Have you ever wanted to attend a leadership retreat in a castle? (Sorry, “house” for our British readers.) What if we told you it was the house that inspired Harry Potter’s magical Hogwarts?
EF Education First staff who have been with the company for five years or more—and have been nominated by their product heads—will now have the opportunity to attend a three-day leadership training program at Ashridge Executive Education in Berkhamsted, England.
With a history dating back to 1283, Ashridge has served as a Monastery, a royal residence to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and a World War II hospital all before becoming a school for business professionals. The school was founded with the support of Unilever, Shell, and Guinness so their employees could learn how to identify problems, change behaviors, and improve performance through executive education. Today, Ashridge works with thousands of clients from more than 40 countries.
Today, Ashridge (which formed a strategic alliance with Hult International Business School in 2015) is known as one of the world’s top executive leadership schools. Companies like EY, Heineken, British Airways, Rolls-Royce, and HSBC send their staff to Ashridge for executive and organizational development, leadership, and coaching programs that blend integrated learning, group-based exercises, and seminars. Sessions are taught by professors from all over the world, lending a unique global perspective to the experience. It’s an incredible opportunity and a prestigious reward for those who have consistently delivered during their time at EF.
“We’ve been trying to find a way to bring people together worldwide, to have a better understanding of each other, to learn about other products, and to receive professional development,” explained Kate Berseth, who oversees Recruiting and Employee Development in North America. “The global Recruiting and Development team was brainstorming ways to offer leadership opportunities to high-performing, hard-working staff members, while also giving them something they can benefit from in their roles.”
Staff across the globe are eligible to attend, which makes it an exclusive invitation with tough competition—staff really have to stand out to be invited. Each session will host 50 to 60 EF staff, with up to six sessions held each year. The program will cover everything from hard and soft skills to tactical strategies that staff can bring back to their roles at home.
And when staff aren’t in training sessions, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Ashridge’s breathtaking 5,000-acre estate. From world-class facilities (including a heated swimming pool, gym, outdoor tennis courts, and croquet lawn), to beautifully manicured formal gardens and National Trust woodlands, you’ll almost forget you’re here for work.
According to Kate, you don’t have to be a manager in order to benefit from the leadership instruction that you gain from this program. “You’ll come back with new colleagues and contacts throughout the globe. You’re building your network, along with a greater awareness and appreciation for the scope of EF. You can take what you’ve learned and come back with actionable initiatives you can implement right away.”