Aspiring Leaders at Georgia Tech

The 2023 Cohort of Workplace Learning & Professional Development's ASPIRE program kicked off this month.

September 25, 2023 | By GTPE Communications
Individuals participating in the 2023 cohort are lined up on a stairwell.

Workplace Learning & Professional Development is pleased to welcome another cohort of ASPIRE, one of their signature programs designed for aspiring leaders.  

Launched in 2019, ASPIRE was developed as a way to support and cultivate Georgia Tech employees who are not currently in leadership positions to cultivate a leadership mindset. With this cohort, over 200 aspiring leaders will have now benefitted from this program. 

"Investing in the growth and development of our aspiring leaders isn't just a strategic choice; it's a testament to our commitment to, and investment in, the future,” says Skye Duckett, vice president and chief human resources officer for Georgia Tech.

“As we nurture their potential, we pave the way for our Institute’s continued growth and success. Our future is not just what we envision, but also who we empower to lead us there." 

The 2023 cohort consists of 69 employees representing 40 different departments across campus in a variety of roles, ranging from Custodian to Contracting Officer and Research Scientist. You can view the full list of the 2023 cohort here

The program is founded on the Competing Values Framework of Organizations which addresses the complexities faced as a leader while navigating the competing areas of collaborate, compete, control, and create within an organization. By combining instructor-led programming with self-directed and collaborative learning, for a total commitment of 40 hours over four months, participants emerge with a well-rounded leadership understanding and practice. 

“As I move up and into new roles at Georgia Tech, I still find myself returning to the principles of ASPIRE,” said Kate Curnow, senior program and operations manager for Housing and Residential Life.  

“The tools I learned give me confidence in troubleshooting challenges, while the growth mindset it instilled in me allows me to be a nimble and empathetic leader."  

Another key component of the program is the support and collaboration of the participants’ supervisor, or co-learner as referenced in the program. The key discussion points and learning prompts provided help guide coaching as well as identify opportunities to deepen the practice within the scope of day-to-day responsibilities increasing the supervisor's effectiveness as a leader.  

“Actively participating as a co-learner allowed me to collaboratively invest in the professional growth of the individual on my team,” says Shannon Helton-Amos, director of marketing and digital strategy at Georgia Tech Professional Education. “The opportunity to learn alongside, as well as, from them helped me grow as a leader while strengthening the capacity of our team overall.” 

Upon completion of the course requirements, participants will be celebrated during a closing program and emerge with an increased awareness of themselves professionally and an understanding of how they can lead from their current role and positioned to take on new responsibilities. “We’ve seen the power this program has to positively impact culture within the Georgia Tech community and are excited to witness the potential of this new 2023 cohort unfold as they cultivate their leadership mindset through ASPIRE,” says LaTrese Ferguson, direcor, Workplace Learning & Professional Development. 

To learn more about the ASPIRE program, including submitting interest to join a future cohort, visit