Boot camp teaches leadership skills

Boot camp

Welcome to boot camp, people.


Drop and give me 50.


When Mercyhurst University’s Organizational Leadership (OL) Graduate Program offers its first boot camp for new and seasoned leaders June 6, there will be no overbearing drill instructors barking orders. Instead, a daylong seminar with lectures and hands-on learning opportunities will arm leaders with actionable skills that can be used immediately in a business or organization.

The June 6 event, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Mercy Heritage Room at Mercyhurst University, is just the beginning of what is expected to be an ongoing initiative of Mercyhurst’s OL program and The Nonprofit Partnership (NPP), an arm of the Erie Community Foundation directed by Robert Wooler.


Called “Product Labs,” these fast-paced seminars are the manifestation of a research project by Colin Hurley, Mercyhurst director of service learning, completed during his time in the OL program. Hurley graduates from the program this week as the Sister Eustace Taylor Graduate Student Leadership Awardee.


According to Hurley’s research, northwestern Pennsylvania nonprofit leaders identified a need for daylong boot camp-like courses that result in a tangible product, the premise being that businesses and organizations often experience a shortage of skills among their leaders. Whether that is due to having a small staff or simply not knowing the current best practices, cutting-edge leadership skills are crucial to ensuring that both new and seasoned leaders remain equipped to succeed in their leadership roles, Hurley said.


While lecture-type seminars, online courses and semester-long classes have their place, a new wave of experiential learning for professionals is emerging in the form of product labs. The first offering is titled “Creating Your Organizational Marketing Plan” and will be facilitated by Wooler and Meghan Corbin, chair of the Mercyhurst University Communication Department.


“These product labs are designed for you to come away with a product in hand,” Hurley said. “In this case, if you need a marketing plan, you will learn it, do it and get feedback from your cohort.”

Although the program targets nonprofits, Hurley said any business or organization is welcome. Register here or call Hurley at with questions.  



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