Here at Box, we cultivate high performing and healthy teams through leadership programs such as Accelerate. A newly curated program, Accelerate provides newly promoted and hired people leaders with an opportunity to develop their skills and gives current leaders the ability to amplify their leadership experiences and philosophies.
As Box continues to grow, we want to best enable our teams to champion their ideas and to build a career that Makes Mom Proud. To share more about the program, we sat down with a Box participant, Caron Bracy, Technical Recruiting Manager, to learn more about his experience in the program.Here are the highlights from that conversation:
Tell me more about yourself. How long have you been at Box and what led you to join the Box Accelerate Program?
I've been with Box Recruiting team for a little over 3.5 years. I began as a Sr. Lead Technical Recruiter and had the opportunity to work with diverse teams all across the engineering organization. I was then promoted to Technical Recruiting Manager and now manage a team of five Recruiters. My team handles all hiring needs for the engineering organization which spans from software engineering to technical operations and product. I've been in a managerial role for the last year and a half.
I joined the Accelerate Program, which is intended for new Box managers. My previous manager recommended I join to enhance my leadership skills. The program is centered around creating effective leaders and enabling a growth mindset at Box. All Accelerate participants attended a kickoff last year with Aaron Levie (CEO), followed by several other meetups throughout the year which led to me graduating the program most recently. These were special events in addition to completing all of the core manager courses.
What is the program structure?
The program runs for about 10 months. The pilot program kicked off prior to COVID-19, so it began with live sessions but moved to virtual meetings shortly after. Some of the in-person activities were impacted and weren't fully executed because of the transition, however, the team was able to swiftly continue the training virtually through LearnFest (Box's quarterly global learning event). There are 10-12 different leadership core courses to select from, including topics such as feedback, resilience, emotional intelligence, employee engagement, delegation, strategic prioritization, decision making, team building, psychological safety, change management, etc. and about 8 additional recommended courses to complete in order to graduate from the program. Managers are placed in cohorts to go through the program together.
What was one training course that stood out to you the most? What things did you take from the program that you are utilizing in your role now?
There was a training called Situational Leadership that was really impactful because it coaches new managers on how to manage people at different levels. It was easy to put into action and taught me how to read my team and set them up for success, especially in new or challenging areas of work.
I'm learning to understand each individual's needs on my team. I compare business to sports; I'm recognizing the strengths and areas to grow for each person on my team to be able to drive towards our goals collectively. There are people like Kobe Bryant in this world who excel at what they do however, they don't go to coach teams. But, for those who do become coaches like a Steve Kerr (NBA Golden State Warriors Coach), they figure out how to push to get the best out of the individuals on their team versus stepping in themselves. As a new leader, I'm learning to trust my team and trying to delegate and enable them to be comfortable handling things on their own. As a new manager, we tend to want to fix things first versus coaching through a situation and teaching them to be more strategic. I'm starting to make that shift now as a manager.
What were some key takeaways from the program?
It was a great experience to interact with managers from all across Box to learn from each other. I even had the opportunity to go through this program with hiring managers that I worked with. It was relatable to see that they also faced similar obstacles when managing their teams and it didn't matter what team you came from. It was the camaraderie and ability to relate with another manager that was really valuable. I heard perspectives from different people that faced different challenges that I could learn from, better relate to, and partner with when working cross-functionally.
Lastly, the dedication from leadership to this program was truly amazing. We had executive leaders that committed their time to conduct the training sessions. In the last session, Jessica Swank, Chief People Officer, Tiffany Stevenson, Chief Talent & Inclusion Officer, and Stephanie Carullo, Chief Operating Officer, came to speak about their career experiences and their dedication to the program was important. We even all matched our virtual Zoom backgrounds and used the cap and gown emojis to take pictures as a graduating class which was a fun twist.
If you could provide advice to upcoming leaders, what would you share?
The program is a great building block because as a manager, you will get full exposure to all levels of leadership at Box. There were brand new people managers, people new to Box who have been managing teams for some time, and even director-level Boxers that were a part of the program that shared their best practices and lessons learned, especially with the recent transition to the remote environment. The different experiences that were shared and the networking amongst leaders was a huge component to the program’s success. I hope that this program evolves further so that it is easier to find mentors in the program in the future.