Impact Stories
Alisha Park

In Forté Rise, Alisha Park Discovered What Leadership Looks Like For Her

Shortly after finishing her MBA at Rutgers Business School in early 2021, Alisha Park transitioned into a new career. Moving from education management to more traditional management in the business sector wasn’t easy for her, and a quick promotion brought even more challenges.

She says, “The biggest thing I struggled with initially was around role clarity. The role that I had stepped into was a new role for the organization.” Despite the fact that she’d done similar work in previous organizations, she spent a few months questioning her skills. She says, “While I had peers to lean on in my MBA program, I still felt like I needed additional networking support.”

When she heard about the Forté Rise Leadership Program in an email from Forté, it sounded like exactly what she was looking for. Rise is a three-month virtual program dedicated to helping mid-career women move their careers forward by focusing on their own leadership strengths.

Alisha did her undergrad studies at Bryn Mawr, a women’s college, and says, “The way in which the Rise program was structured very much reminded me of college — a space dedicated to transforming women who are actively pursuing or in the midst of their professional careers.”

Connecting with Knowledgeable Peers

In her Rise cohort, Alisha met other women with a wide variety of MBA backgrounds and work experience. Some of them were already in leadership positions, while others had taken on projects or initiatives within their firms to demonstrate leadership. Alisha says, “Having a group of people talk about those different experiences in one place has been very valuable.”

It redefined what leadership looks like, what a successful career looks like, and also what support and networking looks like.

Reflecting on where she was before Rise, she says, “I was seeking somebody else to find role clarity for me, and making assumptions that a lot of my career trajectory was already pre-planned out and pretty defined.”

Rise helped Alisha recognize that a career trajectory isn’t always linear, especially for women. There are many different pathways, and the women in her cohort demonstrated that. She says, “It redefined what leadership looks like, what a successful career looks like, and also what support and networking looks like.”

After participating in Rise, she says, “I’ve switched gears. I can define my role clarity. I can figure out what it is I need to stretch myself on or what my challenges are, and look internally for that instead of externally.”

Bringing What She Learned Back to Work

Alisha considered paying for the program on her own, but she approached her company about covering the cost. She explained what Rise offered and says, “It helped kick off a conversation around professional development within our organization.”

In the past, the company’s approach to professional development had emphasized technical skills, so things like executive presence and leadership styles were new for them. She says, “I saw an opportunity to engage work and say, ‘I think the training through this could be something beneficial that I could then bring over to the company.’”

They paid for her to participate, and during the program, she shared with her colleagues how she’d benefited from the executive coaching, peer-led groups, and speakers. At first, they were skeptical of things like coaching. She says, “It wasn’t until I made a case that I think this will have long-term benefits and impacts that people came on board. And now a lot of people are really embracing it.”

If you have eight to fifteen years of professional experience, are in a period of career transition, and want a network of women leaders, Alisha encourages you to check out Rise. She says, “It’s not that I walked away from Rise knowing all the answers; it’s that I walked away from Rise knowing how to deal with the feeling of not knowing that I have answers.”

Interested in being part of the next Forté Rise cohort? Apply now!

Want to support Alisha and other women like her? Make a gift to support More Women Leading.

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