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A Look Inside the Berkeley Executive Leadership Program

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Maura O'Neill was a recipient of the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015 and 2016 and is a Distinguished Teaching Fellow at the Berkeley-Haas School of Business. She spoke with ExecEd about the Berkeley Executive Education program that she leads, Berkeley Executive Leadership.


Maura O'Neill:  Anybody who comes to this program has enjoyed an enormous amount of success and is talented before they walk in the door. 

But I know in their heart of hearts they know they can bat harder, fiercer, and achieve levels of leadership that only in their hopes and dreams have they thought about.

And I am excited about this program equipping them with the kind of skills and attitude and tools to be able to do that.

This isn't just another program for us, it isn't just another class, it's really a mission to birth a set of Berkeley leaders that are changing their companies and changing the world in the most incredible way. It's a really special kind of leadership.

It starts with the four defining principles: confidence without attitude, question the status quo, student always, and beyond yourself.

The journey of the week is we start with ourselves. Each person will develop their own personal leadership statement that will really give them an opportunity to step away from their work, their family, their community, and really do some deep thinking about what it is that I aspire to be a leader about and where do I want to go with that.

I will also bring personal insights of amazing leaders that I've had an opportunity to work with. I've started a number of companies in the tech field, there are just some exceptional  leaders that I've had an opportunity to work with or to see.

I also was Chief of Staff in the US Senate in 2008 when we had this financial meltdown. That was a fascinating time to see how did leaders on the right and the left come together and really navigate these very uncertain waters about what needed to be done so we would have a US economy in the morning.

And then, of course, the privilege to work with President Obama and Secretary Clinton was extraordinary in terms of seeing how they navigated the most difficult set of issues to take this country into a better, safer place.

They'll also have the most awesome guest speakers and guest lecturers who have been out in the trenches and really doing breakthrough leadership in their community, in their company, and in the world.

My hopes and dreams for each and every participant is that they will emerge out of this program on a different trajectory than they even thought was possible and they actually have the skills to take their career and their company and their organization into a fundamentally more awesome place.

Be generous with yourself, give yourself these five days to change your life so you can change the world.