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The 2018 Leading Edge Consortium: A SIOP Success for Practitioners

Rob Silzer, HR Assessment and Development, Inc./Baruch, Graduate Center CUNY

Editor’s Note: I received this submission originally in August of 2019; the delay in its publication was my fault, not the author’s.

One of the core programs that SIOP offers for practitioner members is the annual LEC. These have now been held every year for the last 15 years. This article reports on the LEC held in 2018 that focused on High Potential Leadership Talent. This is an effort to keep all SIOP members informed of the status and ongoing success of the LECs. Although the annual LECs now regularly attract over 200 participants, it is important that all SIOP members stay informed of our progress.

Over the last 15 years, the Professional Practice Committees have delivered 15 annual LECs (Leading Edge Consortia). The LECs were initiated to provide an important professional service to SIOP Practitioners.

The first LEC in 2005 focused on Leadership at the Top: Selection, Globalization, and Ethics of Executive Talent. It was held in St. Louis and produced exceptional results. We had a very strong program of expert speakers and 185 attendees. It resulted in net profit for SIOP (a great accomplishment for a first-year conference). That LEC received very high evaluation ratings from participants (they still are among the highest ratings across all of the LECs). As an LEC originator and co-chair of the 2005 LEC, along with Leaetta Hough and David Campbell, I can attest to the enormous amount of work it took to successfully deliver this first LEC. Dave Nershi, then the SIOP Executive Officer, was a full partner in helping this to be so successful.

Over the years the LEC had some ups and downs and even some financial losses in some years (Silzer & Parson, 2014). In 2012, Doug Reynolds, then SIOP president, appointed an LEC Advisory Group, chaired by me, to develop recommendations for saving the LEC (Silzer et al., 2012). The recommendations were fully accepted and implemented. This led to a true resurgence of the LEC in recent years.

Over the last 3 years as the SIOP Professional Practice Officer, I made a determined effort to ensure three successful LECs. Each year I chaired an annual LEC Topic Selection Committee that identified the LEC topic and the practitioner chairs. This includes:

  • 2017 – Innovations in Executive Coaching: Deepening Your Expertise in a Dynamic World, Chair Sandra Davis
  • 2018 – High Potentials: Identifying, Developing and Retaining Future Leaders, Chairs Rob Silzer and Allan Church
  • 2019 – Advancing the Edge: Assessment for the 2020s, Chairs John Scott and Doug Reynolds (early indicators point to a highly successful LEC)

The 2018 LEC was held in Baltimore and chaired by Rob Silzer and Allan Church. Our highly committed LEC Organizing Committee included David Baker, Karen Grabow, Raphael Prager, John Scott, and Lorraine Stomski. We organized a 2-day program of 24 highly regarded topic experts, including practitioners, researchers, CHROs. and HR professionals. (See program agenda here.)

We introduced several new innovations, such as:

  • Holding the offsite welcome reception on the USS Constellation in the Baltimore Harbor
  • Providing a preconference student briefing with leading speakers from the main program
  • Expanding LEC partnership opportunities
  • Including HIP talks (High-Impact Presentations) by leading corporate CHRO and HR professionals
  • Holding open Q & A sessions of speakers with participants
  • Offering three preconference workshops that attracted 150 workshop attendees. (Workshops were also offered at the 2017 LEC on Executive Coaching.) The 2018 workshops were:
  1. Identifying and Assessing High Potential Leadership Talent
    Leaders - John Scott, Rob Silzer, & Matt Paese
  2. Developing Agile High-Potentials
    Leaders - Jeff McHenry, Andrew Webster, Robin Cohen, & Lorraine Stomski
  3. Building Integrated and Sustainable High-Potential Talent Management Programs
    Leaders - Allan Church, Laura Mattimore, & Seymour Adler

The results from the 2018 LEC include

  • Over 200 participants
  • Very positive responses to the new LEC innovations
  • Strong LEC and program ratings by participants
  • High attendance and strong ratings for two workshops
  • A record level of partnership sponsorships (in both number and revenue)
  • A record level of net profit for an LEC of $73,000
  • The participant evaluations of the LEC were very positive.
  • Participants agreed that high potential talent identification is an important leadership development topic in today’s organizations (97% favorable)
    • The Leading Edge Consortium was rated very positively by participants with the vast majority of evaluation items receiving 85% or higher favorability including:
    • The content of the consortium effectively covered the topic of identifying, developing, and retaining high potential future leaders.
    • The consortium content provided me with information that is applicable to my work.
    • I picked up new insights, practices, and approaches to the high potential topic from this consortium.
    • The consortium provided an environment conducive for networking with fellow professionals and speakers.
    • The speakers were very knowledgeable on the topic of identifying, developing, and retaining high potential future leaders.
    • Compared to other conferences I have attended, this was one of the best overall in terms of value.
  • In addition, the LEC was rated very favorably for program facilitation, program schedule, program length, meeting rooms and facilities, food and beverage meals, breaks at the hotel, and the hotel accommodations

There were only two areas of disappointment. The location of Baltimore was not well regarded by participants, primarily due to local city problems and security concerns. We received emails from members who decided not to attend because of the location. Also, one of the workshops was not able to qualify for APA CEUs (continuing education credits). This may have limited the attendance.

Over the last 2 years of LEC (2017, 2018) a few things stand out as achievements:

  • Both had very strong attendance of over 200 participants
  • Each had 150 attendees at preconsortium workshops
  • Each had high evaluation ratings from participants
  • Each set records for LEC sponsorships
  • The many new innovations were very well received
  • They combined for a total of $135,000 in net profit to SIOP.

Members might also be interested to know some related results for the 2019 Practitioner Needs Survey (see related article in this TIP issue)

  • Of the 30+ programs developed and offered for practitioners by the Professional Practice Committees over the last 3 years, the LEC is rated as the third most valuable program for practitioners
  • Of the 33 possible initiatives for practitioners that might be developed by the Professional Practice Committees in the future, an Advanced Professional Development Program is the second most wanted by practitioners.

So given the positive feedback, success metrics and high LEC participant ratings, we seem to be on the right track to provide LECs that meet the needs and interests of SIOP Practitioners. There is no doubt that under the leadership of Tracy Kantrowitz (the new SIOP Professional Practice Officer) and the four Professional Practice Committees, these services to practitioners will continue to be offered and expanded. Look for forthcoming program announcements.


Silzer, R., Becker, W., Church, A., Mallard, A., & Rogelberg, S. (2012). LEC Advisory Group recommendations on the SIOP Leading Edge Consortium: Final Report to SIOP Executive Board. September 7.

Silzer, R.F. & Parson, C. (January, 2014). The Leading Edge Consortium: Realigning for future success. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 51(3), 99-111.

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