2023 marked a defining moment for Paragon’s Leadership Forum. After 13 years of outsourcing the facilitation, we made a strategic investment and hired Heidi Bedier as Paragon’s Director of Leadership Development. It was a significant move for a company our size, but one we knew would be a differentiator and strengthen our ties to the IT community.
The results? Within six months, we hosted Forums in Nebraska and Arizona, delivered a webinar on Empathetic Leadership, and saw eager outreach from organizations across three states seeking support with employee engagement and leadership development. We were thrilled, but we believe we have only scratched the surface.
Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders in 2024
We know that strategic initiatives often succeed or fail based on the people behind them. That's why, fueled by the success of the past six months, we decided to double down on our commitment and add a Leadership Ambassador to the program. Empowering current and future leaders is essential for navigating the dynamic landscape of business. Expanding Leadership Solutions with a dedicated support team shows our continued investment in developing the talent of today and the future. We know - because you’ve told us - today’s leaders want and need to upskill to drive innovation and adapt to evolving challenges.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to look too far for the right person for the role. In June, when Paragon first announced it was expanding its services, a recruiter by the name of Bryce Colston approached Leadership and declared he ‘wanted in’. At the time, he was told we were probably years down the road from being able to invest in additional people to support the Leadership Solutions service line. Fast forward seven months to the beginning of January, Colston transitioned to the Leadership Ambassador role and is now the primary point of contact for Paragon’s IT Leadership Forum.
With a team now 100% dedicated to leadership development, we plan to provide year-round content, resources, and learning opportunities for past, present, and, hopefully, future Forum participants.
- January 23: Minnesota IT Leadership Forum
- February 29: Webinar: Adaptability: Build Influence & Drive Positive Change
- March 26: Arizona IT Leadership Forum
Get to Know Heidi Bedier:
Paragon is much different than the other organizations you've worked for, what attracted you to the Director of Leadership Development role?
Joining Paragon isn't just a career move for me; it's a conscious decision to be a part of a community that embodies the kind of work environment and experience I've longed for. The owners, leaders, and the entire team at Paragon share a commitment to creating an atmosphere that resonates with my aspirations.
This transition isn't just about my journey—it's about leveraging the lessons, challenges, and growth I've accumulated over the years to give back. I aspire to create opportunities for others to learn, grow, and foster meaningful connections as they navigate their own personal and professional development. Paragon, with its vision and the people it serves, provides me with the perfect platform to fulfill this purpose.
Favorite book: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess By Jen Hatmaker
Favorite podcast: WorkLife with Adam Grant or At The Table with Patrick Lencioni
Public figure you look up to/like learning from: Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas
Favorite quote: "You Are Never Too Small To Make A Difference" -Greta Thunberg
Your Social Style: Amiable
Qualities you look for in a leader or leadership qualities you think are most important: Recently,
I was asked by a newer leader what I thought was the most important leadership trait. My immediate answer was empathy. Empathy fosters a positive and engaging work culture that supports an employee's well-being.
Get to Know Bryce Colston:
What interested you in the Leadership Ambassador role? I feel that personal growth and self-development is liberating. I find learning and contineous improvement fulfilling. To be able to play a role in helping others along their self-development journey is such an honor and what really attracted me to the role.
An old coach of mine used to say, “every day you get better or worse, we don’t stay the same." I took that to heart and since then have tried to get just a a little bit better every day. I enjoy connecting with people who have an interest in the same, and stepping into this role seemed like a great way to do that.
Favorite books: I have many, but two top of mind: Four Thousand Weeks and So Good They Can't Ignore You
Public figures you look up to/like learning from: Alex Hormozi, Chris Voss, and recently, Myron Golden
Favorite quote: “You don’t become confident by shouting affirmations in the mirror, but by having a stack of undeniable proof that you are who you say you are. Outwork your self-doubt.”
Your Social Style: Expressive
Qualities you look for in a leader: Growth Mindset, Integrity, Empathy, Gratitude, Resilience, and Self-Awareness