ALLETE takes a broad view of leadership, says Dawn Johnson, Learning and Development Analyst. A publicly held energy company with four operating divisions, ALLETE is headquartered in Duluth and operates in numerous states across the country. “We consider anyone who leads people at ALLETE to be a leader,” Johnson says. “We realized that both formal and informal leaders needed to have leadership skillsets, and we recognized training needed to be provided earlier in their career.”
Johnson has been working methodically to review the company’s leadership training programs for the past few years. “We saw that people weren’t moving much inside the company, so they weren’t getting new training,” she says. “We needed to be much more organized and intentional in how we developed leaders. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, we also wanted to ensure that women were well represented in development programs.”
Today, Johnson says the company exposes a broad variety of people to important concepts in and critical skills for leadership. “We learned that educational level does not equal leadership abilities, that mid-level leadership programs needed to be much more equitable, and that frontline leaders benefited tremendously from leadership training.”
ALLETE was recently recognized for the number of women on its board and executive team. In 2019, the company appointed its first woman president. In 2020, she was advanced to CEO.