By Bryan D. Phillips, Associate Warden
California Men’s Colony
In July of 2017, I was fortunate to attend, along with 24 other attendees, the Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) course at the beautiful campus of California State University, Chico. The 24 attendees were grouped somewhat equally into five teams. I and three other attendees were in Cohort 3 Group 5. Once through the four week course, which took place over a four month period of time, the groups would then present, in Sacramento, to the other Cohort groups their final projects which we could choose from one of five subjects. We would gather information from the various experts that instructed us over these four weeks and four month period of time. At the conclusion of the courses, attendees received four units of continuing education.
The whole Chico campus experience was an excellent one. We received Chico State Identification Cards and were able to utilize the facility as if we were students there. We all now claim to be Chico State alumni (as is indicated on our ID’s). We were all from different CDCR backgrounds, classifications and disciplines, from Captains to Associate Wardens, Chief Executive Officers, Staff Services Manager-III, Health Program Manager-III, Parole Region Administrators, Chief Support Executive, Data Processing Manager-III, Chief, Civil Rights Operations and Assistant General Counsel.
The five subjects, from which we could choose for our final projects, were actual issues needing to be addressed within CDCR for which we were asked to create a solution. Throughout the various courses, we were instructed on how to create a better presentation and devise a solution. Once our teams were assigned, along with our mission, we began our final projects.
Personally, I chose to be in the group whose mission was “Improving the Health Care Services Request Process, CDCR-7362.” Our group was diverse, comprising Teri Macias, CEO, CMC; Patrick Eaton, AW, SCC; and Glen Padayachee, Chief, Office of Civil Rights.
Each one of us contributed great input for our mission. We initially thought to ourselves, we need to improve the form; but eventually; after garnering and internalizing the information from the various courses we attended, we realized our job really was to improve the process for inmate/patient care in CDCR.
The various expert presenters were dynamic and enthusiastic. During week one, Stan Stojkovic, Ph.D., from Wisconsin, gave us a course on the “Principles of Executive Leadership.” Dr. Stojkovic is an excellent instructor and an extraordinary person with great knowledge of corrections and law enforcement.
By week two, which was about a month later, we reconvened at Chico State. This time, our instructor was Kareem Jordon, Ph.D., a very knowledgeable instructor with a big and happy personality.
During this time, Dr. Jordon taught us about complex problems, policy process analysis, and the reliability and validity of measurements. We were given time and were able to work together in our groups to begin the mission ahead of us.
During week three, our instructor was Jocelyn Pollock, Ph.D., who taught us about Ethical Leadership and Motivation. This was our last week at Chico, as our fourth and final week was scheduled in Sacramento to complete our scheduled courses and to present our project to Cohort Groups 3 and 4. We were considered juniors at this time.
Our instructor for week four was Tina Freidburger, Ph.D., from Wisconsin, taught us environmental scanning, internal and external environment policy analysis, and strategic thinking. We were also given time to work within our groups in preparation for our presentation. By Thursday, we presented to Cohort Group 3 and on Friday, we presented to Cohort Group 4. By the end of the day, we received our dates to report to the Cabinet for presentation along with our certificates of completion from the ELI.
On Nov. 20, 2017, we presented our project power point to the Cabinet. As a team, we felt the presentation was a success and were asked several questions before we left.
During the course of this training, we met and made vital friendships and connections with others throughout CDCR. This was an exciting experience for me. The staff at Chico State was amazing. I would personally like to extend my thanks to Clair Roby, Sarah Smith,and Heather Quilici as they collectively assisted us with getting acclimated to the campus, and provided us with the tools and assistance we needed to make it through this great challenge.
My advice to you, if your Warden asks for anyone wanting to attend the ELI, raise your hand and make a difference.