“When you think of a leader, who comes to your mind?” That’s the question Walt Hogan, a 1996 graduate of Leadership Loudoun, begins his leadership development sessions with—and he has asked it several thousand times. In each session, he finds it necessary to ask it again and again until participants stop naming world leaders and celebrities and move on to people in their own lives. But he’s really waiting for someone to say his or her own name. Most people think of leaders as someone with a title or position or power, not themselves; his goal is to change that.
Hogan is a Loudoun native who was raised in Purcellville, and he is the founder and sole proprietor of Symbiosis, a company that focuses on human resource and organizational development. His mission is to fill what he calls a “leadership gap” with people who understand the principles and practices of effective leadership. To that end, he focuses on “helping business managers become business leaders” by changing their perception of leadership, which he defines as the ability to influence others to do something they do not believe they can do. Hogan defines influence as the behavior that one leaves behind with others after an interaction.
Crediting Leadership Loudoun with teaching crucial skills that have enabled his success, he said, “I learned how to share my ideas with and in the community. I learned how to use the media to leverage and market my ideas. I learned how to work with people who are different from me and influence a project that affects the outcome of Loudoun County residents.” To expand his business from solely delivering leadership development workshops to a broader focus on organizational development (OD), he has built a network of colleagues with similar skills and missions. To improve his clients OD, he collects data to help them customize the best training and development activities for their businesses.
Since 2000, Hogan has facilitated the opening session for Leadership Loudoun, giving back to the program and to the community in which he has prospered. True to the program’s commitment to developing leaders who understand Loudoun and have the skills to contribute to its future, Hogan volunteers with young people to introduce them to leadership principles and practices—work that inspires and rejuvenates him. These groups include: Leadership Loudoun Youth Inc,, Loudoun Cares, Claude Moore Foundation, and Erin Peterson Fund- Fairfax, VA.
Symbiosis is dedicated to improving human performance in the workplace by specializing in the design, development, and delivery of organizational and human resource development initiatives using effective behaviorally-based approaches and techniques.