Monday, April 23, 2012

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Lily Moua, USDA-APHIS

Name: Lily Moua
Current title: HR-Classification Specialist & Asian American Pacific Islander Program Manager
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Favorite quote: “How you do anything is how you do everything”.

1) What key steps did you take to get to the role you are in today?

It is nearly impossible to “get in” to work for the federal government now-a-days. I made it through right before the hiring freezes began. Having a master’s degree in public policy, great supporters, and knowing how to communicate with different groups of stakeholders (I’m very involved in community work) was key in getting me the credibility to start in good position. I must also acknowledge the professional growth and experiences I gained from my manager at Target Corporation.

Also, I am a Hmong culture/language teacher, facilitator, and mentor in the community; it’s my passion. My community trusts that I will inspire and encourage others to pursue higher goals and bridge gaps between cross-cultural generations.

2) What is your leadership style? (Self-described and/or how others might describe you)

I set high standards for myself and the individuals I work. I love coaching, mentoring, and challenging others to think outside of the box. Transparency, communication, integrity, teamwork, and having fun are a part of my core values.

3) What tools or resources have you used that have been crucial to your success?

a) Studying my own culture and defining how I want to live and leave my legacies. Distinguishing myself, knowing my goals, and understanding my passion so that I can leverage my strengths.

b) Building relationships, getting to know successful leaders and ask to be mentored by them. I enjoy learning about people’s successes and missed opportunities. This helps me foresee what potential pitfalls are ahead and what I need to develop to be a stronger leader.

c) Not just reading, but meeting inspirational people like Maya Angelou and Zig Ziglar—taking their wisdom, modeling it, by inspiring and teaching others about what I’ve learned.

d) Being hands-on and active in my communities.

4) What steps are you currently taking to improve yourself, professionally?

a) I have a personal board of directors, with whom I consult with about my development. They coach and mentor me in many ways.

b) Enhancing my communication skills. I’m learning how to express and articulate myself when the stakes are high. In my culture, Hmong women are not supposed to voice or raise their opinion with men—especially to men of higher authority.

5) What is the next step you plan to take in your career to develop your leadership skills?

One area I need to strengthen is my ability to navigate politics and improve how I communicate in professional terms (I’m still young so sometimes I just want to act my age). This spring, one of my mentors will coach me about the game of golf and the business strategies behind it. My goal is to learn a different perspective about the sport, life, and success.

I have also taken on my newest role as a co-chair to help Hmong elderly veterans define their goals and achieve new legacies. This is a new opportunity for me to reshape and preserve the Hmong community.

6) What are some top tips you can recommend to other women who want to be recognized as a high potential emerging leader?

a) When you help others succeed, you will receive double or triple the reward. Help others reach their potential and you will reach yours faster and be even more successful!

b) Surround yourself with motivated groups and individuals. Be inspired and don’t forget to always inspire others too!

c) Diversify your portfolio! Always be prepared for the next best option.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

From the Article Archive: Funds Are Not Available for Training

Funds are not available to send employees to training, but training is needed. What options are there? How can I learn more about my field of work without spending money?
The economy has put travel, conferences, and training on hold; creating an unexpected opportunity to throw out the old model of learning and replace it with one that really works.
Neuroscientists have found that our brains learn most effectively when training is broken into small chunks. HR Magazine’s award-winning March 2008 cover story, “The Brain at Work”, points out that a series of 1-hour workshops spread over time would result in a dramatic increase in learning retention when compared to a traditional eight-hour day of training.
Here are six low-cost or no-cost options for training your employees and deepening your own expertise, with the added benefits of being easier to schedule during working hours while building your professional network of colleagues, leaders, and mentors.
Learning Exchange
Set up a learning exchange within the team. Schedule a regular coffee, lunch, or a conference call to share knowledge gained in previous trainings. That conference or training you paid for your employees to attend last year? Ask them to pull out their notes, review what was learned, and teach it to their colleagues.
Lunch ‘n’ Learns
Task an employee with scheduling a series of lunchtime workshops. They can create a workshop in their area of subject matter expertise and invite colleagues to do the same. Or they could invite leaders or experts from within your company to present.
Find a speaker who is marketing a book or program. Invite them to present a workshop, teleconference or webinar to your team in exchange for raising their profile in your organization.
Volunteer as education coordinator for a professional association and you’ll get to choose the speakers.
Submit a proposal to be a speaker or panelist at a conference. They may or may not pay for your travel, but most will give you your registration.
Many organizations offer training programs in webinar format and there are numerous options under $100. Buy a registration and gather the team in a conference room to watch together. Follow up with a discussion on how to apply the principles in your work environment, or meet a few weeks later to review progress.
This is also a great time to engage a mentor (or two or three) and encourage team members to do so too.
Jo Miller is CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc. which offers women’s leadership seminars and coaching programs.