FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (July 1, 2010) - When Barbara Panther, director of the Civilian Human Resources Agency, visited the Lewis and Clark Center at Fort Leavenworth, she knew she had found the right place to conduct leadership education for Civilian Personnel Advisory Center chiefs.

The Army's 96 CPAC chiefs and regional directors came together for a weeklong leadership learning seminar June 21-25. The Civilian Human Resources Agency CPAC Chiefs Leadership Training provided learning in six core areas: developing others, resilience, customer service, negotiating, conflict management, critical thinking and using the Army's decision-making process. CPAC chiefs also did a personal assessment of their skills using an anonymous peer survey.

Panther said leadership education is critical to CPAC chiefs, who supervise many employees that, in turn, manage the Army's civilian needs.

"We rely on them on a day-to-day basis to work independently so the Army has the civilians it needs in the generating force," she said.

This is the first such event for CPAC chiefs, Panther said. Many said they hadn't met each other before or had the chance to network in person with their colleagues.

"This is the first time in at least 15 years that we have had an enterprise focus on what the critical competencies (are) for CPAC chiefs in a position of leadership," she said.

Robert Russell is the southwest regional director for the Civilian Human Resources Agency based out of Fort Riley, Kan. He has 18 CPACs in his region, including Fort Leavenworth, with about 750 employees delivering services to 55,000 Army civilians.

Russell said he especially appreciated the chance to network with other CPAC employees. His small group seminar was composed entirely of people working outside of his regional area.

"I think it was the whole of the entire event that I believe was the most powerful to me," he said. "It's such a comprehensive training opportunity. ... All of us have very demanding jobs and we need to focus a little on ourselves and develop work-life balance," he said.

The workshops provided expertise instruction from contractors in the competency areas, Russell said. In one, the group worked through real-life problem solving to develop a plan of attack for specific problems that will be implemented Armywide.

"It was really just a spectacular event," he said. "The quality of instruction was second to none, the interaction of the students was strong. It was evident that people got a lot out of this event."

Jo Osbourn, Fort Leavenworth CPAC chief, said the leadership training also helps with continuity of services for customers.

"There's been high turnover to where we have a lot of trainees to where we're looking at, 'How do you develop your staff while continuing to provide services''" Osbourn said.

Sheree Welch, Fort Knox, Ky., CPAC chief, said it helped her to know what other installation CPAC staffs are doing to solve specific problems.

Welch said CPAC has made an effort to be more people-friendly and regain face-to-face time with customers. She said being more visible and available to installation civilian employees and applicantshelps with credibility.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16