“No one-size-fits-all approach to leadership” one of many valuable lessons learned by graduates of AIM’s latest Emerging Tech Leaders cohort

July 7, 2020

Congratulations to the AIM Institute’s Emerging Tech Leaders 2020 Spring cohort for completing leadership training last week. A group of 26 IT professionals from various Omaha-based companies graduated from the program last Friday. 

Emerging Tech Leaders is a two-month course to help tech professionals decide whether they want to pursue management opportunities in their careers. The AIM Institute developed this program to grow IT leadership knowledge and skills that will benefit tech talent and companies. 

The program employs the real-world experience of existing IT leaders to help participants better understand the issues, challenges and skills needed to advance their careers. 

Consisting of six intensive sessions, Emerging Tech Leaders covers topics ranging from resource optimization to effective communication skills development.

“(The program) was able to get me to think about leadership in an entirely different light,” said academy participant James Johansen, who works as senior software developer at TD Ameritrade. “It gave me a chance to really think deeply.” 

Cohort members appreciated the diverse perspectives and problem-solving approaches that people brought to the group, said Marnie Frandson, business analyst for Farm Credit Services of America.

“Different people’s perspectives help us grow as leaders, and hearing from everybody how they’d approach certain situations was really helpful,” Frandson said. “I’m going to use that going forward as one of my tools.”

During the graduation ceremony, TD Ameritrade Software Consultant Patrick Peitz said he was inspired by the array of presenters and facilitators who had followed nonlinear career trajectories—something he could identify with.

“It’s inspiring to know that there are people who didn’t take a direct path to leadership and still are super successful at it,” Peitz said.

AIM’s Director of Tech Leadership Development Monika Philp confirmed the importance of introducing a variety of tech leadership styles to help IT managers adapt to an ever-shifting digital landscape.

“Technology is changing at a rapid speed and effective management and leadership skills are needed now more than ever,” Philp said. “Our Emerging Leaders program provides the skills, community and resources for tech professionals to grow both personally and professionally. It’s great to see companies investing in their talent.” 

This was the sixth cohort of IT professionals to graduate from AIM’s Emerging Tech Leaders program.

“We are proud of our Emerging Tech Leaders and can’t wait to see how their careers progress,’ Philp added.

Interested in participating? Find out more about AIM’s leadership academies for advanced and emerging IT leaders here. 

Congratulations to the Spring 2020 Emerging Tech Leaders graduates!

Doug Brown, Kiewit Technology Group

Keith Brown, TD Ameritrade

Chris Coleman, TD Ameritrade

Bryan Costanzo, TD Ameritrade

Pat Diederich, DMSi

Raja Sekhar Duddu, Mutual of Omaha

Madhavi Durgam, TD Ameritrade

Marni Frandson, Farm Credit Services of America

Bryce Fowler, TD Ameritrade

Jereomy Frum, TD Ameritrade

Mary Jo Jacob, CSG

James Johansen, TD Ameritrade

Tom McCauley, AIM Institute

Tina Mischke, KTG

Laura Morin, Farm Credit Services of America

Phil Morrissey, DMSi

Patrick Peitz, TD Ameritrade

Zoheir Puthawala, TD Ameritrade

Charles Sanders, Farm Credit Services of America

Corey Schaecher, Farm Credit Services of America

Kim Smith, Werner Enterprises Inc.

Terrance Steinhart, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska

Lauren Taylor, Kiewit

Bryan Thomas, First National Technology Services

Emily Traux, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska

Brent Vadla, TD Ameritrade


The AIM Institute is an innovative not-for-profit that grows, connects and inspires the tech talent community through career development and education.