Leadership Development Program for Diverse Talent


Air Products is committed to progressing a broader diversity of talent into leadership roles.  As part of that commitment, we needed to consider how to meet the unique development needs of different employee populations to ensure we are providing meaningful opportunities for everyone to develop and contribute fully.  Specifically, we needed to provide an open environment to explore professional and career development of women and people of color… to acknowledge differences and address unique needs.


In 2014, we designed and launched a Leadership Development Program for Diverse Talent.  The purpose of the program is to increase exposure for participants and help them develop strategies and skills to enhance and accelerate professional development.  The program is focused on:

  • meeting the unique needs of talented, professional women and minorities by leveraging world-class leadership development materials, provided by the Lean In Foundation.
  • leveraging the experiences of both participants and facilitators through discussion, coaching, and mentoring by using a “learning circle” format. Design includes a Women’s Circle format and a Multicultural Circle format.

Participants are diverse individuals in the early stages of their leadership journey.  They are selected by their businesses and functions during our Talent Review process based on performance, potential, and desire to progress.  Facilitators are senior leaders in our organization and are selected based on their own development plans, their commitment to employee development, diversity, and their ability to coach and develop others.  The ultimate goal of the program is to support the continued development of women and minorities in leadership roles.


We piloted the program in 2014, and tracked the progression of the 70 participants over the next two years.  Over that two-year period, there was a 55% promotion rate among participants.  In addition, by midway through the program, 64% of participants reported there were behaviors/actions they stopped doing as a result of learnings from Circle participation, and 94% of participants reported there are activities they started doing as a result of learnings from Circle participation.

The 2017 cycle of our program is nearing completion and participants report similar impacts in shifting their behaviors. Trajectory of 2017 participants will also be tracked over the next two years.


Darlene MacKinnon

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