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Thought Leadership

Developing Leaders at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Beverage alcohol distributor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits turned to UNC Executive Development several years ago to develop their leaders and build their talent pipeline. As an organization that considers relationships a measure of their success, it was imperative that Southern Glazer’s partner is a provider that understands their business and can help their leaders prepare for the challenges ahead.

Together with UNC, Southern Glazer’s developed the Exceptional Leaders Program (ELP) to take participants to the next level in leadership, talent development, change agility, strategic vision, excellence orientation, and accountability.

“We partnered with UNC some time ago, and the reason that we have continued working with UNC is because of the feedback that we’ve received from the participants who come to campus and learn with their professors,” says Jessica Bicknell, senior director of leadership development at Southern Glazer’s. “Without fail, the program at UNC reports the highest rates of satisfaction and individual ROI.”

Southern Glazer’s views UNC as the source of innovative research. “The concepts aren’t just being taught at UNC, they’re being built at UNC,” Bicknell says. “We’re getting it right from the source, which then translates into applicability and credibility with our audience. UNC faculty do a great job of taking their cutting-edge work and making it relatable and actionable for when we go home.”

UNC puts substantial value in not only the delivery of groundbreaking content, but also tailors the concepts to fit the organization’s current business needs. “They really take time to look at our organization and customize the content to what we are dealing with now,” says Bicknell. “UNC faculty already know the business context when they come in to facilitate, and that preparation and customization is not lost on us as an organization or on our participants in the room. The atmosphere that UNC creates is one of safety, comfort, and expertise.”

A crucial component of ELP is the Team Concepts rowing experience, facilitated by Olympians who take the art and sport of rowing and translate it into improving team dynamics. The experience encourages Southern Glazer’s leaders to look at how they lead their teams and use individual strengths to make those teams function at their best.

“Repeatedly, I’ve heard from our participants how great of an impact the rowing activity has on the way they lead,” Bicknell says. “The experience is something that most have never done before. When we have everyone out in the boats, they experience these things for the first time, together. They are having the same realizations. That’s when a group goes from coworkers to team. It’s hard to replicate, and it’s hard to force. It’s a phenomenal and unique experience.”

For Southern Glazer’s, the programs at UNC Executive Development have strengthened their organization’s internal relationships and exceeded expectations.