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Abbott Receives Executive Education’s Prestigious 2020 Leader in Lifelong Learning Award

07.30.21
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UC Executive Education’s annual Leader in Lifelong Learning award recognizes one partner organization that demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning with the embodiment of a Haas Defining Leadership Principle. The award for 2020 went to a very deserving partner,  Abbott, a company that values professional development from within all ranks and tiers of the organization.

UC Berkeley Executive Education partners with organizations of all sizes in every industry to identify core challenges and to create innovative solutions to address current and future business needs.

These partnerships result in unique, holistic custom-designed programs that are strengthened through collaboration between the Haas School of Business Faculty and real-world practitioners.

During the calamity of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations were shutting down professional development programs that were created for in-person delivery, choosing instead to ride out the storm for calmer seas. But Abbott chose a different route.

“It would have been easy for any organization to deprioritize their in-person professional development programs during the shelter-in-place orders, but Abbott pivoted quickly for virtual delivery,” says Mike Rielly, Berkeley Executive Education CEO. “Because of their strong commitment to professional development, they continued their programs, uninterrupted.”

Abbott’s pivot to virtual learning included repurposing their 2020 global leadership summit with 150 leaders into an online event, offering programs to help employees through the challenges of the pandemic, while continuing their speaker series and other online events. They kept their internship program alive virtually, and have even provided virtual adaptations for their robust employee wellness programs, including ways for teams to participate in exercise programs with goal and milestone incentives.   

This is the second year the award has been given. The idea was originally hatched by Mike Rielly a couple of years ago and the first award was presented to Visa in 2019. 

“The idea for the award came to me as a way to honor a partner organization that demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning,” says Mike. “Executive Education and Haas School of Business consider the ‘student always’ leadership principal as one of our defining tenants. I believe the award serves as a way to recognize an organization that lives and breathes this close alignment with Haas and Executive Education’s principals.”    

Each year, Executive Education considers dozens of organizations for the award this year, but Abbott’s program engagement and commitment quickly helped them rise to the top.

Andrea Salvemini, VP Client Solutions and a member of the award selection committee, emphasizes Abbott’s focus on their employees through ongoing support and encouragement of professional development. “Abbott understands the importance of continuous learning and embraces it as a part of their corporate culture at every level. They have been a tremendous partner to work with – they consistently stay in learning and curiosity mode, striving to learn and grow.” 

Abbott is a global healthcare leader specializing in diagnostics, medical devices, nutrition and branded generic medicines to help people live more fully at all stages of life. The organization’s 109,000 team members serve more than 160 countries across the globe.

Watch this video to learn more about Abbott's learning journey.