DVIDS – News – A new program director takes the reins of the Journey to Leadership program


ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – There is a new person in charge of the highly coveted Journey to Leadership program of the US Army Sustainment Command.

Her name is Heather Tahja. Born and raised in Rock Island, Ill., She graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Marketing. She began working for the federal government in 2009 with a component of the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, then located here, and became the most recent JTL program manager on July 18.

“I am very passionate about employee development and training. Our people are our number one resource, so it is imperative that we invest in them to help them reach their full potential, ”said Tahja.

According to program documentation, JTL is a leadership development program created by NCP to select and develop a cadre of high potential employees available to fill key positions as they become vacant. Participants participate in classroom training, group exercises, learning teams, reading assignments, development assignments, cross-training assignments, leadership talks, homework assignments observation and participation in command-approved team projects. Its motto is “Preparing the leaders of tomorrow today”.

Seeing Tahja in front of a class of JTL students, you can easily tell that she is very excited about her new job. But it’s more than just a new framework; it is his love for work in human relations.

When Tahja started working at RIA, she was employed in the TACOM Manpower section. The RIA component TACOM eventually moved to Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan, as part of a base realignment and closure decision, which led Tahja to begin her career in human resources while working at the Agency for RIA’s civilian human resources, she said.

In 2014, she accepted a promotion to become the SHARP Program Manager – Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention – for the US Joint Munitions Command at RIA. As the position was partly located within the Education and Policy team, Tahja also gained additional experience.

“I got very involved in employee training, especially orientation and onboarding of new employees,” she said. “I also facilitated a workshop on the JMC communication model at head office which was endorsed by senior executives at JMC for approximately two years.”

Two years ago, Tahja left JMC for a six-month stint as executive assistant in the office of the Regional Director of North Central ACHRU, also at RIA, which gave her a better understanding of the resources. human resources of the Ministry of Defense from a regional perspective.

She then returned to JMC and worked in staffing and recruiting until her new position at the head of JTL.

“We are very happy to have Heather Tahja as the new JTL Program Director,” said former Program Director Lisa Schuldt. “She brings with her a wealth of experience in training and developing employees in positions she previously held. She also brings a new perspective to the program that will benefit everyone involved. “

Schuldt, who has led JTL since 2008, is now the head of the G3 Training and Programs Branch, which includes oversight of JTL, the organization’s inspection program, risk management and internal control, and Unit Status Report / Mission Critical Task List.

Looking back, Schuldt said she was grateful to the CSA leadership for continuing to support this program now and over the years. “Investing in our people continues to pay huge dividends in command,” she said.

“Lisa has been incredibly resourceful in my transition to this role,” Tahja said. “She has the historical knowledge and resources that made this transition virtually seamless.”

The program is broken down into three levels:

o Level I provides a better understanding of the ASC mission and the missions of other tenant controls located at RIA, as well as a first glimpse of personality types and ways of interacting with others.

o Level II provides experiential learning on real-world command projects while getting students to know each other better to influence how they lead others.

o Level III encompasses the importance of developing one’s employees, their organization and knowing how to influence others to successfully accomplish the mission.

“With all three levels, one of the main takeaways is networking,” said Schuldt. “They build on their network at every level, forming bonds with their classmates that will benefit themselves and their commandments throughout their careers.”

“The program is continually changing based on the needs of the command and the students,” said Schuldt. “For example, individual requirements – for level II, we used to ask students to do two separate 30-day development assignments… along with the rest of their requirements. We revised it to a single 20-day developmental assignment, as we felt that two of these assignments were excessive and difficult for students to complete when they are one in many areas ”at their place of work. job.

Likewise, Tahja considers the changes to the JTL program to be critical to its success.

“We are always striving to continuously improve processes,” she said. “We want to make sure that the program, guest speakers and opportunities remain relevant and valuable. We take into account all feedback we receive from inquiries about the program and take action, if necessary. “

“I have gained great appreciation for all the time and effort that has gone into making Journey to Leadership such a comprehensive and valuable resource for employees,” said Tahja. “The program, tools and resources provided by facilitators, guest speakers and command leaders through this program are exceptional. ”

Regardless of her position in the workplace, Tahja has said that JTL is for everyone.

“I believe that ALL employees can benefit from JTL, no matter where they are currently in their professional journey. This journey helps participants grow both personally and professionally and gives them the information, tools, resources and networking to reach their full potential.

Date taken: 30.09.2021
Date posted: 09.30.2021 12:42
Story ID: 406417

Web Views: 198
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Kevin E. Boling

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