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Nov 18

Growing Leaders: Weidner’s Manager-in-Training Program

Nearly a decade ago, Weidner CEO, Dean Weidner approached Marie Virgilio, VP of Recruiting, with the idea to set up a Manager-in-Training (MIT) program. The concept was to train and promote from within so that as the company grew, so would their leaders.

Marie hired a few MITs to launch the program, and Mr. Weidner said he’d consider the program a success if they recruited and trained at least 15-20 people per year, so Marie hired more people. Today, two of those original hires are now highly respected Regional Directors and several more individuals have grown into Area Directors across the country, and are leading business development in states including Washington, Alaska, and Minnesota.

Most Area Directors today have some affiliation with the MIT program; if they weren’t recruited as part of the program, they served as mentors to MIT candidates. This Certified Mentor program was launched as a subset of the MIT program, in order to spread best practices to the next generation of leaders.

MITs are generally recruited from colleges. Weidner invests heavily in RPM programs at universities like Ball State, Stout in Wisconsin, and the University of Anchorage in Alaska, as they are committed to not just building in-house talent, but raising the standard of leaders in the industry, as a whole.

Program Managers set out to find those individuals who were doing exceptional work and bring them into Weidner headquarters for 3 days of training. In turn, those stellar leaders would train MITs via a 5-module learning platform created specifically for this purpose.

During the first six months of the MIT program, MITs partnered with their assigned mentors, serving as an ‘extra person’ on the team, rather than a specific role. They cover the 5 training modules and then move on for their next 6 months at a different property. This intuitive leadership program encourages and builds resourcefulness and versatility among the candidates.

By the end of the year, the MITs are ready to run a 100-unit small property on their own as a Community Director or Assistant Community Director for larger assets.

The SIT program (Service Technician-in-Training) was created to mirror the MIT program, and though it is in the early stages,  it promises to be a great success. The SIT program focuses on locating individuals with construction backgrounds and machinery experience. The new SIT is then placed with a certified mentor who works as a Maintenance Supervisor or Service Technician at a Weidner property. The end result goal is that each SIT will be ready to serve as a Service Technician at a Weidner property with little supervision.

As the business grows, so does Weidner’s commitment to foster great leadership so that Weidner residents experience the very best in apartment living.

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