This past February, a world-class university and one of the leading firms in human capital consulting came together to discuss the importance of resilience with 50 students who are poised to be future leaders. Eight Deloitte employees joined the Sanger Leadership Center to present a working session on resilience to the students in the Ross Leaders Academy (RLA). RLA is a premier year-long leadership community at Sanger that serves to develop and hone leadership skills by providing students from across the University of Michigan with opportunities to learn alongside a diverse group of peers, 1:1 and group coaching, and engagement with robust research, advanced by our innovative faculty. This program, generously sponsored by the Deloitte Foundation, creates the next generation of empathetic and agile leaders.
RLA seamlessly aligns with the mission of the Deloitte Foundation, which is dedicated to developing future diverse business leaders and promoting excellence in teaching, research, and curriculum innovation. RLA is designed to help students build their leadership skills, develop a better understanding of themselves and their strengths and weaknesses, and gain skills to help prepare them to lead teams and organizations.
The importance of resilience
Resilience, the ability to adapt to change and persevere in the face of challenges, is an essential quality in one’s career and life. Resilience enables individuals to navigate the ups and downs of their work life and emerge stronger from difficult situations. Sarah Szpaichler, Managing Director, Human Capital Health Care Consulting at Deloitte and BA U-M Dearborn ‘02, explains that resilience is “one of the most critical skills for a leader,” sharing, “No career or life comes without challenges, and being prepared to not just face those challenges, but get through them in a way that protects yourself, your teams, your business is what differentiates many great experts or great managers from great leaders.”
During the session, Szpaichler and fellow Deloitte employees shared their experiences with students, emphasizing the importance of resilience and how they have overcome certain obstacles in their own lives and careers. Sessions, such as this one with the Deloitte employees, contribute to the impact of the RLA program. Lauren Deneszczuk, an MBA student graduating in ’24, explained the power of the Ross Leaders Academy, sharing, “RLA has been one of the most impactful programs I have ever been a part of. I have never experienced a more welcoming, dedicated, or eager group of individuals with the goal of bettering themselves. RLA will teach you to dive deeper into yourself to highlight qualities that will help you to become a more effective leader.”
The resilience session not only provided the RLA students with a fresh perspective and experienced insight, but also provided a source of inspiration for the Deloitte members. Szpaichler shared, “The students gave me great hope that this group of leaders entering the market will bring a new sense of equity, accountability, awareness, and resiliency to the world.”
Szpaichler with students