Joanne led corporate culture at WestJet for a decade, helping define and identify the corporate culture, connecting that culture with the strategic objectives of the organization.

Joanne’s career started out in broadcast journalism. She then did training for the Edmonton police force. Over the following decade Joanne entered the entrepreneurial world, owning three different companies before joining WestJet in 2003 as Lead, Culture, a post that she held until 2012. She now leads her own organizational development firm.

The one constant in Joanne’s career has been change. She had no choice but to learn about change management and leadership. She speaks from hard-earned experience backed by industry knowledge.

“When you’re in the trenches, you learn intensively,” Joanne says. “It’s been very experiential for me. The learning comes from real-life experiences and that’s how I relate to students in ways they can understand,” she says.

Joanne has seen a big shift in corporate culture over the past few years to emphasize the people side of change. Because change is inevitable, companies are interested in helping people make the transition rather than simply telling them, this is the way it is now. Increased morale boosts productivity and positively impacts the bottom line.

“On the corporate culture side there’s a tremendous amount of interest in formulating strong, healthy cultures to facilitate growth and meet strategic objectives. I’m excited to help organizations and individuals understand what is required to mesh corporate culture with business objectives,” she says.

Joanne is as passionate about her students as she is about her subject area. “I’ve seen folks in classes from across all sectors in all industries. In fact, some of the richest learning comes to those you would not expect to take these classes. Some of the biggest revelations come to people who maybe had not considered a career in change management or leadership, like one student who had been driving a truck all his life but was now moving into a leadership role. In class we showed him that he already had applicable skills and the light bulb went on,” Joanne says.

Joanne’s courses provide an introduction to timely management and leadership concepts and practical tools to advance careers with confidence. She notes that “learners have an opportunity to learn and be inspired with like-minded people in an environment of confidence and excellence.”

Watch a video about Joanne:

Read an article about Joanne’s work with WestJet in Alberta Venture.

— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Krystal Hurt

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